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Juliet Kemp: Permaculture Pots Chapters  RSS feed

 
D. Logan
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Location: Soutwest Ohio
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I took a little time to skim over the preview of your book on amazon and it looks like it is a great read. Most of the urban container gardening books I have come across advocate things I don't always agree with, but I didn't notice any of that in the sampling. Kudos! With that said, I did find myself wondering about your chapter layout. On one hand, I found it very interesting to see things laid out in a month by month manner, but on the other side it raised some questions.

I assume you put a lot of thought into it, but did you find yourself doubting at certain points about laying it out in that manner? Since every location is different seasonally and in terms of zones, I imagine it was a potentially tough call. Did you include information on how to adjust for different climates/zones so that the chapters could be shifted to match each individual's area? Also, did you worry that it might affect overall sales?

I am not against the layout. In fact, I like it a lot since it makes sure the reader gets the information they need at the time they need it and doesn't have to continuously hunt through the book to find aspects. I just wanted your insights and to have a look into your creative process.
 
Juliet Kemp
author
Posts: 25
Location: London, UK. Temperate, hardiness 9a, heat zone 2, middling damp.
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As you say, there's always good points and bad points with any organising method

The main reason I went for this approach was that when I was starting out, I found it very confusing to have to keep flipping backwards and forwards through gardening books to work out what I should be doing when. Either in terms of "what can I plant or do right now?" or "I want potatoes; when do I need to put them in?". I thought having it laid out by the month would make it easier for beginners, and this is pretty much aimed at beginners.

But yes, temperature zones and all the rest do make a difference. I'm in the southern UK and based this around my own balcony, but I did include some zone/hardiness info in the introduction and talked a bit about altering suggestions for different locations. And I tried to make similar comments throughout the text. With container gardening you're often dealing with microclimates anyway which can affect those decisions -- I was growing at the time on a south-facing balcony on the 1st floor of a concrete building, which meant that I had different (warmer!) conditions from even someone with a north-facing ground-floor garden on the next block along (or, indeed, the south-facing tiny garden I now have half a mile north of that flat!). And I think containers can have more in common across different locations than in-ground growing would in those same locations. So I hope I've included enough information about adapting for local conditions to make it useful in other locations too.

Sales-wise: yep, possibly, but again, you have to make decisions, and being very wide-ranging can affect sales too. I discussed it with the publishers and we agreed that the benefits outweighed the disadvantages, especially as above with discussions of how to make things work in your specific location.
 
D. Logan
gardener
Posts: 581
Location: Soutwest Ohio
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books food preservation forest garden rabbit tiny house
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To clarify, I actually think it was the right decision. My own experiences with container gardening match your own in that there can be completely different microclimates on opposite sides of the house. Having things laid out seasonally was a really smart approach to my way of thinking. Once someone has an idea about how their own area works, it makes it very easy to adjust even if you hadn't included the information. I appreciate being able to have a window into the interaction between yourself and the publisher. Thank you for the quick answer to my question.
 
Richard Huffmon
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Juliet Kemp wrote:As you say, there's always good points and bad points with any organising method

The main reason I went for this approach was that when I was starting out, I found it very confusing to have to keep flipping backwards and forwards through gardening books to work out what I should be doing when. Either in terms of "what can I plant or do right now?" or "I want potatoes; when do I need to put them in?". I thought having it laid out by the month would make it easier for beginners, and this is pretty much aimed at beginners.


I appreciate the format, as you say, being able to find a specific time to plant something is great. I have grown many potherbs (in pots, of course!) during the mild winters here in California's Central Valley. I have had to experiment (with some notable failures) in planting some things like potatoes or sunflowers. Having a guide like this would have saved me some work and worry. Thanks. Richard
 
Jan Cooper
Posts: 63
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I borrowed the book from our Public Library. It is a gem. Organized by Month, her journal-like posts tell what she did, herb of the month, and then teaches permaculture concepts in a very easy to learn way. I especially like p. 34-- Wormcare , I keep worms and learned a lot, and Making Leafmold, I needed leafmold to incorporate into potting mix recipes and didn't know how to make it; p. 74-75, 2 different plastic Self-watering containers; p. 98 -101, 161, potato culture; microgreens p.128-129; finally, Seed Saving tips p. 158-161. I teach adult ed organic gardening to 75 adults each Sat. This book is on my wish list. It presents the material in a way that anyone could understand. It looks deceptively simple until you read and realize the volume and depth of the information contained within!
 
Juliet Kemp
author
Posts: 25
Location: London, UK. Temperate, hardiness 9a, heat zone 2, middling damp.
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Thank you very much for the kind review, Jan! I'm very glad you found it so useful.

Richard -- I am very enthusiastic about experimenting, as well In my experience there are some things that "aren't done" because they don't work, and some things that "aren't done" but might well work depending on climate/microclimate/what your expectations are. I've planted potatoes in August/September, because I found some escaped seed potatoes and had a teeny tiny Christmas harvest. Not entirely 'worth it' but I wasn't doing anything else with that garden sack so it was lovely to have fresh new potatoes in the depths of winter. I've planted broad beans at all sorts of times between October and March, and consistently for me overwintering them is best as otherwise I have massive ant/aphid problems, but I know other people for whom that doesn't work at all. I've confirmed by experimentation that planting rocket in June is a bit of a waste of time (it bolts), but planting it any other time between February and October works splendidly. And so on. Experimenting is great!

(Having said that about the broad beans I totally forgot to do this last autumn and am putting them in tomorrow instead. Oops. Here's hoping the ants and their aphids (ants farming aphids is impressive but very annoying) lay off for long enough for me to get a crop...)
 
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