- Products for Wiser Living
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.
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.
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."
We all need sanctuary, and we can find it in our own backyards. From natural living expert Jessi Bloom, Everyday Sanctuary is a fully illustrated creativity workbook filled with writing prompts and exercises that help you create a garden that will nourish your spiritual and emotional well-being. You will learn how to deepen your connection with nature, establish practices that calm and nourish, and tune in to seasonal cycles. Guided activities will help you select plant allies for health and healing, design and install your own Garden of Eden.
The Mushroom Hut @ Fox Farms is a small-scale diversified working and teaching farm. They are a registered nursery, licensed seed dealer, grain dealer, and dairy goat farm. This book includes recipes and information regarding their workshops, from simple-cheese making, tapping maple trees using sumac spiles, making flower essence jellies, growing hops and bloody butcher corn, and much more.
The latest addition to the bestselling Wisdom and Know-How series is a massive collection of complete home reference for everything you need to know about gardening from soil and fertilizers to growing flowers and vegetables. The volume includes garden techniques and tricks, the flower garden, the edible garden, container gardening, garden design and landscaping, attracting wildlife 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.
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.
Make a beautiful, practical, environmentally conscious garden, even in a small space … grow UP with a living wall!
A living wall is a vertical structure, usually outside the home, that is built with live plants growing in containers hung in a decorative arrangement.
Sometimes called "Green Walls" and "Vertical Gardens," living walls are easier than ever to plan and grow! Grow a Living Wall is the first wall-gardening book to focus exclusively on the needs of home gardeners.
Make your vertical garden environmentally friendly and sustainable. It's easy with author Shawna Coronado's help! One of her themed vertical gardens is stocked mostly with flowers to make it a haven for bees and other pollinators. Other gardens are filled with vegetables and herbs, so anyone with an outdoor wall can grow their own food … beautifully! Even more gardens promote aromatherapy or medicinal plants. Some are designed to provide a green net of air filtration near a living area, or to protect exterior walls from exposure to direct sunlight (which helps to keep the indoors cool).
In addition to the comprehensive, step-by-step information that explains the basics of vertical gardening, each of the 20 featured gardens has its own chapter filled with useful tips, stunning photography and fascinating background stories that point out how much difference a small garden can make. The gardens you'll find in Grow a Living Wall are positive, life-affirming and sure to produce a smile or two.
When you read Growing Fruit With a Smile, you cannot resist a feeling that Kurdyumov is teaching some kind of ‘gardening magic’, reveals the ultimate secrets of mastering what people call a ‘green thumb’. And it’s not just because he shows you how to start an orchard without buying a single nursery tree; how to influence the taste of the fruit any way you like; how to grow five-pound pears; how to grow apricots in Zone 2; or how to train trees into stunning shapes without any pruning. There’s more to it. We tend to view growing fruit as hard work full of challenges: sweating to improve the soil, fighting drought and pests, trying to heal sunscald, then figuring out how to do proper pruning etc. And Kurdyumov shows us how to have more fruit with fewer trees, how to achieve amazing results with less effort — and all those color photos of the garlands of fruit show you his approach works! Ultimately you realize that there is nothing magical in that — it’s just that Kurdyumov offers genuine understanding where many other authors limit themselves to cookie-cutter instructions.
This concise Storey BASICS guide teaches novice gardeners how to successfully keep indoor plants beautiful and healthy. Learn how to choose the best plants for your home and what each species needs in terms of location, water, sunlight, and fertilizer. Covering the basics of repotting, pruning, and dealing with pests, Ellen Zachos shows you how to keep your houseplants looking vibrant for years to come. Soon, you’ll be watching over a collection of thriving plants that add a lively dose of color to your home.
You won’t believe your eyes when you see the size of your harvest! Authors Colin McCrate and Brad Halm show you how you can make your food garden much more productive, no matter how big or small it is. You’ll learn their secrets for preparing the soil, selecting and rotating your crops, and mapping out a specific customized schedule that makes the most of your space and your growing season. Packed with all of the charts, tables, schedules, and worksheets you need — as well as record-keeping pages so you can repeat your successes next year — this book is an essential tool for the serious gardener.
In his insightful new book, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind, contrary farmer Gene Logsdon provides the inside story of manure — our greatest, yet most misunderstood, natural resource. He begins by lamenting a modern society that not only throws away both animal and human manure — worth billions of dollars in fertilizer value — but that spends a staggering amount of money to do so. This wastefulness makes even less sense as the supply of mined or chemically synthesized fertilizers dwindles and their cost skyrockets. In fact, he argues, if we do not learn how to turn our manures into fertilizer to keep food production in line with increasing population, our civilization, like so many that went before it, will inevitably decline.
With his trademark humor, his years of experience writing about both farming and waste management, and his uncanny eye for the small but important details, Logsdon artfully describes how to make fertilizer and humus by managing farm manure, pet manure and human manure.
About the author
Gene Logsdon farms in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. He is one of the clearest and most original voices of rural America. He has published more than two dozen books. He writes a popular blog at OrganicToBe.org, is a regular contributor to Farming Magazine and The Draft Horse Journal, and writes an award-winning weekly column in the Ohio Progressor Times.
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 and products to readers. For more than 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.