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What to Grow in Your Garden and How to Use It Up

Over the past few years we have begun to collect a number of homestead books that we refer to time and again. We'd like to share information about these books with you. This is the first in a regular series of blog articles where we will highlight a book that serves us well on our little farm.

One of my favorite homestead books that has inspired me with tips and techniques on how to grow, store and use more vegetables is Barbara Pleasant's Home Grown Pantry: A Gardener's Guide to Selecting the Best Varieties & Planting the Perfect Amounts for What You Want to Eat Year-Round. We came across the book at the public library this past summer and liked it so much that we had to purchase our own copy.

This book makes me feel like my mom or grandma are in the garden and the kitchen with me, showing me tried and true techniques for healthy eating inspired by back-to-our-roots living.  The book serves as a guide not only for gardening, but also for food preservation and cooking. Recipes are scattered throughout the book with each type of crop.  Photos and other imagery on every page helps gardeners and home cooks figure out what types of produce preserve best and whether canning, freezing, drying or fermenting is recommended for the different varieties.

An inspiring introduction in the book discusses why there is a growing trend to garden and preserve our own foods.  As soon as I picked up the book, I realized our family wasn't alone on this path to a healthier, homesteading lifestyle.  The book then goes on to describe in detail all the nutritious vegetables, fruits and herbs that the home gardener and cook may wish to consider.

There are a number of useful charts, diagrams and tables in the book.  For example, a seasonal calendar provides a timeline for when to prepare, plant, harvest, freeze, dry, can and ferment each type of crop. By using this handy guide, my family has begun to figure out how to become more food self-sufficient by growing and consuming our own organic produce.  We highly recommend Barbara Pleasant's book - you can find it here on Amazon.