In an organic garden, plants in optimum health thrive abundantly, produce harvests with amazing taste, and possess the ability to fight off plant predators. When they don't, there's often something lacking in their proper nutrition. Maybe they are missing beneficial microorganism companions, or perhaps they are short of the energy needed to reach their full nutrient-dense potential. The solution is to "start with the soil," but healthy soil doesn't happen just by composting, fertilizing or companion planting alone. The solution can be found in Building Soils Naturally, which gives gardeners a hands-on plan for creating productive, living soil by using a practical, holistic approach - crafted right in your garden.
Author: Phil Nauta
Longtime Maine farmer and homesteader Will Bonsall possesses a unique clarity of vision that extends all the way from the finer points of soil fertility and seed saving to exploring how we can transform civilization and make our world a better, more resilient place.
In Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening, Bonsall maintains that to achieve real wealth we first need to understand the economy of the land, to realize that things that might make sense economically don't always make sense ecologically, and vice versa. The marketplace distorts our values, and our modern dependence on petroleum in particular presents a serious barrier to creating a truly sustainable agriculture.
For him the solution is, first and foremost, greater self-reliance, especially in the areas of food and energy. By avoiding any off-farm inputs (fertilizers, minerals and animal manures), Bonsall has learned how to practice a purely veganic, or plant-based, agriculture—not from a strictly moralistic or philosophical perspective, but because it makes good business sense: spend less instead of making more.
What this means in practical terms is that Bonsall draws upon the fertility of on-farm plant materials: compost, green manures, perennial grasses, and forest products like leaves and ramial wood chips. And he grows and harvests a diversity of crops from both cultivated and perennial plants: vegetables, grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and nuts—even uncommon but useful permaculture plants like groundnut (Apios).
In a friendly, almost conversational way, Bonsall imparts a wealth of knowledge drawn from his more than 40 years of farming experience.
"My goal," he writes, "is not to feed the world, but to feed myself and let others feed themselves. If we all did that, it might be a good beginning."
Author: Will Bonsall
You can have fresh, sustainable foods and delicious, handcrafted dishes … right at home!
Vibrant, crisp greens. Juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes. Sweet, mouthwatering strawberries. With Grow. Cook. Preserve., you'll grow sustainable produce right in your own home. Whether you have a giant backyard or just a balcony, this book shows you how to build a thriving garden and feed your family nutritious, homegrown food all year long. From where to plant and what crops to sow to maintaining a balanced ecology, you'll learn everything you need to know about cultivating sustainable foods, including how to:
Whether you're looking to lower your carbon footprint or just want to serve your family fresh, organic meals, Grow. Cook. Preserve. will help you build a sustainable lifestyle from the ground up.
Author: Helen Lynne Culpepper
In his insightful new book, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind, contrary farmer Gene Logsdon provides the inside story of manure — our greatest, yet most misunderstood, natural resource. He begins by lamenting a modern society that not only throws away both animal and human manure — worth billions of dollars in fertilizer value — but that spends a staggering amount of money to do so. This wastefulness makes even less sense as the supply of mined or chemically synthesized fertilizers dwindles and their cost skyrockets. In fact, he argues, if we do not learn how to turn our manures into fertilizer to keep food production in line with increasing population, our civilization, like so many that went before it, will inevitably decline.
With his trademark humor, his years of experience writing about both farming and waste management, and his uncanny eye for the small but important details, Logsdon artfully describes how to make fertilizer and humus by managing farm manure, pet manure and human manure.
About the author
Gene Logsdon farms in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. He is one of the clearest and most original voices of rural America. He has published more than two dozen books. He writes a popular blog at OrganicToBe.org, is a regular contributor to Farming Magazine and The Draft Horse Journal, and writes an award-winning weekly column in the Ohio Progressor Times.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books and products to readers. For more than 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
Author: Gene Logsdon
Do you want to learn to turn food scraps into valuable compost? Do you believe in taking responsibility for the waste we create? People all over the world are turning their food scraps into nutrient-rich worm compost through starting their own worm bin. This book contains everything you need to get started worm composting in one easy-to-read book. Topics include what type of worms to buy, how to construct a bin, maintain the right environment, and how to foster a thriving worm herd. The Worm Bin Troubleshooting and FAQ sections cover the rest. The author demonstrates that worm composting is a year-round activity that is easy, fast, convenient, good for the earth, good for your plants, and fun.
Author: HENRY OWEN
Have you ever wanted to build your own chicken coop, cider press or herb-drying rack? How about a clever two-bin composter, horse-blanket washing machine or genuine Langstroth beehive? In Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency, you'll find these projects and a couple dozen more to help you develop and grow your self-reliant lifestyle. Most self-sufficiency books give you pages of words and a couple of small drawings for an explanation, but this book shows you exactly how to do things, employing beautiful photos and complete plans. The projects are organized into four categories: Food Prep & Preservation, Homestead, Garden and Animals. Among the projects are a simple brooder box for chicks, a jumbo cold frame, a basic loom, a large-capacity soil sifter, fencing, trellises and even a solar oven. So, whether you're a longtime do-it-yourselfer looking to complete your skill set or a newcomer taking your first step toward sustainability, Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency is the book to get you there.
Author: Chris Peterson
This book turns the compost bin upside down with a natural six-way gardening system of keeping compost heaps right in the garden, rather than in some dark corner behind the garage. The compost and plants live together from the beginning in a nourishing, organic environment.
Author Barbara Pleasant's bountiful, compost-rich gardens require less digging, weeding, mulching and even less planting. And here's one of the best parts — no more backbreaking slogs from compost bin to garden. Pleasant and co-author Deborah Martin even identify the plants that benefit most from compost and how the elements of a composted garden work together. Their natural six-way compost gardening system provides the ruling principles for successfully improving every garden with healthy compost.
Author: Barbara Pleasant/D. Martin
Humanure: waste or resource? Joseph Jenkins answers this question in this guide to reclaiming and recycling human waste through composting. Offers simple and practical solutions anyone can use.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books to its readers. For 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
Author: Joseph Jenkins
Around the world, everyone is talking about environmental issues and the concept of “going green.” Natural organic gardening and landscaping are among the most important parts of that movement. Some organic proponents only say to stop using the chemicals. Howard Garrett, in the Organic Manual, explains in detail what to do instead. His “what to do” is the organic method. The book opens with the advice to stop the use of toxic chemicals, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers, but Garrett then goes on, in great detail, about the practical alternatives. This is one of the few books effective for use coast to coast and border to border. The organic method has no geographic boundaries.
The best kept secret of all (uncovered in this book) is that the organic program is better in every way. Whether it’s growing beautiful landscaping or delicious, healthy food crops, the Organic Manual explains bed preparation, planting, pest control, and compost making. It also covers natural living advice. The organic method is the most efficient, most cost effective, and most fun of any approach. It also produces the best trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables that you’ll ever grow.
Author: HOWARD GARRETT
The book begins with a personality test for your soil, then uses that information to plan a course of action for revitalizing poor soil and turning good dirt into great earth. Next, you’ll learn to start and maintain a no-till garden, to balance nutrients with remineralization, and to boost organic matter with easy cover crops
Author: Anna Hess
Increasingly, we want to know where our food comes from, who grows it and how it is grown, and interest in permaculture, backyard composting, and gardening in general, is growing. So how does the budding gardener ensure that the soil is healthy and nutrient-rich enough to support growing some great food? One answer — worms! Vermiculture is the healthiest and most cost-effective way to ensure that your soil receives the nourishment that it needs. A simple vermicompost bin can produce completely natural, nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used to boost soil health and, in turn, increase crop yield. In true Crystal Stevens' fashion, Worms at Work is a practical, easy-to-implement guide to fertilizing and enriching your garden naturally. It discusses the vital role worms play in boosting soil health, and the reasons why every gardener should use vermicompost in order to decrease reliance on toxic synthetic fertilizers. Covering simple designs for building your own vermicompost bin, whether for a small backyard garden or for a larger farm or homestead, to the care and feeding of worms and how to use worm castings in the garden, Worms at Work will help you put YOUR worms to work to grow happy, healthy plants in happy, healthy soil.
Author: CRYSTAL STEVENS