Farming without tilling has long been a goal of agriculture, yet tilling remains one of the most dominant paradigms; almost everyone does it. But tilling kills beneficial soil life, burns up organic matter, and releases carbon dioxide. If the ground could instead be prepared for planting without tilling, time and energy could be saved, soil organic matter increased, carbon sequestered, and dependence on machinery reduced.
Andrew Mefferd, editor of Growing for Market magazine, offers a comprehensive, farmer-developed roadmap showing how no-till farming lowers barriers to starting a small farm, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases efficiency and profitability, and promotes soil health.
This hands-on manual offers:
This is the only manual of its kind, specifically written for natural and small-scale farmers who wish to expand or explore chemical-free, regenerative farming methods.
Permaculture tends to be very much in the domain of home gardeners and property owners. But what if we could take it all a step further, and merge the fields of permaculture and market gardening?
In The Permaculture Market Garden, author Zach Loeks brings together his passion for sustainable permaculture food production systems and beautiful, vibrant illustrations to provide a highly visual guide to the smooth integration of permaculture into the market garden, in ways that are scalable to specific situations. Profiling crops and ecosystem-based techniques, Loeks demonstrates a profitable, sustainable and approachable model for the future of market gardening.
Along the way, Loeks introduces his own system of PermaBeds, season extension techniques, intensive and rotational interplanting, in-depth discussions on soil health, and more, bringing activities, designs and prospects of farming to life through illustrations, so the reader can be immersed within the world of permaculture farming. Playful, informative and curious, inspiring and beautiful and packed with accessible practical information, The Permaculture Market Garden will inspire both the seasoned market gardener as well as anyone aspiring to start a business.
In The Regenerative Grower’s Guide to Garden Amendments, experimental gardener and author Nigel Palmer provides practical, detailed instructions that are accessible to every grower who wants to achieve a truly sustainable garden ecosystem—all while enjoying better results at a fraction of the cost of commercial fertilizer products. These recipes go beyond fertilizer replacement, resulting in greater soil biological activity and mineral availability. They also increase pest and disease resistance, yields, and nutrient density.
The book covers nearly every strategy Falk and his team have been testing at the Whole Systems Research Farm over the past decade, as well as experiments from other sites Falk has designed through his off-farm consulting business. The book includes detailed information on earthworks; gravity-fed water systems; species composition; the site-design process; site management; fuelwood hedge production and processing; human health and nutrient-dense production strategies; rapid topsoil formation and remineralization; agroforestry/silvopasture/grazing; ecosystem services, especially regarding flood mitigation; fertility management; human labor and social-systems aspects; tools/equipment/appropriate technology; and much more.
Heating with wood is often considered a natural and economical alternative to electricity or fossil fuels. However, even with a fairly new and efficient woodstove, many cords of wood are required for burning over the course of a single winter, and incomplete combustion can contribute to poor air quality. A rocket mass heater is an earthen masonry heating system which provides clean, safe, and efficient warmth for your home, all while using 70 to 90 percent less fuel than a traditional woodstove.
These unique and beautiful installations provide luxurious comfort year-round. In cold weather a few hours of clean, hot burning can provide 20 or more hours of steady warmth, while the unit's large thermal mass acts as a heat sink, cooling your home on sizzling summer days. Packed with hard-to-find information, The Rocket Mass Heater Builder's Guide includes:
Earthen masonry heating systems are well-suited for natural and conventional builders alike. A super-efficient, woodburning rocket mass heater can help you dramatically reduce your energy costs while enhancing the beauty, value, and comfort of your home.
The Skillful Forager is the ultimate forager’s guide to working with any wild plant in the field, kitchen, or pantry. From harvesting skills that will allow you to gather from the same plant again and again to highlighting how to get the most out of each and every type of wild edible, trusted expert Leda Meredith explores the most effective ways to harvest, preserve, and prepare all of your foraged foods. Featuring detailed identification information for over forty wild edibles commonly found across North America, the plant profiles in this book focus on sustainable harvesting techniques that can be applied to hundreds of other plants. This indispensable reference also provides simple recipes that can help you make the most of each season.
The Small-Scale Dairy offers a holistic approach that explores the relationships between careful, conscientious management and the production of safe, healthy and delicious milk. A historical overview offers readers a balanced perspective on the current regulatory environment in which raw milk lovers find themselves.
Turning waste into wealth sounds too good to be true, but many worm farmers are finding that vermicomposting is a reliable way to do just that. Vermicast—a biologically active, nutrient-rich mix of earthworm castings and decomposed organic matter—sells for $400 or more per cubic yard. Compare that to regular compost, sold at about $30 a cubic yard, and you’ll see why vermicomposting has taken root in most countries and on every continent but Antarctica.
Vermicomposting is also one of the best sustainable solutions for organic waste management. Vermicomposting manure and crop wastes on farms improves crop yields while reducing demand for off-farm inputs. Vermicast has higher nutrient levels and lower soluble salt content than regular compost, and it improves soil aeration, porosity, and water retention. Plus, vermicast suppresses plant diseases and insect attacks. Municipalities, businesses, community gardens, schools, and universities can set up vermicomposting operations to process food residuals and other waste materials.
Uncultivated follows Brennan’s 24-year history with naturalized trees and shows how they have guided him toward successes in agriculture, in the art of making cider, and in creating a small-farm business. The book contains useful information relevant to those particular fields, but is designed to connect the wild to a far greater audience, skillfully blending cultural criticism with a food activist’s agenda.
In addition to learning how to diagnose a plant problem through clear visual keys, you will also learn the most effective organic solutions for every problem. Detailed plant portraits include information on growth; seasonality; temperature, light and soil requirements; and planting techniques. The 37 plants include everything from almonds to watermelons.
Farming is a business, as well as a way of life. Whole Farm Management is a comprehensive guide developed by the Small Farms Program at Oregon State University to help aspiring and beginner farmers make smart business decisions to ensure lasting success. In clear, accessible language, this book covers every essential step, from developing a strategic plan to acquiring equipment, establishing infrastructure, finding markets, budgeting, managing day-to-day operations, and selecting a business structure for long-term viability.
The emphasis throughout is on using sustainable agricultural systems and managing the whole farm, whether raising grass-based livestock, perennial food crops, or annual crops such as flowers. Case studies of successful farms, along with guidance and solutions to common problems from long-time farmers, round out this essential handbook.
Nothing causes more headaches, backaches, and heartaches for gardeners than weeds: these many-petaled, many-seeded, and many-rooted fiends. Stealing sunlight, water, and nutrients, they may leave our gardens looking grim and growing poorly.
The chemical army is losing. Resistant weeds are spreading. Soil health is suffering. Drift and overspray destroys thousands of adjoining farms, homesteads, and properties each growing season. It is a broken system with bitter results.Winning the War on Weeds teaches you how to defeat every gardener's worst enemy!