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