Growing Perennial Foods by Acadia Tucker

By Pat Grubb

Just in time for Earth Day, Stone Pier Press, an environmentally focused publishing house, has released Growing Perennial Foods, a Field Guide to Raising Resilient Herbs, Fruits and Vegetables. Written by Acadia Tucker with illustrations by Krishna Chavda, this easy-to-understand guide will enable new and experienced gardeners to get the best possible results out of their gardens.

Tucker was one of four founding directors of the Point Roberts Home-grown Coop which established the first Community Supported Agriculture farm on the Point. Utilizing greenhouses and open field farming, Tucker and her crew operated a four-season organic farm that supplied the local community and restaurants with vegetables and fruit and was an educational resource for the local school.

In this, her first book, Tucker starts off by talking about regenerative farming which attempts to mimic the way nature grows food when left to its own devices. Using regenerative farming techniques allows farmers and gardeners to achieve the best growing results while also replenishing the natural environment. Also known as carbon farming, this approach can play a critically important role in reducing atmospheric carbon, Tucker tells us.

The book has three sections. The first part tells readers how to plan and prepare their garden with special emphasis on how it all starts with the soil. Tucker speaks from experience here as she relates her unsuccessful attempts to grow blueberries without preparing the soil beforehand. Soil testing, planning and building your garden, choosing your plants – all are covered in an easy flowing, conversational style of writing that gets the point across without delving too deeply into the technical weeds, so to speak.

The main section of the book, nearly 200 pages worth, covers a wide selection of herbs, fruits and vegetables and provides instructions on how best to grow them, lists good companion plantings, challenges and harvesting guides. Tucker also provides recipes that showcase the individual qualities of the plant in question.

The recipes are interspersed throughout the book but the index provides a centralized location so you can quickly access a recipe without having to remember which plant and where in the book it was located.

Finally, there is a section devoted to frequently asked questions and a glossary. Here the reader will find answers to questions that run the gamut from how to make your own compost to growing a container garden to what kind of organic pest control to use. While the book is directed at those readers who are new to gardening and especially regenerative gardening, there’s more than enough here to appeal to more experienced growers.

Beautifully written, prettily illustrated, Growing Perennial Foods will be a well-thumbed addition to your gardening library.

A paperback, the book is on order by the Whatcom County Library System but already has two holds on it. It is available online at stonepierpress.com (best for the author and publisher), Amazon and at Village Books. It is also available by special order from Albany Books in Tsawwassen, B.C. Price varies. (ISBN 978-0998862354)

Keep your eyes open for Tucker’s next book, Growing Good Food: A Citizen’s Guide to Backyard Carbon Farming which will be published this summer.

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