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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
Residential consumption represents nearly one quarter of North America's total energy use, and the average homeowner spends thousands of dollars a year on power bills. To help alleviate this problem, Energy-Wise Landscape Design presents hundreds of practical ways everyone can save money, time and effort while making their landscapes more environmentally healthy, ecologically rich and energy efficient.
Combining general guidelines with tips, techniques and actions, this fully illustrated guide explains the many opportunities our landscapes provide for conserving energy. Readers will learn how to:
Author: SUE REED
Savor your best tomato harvest ever! 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. He also offers a comprehensive guide to the various pests and diseases of tomatoes and explains how best to avoid them. No other book offers such a detailed look at the specifics of growing tomatoes, with beautiful photographs and helpful tomato profiles throughout.
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
From Erin Benzakein, owner of internationally renowned Floret Flower Farm and a leader in the locaflor farm-to-centerpiece movement, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden is equal parts instruction and inspiration: a book overflowing with lush photography of magnificent flowers and breathtaking arrangements organized by season. This beautiful guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round gives readers vital tools to nurture a stunning flower garden and use their blossoms to create showstopping arrangements. With irresistible photos of Benzakein's flower farm that showcase exquisite blooms, tips for growing in a variety of spaces and climates as well as step-by-step instructions for lavish garlands, airy centerpieces, and romantic floral décor for every season, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden informs and entices gardeners of all skill levels.
Author: E. Benzakein & J. Chai
If you love the joys of eating home-garden vegetables but always thought those joys had to stop at the end of summer, this book is for you. Eliot Coleman introduces the surprising fact that most of the United States has more winter sunshine than the south of France. He shows how North American gardeners can successfully use that sun to raise a wide variety of traditional winter vegetables in backyard cold frames and plastic-covered tunnel greenhouses without supplementary heat. Coleman expands upon his own experiences with new ideas learned on a winter-vegetable pilgrimage across the ocean to the acknowledged kingdom of vegetable cuisine, the southern part of France, which lies on the 44th parallel, the same latitude as his farm in Maine.
This story of sunshine, weather patterns, old limitations and expectations, and new realities is delightfully innovative in the best gardening tradition. Four-Season Harvest will have you feasting on fresh produce from your garden all through the winter.
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: Eliot Coleman
Many gardeners fear chickens will peck away at their landscape, and chicken lovers often shy away from gardening for the same reason. But you can keep chickens and have a beautiful garden, too! Fresh eggs aren't the only benefit — chickens can actually help your garden grow and thrive, even as your garden does the same for your chickens.
In this essential handbook, award-winning garden designer Jessi Bloom covers everything a gardener needs to know, including chicken-keeping basics, simple garden plans to get you started, tips on attractive fencing options, the best plants and plants to avoid, and step-by-step instructions for getting your chicken garden up and running.
For anyone who wants a fabulous garden where colorful chickens happily roam, Free-Range Chicken Gardens is the guide that will bring the dream home to roost.
Author: Jessi Bloom
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
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This humorous yet practical gardening guide will help you get "down to earth." Packed with whimsical illustrations and overflowing with useful suggestions, Gardening for the Faint of Heart is ideal for the novice gardener. Learn about everything from planning a garden and getting started to pruning, managing pests, seeding and breeding, greenhouse and container gardening and more. A perfect rainy day read, this book never loses sight of the fact that above all, gardening should be fun.
Author: ROBIN WHEELER
There's no feeling quite like cooking with homegrown carrots or grabbing a fresh handful of cilantro from your own yard. Well, unless you're growing fruits, vegetables or grains for brewing, that is. Gardening for the Homebrewer is an introduction to the wide variety of plants that you can use for fermentations or infusions. Learn how to tell if your yard is a perfect site for barley or whether it's better suited to a fragrant collection of herbs. Learn how to grow, dry and store fresh hops. Or go off the beaten path and grow everything you need for your first fruit, cider, perry or fruit wine. Have just a balcony or a windowsill? No problem! A variety of plant recommendations will suit gardeners of all types, even ones with limited space.
Author: Wendy Tweten & Debbie Teashon
Join Lisa Steele, chicken-keeper extraordinaire and founder of Fresh Eggs Daily, on a unique journey through the garden. Start by planning your garden and learning strategies and tips for keeping your plants safe while they grow. Plant with purpose, choosing from a dozen plans for theme gardens such as Orange Egg Yolks or Nesting Box Herbs. Steele's friendly writing, together with inspirational photos and illustrations, will have you rolling up your sleeves and reaching for your gardening tools.Gardening with Chickens is an indispensable guide for a harmonious homestead.
Author: Lisa Steele
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
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