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Historically, seed companies were generally small, often family-run businesses. Because they were regionally based, they could focus on varieties well-suited to the local environment. A Pacific Northwest company, for example, would specialize in different cultivars than a company based in the Southeast. However, the absorption of these small, independent seed businesses into large multinationals – combined with the advancement of biotechnology, resulting in hybrids and genetically modified seeds – has led to a serious loss of genetic diversity. The public is now at the mercy of the corporations who control the seeds.
In the past few years, gardeners have realized the inherent danger in this situation. A growing movement is striving to preserve and expand our stock of heritage and heirloom varieties through seed saving and sharing opportunities. Seed Libraries is a practical guide to saving seeds through community programs, including:
Whoever controls the seeds controls the food supply. By empowering communities to preserve and protect the genetic diversity of their harvest, Seed Libraries is the first step toward reclaiming our self-reliance … while enhancing food security and ensuring that the future of food is healthy, vibrant, tasty and nutritious.
In an exciting introduction to the global seed-swapping movement, passionate seed activist Josie Jeffery explores why we should care about our plant heritage and, most importantly, explains how to do it. This book covers the what, who, and whys of seed swapping and seed saving. It advises where to start and how to get involved with the worldwide horticultural campaign to "save our seeds."
Small-Space Vegetable Gardens explains the basics of growing a bounty of edibles in a minimal amount of space. Andrea Bellamy, author of the award-winning blog Heavy Petal, shares all the knowledge she’s gained from years of gardening small: how to find and assess a space, and how to plan and build a garden. Bellamy also highlights the top 60 edible plants and offers complete information on how to sow, grow and harvest them. This hardworking and enthusiastic guide teaches gardeners how to take advantage of the space they have—whether it’s a balcony, a patio, a plot in a community garden, or even a small yard—to create the food garden of their dreams.
Master gardener Barbara Pleasant takes the guesswork and anxiety out of growing food, explaining in simple language exactly how to start, maintain and eventually expand an organic vegetable garden, even in the smallest of spaces. Choose one of 24 no-fail, small-scale garden plans and find out how easy it is to enjoy your own fresh food all season long!
You'll find a bumper crop of vegetable gardening books on the shelves today, but it is a very rare title that actually contains new information. Straw Bale Gardens teaches gardening in a way that isn't only new but is thoroughly innovative and revolutionary to home gardening. It solves every impediment today's home gardeners face: bad soil, weeds, a short growing season, watering problems, limited garden space, and even physical difficulty working at ground level. Developed and pioneered by author and garden expert Joel Karsten, straw bale gardens create their own growing medium and heat source so you can get an earlier start. It couldn't be simpler or more effective: All you need is a few bales of straw, some fertilizer, and some seeds or plants, and you can create a weedless vegetable garden anywhere-even in your driveway.
Karsten's step-by-step guide offers all the information you need to make your own straw bale garden today. In this lushly photographed volume, Karsten shares all of the secrets he has developed over years of teaching eager students the miracle of straw bale gardening. You'll learn how to locate and choose straw bales, then how to condition and plant them for the earliest possible start. You'll master Karsten's methods for combating plant pests and maximizing space by applying the principles of vertical gardening to his straw bales. Whether it's seedlings or seeds, veggies or flowers, there is practically no limit to the plant varieties that will prosper in a straw bale garden-and with Karsten's breakthrough gardening guide, you can do it all yourself.
Aquaponic farming — raising fish and vegetables together commercially — is the most promising innovation for a sustainable, profitable, localized food system. Until now, systems have largely focussed on warm-water fish such as tilapia. A lack of reliable information for raising fish and vegetables in the cool climates of North America and Europe has been a major stumbling block. The Aquaponic Farmer is the game changer. Built around a proven 120' greenhouse system operable by one person, the book distills vast experience and complete step-by-step guidance for starting and running a cold-water aquaponics business. Coverage includes: •A primer on cold-water aquaponics •Pros and cons of different systems •Complete design and construction of a Deep Water Culture system •Recommended and optional equipment and tools •System management, standard operating procedures, and maintenance checklists •Maximizing fish and veg production •Strategies for successful sales and marketing of fish and plants As the only comprehensive commercial cold-water resource, The Aquaponic Farmer is essential for farmers contemplating the aquaponics market, aquaponic gardeners looking to go commercial, and anyone focused on high quality food production.
The “garden to table” movement is inspiring another generation of gardeners, but many of them have questions. How important is composting? Is seed saving really worth it? Focusing on sustainable, organic growing practices and plants, The Backyard Gardener is a comprehensive handbook that will help get them started. Kelly Orzel covers everything from soil selection to growing and harvesting. Sidebars such as “Garden Center Survival Tips” offer useful advice to help readers build their confidence and know-how. This guide also features photographs of beautiful plant bed designs, propagation techniques, and much more.
The Bio-Integrated Farm is a 21st-century manual for managing nature’s resources. This groundbreaking book brings “system farming” and permaculture to a whole new level. Author Shawn Jadrnicek presents new insights into permaculture, moving beyond the philosophical foundation to practical advanced designs based on a functional analysis. Holding his designs to a higher standard, Jadrnicek’s components serve at least seven functions (classical permaculture theory only seeks at least two functions). With every additional function a component performs, the design becomes more advanced and saves more energy.
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.
In this timely new book, thrifty and resourceful Alys Fowler shows that there is a way to take the good life and refashion it to fit in with life in the city. Abandoning the limitations of traditional gardening methods, she has created a beautifully productive garden where tomatoes sit happily next to roses, carrots are woven between the lavenders and potatoes grow in pots on the patio. And all of this is produced in a way that mimics natural systems, producing delicious homegrown food for her table. And she shares her favorite recipes for the hearty dishes, pickles and jams she makes to use up her bountiful harvest, proving that no-one need go hungry on her grow-your-own regime.
Good for the pocket, good for the environment and hugely rewarding for the soul, The Edible Garden urges urbanites everywhere to chuck out the old gardening rules and create their own haven that's as good to look at as it is to eat.
In The Forest Garden Greenhouse, Jerome Osentowski presents a wholly new approach to a very old horticultural subject. Osentowski is one of North America’s most accomplished permaculture designers, and here he shows how bringing the forest garden indoors is not only possible, but doable on unlikely terrain and in cold climates, using near-net-zero technology. Different from other works on greenhouse design and management, this groundbreaking book advocates for an indoor agriculture using permaculture design concepts—integration, multifunctions, perennials and polycultures—that take season extension into new and important territory.
Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman are America's foremost organic gardeners (and authorities). Damrosch wrote The Garden Primer, and Coleman is the author of the bible for organic gardening, The New Organic Grower. Today they form the face of the locavore movement, operating their extraordinary Four Season Farm in Maine. And now they've written the book on how to grow what you eat, and cook what you grow.
The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook is two books in one. It's a complete four-season cookbook with 120 recipes from Damrosch, a master cook as well as master gardener. She shows how to maximize the fruits (and vegetables) of your labors, from Stuffed Squash Blossom Fritters to Red Thai Curry with Fall Vegetables to Hazelnut Torte with Summer Berries.
And it's a step-by-step garden guide that works no matter how big or small your plot, with easy-to-follow instructions and plans for different gardens. It covers size of the garden, nourishing the soil, planning ahead, and the importance of rotating crops ... yes, even in your backyard. And, at the core, you'll find individual instructions on the crops, from the hardy and healthful cabbage family to 14 essential culinary herbs.
Eating doesn't get any more local than your own backyard.
Want to read more? Check out this book review!