Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains - Table of Contents

Preface, by Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan


This book is written primarily for gardeners who live in the Ponderosa pine transition zone around 7,000 feet in altitude. However, most of the information is also applicable to lower elevation Pinyon-Juniper woodlands and higher elevation Spruce-Fir forests. Ecological farming and gardening techniques suited to the Colorado Plateau and other high-altitude locations in the Southwest include ways to conserve water and heat, and shelter crops from sun, wind and local pest animals.

Chapter 1: The Future of Food in the Southwest Mountains

The end of industrial agriculture is in sight
Food miles & beyond
Peak everything
What all this means to us
The Transition Town Movement
Recreating local food systems in the Southwest
Community land access & cooperative gardening
Urban/suburban foraging

Chapter 2: Our Changing Southwestern Climate

Regional climatic basics
Our cold semi-arid climate characteristics
The year in Southwestern weather
Understanding microclimates
Natural climatic variability in the Southwest
Historical variability
Climate change trends in the Southwest
Climate change & gardening in the Southwest

Chapter 3: Permaculture Design for High Altitude Gardens

Learning from nature
High-altitude Southwestern eco-communities
Energy in permaculture gardens
Observation & sector analysis
Creating permaculture zones
Permaculture design & implementation priorities
Biointensive mini-farming

Chapter 4: Food Crops for the High Altitude Southwest

Self-seeding & invasive species
Plant charts with detailed planting information
Cool season perennials
Cool season annuals, biennials, & perennials grown as annuals
Warm season perennials
Warm season annuals & perennials grown as annuals
Cool food for a cool climate
Lost crops of the Incas
Sustainable regional trade items
Chapter 5: Creating Garden Eco-communities

      Permaculturalists are naturalists
      What is a guild?
      How to create a guild
      Wild animals in permaculture gardens
      Pollinators of the Arizona-New Mexico highlands
      Sample guilds for the high-altitude Southwest
      Domesticated livestock in the permaculture garden
      Make your garden hospitable to insect-eating wild birds

Chapter 6: Creating Healthy Soil

      Soil, society & the Southwest
      Our local soils & the ideal garden loam
      Soil pH in the high altitude Southwest
      Macronutrients & micronutrients
      Soil salinity
      The soil microbiome
      Creating good garden soil
      Making good compost
      Improving soil with fungi & growing edible mushrooms
      Protecting soil
      The importance of garden mulch in the Southwest
      Organic fertilizers & crop rotation

Chapter 7: Water is Life

      The overpopulation of the West
      Water catchment & storage
      Greywater reuse
      Low-water-use & drought-tolerant crops
      Efficient distribution of water in the garden
      Prevent evapotranspiration

Chapter 8: Sheltering Your Garden from the Weather

      Cold climate gardening in the Southwest
      Sunlight, shade & summer heat
      Protecting plants from wind
      Fireproofing your permaculture garden
      Hail & heavy rain

Chapter 9: “Pests” in the Permaculture Garden

      Insects & other small invertebrates
      Bacterial, fungal & viral diseases
      Mammal & bird pests
      “Weeds” in permaculture gardens

Chapter 10: The High Altitude Gardener’s Year

            Growing annual vegetables & herbs in the winter
            The seed & plant biodiversity crisis
            Choosing hardy seeds for high altitude gardening
            Indoor seed germination
            Raising seedlings indoors
            Outdoor planting timetables
            Transplanting seedlings outdoors
           Seed saving
           A Southwest mountains harvest seasons calendar

Chapter 11: A Brief History of Southwestern Food Traditions

      Native tribes of the Rocky Mountains
      The Ancestral Puebloans & the Great Drought
      The Hopi Tribe
      European-American farming in the Flagstaff area
      The Mormon experience in the Little Colorado River watershed
      Hispanic farming in northern New Mexico & southern Colorado
      Other culinary traditions from cold & semi-arid regions
      Natural foods cuisine
Appendix A: Glossary of Food Crops
Appendix B: Glossary of Ingredient Substitutions
Appendix C: Resources
End notes
Acknowledgements & About the author