For more than four decades, the self-described “contrary farmer” and writer Gene Logsdon commented on the state of American agriculture. In Letter to a Young Farmer, his final book of essays, Logsdon addressed the next generation: young people moving back to the land to enjoy a better way of life as small-scale “garden farmers.” It’s a lifestyle that isn’t defined by accumulating wealth or by the “get big or get out” agribusiness mindset. Instead, it’s one that recognizes the beauty of nature, cherishes the land, respects our fellow creatures, and values rural traditions. It’s one that also looks forward and embraces “right technologies,” including new and innovative ways of working smarter, not harder, and avoiding premature burnout.
A lush green lawn is one of the great pleasures of the natural world, whether it’s right outside your front door or on a majestic fairway at a legendary golf course. But anyone who has tried to grow the perfect lawn the conventional way knows it requires an endless cycle of watering and applying synthetic fertilizers and toxic chemical pesticides that cost a lot of money and kill all the life in the soil, on the surface, and on the grass. Fortunately, there’s a better way. Organic lawn care is not only healthier for the environment, it’s actually cheaper and less water-intensive, whether you’re managing a small yard or acres of turf.
In Organic Lawn Care: Growing Grass the Natural Way, Howard Garrett takes you step-by-step through creating and maintaining turf organically. He begins with the soil, showing you how to establish a healthy habitat for grass. Then he discusses a variety of turfgrasses, including Bermudagrass, bluegrass, buffalograss, fescue, ryegrass, St. Augustine, and zoysia. Garrett explains in detail how to establish and maintain a lawn, including planting, mowing, watering, fertilizing, composting, and managing weeds and pests. And he offers alternatives to lawn grasses and turf, describing the situations in which they might be your best choice.
Follow the program in Organic Lawn Care, and don’t be surprised when your water bill drops dramatically and your lawn or golf course is the best-looking one around.
The concept of silvopasture challenges our notions of both modern agriculture and land use. For centuries, European settlers of North America have engaged in practices that separate the field from the forest, and even the food from the animal. Silvopasture systems integrate trees, animals, and forages in a whole-system approach that offers a number of benefits to the farmer and the environment. Such a system not only offers the promise of ecological regeneration of the land, but also an economical livelihood and even the ability to farm extensively while buffering the effects of a changing climate: increased rainfall, longer droughts, and more intense storm events.
Silvopasture, however, involves more than just allowing animals into the woodlot. It is intentional, steeped in careful observation skills and flexible to the dynamics of such a complex ecology. It requires a farmer who understands grassland ecology, forestry, and animal husbandry. The farmer needn’t be an expert in all of these disciplines, but familiar enough with them to make decisions on a wide variety of time scales. A silvopasture system will inevitably look different from year to year, and careful design coupled with creativity and visioning for the future are all part of the equation.
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:
Knowing when and how to plant a tree are crucial to its survival. But if you select the wrong tree for your particular area and conditions, the proper planting techniques will not make a difference. Because Texas is a big place with varied climates, soils, and water qualities, a wide variety of trees can be grown there. Howard Garrett, also known as the "Dirt Doctor," explores the wide-ranging possibilities in a book that will prove its value to homeowners, landscape architects, contractors, nurseries, gardeners, and others who want healthy trees.
Texas Trees includes a complete description of native and best-introduced trees and gives details on natural habitats and preferred sites, planting and maintenance, identification information, flowers, fruit and foliage, culture, problems, and propagation. Texas Trees is for all Texas tree lovers, from the Red River to the Gulf Coast, the piney woods to the deserts and mountains.
In The Community Food Forest Handbook, Catherine Bukowski and John Munsell dive into the civic aspects of community food forests, drawing on observations, group meetings, and interviews at over 20 projects across the country and their own experience creating and managing a food forest. They combine the stories and strategies gathered during their research with concepts of community development and project management to outline steps for creating lasting public food forests that positively impact communities.
A home garden is often seen as separate from the natural world surrounding it. In truth, it is actually just one part of a larger landscape made up of many living layers. And the replacement of the rich layers of native flora with turf grass greatly diminishes a garden's biological diversity and ecological function.
The Living Landscape seeks to reverse this trend by showing gardeners how to create a landscape that is full of life. Written by Rick Darke and Douglas W. Tallamy, two of the most important voices in sustainability and horticulture, it is the definitive guide to designing a beautiful, biodiverse home garden. The authors first explain each layer of the landscape and what role the plants within them play in the larger environment, from providing berries for birds, food for bugs, or a place for bees to pollinate. The authors then put this information into context and offer design strategies to implement into a home garden. Helpful charts offer suggested plants, including natives and nonnatives, for each region.
Douglas W. Tallamy's award-winning Bringing Nature Home revealed the pressing need for a biodiverse home landscape. In a gorgeously illustrated, inspirational, and practical way, The Living Landscape supports the important message by showing gardeners how to make it happen.
Inspired by European intensive growers, The New Organic Grower, 30th Anniversary Edition offers an approachable and productive form of farming that has proven to work well for the Earth and its stewards for centuries. Gardeners working on 2.5 acres or less will find this book especially useful, as it offers proof that small-scale market growers and serious home gardeners can live good lives close to the land and make a profit at the same time. The New Organic Grower is ideal for young farmers just getting started or gardeners seeking to expand into a more productive enterprise.
New information has been included in this edition to showcase the new tools and techniques that Coleman has been developing during the last 35 years.
Are you wondering which productive trees to plant in your garden? Or are you planning a forest garden? Perhaps you are planting an orchard but want a greater diversity of useful trees than is typical? Or you’d like to know what unusual fruit trees you can use? The answers to all these questions can be found in master forest gardener Martin Crawford’s new book.
Crawford has researched and experimented with tree crops for 25 years and has selected more than 100 of the best trees producing fruits, nuts, edible leaves and other useful products that can be grown in Europe and North America. Color photos accompany every entry, and each of the trees or tree groups includes details of:
Fight garden pests and increase your yields the natural way with this tried and true technique!
Planting vegetables and flowers together is one of the oldest ways to create a healthy, bountiful garden, but there's more to the method than you might think. Vegetables Love Flowers will walk you through the ins and outs of companion planting, from how it works to which plants go together and how to grow the best garden for your climate.
With the right information and some careful planning, you can help your plants thrive--and beautify your garden in the process.