Green Homes
The ins and outs of green construction and natural building, with specifics on solar design, home insulation and more.

Green Clean a Front-Loading Washing Machine

Front-load washers can occasionally gather an odor, but Sommer shares some eco-friendly tips to keep washers green, sparkling clean, and free of smells.

Choosing Natural Building Materials for Improved Indoor Air Quality

You might think building a green home automatically means you’re building one with good indoor air quality. That’s not necessarily the case. There’s no guarantee eco-friendly materials are also low in pollutants. And what you put in your home after construction can have an enormous impact on air quality. Here are three ways to ensure the air you’re breathing inside your home is as good as — or better than — the air you’re breathing outside.

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Green Patios, Walkways & Driveways of Porous Pavement and Pervious Concrete
Consider one of these innovative and attractive options instead of old-fashioned concrete.

Install Your Own Windows
Reduce the cost of new windows by putting them in yourself.

Eco-friendly Roofing Options 
Choose from a variety of durable and environmentally friendly roofing materials.

Serious Energy Savings With Passive House Design
If you’re dreaming of a home that’s the ultimate in energy efficiency, take a look at the Passive House standard.

Your Green Dream Home: First Things To Consider
Before you hire a contractor or start building, read this expert advice.

Low-Cost, High-Efficiency Home Improvements that Pay Off
Here are some commonly agreed upon suggestions for relatively easy and low-cost home retrofitting projects.

Go Solar and Save Big
Every homeowner needs to know that passive solar design results in huge savings on energy bills.

Essential Advice for Owner-Builders
Here’s what you need to know about building codes before you build a house.

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TREES FOR GARDENS, ORCHARDS, AND PERMACULTURE

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:

  • Origin and history.
  • Description and uses.
  • Varieties/cultivars.
  • Cultivation, pests and diseases.
  • Related species.
  • European and North American suppliers.
The appendices make choosing trees for your situation easy, with lists of suitable trees for specific situations, plus flowcharts to guide you. If you want to know about and make use of the large diversity of tree crops that are available in temperate and continental climates, then this book—by an internationally acknowledged expert—is both fascinating and essential reading.

$39.95

WILL BONSALL'S ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO RADICAL, SELF-RELIANT GARDENING

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."

$34.95

Spinning is experiencing a resurgence of interest as it moves in a contemporary direction away from its traditional past. The Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn provides a new generation of crafters with all the information they need in one accessible package, starting with tools and equipment, types of fibers, and spinning techniques, and moving on to making, processing, and finishing off a skein of yarn. Included are actual recipes for making many types of yarn, such as boucles, worsteds, flecked and chunky yarns … all shown in full-color, close-up and detailed photos. Instructions for a small group of projects to use the yarn you make are also included. Last but not least, learn how to go commercial, with valuable tips on realistically pricing your goods, accepting commissions, selling at craft fairs or on the internet, and more.

A must-have reference and source of inspiration for new and experienced spinners alike, The Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn provides all the know-how to get started, perfect your skills, or take your spinning to the next level.

$22.99