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Few insects are more important than bees, wasps, and ants. They maintain the garden’s biological balance, fertilize vegetables, fruits, and flowers, and recycle nutrients within the soil. It’s no exaggeration to say that a garden can’t be understood without an understanding of its insects. Bees, Wasps, and Ants explores the importance of the Hymenoptera and explains how gardeners can encourage (or discourage) them in the garden. Part One includes a summary of their biology and a tour of what role they play in each part of the garden. Part Two takes a closer look at the individual groups within the family, including sawflies, horntails, woodwasps, parasitic wasps, predatory wasps, bees, and ants.
Author: Eric Grissell
Invasive species are everywhere, from forests and prairies to mountaintops and river mouths. Their rampant nature and sheer numbers appear to overtake fragile native species and forever change the ecosystems that they depend on. Concerns that invasive species represent significant threats to global biodiversity and ecological integrity permeate conversations from schoolrooms to board rooms, and concerned citizens grapple with how to rapidly and efficiently manage their populations. These worries have culminated in an ongoing “war on invasive species,” where the arsenal is stocked with bulldozers, chainsaws and herbicides put to the task of their immediate eradication. In Hawaii, mangrove trees (Avicennia spp.) are sprayed with glyphosate and left to decompose on the sandy shorelines where they grow, and in Washington, helicopters apply the herbicide Imazapyr to smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) growing in estuaries. The “war on invasive species” is in full swing, but given the scope of such potentially dangerous and ecologically degrading eradication practices, it is necessary to question the very nature of the battle.
Beyond the War on Invasive Species offers a much-needed alternative perspective on invasive species and the best practices for their management based on a holistic, permaculture-inspired framework. Utilizing the latest research and thinking on the changing nature of ecological systems, Beyond the War on Invasive Species closely examines the factors that are largely missing from the common conceptions of invasive species, including how the colliding effects of climate change, habitat destruction, and changes in land use and management contribute to their proliferation. Beyond the War on Invasive Species demonstrates that there is more to the story of invasive species than is commonly conceived, and offers ways of understanding their presence and ecosystem effects in order to make more ecologically responsible choices in land restoration and biodiversity conservation that address the root of the invasion phenomenon. The choices we make on a daily basis—the ways we procure food, shelter, water, medicine and transportation—are the major drivers of contemporary changes in ecosystem structure and function; therefore, deep and long-lasting ecological restoration outcomes will come not just from eliminating invasive species, but through conscientious redesign of these production systems.
Author: Tao Orion
Win the blue ribbon every time! Master Gardener Jodi Torpey offers all the information you need to grow champion vegetables: beans, beets, cabbages, cucumbers, eggplants, onions, peppers, pumpkins, squash, and tomatoes. She covers everything from choosing the right varieties and scheduling planting dates to harvesting, preparing, and transporting your produce. She also walks you through every aspect of competitive showing, with useful tips for thinking like a judge. This book will delight you with lively photos of mammoth pumpkins, truly gigantic onions, perfectly pear-shaped eggplants, and the farmers and gardeners who grow them. Filled with the excitement of a county fair, it’s a fun read as well as a solid guide to growing the biggest, tastiest, best-looking vegetables for miles around.
Author: Jodi Torpey
All gardeners and farmers should be plant breeders, says author Carol Deppe. Developing new vegetable varieties doesn't require a specialized education, a lot of land, or even a lot of time. It can be done on any scale. It's enjoyable. It's deeply rewarding. You can get useful new varieties much faster than you might suppose. And you can eat your mistakes.
Authoritative and easy-to-understand, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving is the only guide to plant breeding and seed saving for the serious home gardener and the small-scale farmer or commercial grower.
In this one-size-fits-all world of multinational seed companies, plant patents, and biotech monopolies, more and more gardeners and farmers are recognizing that they need to "take back their seeds." They need to save more of their own seed, grow and maintain the best traditional and regional varieties, and develop more of their own unique new varieties. Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving shows the way, and offers an exciting introduction to a whole new gardening adventure.
Author: Carol Deppe
This is a practical and engaging guide to transforming an ordinary backyard into a productive farm.
Homesteading is experiencing a revival among both rural and urban residents who want to get back to basics and live closer to the land. With this book, homeowners will obtain both inspiration and instruction for transforming their grassy yard into a lush farm that can produce all the food they need.
The author is an experienced woodworker and homesteader who shows how to plan and design a backyard farm. He offers expert advice for making all of the essential hard-working structures that are needed to sustain small-scale agriculture.
Step-by-step instructions are provided for 10 projects including green houses, beehives, rabbit hutches, raised beds, potting sheds, trellises, fences, and more. Readers learn how to create an irrigation system, harvest rainwater, and keep their farms environmentally sound. Each detailed plan is accompanied by the author's clear, instructive drawings.
More than just a manual, the book also offers entertaining and enlightening interviews with both experts and “average Joe” farmers. We learn what motivates them to become backyard farmers, the lessons that they have to share, and maybe even a couple of funny stories along the way.
Author: Chris Gleason
This is your down-to-earth, complete manual for achieving great gardening results with your own rich, organic soil!
How do you recognize healthy soil? How much can your existing soil be improved? What are the best amendments to use for your soil? Let Building Soil answer your questions and be your guide on gardening from the ground up! Fertilizing, tilling, weed management and irrigation all affect the quality of your soil. Using author Elizabeth Murphy's detailed instructions, anyone can become a successful soil-based gardener, whether you want to start a garden from scratch or improve an existing one.
If you want methods that won't break your back, are good for the environment, and create high-yielding and beautiful gardens of all shapes and sizes, this is the book for you! Create classic landscape gardens, grow a high-yielding orchard, nurture naturally beautiful lawns, raise your household veggies, or run a profitable farm. A soil-based approach allows you to see not just the plants, but the living system that grows them. Soil-building practices promote more ecologically friendly gardening by reducing fertilizer and pesticide use, sequestering greenhouse gases, and increasing overall garden productivity.
Building Soil is a simple book full of practical, up-to-date information about building healthy soils. Simple methods perfect for the home gardener's use put healthy, organic soil within everyone's reach. You don't need a degree in soil management to understand this book; you only need a yard or garden and the desire to improve it at the most basic level.
Author: Elizabeth Murphy
In an organic garden, plants in optimum health thrive abundantly, produce harvests with amazing taste, and possess the ability to fight off plant predators. When they don't, there's often something lacking in their proper nutrition. Maybe they are missing beneficial microorganism companions, or perhaps they are short of the energy needed to reach their full nutrient-dense potential. The solution is to "start with the soil," but healthy soil doesn't happen just by composting, fertilizing or companion planting alone. The solution can be found in Building Soils Naturally, which gives gardeners a hands-on plan for creating productive, living soil by using a practical, holistic approach - crafted right in your garden.
Author: Phil Nauta
History, literature, and botany meet in this charming tour of how humans have relied on plants to nourish, shelter, heal, clothe, and even entertain us. Did you know that during World War II, the U.S. Navy paid children to collect milkweed’s fluffy white floss, which was then used as filling for life preservers? And Native Americans in the deserts of the Southwest traditionally crafted tattoo needles from prickly pear cactus spines. These are just two of the dozens of tidbits that Tammi Hartung highlights in the tales of 45 native North American flowers, herbs, and trees that have rescued and delighted us for centuries.
Author: Tammi Hartung
You've heard it: You are what you eat. The evidence is mounting that what you put into your mouth matters. What better way is there to know exactly what you are eating than to grow some of your own food or get to know your farmer? Celeste has decades of experience providing good, nutritious food for her family. Celeste's Garden Delights will show you how to grow, can, ferment, freeze, dry and root cellar fresh produce. If you can't do it all, just do what you can. Start small. Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow a tomato plant or two in pots on the balcony or patio. Or, you can take a few hours in the summer to buy and prepare berries or corn for your freezer. If you have a lawn and would like to make part of it into a garden, the section on No-Till Gardening will tell you how. Thinking about keeping chickens? Read the section on Backyard Chickens to see if it's something you truly want to do. Food is usually less expensive when it is in season. Get together with some friends to take advantage of bulk buying. Farmers generally give you good discounts if you buy large quantities or "seconds" (food with a few bruises). You can do it! There's no better feeling than having an actual relationship with your food. Homegrown and homemade (or locally grown and made) are truly the best.
Author: Celeste Longacre
If you drink coffee (or can get the grounds in bulk from a coffee shop),an 8-ounce package of the Coffee Cultivator makes a great, fun way to recycle used coffee grounds, filters and all!With the starter culture, you can fill any container with a lid day after day with your grounds and soon you will be cooking up some tasty oyster mushrooms to celebrate your willingness to help the environment!
Author: Mushroom Mountain
Companion planting techniques have been used for centuries to facilitate better, more nutritious, and more abundant crops. Did you know that beets will grow better if surrounded by mint or garlic, but tomatoes should not be planted near cabbage? Flax helps protect some root vegetables from pests, and tomatoes will thrive when planted near carrots (though the carrots may wind up stunted). Your celery will be happier if it’s far away from corn, but broccoli and dill make a terrific garden pair. It’s a lot to think about, but there’s no reason to feel overwhelmed. With Companion Planting for the Kitchen Gardener, you’ll have all the information you need in clear, concise terms and with charts and garden plans you can copy or modify to suit your family’s needs.
Starting with the basics of organic gardening, such as how to prepare quality soil and the importance of cover crops and organic fertilizer, authors Allison and Tim Greer explain the principles of companion planting, how plants interact, and how you can use that information to your garden’s benefit. There is an entire chapter devoted to each of the 15 most popular vegetables, with charts, diagrams, and descriptions of each … a treasure for gardeners with busy lives who want an easy reference guide for planning their ideal kitchen garden. Full of gorgeous, full-color photographs and easy-to-follow diagrams, this is a beautiful, useful guide for the home organic gardener.
Author: Allison Greer
Enjoy beautiful container plantings with no stress or fuss. Container Theme Gardens offers 42 plans for container arrangements, each using just five specific plants that you can find at your local garden center.
Author: NANCY J. ONDRA