Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Reviews & Resources – Summer 1997

Publications \ The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener \ Summer 1997 \ Reviews

Little Farmers’ Coloring Book
Forest Gardening: Cultivating an Edible Landscape
The Woodland Garden
Implementing Pheromone Technology in the Northeast

Little Farmers’ Coloring Book
Inkbury Press, P.O. Box 340, West Denmark Rd., Denmark, ME 04022
$3.95 plus $1.50 postage and handling + 6% sales tax for Maine residents

MOFGA member Carolyn Rhoads of Denmark, Maine, could find only “silly coloring books featuring Barbie or Power Rangers” when her children were small, so she decided to create her own earth-friendly coloring book. She used her own children and friends’ children as models and showed them doing things kids do throughout the year on a small farm, such as the one where Carolyn has lived for 15 years.

Young children will enjoy the clean line drawings and woodcuts, not just because they’ll be able to color them so easily, but also for the warmth of so many of the pictures – such as a young girl in a straw hat and frock feeding the ducks; another putting tomatoes through a food mill with her father; and a child feeding a lamb with a bottle – and for the humor of the dog dreaming of a raccoon. For adults the book will be a reminder of good times spent with or as children and of more good things to come.

Carolyn is planning to publish other earth-friendly activity books. The next will be a book of children’s crafts made from natural and recycled materials.

Forest Gardening
Illustration from Forest Gardening

– Jean English


Forest Gardening: Cultivating an Edible Landscape
By Robert Hart
Copyright 1996 by Chelsea Green Pub. Co., PO Box 428, White River Junction, VT 05001
256 pages; paper; $17.95

Robert Hart wrote this English classic, now revised and expanded for North America, after years of working on his own “forest garden,” a type of gardening that is now more popularly known as permaculture. Based on the model of a natural woodland and on the kind of ecosystem management practiced by so-called primitive people in the tropical rain forests, forest gardening enables you to transform even a small backyard garden into a diverse, perennial food-producing garden, as well as an inviting habitat for wildlife – all with minimal maintenance.

Hart writes philosophically: “One cannot resist the conclusion that creative intelligences of a very high order are at work, continually seeking ever more refined and practical solutions to life’s basic problems, but also determined to create beauty for its own sake. One day even human beings, intent on destroying the environment on which they depend and absorbed in their own narrow, greedy aims, will discover that beauty is a biological necessity.”

In a chapter about health, he writes about nutrition and the “forest garden diet.” He advises, “Never let a day pass without eating green leaves;” tells about the many fresh greens that can be cultivated or grow wild in forest gardens; and says that the strong flavors of many herbs “lose their harshness when chopped up with other foods and served with a drop of fruit juice and/or tofu mayonnaise.” Among the plants that can tolerate some shade in a forest garden are some mints, lemon balm, sorrel, wild celery, sweet cicely, lovage, comfrey and rugosa roses.

In a chapter on his “personal pilgrimage” toward organic, forest gardening, Hart says that after hearing garden writer and organic pioneer John Seymour talk, “I was badly bitten by the self-sufficiency bug.” How badly? So much so that he quickly went out and built 17 compost heaps – and even named some! “…the largest … I named ‘Dungery Beacon,’ after Dunkery Beacon, the highest point of nearby Exmoor.”

Hart named many of the trees he planted, too, generally after people he knew and/or admired. A sugar maple is named Helen Nearing, and Helen is right up there with Monet (a chestnut) and Isaac Newton (an apple, of course).

Like Louis Bromfield, Hart enjoyed a special communication with animals. “My first initiation into an ecological experience was gained when riding in a London park, when I discovered the possibility of telepathic communication with my horse via its deeply expressive ears, which seemed like radio antennae capable of being attuned to one’s unspoken thoughts. Such experiences immensely enrich one’s life. The ultimate ideal, in a more truly ecological society, would be for human beings generally to develop intimate relationships with animals that are leading entirely free and natural lives in the wild …”

While much of this book is philosophical, some is practical. Hart talks about growing runner beans up trees; about his method of making raised garden beds; about the possibilities of breeding serviceberry. He talks about the “alley-cropping” system of agroforestry developed by Indonesian soil scientist B.T. Kang and his colleagues, in which cereals and vegetables are grown in narrow strips between hedgerows of leguminous trees; the latter prevent erosion, fix nitrogen, and supply mulch and firewood as well as fodder for livestock.

The end of this book describes methods by which forest gardens could be cultivated to support communities – and Hart cites instances where this is actually taking place. His vision of a postindustrial Green Society that uses the best of modern technology and cultivates a respect for both nature and human abilities is refreshingly optimistic.

An appendix of plants that can be grown in the forest garden is quite useful. Read this book and next spring you’ll find yourself growing sorrel and tansy under your apple trees … and more.

– Jean English


The Woodland Garden
Robert Gillmore
Copyright 1996 by Taylor Publishing Co., 1550 W. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas 75235
186 pages, hardcover, $29.95

The Woodland Garden couldn’t be much more different from Robert Hart’s Forest Gardening, yet the two together would go a long way toward making any yard a paradise. Robert Gillmore’s book tells how to create a woodland garden from a small grove of trees on a quarter-acre lot or on several acres of lush woods. The gorgeous color photos and clear instructions in The Woodland Garden show how to:

• evaluate your land and discover what you already have;

• “garden by subtraction” (weeding, pruning and clearing in the future garden);

• add texture, color and variety;

• incorporate water features, from pools and streams to ponds and waterfalls;

• select appropriate cultivars for different hardiness zones;

• accentuate the woodland garden with furniture and sculpture;

• create paths, ramps and berms;

• maintain your garden once it’s completed.

Environmentalists might disagree with a couple of Gillmore’s statements. He says, for instance, that “[m]ost of what you need to know about [cleaning up the woodland garden] can be said in seven words: If it’s dead, get rid of it.” I couldn’t help thinking about a woodland walk I took last fall with cooperative extension educator Les Hyde, who marveled at the huge, dead trees in the forest and the great potential they had to harbor and feed wildlife, such as pileated woodpeckers. In another case, Gillmore says that chemical slug killers can be used, but to his credit he does advocate using saucers of beer first.

I like the very down-to-earth, you-can-do-it approach with which Gillmore writes. How much sun should enter your woodland garden? “Let in just enough light to make rhododendrons and other flowering shrubs bloom well (about four hours of direct sun a day).” About poison ivy, he says, “The trick is to pull up every one you see and keep pulling them up every time they reappear. Eventually they’ll disappear.” To avoid a part-time look to the woodland garden, “plant at least fifty percent of your garden – preferably more – with evergreens.” About some lady’s-slipper orchids that grow in his garden: “I help them flourish by leaving them alone.”

Much of this book is about leaving nature alone, or adding to nature where the opportunity arises, in an unobtrusive way. The results of Gillmore’s efforts at his own Evergreen garden in Goffstown, New Hampshire, are gorgeous, as the photos depict, and as thousands of visitors have seen. This is the first book I have read in which the author invites – encourages – visitors to his home. “Feel free to call me at 603-497-8020…”

A visitor to this garden, which is just under an acre in size, would find privacy and tranquility despite the closeness of neighbors, due to the mass plantings – 140 rosebay rhododendrons, for example – and to berms – mounds of soil that Gillmore has planted with rhododendrons, ferns, pachysandra, coniferous shrubs and other plants to screen asphalt, cars, houses, telephone poles and other development. A visitor probably would not see children, which I gather from the fact that Gillmore says he has no lawn (my kids love the lawn for playing ball, doing cartwheels, and a thousand other activities) and that in his list of types of stream crossings, he does not mention drawbridges.

If you need a lift, get Gillmore’s beautifully produced, well written and edited book. Next thing you know, you’ll be selecting and siting your own rosebay rhododendrons (hardy to zone 3!) in your woods and enjoying your woodland walks for years to come.

This book is available in the MOFGA library.

– Jean English


Implementing Pheromone Technology in the Northeast

Since the first sex pheromone was isolated and identified in the 1950s, pheromones for hundreds of species have been used as an economical and convenient way to manage pests. A gathering of entomologists, pest management specialists, and industry professionals discussed the use of pheromones in today’s pest management systems. These experts described how specific pheromone products are being used for detecting, monitoring, and controlling pests in the Northeast. Their presentations have been compiled in the publication, Implementing Pheromone Technology in the Northeast, NRAES-83.

The importance of pheromones for pest surveying and management has grown stronger over the years. Implementing Pheromone Technology in the Northeast will provide growers, industry members, and extension and academic personnel with benchmark information about the use of pheromones.

The 65-page publication contains nine papers describing current pheromone technology, such as types of pheromone traps and lures, pheromone-mediated mating disruption, and commercial applications. Also discussed is how pheromones are used in the many crops and commodities of the Northeast.

The symposium was sponsored by the Insect Detection, Evaluation, and Prediction Committee of the Entomological Society of America, Eastern Branch. Leadership for the development of this publication was provided by Craig S. Hollingsworth, Ph.D., extension educator in the Department of Entomology at the University of Massachusetts.

Implementing Pheromone Technology in the Northeast, NRAES-83, is available for $16.00 each plus shipping and handling from NRAES, Cooperative Extension, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853-5701. Quantity discounts are available. Shipping and handling for single copies is $3.50 within the continental United States. If ordering multiple copies or from outside the continental United States, please contact NRAES for shipping and handling rates. Orders from outside the United States must be prepaid in U.S. funds. Checks should be made payable to NRAES. All major credit cards are accepted. For information about quantity discounts or for a free publications catalog, contact NRAES by phone at (607) 255-7654, by fax at (607) 254-8770, or by e-mail at


MOF&G Cover Summer 1997