The pitfalls and rewards of do-it-yourself organic farming come alive in The Wisdom of the Radish, a sometimes rueful and consistently informative account of two first-timers during their debut growing season in Sonoma County.
The farmers' markets in Healdsburg and Windsor feature repeatedly in The Wisdom of the Radish. That was part of their plan, explains Emmett Hopkins, to reveal the backstage life of those weekly events. But Lydna adds that there's sometimes a darker side that customers don't see.
From worms and beetles to foxes and coyotes, a farmer must maintain constant vigilance against a host of and predators and pests. Hopkins' book details the losses and learnings from each.
Not just a business, farming is also a lifestyle, one that enables the Hopkins to savor a large measure of self-sufficiency.
At right, Emmett sets seedlings in a temporary greenhouse.