BOOKS I love libraries! And our libraries here in the boonies plainly suck, so I love Interlibrary Loan! That said, some books just need to be possessed.
Managing your greenery:
- Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, Managing Vegetables and Fruits with the Organic Method: Rodale. Frankly, any addition of these hefty tomes are helpful. The older additions (1960s) are actually just as relevant.
- The Rodale Book of Composting: Rodale. Enough said.
- The Garden Primer: Barbara Damrosch. This is a great book about everything.
- Seed to Seed: Suzanne Ashworth. How to save your seed. Definitive. Good on how to grow the darned things, too.
- The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: I can’t say I strive to do what she suggests, and often feel highly guilty about it.
Managing your harvest:
- Root Cellaring: Mike and Nancy Bubel. The simplest way to preserve the harvest.
- Stocking Up: Carol Hupping. It’s easy.
- Putting Food By: Janet Greene. This book is the best book to learn that Microbes Are Bad. However, it really tells you how to do something, like canning.
- Nourishing Traditions: Sally Fallon. This is the best book to learn that Microbes Are Good. She could really use an editor (when was the last time you called someone of Asian descent an Oriental?) but historically, this is important information.
- Wild Fermentation: Sandor Ellix Katz. “Wild” is perhaps his word for “forgotten.” As in, we all used to know how to preserve our own food, make our own wine. This book guides you, and is also avowedly Pro-Microbe.
- Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Let’s just say these folks think Microbes Are Good, too.
- The Ball Blue Book of Preserving is a great and inexpensive first book of canning. It does a wonderful job explaining the different methods, and should be available anywhere you find canning equipment.
- The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is a treasure trove of beyond-just-pickles recipes for canning. It is also written in a you-can-do-it style.
- Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone: Deborah Madison. I worship this woman. Any of her cookbooks are great, but this one is positively dog-eared in our house. Don’t let the “V” word scare you.
- Chez Panisse Vegetables, Chez Panisse Fruits, and The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. To say this woman has high standards is an understatement, HOWEVER, food is highly important, so you, too, should expect more of what you eat.
Managing your life (okay, I exaggerate):
- Anything by M.F.K. Fisher. Eating is an art.
- Anything by Wendell Berry. He is our agrarian poet laureate.
- Most things by Gene Logsdon. He tends to repeat himself, but he is great for finding the easiest way to do something.
- This Organic Life: Joan Dye Gussow. I’m a sucker for a gardening story, and this is her tale of two gardens, two houses and two lives.
- Second Nature: Michael Pollan. Likewise, another gardening story, and how obsessive we become when we become gardeners.
- Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden: Eleanor Perenyi. I wish I had an eighth her style, a sixteenth her talent for writing, and a thirty-second of her money.
OTHER LINKS FOR GARDENING, ETC.:
Preservation comes in many forms.
- American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. If you’re going to eat them, you might as well breed them.
- National Sustainable Agriculture Information Source. This is a treasure. A national treasure.
- Vegetable Varieties for Home Gardeners. A great cross-reference, through Cornell University.
- Slow Food Ark of Taste: USA. One way to preserve something is to stand on a soapbox and yell about how wonderful it is. I grow many things on this list.
- Chicken breeds and varieties. This is a great one-stop place to bone up on your birds!
Sometimes, it is better if you make it yourself.
- Raw milk: Campaign for Real Milk
- Dairying/Cheesemaking sources: both are goaty but work with cow’s milk too Caprine Supply and Hoegger Goat Supply
- Yogurt/sourdough/tempeh cultures: Gem Supply
And always, TRY LOCAL FIRST.
- Local Harvest. Still the best way to find out who your farmers are, or, barring that, where the farmers’ markets can be found.
- Eat Wild. Best way to source grass-fed meats.
- Eat Well Guide. Through Local Harvest, this is a more exacting finder.
- Dave’s Garden Watchdog. Find both local sources, and how reliable those far-away mailorder sources are for you.
SEEDS: Would that I could find my own Michigan seed source, but alas, it’s why I save my own. Here are some decent seed vendors:
- Fedco, Maine. What can I say: I love a co-op, and love their non-Monsanto/Sementis pledge. I have had just fine germination out of everything; the seed is clean, but sometimes the quantities are stingy.
- Johnny’s, Maine. The efficiency of this outfit is staggering. Great seed, wonderful gardening products; it’s my go-to place for row covers to field knives, too.
- Seed Savers, Iowa. I’m not wild about either the prices or the quantities from this outfit, but theirs is the biggest biodiversity preserving joint out there.
- J.L. Hudson, Seedsman, CA. Polemics, baby! And a nice slice of everything.
- Kitazawa, CA. The best Asian veggie source.
- Filaree Farms, WA. Garlic.
- But just because I can’t buy local seeds doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Are you a Southerner? Southern Exposure is your place to go. Northwesterner? Try Nichols. Southwesterner? Go NativeSeeds/Search.
FRUIT and NUT TREES: We all eat them, we would all love to grow them, right? Fortunately, I can buy local here, and I do.
- Oikos Tree Crops (Kalamazoo MI): All kinds of native fruiting trees, mostly for wildlife preservation, but also for some out-of-hand eating. Staggering selection, great breeding. Small trees though.
- Grandpa’s Orchard (Coloma MI): Heirloom and not, bareroot fruit trees. Zones 3-8 from what I can tell. Apples, pears, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums.
- Hartmann’s Plant Company (Grand Junction MI): Berries galore, some nuts, small fruits. Hardy stuff, including figs and kiwis, zones 3-7.
- McKenzie Farms Hardy Citrus (Okemo, SC): A girl can dream, can’t she? Hardy citrus to zone 6.
- Freshops (Philomath, OR) Hops! Cover that arbor tout suite and brew your own beer!
- Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery (Upton, KY): Nuts to you!