Book Review: The Secret Greenhouse of Survival by Rick Austin

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Rick was a guest on my radio show last year and we talked about the ideas he shared in his first book, Secret Garden of Survival:  How to Grow a Camouflaged Food Forest.  In that book, he showed us how to create a garden that you only have to plant once, takes very little space, provides food for the next 30 years, and you never have to weed, use fertilizer, or pesticides.  Ever.   It’s disguised to look like overgrown underbrush, so if the zombies are scouring your neck of the woods for food, they’ll never even know it’s there.

Secret Garden of  Survival became the #1 Best Selling book in Garden Design in less than 10 months on the market, so when Rick contacted me to tell me he’d written another book, I was anxious to see what else he had come up with!  Rick sent me the Kindle version, but if I had the hardback copy, it would be something I would proudly display on my coffee table.  Not only does Rick tell us how to create our very own secret greenhouse, he has given incredibly clear directions, offered advice, and included all the photographs you need to see exactly what he’s talking about.   He even shares the drawings he made when he transferred the ideas from his head to a piece of paper.  The book is a beautiful work of art.

Here’s an excerpt:  “Now, imagine a greenhouse that heats your home in the winter; heats your water; grows 5x more food/sq. ft. than a hoop house; provides food for you and your family all year long; can grow exotic foods (i.e. citrus in New England); allows you to start seedlings in the spring; hides your solar electric system; and can house your small animals or incubate chickens and ducks.”

The beauty of this greenhouse is that it looks like a porch that’s been added to your home, so that no one would know you have food growing there.   The design is such that the planters are raised, which not only makes it easier for plants to get light from the windows, but makes it easier on the back!   This greenhouse is not only sustainable without electricity but by attaching this sun room to the home, will actually save on heating bills, and offer the ability to make hot water in a grid down scenario.  That means you can still enjoy hot showers and clean dishes.   I’d be pretty cranky after the first day if I couldn’t take a shower.

Other than hiring Rick to come do the work, I don’t know how much more he could have done to spell it all out for you.   Not all of us are as handy as Rick, who admits that he’s been working toward becoming self-sufficient for the last 30 years.   Nice to know that you don’t have to know how to do everything.  Sometimes it’s just more cost-efficient to hire someone to do those pieces you aren’t capable  (or just don’t have the time) of doing.

On a topic of such importance, I also enjoyed Rick’s humor in naming his chapters.  For instance, Chapter 4, on framing,  is titled,  “I’ve been framed.”   Chapter 7’s title on plumbing is “A Plumbing Wee Will Go.”   Made me chuckle like I do when watching Duck Dynasty’s subtitles.  Well done, Rick.

I could keep sharing things I like about the book, but all I’d be doing is wasting your time when what you really need to do is just buy the book and read it for yourself.   Before you drag out the rototiller and prepare the land for your traditional garden, take a look at what Rick has to offer.    I guarantee it will change the way you think about gardening.  Just because people have been doing it one way for hundreds, or even thousands of years, doesn’t mean it’s the most effective way to do it.   One thing I will share, because I just have to, is that Rick talks about how weeds have been getting such a bad rap.  Think of all the time you’ve spent hunched over your plants pulling up those weeds.  Rick will show you how weeds can be your friend.

For me, the idea of never weeding again would be enough for me to at least want to read what Rick has to say.  Both books are available on Amazon, and while the Kindle version will give you all the information you need, if you think you’re serious about building your own secret greenhouse, I’d put my money into the paper copy.

Here’s the link to make it easy for you!    If you shop through these links, I might make a nickel or two for referring you.



All They’ll Need To Know

All They'll Need To Know

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