Long before sunflower seeds became a popular snack food, they were a foodstuff valued by Native Americans. For some 10,000 years, from the end of the Pleistocene to the 1800s, the indigenous peoples of the plains regarded edible native plants, like the sunflower, as an important source of food. Not only did plants provide sustenance during times of scarcity, they also added variety to what otherwise would have been a monotonous diet of game. Nevertheless, the use of native plants as food sharply declined when white men settled the Great Plains and imposed their own culture, with its differing notions of what was fit to eat. Those notions tended to exclude from the accepted diet such plants as soapweed, lambsquarter, ground cherry, prairie turnip and prickly pear. Today it is strange to think of eating chokecherries, which were a key ingredient in that staple of the Indian diet, pemmican.
Based on plant lore documented by historical and archaeological evidence, Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie relates how 122 plant species were once used as food by the native and immigrant residents on the prairie. Written for a broad audience of amateur naturalists, botanists, ethnologists, anthropologists and agronomists, this guide is intended to educate the reader about wild plants as food sources, to synthesize information on the potential use of native flora as new food crops, and to encourage the conservation and cultivation of prairie plants.
By writing about the edible flora of the American prairie, Kelly Kindscher has provided us with the first edible plant book devoted to the region that Walt Whitman called "North America's characteristic landscape" and that Willa Cather called "the floor of the sky." In describing how plants were used for food, he has drawn upon information concerning tribes that inhabited the prairie bioregion. As a consequence, his book serves as a handy compendium for readers seeking to learn more about historical uses of plants by Native Americans.
The book is organized into 51 chapters arranged alphabetically by scientific name. For those who are interested in finding and identifying the plants, the book provides line drawings, distribution maps, and botanical and habitat descriptions. The ethnobotanical accounts of food use form the major portion of the text, but the reader will also find information on the parts of the plants used, harvesting, propagation (for home gardeners), and the preparation and taste of wild food plants.
Author: Kelly Kindscher
Craig LeHoullier, tomato adviser for Seed Savers Exchange, offers everything a tomato enthusiast needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes — from sowing seeds and planting to cultivating and collecting seeds at the end of the season.
Author: Craig LeHoullier
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
The Mushroom Hut @ Fox Farms is a small-scale diversified working and teaching farm. They are a registered nursery, licensed seed dealer, grain dealer, and dairy goat farm. This book includes recipes and information regarding their workshops, from simple-cheese making, tapping maple trees using sumac spiles, making flower essence jellies, growing hops and bloody butcher corn, and much more.
Author: Susan Tipton-Fox
The latest addition to the best-selling Wisdom and Know-How series is a complete home reference for everything you need to know about gardening — from soil and fertilizers to growing flowers and vegetables.
Garden Wisdom and Know-How is a large-scale practical guide to planting and maintaining a garden, indoors or out. The chapters are organized by topic — garden techniques and tricks, the flower garden, the edible garden, container gardening, garden design and landscaping, attracting wildlife, and so on — and packed with information. Readers will discover tips and techniques for maintaining a garden year-round; harvesting herbs; designing by bloom season; turning garden refuse into garden rewards; building teepees, trellises and other plant supports; and much more.
Featuring handpicked selections from dozens of publications from Rodale Books, this massive collection is full of indispensable and trusted advice from some of the most respected gardening authors in the world. And with hundreds of black-and-white illustrations and photographs as well as step-by-step projects, key gardening resources, and essential information on countless plant species, Garden Wisdom and Know-How is a must-have volume for both the aspiring and the experienced gardener.
About the author
Judy Pray is a freelance book editor. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
About Rodale Books
Rodale Books publishes award-winning, best-selling titles on gardening, health, wellness, fitness, food, nutrition, inspiration/spirituality and the environment. Some of their best-known gardening books include Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, Your Backyard Herb Garden, The Complete Compost Gardening Guide and Garden Primer.
Author: Editors of Rodale Gardening
Gardening With Confidence: 50 ways to add style for personal creativity is designed to give you insight on the basics of adding and arranging the components of your garden. The confidence you'll gain in knowing how to add design features, while developing your own personal style, will help take your garden to the levels seen in the fantastic gardens that inspired you to begin your own work of art.
Author: Helen Yoest
“A garden should be easy and fun to care for—don’t complicate things unnecessarily.” This is the slogan of author Inger Palmstierna. In Greenhouse Vegetable Gardening, she helps readers find the joy of cultivating in their very own greenhouses. Palmstierna is a gardening authority with vast knowledge on everything that grows. With infectious enthusiasm, this garden writer and horticulturist explains how to cultivate a successful garden or orchard.
The greenhouse is the place where green thumbs are realized and your imagination can run wild. Palmstierna believes that the greenhouse provides opportunities, but does not demand. Greenhouse Vegetable Gardening is an accessible book with many beautiful pictures and practical instructions. The topics covered include:
In addition to providing a garden year-round, the greenhouse can also be a beautiful addition to your yard and can be customized to match your tastes. You’ll learn the basics on what to consider when buying, laying the foundations for, and decorating your greenhouse—as well as how to plan and use one. Soon after you’ll be ready to explore the many types of vegetables and flowering plants that thrive in greenhouses.
So get ready to enjoy fresh vegetables and flowers year-round!
Author: Inger Palmstierna
Make a beautiful, practical, environmentally conscious garden, even in a small space … grow UP with a living wall!
A living wall is a vertical structure, usually outside the home, that is built with live plants growing in containers hung in a decorative arrangement.
Sometimes called "Green Walls" and "Vertical Gardens," living walls are easier than ever to plan and grow! Grow a Living Wall is the first wall-gardening book to focus exclusively on the needs of home gardeners.
Make your vertical garden environmentally friendly and sustainable. It's easy with author Shawna Coronado's help! One of her themed vertical gardens is stocked mostly with flowers to make it a haven for bees and other pollinators. Other gardens are filled with vegetables and herbs, so anyone with an outdoor wall can grow their own food … beautifully! Even more gardens promote aromatherapy or medicinal plants. Some are designed to provide a green net of air filtration near a living area, or to protect exterior walls from exposure to direct sunlight (which helps to keep the indoors cool).
In addition to the comprehensive, step-by-step information that explains the basics of vertical gardening, each of the 20 featured gardens has its own chapter filled with useful tips, stunning photography and fascinating background stories that point out how much difference a small garden can make. The gardens you'll find in Grow a Living Wall are positive, life-affirming and sure to produce a smile or two.
Author: Shawna Coronado
Millions of people now are gardening in America today. And the good news is that the "tipping point" for organic gardening is here to stay. Green is the new black. Grow Organic is an easy-to-read book that includes eight chapters on everything from soil management, to companion planting, to beneficial bugs for flowers and veggies. Each chapter contains quick tips for beginning gardeners and advanced quick tips in every chapter for experienced gardeners more than 250 in all. Co-authors Doug Oster and Jessica Walliser have nearly 50 years of gardening experience between them. Each chapter also includes "Tell-All" sections that share special methods they ve learned in their own gardens 'been there, done that' lessons.
Author: Doug Oster/Jessica Walliser
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
When you read Growing Fruit With a Smile, you cannot resist a feeling that Kurdyumov is teaching some kind of ‘gardening magic’, reveals the ultimate secrets of mastering what people call a ‘green thumb’. And it’s not just because he shows you how to start an orchard without buying a single nursery tree; how to influence the taste of the fruit any way you like; how to grow five-pound pears; how to grow apricots in Zone 2; or how to train trees into stunning shapes without any pruning. There’s more to it. We tend to view growing fruit as hard work full of challenges: sweating to improve the soil, fighting drought and pests, trying to heal sunscald, then figuring out how to do proper pruning etc. And Kurdyumov shows us how to have more fruit with fewer trees, how to achieve amazing results with less effort — and all those color photos of the garlands of fruit show you his approach works! Ultimately you realize that there is nothing magical in that — it’s just that Kurdyumov offers genuine understanding where many other authors limit themselves to cookie-cutter instructions.
Author: Nikolay Kurdyumov
This concise Storey BASICS guide teaches novice gardeners how to successfully keep indoor plants beautiful and healthy. Learn how to choose the best plants for your home and what each species needs in terms of location, water, sunlight, and fertilizer. Covering the basics of repotting, pruning, and dealing with pests, Ellen Zachos shows you how to keep your houseplants looking vibrant for years to come. Soon, you’ll be watching over a collection of thriving plants that add a lively dose of color to your home.
Author: Ellen Zachos