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Book Review: The Heirloom Life Gardener

The Heirloom Life Gardener
by Jere and Emilee Gettle

The Heirloom Life Gardener

228 pages
Hyperion, 2011
List price: $29.99

Because Jere Gettle is such an iconic figure in the world of heirloom vegetables, I couldn’t wait to read the book he wrote with his wife, Emilee. There are few in the horticulture world who don’t know about his business, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, but what you may not know is how Baker Creek came to be.

In The Heirloom Life Gardener, Jere tells his story, recounting his early life in eastern Oregon and Montana, the son of homesteaders. Being self-sufficient was the only way he knew and by age three, he was growing seeds of his own. By the time he became a teenager, his family had moved to the Ozarks of southern Missouri and in 1998, at age seventeen, he started his own company there – Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Gettle tells us what heirlooms are and more importantly, their significance and why they should matter to you and me. We get to hear about his worldwide seed-collecting adventures and then he lets us join in the growing fun with his simple and thorough methods for raising our own heirlooms.

An “A to Z Growing Guide” tells how to plant, how to care for, and how to harvest some of the most interesting and delicious varieties of seeds out there. Ground cherries, cowpeas, rutabagas and amaranth are just a few of the less-common ones detailed, but heirloom varieties of corn, beans, and tomatoes are highlighted too, along with many others.

This is just a delightful book. Jere was born to do what he does and the world is a better place because of it. The Heirloom Life Gardener is a book that makes sense and with the rise in GMOs, there’s never been a better time to read it and heed its message. Well done, thou good and faithful gardener.

Jere and Emilee Gettle
live with their daughter, Sasha, in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, where they own and operate Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield. They have devoted their lives to the preservation and distribution of heirloom varieties of seeds. This is their first book.

Read more garden book reviews.

Read Kylee Baumle’s blog, Our Little Acre.