I am impressed at how many people misunderstand the purpose of this book. It's not just a gardening book. It lays out a comprehensive guide to growing the most food you can on the least amount of land in the most sustainable way -- meaning the way that is, on an ongoing basis into perpetuity, most healthy both for your family, your land, and the wider world. All those things are connected, and maintaining the connection is part of what the book and authors are all about.
The title means what it says, and they tell you exactly how to do it, basing their recommendations on the work of the organization that publishes the book, Ecology Action. They have been growing experimental gardens and conducting detailed research over the past 35 years. In succeeding editions of "How to Grow More Vegetables" they summarize their continuing research for those interested in personally benefiting from their methods and discoveries.
Some may object to the excruciatingly detailed charts and plans. Some of us find them a godsend. Regardless of what we think of them, they are the outgrowth of years of research and are intended to help, not just backyard gardeners in the US, but people in Kenya, India, Russia, Mexico, and other places around the world, whose lives and livelihoods, not to mention the health of their environment, may depend on maximizing their yields while minimizing their purchased inputs and water usage.
The central fact underlying this method is this: the only way to achieve the highest sustainable yields is to build and feed your soil, and the only way to build your soil without taking away fertility from someone else's soil (through purchased inputs such as compost, fertilizer, etc.) is to make and use your own compost. This book explains why, and shows you how. It works.
Though we are still shielded from it in the US, the world is facing a potentially devastating loss of agricultural fertility due to a combination of squandered topsoil (lost through both development and abuse by chemicals and poor tillage practices), water shortages, and soaring prices and reduced availability of fossil fuels (which power the farm equipment, get it to market, and form the basis of most chemical fertilizers). Years ago, Ecology Action set out to discover in a rational and scientific way, just how much land and labor it would take to grow the amount of food, properly balanced for calories and nutrition, required by one person for one year. Could a family of four truly feed itself from a 1200 square foot garden if it had to, or wanted to? How much work and water would it take? How much fertilizer would they have to buy? Could they grow their own fertilizer? What tools would they need? What about fiber for clothing? Building materials? Animal feed?
The "How to Grow More Vegetables" books answer those questions, and much, much more. As the years go by, (and with each succeeding food contamination scandal) more of us, even in the US, are realizing just how important those questions are. You may not need or want all the information in this book. But it is all there, and nowhere else that I am aware of, for those who do want it.
This book could save the world, if only the world would pay attention. But it will also show you how to grow fabulous, tasty vegetables with less water, less work, less weeding, less money.