or without much, anyway
Photo Credits: Greg Lawler/Small Planet Photography
Copyright ©1993 by Steve Solomon. All rights reserved.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Water-wise vegetables / Steve Solomon.
(Cascadia gardening series)
ISBN 0-912365-75-7 : $8.95
1. Vegetable gardening--Water conservation--Northwest Coast of North America.
Author's Comment for the
World Wide Web Version
Sasquatch Books is a quality west coast publisher specializing in regional books. Their Cascadia Gardening Series is a group of inexpensive, topic-specific books intended for distribution only along the Pacific slope of Washington, Oregon and Northern California, and in the Lower Mainland and Islands of British Columbia. Most of the series covers subjects like "Regional Roses."
My book, Gardening Without Irrigation, never quite fit into that series because the techniques it explains apply everywhere a food grower is faced with the possibility--or actuality--of not having irrigation or not having enough irrigation.
Gardening Without Irrigation can help anyone whose garden depends on a limited or undependable well, anyone who gardens on natural rainfall, for any place faced with the possibility of drought.
In my opinion, Gardening Without Irrigation was misnamed by my publisher. Probably in an attempt to appeal to what the publisher conceived of as "popular consciousness," Sasquatch insisted on calling my book Waterwise Vegetables. This was done over considerable protest on my part. Authors generally retain pretty good control and veto power about changing the internal content of their works. Especially so when they are--as I am--recognized as an "expert." But most authors have little or no control over the titles of their books. I wanted this book to be titled something like "Survival Gardening," or "Gardening Without Irrigation."
Worse, the scope of this book's application was misjudged by its author. While writing this book I did not realize that I should have written with a much broader audience in mind than just those folks gardening west of the Cascades.
I have written seven books about raising vegetables in the Maritime northwest. These were all regionally published (in print, on paper, by commercial publishers). In my opinion, the one you're about to read is the best of the lot.
Most of my garden books sold quite well considering their regionality and limited population base. Ironically, the only book I wrote that did not sell well has been Waterwise Vegetables. This is especially ironic because I put more specifically focused effort into researching this little book than in any other I've written.
My family depended on the garden for a large percentage of our year-round food supply. I could not risk that while trying out some crack-brained notion that I could grow food without watering it. In the beginning I only had the hope that I could. No one in western Oregon had done so to the best of my knowledge; no one knew how.
So, to write Gardening Without Irrigation I grew two gardens side-by-side: a large "dry" garden and another large one intensive style, on raised beds with lots of irrigation. The "dry" garden was a place where I "grew with one hand tied behind my back" so to speak.
Perhaps the book's mistitling, combined with the fact that it should have been written and promoted as a "national" book, one with broad application, are the reasons it sold so poorly. But those poor sales have recently allowed an interesting publishing experiment to occur. Waterwise Vegetables is still in print, available, for sale. Sasquatch Books still has quite a few cases in their warehouse. Yet Sasquatch is allowing me to "give away" the book via the internet. It is my supposition that some who read it online will happily pay $8.95 for an ink-on-paper version. And if posting this book online does boost sales I may have conceived of a new way to make obscure, poor-selling but otherwise worthy books more available.
It is my hope that this experiment will be a game where everyone wins.
May 22, 1997