- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; 2 edition (Nov. 1 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781890132729
- ISBN-13: 978-1890132729
- ASIN: 1890132721
- Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 2.3 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 839 g
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #254,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving, 2nd Edition Paperback – Nov 1 2000
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Review by John F. Swenson, Volunteer--Plant Information Office, Chicago Botanic Garden
There is nothing quite like this book in the world's literature--it is the Hope diamond of horticulture. In the field of edible plants, Carol Deppe is a modest legend who has been a matchmaker and midwife to many new vegetables.
In this book, Ms. Deppe explains how she and a few other masters of plant breeding have achieved their success. She encourages the rest of us to try our hands and hearts--and patience--at producing our own culinary gems. Ms. Deppe, who combines a doctorate in plant genetics with insatiable curiosity and soil-stained hands, will continue to inspire growers to participate in a creative process as ancient as farming itself.
This book is an intense and readable exposition of the science and art of plant breeding, which will inspire and inform any reader. Even the casual reader who doesn't take up the challenge of developing unique garden specialties will become aware of humanity's debt to our predecessors, who turned wildlings into the organisms that can feed all of us. Ms. Deppe deserves a special pedestal in the company of her kindred spirits for this book, a revised version of a work originally published in 1993.
In Good Tilth-
“Every serious organic gardener and farmer needs to read this book. Even casual gardeners—in fact, anyone interested in our food supply, whether in its production or its consumption—should find it fascinating and inspiring. No one who reads it will ever look at vegetables or other plant foods in exactly the same way again. Joining Carol Deppe on her plant-breeding adventures throughout these pages is a privilege and a delight. Her mastery of genetics, far-ranging experience and contagious passion in plant-breeding, and wonderful talent for conveying it all through the written word, make her book as unique as her vegetable varieties. The food supply of the future can indeed be flavorful, nutritious, interesting, and sustainable, if we amateur plant breeders learn the lessons she shares.”
"Any gardener interested in vegetable plant breeding must have this book. It is the standard reference. But it is also much more than that. Deppe's grasp of the intricacies of plant life will enlighten food lovers as well as general readers. Thank you Carol Deppe!"--Michael MacCaskey, editor-in-chief, NationalGardening.com
"Deppe invites you on a journey of discovery to reclaim the lost lore of our ancestors, to relearn the traditions of seed-saving and seed-breeding and to take back control of the seed.
Within you will find information not available in other garden books or anywhere else. Learn how to design trials, why and how far apart to isolate varieties for purity, how to understand and appreciate the subtleties of selection and why the detailed artistry of classical plant breeding makes most genetic engineering look like the work of simpletons.
Here is a woman who knows seeds, who knows the ineffable joys working with them brings, and who has penetrated deeply into the mysteries of their inner workings. She can be your guide as you chart your own path to restore and renew a time-honored tradition one experiment at a time."--C. R. Lawn, Fedco Seeds
"The gardening book of the decade." --Ken Allen
"So new and unique that it could truly be called one of a kind . . . [it's] unlike any other book on the market . . . Certain to change the way many growers see the act of gardening."--Don Parker, Publisher, The Growing Edge
"Deppe has done Luther Burbank one better. She has bred many significant new varieties and now has provided the instructions for others to follow her lead. Great Work. Great Book."--Suzanne Ashworth, author of Seed to Seed
About the Author
Oregon plant breeder Carol Deppe, author of The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, holds a PhD in biology from Harvard University and specializes in developing public-domain crops for organic growing conditions, sustainable agriculture, and human survival for the next thousand years. Carol is author of The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times (Chelsea Green, 2010), Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, 2nd ed. (Chelsea Green, 2000), Tao Te Ching: A Window to the Tao through the Words of Lao Tzu (Fertile Valley Publishing, 2010), and Taoist Stories (Fertile Valley Publishing, 2014). Visit www.caroldeppe.com for articles and further adventures.
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After reading Carol Deepe's neat book though, I've decided that starting next spring I will be making some hybrid crosses with vegetables, for sure.
Most people who garden do not really understand the whole process of making crosses, of creating new hybrids. This book explains it very clearly and gardeners will find out that it isn't really difficult at all. Quite simple actually, and with some often remarkable rewards.
As explained well in this text, vegetables today are mostly bred just for the market, for things like better shipability. Breeding for taste and other such, is pretty well now left up to the amateur breeders. My point here is that if you want to grow the best vegeatbles, you almost need to start crossing your own.
One of the biggest pleasures of creating your own vegetable crosses is that they are YOUR OWN. You can then grow things that no one else is growing, planting seeds that are not for sale anywhere. This can add a huge amount of pleasure to gardening. It just makes it all much more fun.
This book is useful, interesting, well written and easy to understand. It would make a great present for anyone who loves to garden and by all means get one for yourself, too. It will easily pay for itself the very first season you own it. A dandy book!
While Deppe clearly has one foot in the world of genetics and the science of plant breeding, the other she has firmly planted among the peas and squash in her own garden. She relates tales of her garden ventures and introduces you to other adventuresome plant breeders. As you read on, you will find yourself daydreaming about a new variety, perhaps a tomato that would have "real" tomato flavor, be extra nutritious, grow happily in one of your homemade tomato cages, and thrive in your garden. But, as Deppe explains, the only way to get that variety is to breed it yourself. The professional plant breeders won't do it for you. Their attention is focused on a few commercially important food crops, their goal the development of those traits that are of benefit to commercial growers, such as suitability for mechanical harvesting and long distance transport. Deppe's focus is on breeding varieties that, among other things, thrive under organic and/or sustainable growing conditions.
Gardeners and small scale farmers can, and do, breed the varieties they want. Although successful plant breeding doesn't necessarily require a lot of time or garden space, it does require some knowledge---thus, the primary need for this book. The technical chapters are well-crafted guides to the principles of genetics combined with practical and workable strategies for applying those principles. Especially useful are the sections on designing garden trials and on how to be certain you are indeed selecting for the traits you want. There are also detailed illustrated instructions showing how to breed eight popular vegetables: tomato, lettuce, pea, bean, corn, onions and relatives, cabbages and relatives, and squash/pumpkins. An appendix contains essential data for breeding 801 cultivated vegetables and their wild relatives, useful information for all plant breeders.
Deppe also shares many practical techniques, methods, and strategies, gleaned from years in the garden. These tips are invaluable. They get you thinking about ways that you could experiment and explore more with the garden resources you have. And when things don't go quite as hoped, she reminds you that you can eat your mistakes.
At the heart of any plant breeding venture is good seed saving practice. Even gardeners who do not consider themselves to be plant breeders, when faced with the disappearance of their old favorites from the seed catalogs suddenly want to save their own seed. There are a number of factors you must handle properly if you are going to save your own seed and maintain vigorous, pure strains. The six new chapters added to this edition to cover this area take seed saving much farther than has been done elsewhere. There is a whole chapter devoted to selecting the individual plants from which you will want to save seed, while other chapters discuss isolation practices, the number of plants required, and other factors.
Even if all the vegetables on your table come from the grocery store, you might want this book for the new chapter that compares the advantages and limitations of classical plant breeding techniques with those of genetic engineering. Deppe provides a perceptive discussion of the results, both intended and unanticipated, of applying genetic engineering to the development of food crops. She also explains why classical plant breeding methods remain an important, and in many instances preferable, tool for enhancing our food supply.
All in all, an informative, insightful, and most enjoyable book that is an essential guide for gardeners and small scale farmers alike.
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