Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Top Farming Books

I thought it would be helpful to my readers to list of some of the books that have most influenced my farming practices. Some of these are classics and I have read them many times.

"How to Grow More Vegetables", by John Jeavons. This is the 'Wikipedia' of sustainable gardening using the Biointensive Method. I have met John and have taken several of his weekend seminars. I'm not a purist when practicing his method, meaning I have modified the approach to suit a larger scale, but his growing approach has greatly influenced my thinking.

"You Can Farm" and "The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer" by Joel Salatin. Anything and everything written by Joel would be on my top ten list. Some great information on small scale farming, especially with animals.  Even if you have no direct interest in farming, Joel's philosophy of family and raising children hearken back to timeless proven principles. Joel has really influenced by thinking on "Why" even if I am not currently doing the "What" or "How" of stacking multiple animal enterprises. Joel has also been quoted extensively by Michael Pollan in "Omnivores Dilemma".

"Holistic Management", by Allan Savory. Allan is a leader in the grazing industry. His approach to management would cross over to almost any other field. This book was hard to put down and is considered to be one of the classics in the "grass fed" meat field. We do not currently have livestock even though I was raised on a farm that does.

"Four Season Harvest", by Eliot Coleman. Did you know that Minnesota has the same latitude as the southern coast of France and Italy. My best man in my wedding used to say that "Some are called, but few are frozen". For those called to season extension, this is the book for you. Eliot uses inexpensive hoop houses. I like to see how far you can push the season without any protection.

"Life and Energy in Agriculture" by Arden Anderson. I would be willing to bet you have never heard of this one. It is a gem, to understand the flows of energy in plants. You can't find this information anywhere else. Arden is a Medical Doctor (MD) who works extensively with farmers.

"Breed Your Own Vegetables" by Carol Deppe and "Seed to Seed" by Suzanne Ashworth. Are classics if you want to take your growing endeavors to a whole new level. One of the most profitable enterprises can be growing and preserving seed.

"Soil, Grass and Cancer" by Andre Voisin. This book ties together some diverse topics that are worth considering, especially since cancer is so pervasive. Emphasis on the importance of minerals and the importance of re-mineralizing our soils.

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