A guide to creating and growing a backyard garden simply and sustainably—from planning to planting to harvest, with profiles of essential vegetables and herbs, ecological tips, and fun and creative projects
Growing food in your backyard (or even on a porch or windowsill!) is one of the simplest and most rewarding ways to nourish yourself, be self-sufficient, and connect with nature in a hands-on way. Here sustainability expert Julia Watkins shares everything you need to know to grow your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs (as well as wildflowers and other beneficial companion plants). The book covers all the nuts and bolts of creating and caring for your garden—planning, building, planting, tending, and harvesting—followed by a deeper dive into the plants themselves: demystifying annuals vs. perennials, cold-weather vs. warm-weather veggies, and profiles of favorite crops. Throughout, Julia offers tips for creating an eco-friendly and sustainable garden (such as vermicomposting, no-till “lasagna” gardening, and attracting pollinators), plus some fun and unexpected hands-on projects like how to build a bean teepee, make wildflower seed paper, and enjoy refreshing herbal lemonade ice pops.
JULIA WATKINS is a mother and maker who creates and writes from her home in Chicago. A lifelong lover of the natural world, Julia has a graduate degree in conservation science and policy. She's worked in environmental and natural resource management for most of her life, including as a naturalist in New England, a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, an energy policy researcher on Capitol Hill, a conservation scientist in the Greater Yellowstone National Park Ecosystem, and an international development specialist in Africa and Latin America. Along with her husband, Scott, Julia co-founded Lookfar Conservation in 2016, a nonprofit that supports foundations, other nonprofits, local communities, and social entrepreneurs with conservation and restoration projects in Africa and Latin America. Julia also hosts the popular Instagram account @simply.living.well, where she shares about living simply and sustainably at home and with children. When she's not experimenting with new recipes and remedies, you can find her with her nose in a book—studying holistic living, health, and healing—or gardening, practicing yoga, crafting with her children, or riding bikes with her family.