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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.
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!
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.
This is your personal guide to growing and using scented plants!
Combining the popular subjects of gardening and aromatherapy, The Essential Aromatherapy Garden contains everything you need to know about growing and using scented plants. Learn about the history of aromatic gardens, what to grow, and how to plan an apothecary garden, as well as how to enhance your health and home with fragrant herbs and flowers.
This book includes detailed profiles of more than 50 aromatic plants, with information on their cultivation as well as a description of their scent and how they can be used for aromatherapy, decoration, cooking, and health. Written by respected aromatherapist and gardener Julia Lawless, this guide will show you have to create a beautiful garden that’s a means to well-being and pleasure.
The Homesteader's Herbal Companion is a beautiful guide for the modern-day homesteader. From teaching how to incorporate herbs and essential oils around your home, to showing how to enhance your family's health and well-being, this book acts as a go-to guide for those wishing to live a more natural homesteading lifestyle. The book breaks down how herbs are used in tinctures, salves, essential oils, and infused oils. Better yet, if you're a homesteader with livestock, you'll learn how to maintain their health holistically.
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.
To grow produce of the highest nutritional quality the essential minerals lacking in our soil must be replaced, but this re-mineralization calls for far more attention to detail than the simple addition of composted manure or NPK fertilizers. The Intelligent Gardener demystifies the process while simultaneously debunking much of the false and misleading information perpetuated by both the conventional and organic agricultural movements. In doing so, it conclusively establishes the link between healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people.
This practical step-by-step guide and the accompanying customizable web-based spreadsheets go beyond organic and are essential tools for any serious gardener who cares about the quality of the produce they grow.