First, you should know why a maritime Northwest raised-bed gardener named Steve Solomon became worried about his dependence on irrigation. I'm from Michigan. I moved to Lorane, Oregon, in April 1978 and homesteaded on 5 acres in what I thought at the time was a cool, showery green valley of liquid sunshine and rainbows. I intended to put in a big garden and grow as much of my own food as possible. Two months later, in June, just as my garden... more...

A note to the internet reader: In the the print-on-paper edition, this chapter and the next one on vermicomposting are full of illustrations showing composting structures and accessories. These do not reproduce well on-line and are not included. Growing the majority of my family's food absorbs all of the energy I care to put into gardening. So my yard is neat but shaggy. Motivated by what I consider total rationality, my lawn is cut only when it... more...