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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.
Author: Cindy Conner
Taking its inspiration from John Seymour's best-selling classic, The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency, Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century brings the subject up to date by showing how to live a more sustainable life that everyone can access, whether living in the city, the suburbs or the country. Sharing their experiences, tips and techniques, father-and-son team Dick and James Strawbridge show how to make the practical changes that will have a big impact on your life — without having to transform your lifestyle. Covering eco-projects, plant-by-plant and animal-by-animal identification, how to produce little or no waste and remove our dependence upon fossil fuels, and so much more, Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century includes something for everyone — from urban apartment dwellers to suburbanites to those living in the countryside.
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 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: Dick & James Strawbridge
Ever wonder why some gardens and landscapes look dazzling year after year, while others decline? Or why does a planting look great at one location while the same plant looks skimpy and unattractive nearby? The characteristics of the site determine whether a plant will thrive. Site Assessment for Better Gardens and Landscapes describes how to evaluate site characteristics that are important to plants.
Intended for novice gardeners, experienced gardeners, and landscape professionals, the 81-page spiral-bound book includes 50+ color photos, a glossary, an index, and references and web sites for further information. Through 30+ hands-on activities, soil type, drainage, sunlight, compaction, slopes, minimum and maximum temperatures, wind, existing plants, wildlife and more are evaluated. When you've gotten to know your property using this book, you'll have:
Author: Charles P. Mazza
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.
Author: Andrea Bellamy
Soil Sisters provides a wealth of invaluable information for fledgling female farming entrepreneurs. The first manual of its kind, this authoritative and comprehensive blueprint presents practical considerations from a woman's perspective, covering everything from business planning to tool use and ergonomics to integrating children and family in farm operations.
Author: LISA KIVIRIST
Focusing on containers, trellises, and raised beds, this book shows how everyone can garden, including those with physical limitations like arthritis or location limitations like apartment-dwellers without backyards.
Knowing where our food comes from is a huge issue; food safety and costs seem to figure more prominently in our lives all the time. Many people would like to grow their own vegetables but don’t know how to begin—digging, plowing, planting, weeding, and watering a large plot can be daunting. Stand Up and Garden shows how everyone can garden, including those with physical limitations like arthritis or location limitations like apartment-dwellers without backyards. Imagine harvesting radishes, carrots, and strawberries in the spring; herbs, tomatoes, and cucumbers all through the summer; beets, spinach, and even potatoes in autumn. By focusing on containers, trellises, and raised beds, Master Gardener Mary Moss-Sprague has improved upon traditional gardening by developing ways to grow plants that produce large amounts of food—enough for canning and other preservation—in small vertical spaces. New gardeners will find basic planting and growing information for a wide range of vegetables and herbs. Experienced growers will find economical, space- and energy-saving ideas. In addition to vertical gardening techniques, there are tips on overwintering plants and details on sustainable and eco-friendly gardening practices. Step-by-step illustrations and supply lists of inexpensive materials make projects like building a trellis or constructing a raised bed using straw bales accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or skill. There’s even a chapter on installing a micro-drip irrigation system—a very helpful innovation that eliminates the need for heavy hand-held watering devices. Use this great reference for inspiration and instruction on sustainable and economical gardening practices and techniques.
Author: Mary Moss-Sprague
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!
Author: BARBARA PLEASANT
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.
Author: Joel Karsten
Nothing tastes better than herbs fresh from the garden. Discover how easy and rewarding it is to grow your own! Simple instructions, tempting recipes and beautiful full-color photographs by Saxon Holt will inspire you to grow, harvest, preserve and cook with 26 of the most popular kitchen herbs, including basil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and tarragon. A great gift for any herb lover.
Author: Charles W.G. Smith
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Heirloom vegetables often have a great story behind them, but it's really all about the flavor.
Why did Angela Nardello sew pepper seeds into the hem of her skirt before setting sail from Italy bound for America? It wasn't so that she would have a tale to tell her grandchildren. It was because 'Jimmy Nardello', which she named after her son, is a one-of-a-kind pepper with a fresh, fruity sweetness that resembles ripe cherries. Or what about 'Aunt Molly's', the ground cherry tomato that traveled all the way from Poland? With its sweet blend of pineapple, strawberry, and citrus notes, it's perfect for making a delectable tomato jam.
Heirloom expert Marie Iannotti brings us the fascinating stories, but more importantly, she tells us which varieties are the easiest to grow and the tastiest to eat, and how to cultivate each one successfully.
If you've never tasted the meaty and mellow 'Lacinato' kale or the unexpected sweetness of 'Apollo' arugula — or if you have tasted them and want more — The Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables is your guide to growing the best vegetables.
Author: Marie Iannotti
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.
Author: SHAWN JADRNICEK
Eric Toensmeier argues that agriculture—specifically, the subset of practices known as “carbon farming”—can, and should be, a linchpin of a global climate solutions platform. Carbon farming is a suite of agricultural practices and crops that sequester carbon in the soil and in aboveground biomass.
Author: Eric Toensmeier
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