John Seymour. The self-sufficient horticulturist

In Gardenprue we have obtained a lot of information from the great John Seymour . It really seems to us that everything he writes is a bible for the horticulturist . There is especially a book that has caught our attention and of course, it has passed through our hands and is a source of documentation and permanent consultation. Today we tell you a little more about this great book, the self-sufficient horticulturist



John Seymour (1914-2004) was the central pillar of self-sufficiency and was dedicated to so many things that it was impossible to catalog him in a job. He was a writer, broadcaster, activists, ecologist and a great defender of horticulture as a way of life, always based on being self-sufficient.

As he tells us in the introduction to the self-sufficient horticulturist , he grew up in Frinton-on-Sea, after the death of his father when he was very young, where, despite the fact that it was a coastal town with about 2,000 inhabitants, it housed luxurious fields golf and tennis, etc. Own of the bourgeois society, there was also a great country influence where the peasants cultivated to subsist. As he said, ” almost all the villagers had a pig and all the children came home from school with their arms laden with herbs to feed their rabbits .”  A John Seymour was surprised by the efficient way in which the peasants cultivated their orchards, in a manner fully productive and high fertility.

Little by little there was a migration from the countryside to the city and those orchards were disappearing, but not for the mind of John Seymour , who was very marked by ecological horticulture and the way of farming based on self-sufficiency (I pick what I grow and I feed on my own production ).


The deep bed method , if you are Gardenprue readers, we have already mentioned it more than once. It is a system that John Seymour has always defended and in which we find a lot of information in the self-sufficient horticulturist . Under this system, always free of any chemical load of pesticides, herbicides and artificial phytosanitary products, Seymour promised to achieve productions outside the scope of most other methods, and has been the subject of numerous studies, in the United States especially, where the results obtained are more than satisfactory.


Organic theory is composed of 6 basic pillars that we are going to summarize as follows:

  1. The horticulturist must work with nature and not against it
  2. Nature is diverse and therefore the horticulturist must practice diversity
  3. You must raise other forms of life, animal or vegetable, in environments as similar to what is natural to them.
  4. It must return to the ground as much, or almost as much, as it has taken
  5. It must feed the soil and not the plants
  6. You must study nature as a whole and not as an isolated part.

These 6 laws make up the foundation of self-sufficiency that John Seymour defends so much in his book The Self-Sufficient Horticulturist. On the other hand, in our opinion we think that when creating and maintaining an organic garden, it is necessary to know and follow well-defined guidelines, based on the knowledge of what is done , and very well explained in the book, as follows way.

  • Know the calendar and the tasks to be done during the 4 seasons of the year (even in winter there is work).
  • Organize the orchard and fruit trees according to our needs, and correctly distribute the different species of plants
  • Know the natural methods (deep bed, garden mulch, green manures, etc.) used to optimize and get the most out of our garden
  • Learn to compost
  • Know the needs of most vegetables, distributed in several families.
  • Know the needs of fruit trees
  • Grow aromatic herbs and medicinal plants
  • Grow in greenhouse
  • Methods to preserve the products that we obtain from the garden.

The full index of the book is here

Basically with these tasks, if we know how to carry them out, we will surely obtain from the garden what we expect from it. A cultivated garden is a productive garden.

 Well, this is a small summary of what we have found in the self-sufficient horticulturist, for it also has some more equally interesting books . (one of them, life in the country, I’ve already had my eye on it!) Until next time!

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