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NEW! Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation:
Simple to Advanced and Experimental Techniques for Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation
by Tradd Cotter
2014, 384pp., $40

"Mushroom cultivation should be playing a much bigger role in our gardens and farms. Tradd Cotter's Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation provides low-cost, easily accessible techniques for growing mushrooms indoors and outdoors, from home to commercial scale."

—Eric Toensmeier, author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables

With innovative new methods for urban and off-grid growing, making mushroom-infused beers, morel cultivation, and more.

What would it take to grow mushrooms in space? How can mushroom cultivation help us manage, or at least make use of, invasive species and thereby reduce dependence on herbicides? Is it possible to develop a low-cost and easy-to-implement mushroom-growing kit that would provide high-quality edible protein and bioremediation in the wake of a natural disaster?

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How can we advance our understanding of morel cultivation so that growers stand a better chance of success?

For more than twenty years, mycologist Tradd Cotter has been pondering these questions and researching for answers. In Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, Cotter offers readers an in-depth exploration of best organic mushroom cultivation practices, for both indoor and outdoor growing of a wide variety of species. He also shares insight into his groundbreaking research on challenges such as cultivating morels, “training” mycelium to respond to specific contaminants, and perpetuating spawn on cardboard without the use of electricity.

For those who aspire to the self-sufficiency gained by generating and expanding spawn rather than purchasing it, Cotter covers lab techniques, including low-cost alternatives that make use of existing infrastructure and materials. Readers will also discover information on making tinctures, powders, and mushroom-infused honey; making an antibacterial mushroom cutting board; and growing mushrooms on old denim jeans.

More than a cultivation guide, Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation is about healing the people and the planet, one mushroom and one cultivator at a time, reversing destructive cycles into creative forces. Cotter urges readers to think with an opportunistic yet minimalistic approach, much like a mushroom, taking what it needs to survive and then returning resources to its ecosystem.

Geared toward readers who want to grow mushrooms without the use of pesticides, Cotter takes “organic” one step further by introducing an entirely new way of thinking—one that looks at the potential to grow mushrooms on just about anything, just about anywhere, and by anyone.

NEW! Browsing Nature's Aisles:
A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs

Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann
199pp., 2013,
$18.00

Wendy and Eric Brown, in their quest for a more self-sufficient lifestyle, decided to spend a year incorporating foraged food into their diet. Browsing Nature’s Aisles tells the story of why and how they lived off the land, and how the experience helped them become more in touch with nature and all it has to offer.

Before this concerted foraging effort, the authors, a suburban couple living on a quarter acre of land in Maine, had only dabbled in foraging, enjoying maple syrup and blueberry picking. “Wild edibles remained a curiosity, but not a dietary staple,” they say, partly because the selection of guidance books was sparse. As the couple became increasingly aware and wary of genetically engineered foods, food contamination, BPA-lined cans to store food, increasing food costs, and food scarcity, they concluded that “the logical choice seemed to be learning to live off what Nature provided for free.”

The couple’s adventures in foraging show that much of the their knowledge about the subject came by “simple observation followed by a flurry of research,” which uncovered the bounty, but also the numerous complexities, in nature’s offerings.

 

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For example, while nettle leaves could be used as a salad-type dish, once they are dried or dehydrated, they can also be used to make tea or added as vitamin boosts to soups or stews. The diversity of wild edibles includes foods derived from hunting and gathering, such as bow-hunting the flock of turkeys that landed on their property, or clamming on the tidal flats.

The narrative clearly conveys the authors’ growing respect for nature as their observations become keen and intuitive, as revealed in the chapter on trees: “In the beginning, we never imagined that trees had more to give than just the materials we took from them. We have discovered that trees provide a wealth of information about the weather, the coming growing seasons and the population density of the animals that rely on them for food.”

NEW! Integrated Forest Gardening: The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds in Permaculture Systems by Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, and Bryce Ruddock
2014, 310pp., $45

Permaculture is a movement that is coming into its own, and the concept of creating plant guilds in permaculture is at the forefront of every farmer’s and gardener’s practice. One of the essential practices of permaculture is to develop perennial agricultural systems that thrive over several decades without expensive and harmful inputs: perennial plant guilds, food forests, agroforestry, and mixed animal and woody species polycultures.

The massive degradation of conventional agriculture and the environmental havoc it creates has never been as all pervasive in terms of scale, so it has become a global necessity to further the understanding of a comprehensive design and planning system such as permaculture that works with nature, not against it.

The guild concept often used is one of a “functional relationship” between plants–beneficial groupings of plants that share functions in order to bring health and stability to a plant regime and create an abundant yield for our utilization.

 

 

 

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In other words, it is the integration of species that creates a balanced, healthy, and thriving ecosystem. But it goes beyond integration. A guild is a metaphor for all walks of life, most importantly a group of people working together to craft works of balance, beauty, and utility.

This book is the first, and most comprehensive, guide about plant guilds ever written, and covers in detail both what guilds are and how to design and construct them, complete with extensive color photography and design illustrations.

Creating a Forest Garden
by Martin Crawford
2010, 380pp,
$49 (significant savings if shipped with other books) (Read Review- PDF)

Creating a Forest Garden gives readers all the information they need to create their own multilayered garden of edible, and other useful plants, along with plenty of background on the many benefits of agroforestry.

Creating a Forest Garden is suitable for readers growing in small gardens or on much larger plots, including commercial growers. The book covers:

* How forest gardens work
* Designing the forest garden
* A comprehensive directory of over 500 trees, shrubs and ground level plants suitable for the forest garden.
* Detailed advice on paths, windbreaks, harvesting, maintenance, wildlife and pests.

Creating a Forest Garden covers an exciting range of useful crops including bamboo shoots, goji berries and yams alongside more familiar fruits such as apples and raspberries.

 

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The Woodland Way 2nd Edition
by Ben Law
2013, 191pp, $30, all color
(Read review - PDF)

A book for everyone who loves trees and woodlands. This completely revised and updated edition of the 2001 classic is written from the heart by an innovative woodsman who is deeply committed to sustainability. This radical book presents an immensely practical alternative to conventional woodland management.

Through his personal experience, Ben Law clearly demonstrates how you can create biodiverse, healthy environments, yield a great variety of value added products, provide secure livelihoods for woodland workers and farmers, and benefit the local community. He argues the case for a new approach to planning, encouraging the creation of permaculture woodlands for the benefit of people, the local environment and the global climate.

The Woodland Way contains: Woodlands from wildwood in the 21st century; The 21st century & the return of the forest dweller; Woodland assessment & management planning; Establishing new woodlands; Management of woodlands; From tree to finished product; Food from the woods; Woodland management and the law; and The future of woodlands.

"Ben is a true pioneer and is, by example, quite simply creating a woodland renaissance in Britain." Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

The Woodland Year
by Ben Law
$49 $39, 2008, 176pp.

Review from PcA (PDF)

Packed with stunning colour photographs, The Woodland Year is an intimate month-by-month journey through Ben Law's yearly cycle of work, his naturally attuned lifestyle and his deep understanding of his woods. Each month also includes guest contributions from woodlanders in other parts of England and Wales. The Woodland Year provides a fascinating insight into every aspect of sustainable woodland management; the cycles of nature, seasonal tasks, wild food gathering, wine making, mouthwatering and useful recipes, coppice crafts, round pole timber frame eco-building (pioneered by Ben in the UK), nature conservation, species diversity, tree profiles and the use of horses for woodland work. This is a profound book that is both practical and poetic. It describes a way of life that is economically and ecologically viable and sets a new standard for managing our woods in a low impact, sustainable way. As such, it holds some of the fundamental keys to how we can achieve a lower carbon society.

One of Ben Law's remarkable gifts, besides being arguably Britain's greatest living woodsman, is a knack for inspiring others. The Woodland Year is a month-by-month journey through Ben's woodland in the Sussex Weald, and a celebration of every aspect of sustainable woodland management. In words that are often lyrical but always ungilded, he describes a way of life that is both economically and ecologically viable. As such, it holds some of the fundamental keys to how we can achieve a more sustainable, lower carbon society. Ben is a true pioneer and is quite simply creating a woodland renaissance in Britain. Read this, and you will surely want to be part of it. --From the Foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

 

 

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Edible Forest Gardens Volume 1 & 2
by Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier,
8 x 10, 450 pages, 520pp. $75ea., $135 for both (same shipping rate for both volumes as for Vol 2 alone)
Volume I: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate-Climate Permaculture, Volume II Ecological Design and Practice for Temperate-Climate Permaculture

Essentially, edible forest gardening is the art and science of putting plants together in woodland-like patterns that forge mutually beneficial relationships, creating a garden ecosystem that is more than the sum of its parts. You can grow fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, other useful plants, and animals in a way that mimics natural ecosystems. You can create a beautiful, diverse, high-yield garden that is largely self-maintained.

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Vol 1

Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable “plant matrix” that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

Taken together, the two volumes of Edible ForestGardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening—one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

About the Authors: Dave Jacke is the owner of Dynamics Ecological Design Associates and a longtime permaculture teacher and designer. He lives in Keene, New Hampshire. Eric Toensmeier is a plant researcher, agricultural educator, author of Perennial Vegetables and Paradise Lot, and permaculturist who lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

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Vol 2
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Vol 1 & 2

NEW! Around The World in 80 Plants: An Edible Perennial Vegetable Adventure for Temperate Climates
by Stephen Barstow
2015, 284 pp., $30

This book takes us on an original and inspiring adventure around the temperate world, introducing us to the author’s top eighty perennial leafy-green vegetables. We are taken underground gardening in Tokyo, beach gardening in the UK, and traditional roof gardening in the Norwegian mountains. . . . There are stories of the wild foraging traditions of indigenous people in all continents: from the Sámi people of northern Norway to the Maori of New Zealand, the rich food traditions of the Mediterranean peoples, the high-altitude food plants of the Sherpas in the Himalayas, wild mountain vegetables in Japan and Korea, and the wild aquatic plant that sustained Native American tribes with myriad foodstuffs and other products.

Around the World in 80 Plants will be of interest to both traditional vegetable and ornamental gardeners, as well as anyone interested in permaculture, forest gardening, foraging, slow food, gourmet cooking, and ethnobotany. A thorough description is given of each vegetable, its traditions, stories, cultivation, where to source seed and plants, and how to propagate it. Sprinkled with recipes inspired by local traditional gastronomy, this is a fascinating book, an entertaining adventure, and a real milestone in climate-friendly vegetable growing from a pioneering expert on the subject.

 

 

 

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NEW! The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival
by Katrina Blair

The Wild Wisdom of Weeds is the only book on foraging and edible weeds to focus on the thirteen weeds found all over the world, each of which represents a complete food source and extensive medical pharmacy and first-aid kit. More than just a field guide to wild edibles, it is a global plan for human survival.

When Katrina Blair was eleven she had a life-changing experience where wild plants spoke to her, beckoning her to become a champion of their cause. Since then she has spent months on end taking walkabouts in the wild, eating nothing but what she forages, and has become a wild-foods advocate, community activist, gardener, and chef, teaching and presenting internationally about foraging and the healthful lifestyle it promotes.

Katrina Blair’s philosophy in The Wild Wisdom of Weeds is sobering, realistic, and ultimately optimistic. If we can open our eyes to see the wisdom found in these weeds right under our noses, instead of trying to eradicate an “invasive,” we will achieve true food security. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds is about healing ourselves both in body and in spirit, in an age where technology, commodity agriculture, and processed foods dictate the terms of our intelligence. But if we can become familiar with these thirteen edible survival weeds found all over the world, we will never go hungry, and we will become closer to our own wild human instincts—all the while enjoying the freshest, wildest, and most nutritious food there is. For free!

 

 

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Forager's Harvest

 

 

Forager's Harvest:
A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
by Samuel Thayer
2005, $23, 368pp
(Read Review - PDF)
A fine, rich guide to wild foods of North America warmly written by a master forager: uses, botany, habitat. Provides detailed instructions and personal experiences of harvesting 332 delicious plants, including butternut, wild rice, ostrich fern, hog peanut, cattail, and more.

Get the Forager's Harvest video here.

 

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Nature’s Garden
A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
by Samuel Thayer
2010, 512pp., $25

A practical guide to all aspects of edible wild plants: finding and identifying them, their seasons of harvest, and their methods of collection and preparation. Each plant is discussed in great detail and accompanied by excellent color photographs. Includes an index, illustrated glossary, bibliography, and harvest calendar. The perfect guide for all experience levels.

Get the Forager's Harvest video here.

"It has become the go-to book for students at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School. Nature’s Garden, builds upon the high standard set by The Foragers Harvest and establishes him as the leading authority and author on edible wild plants that has ever published. It isn’t slightly better than other books on the topic; it’s in a whole different league". Tim Smith, M.Ed. Founder and Director of The Jack Mountain Bushcraft School

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Botany in a Day - The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Thomas J. Elpel's Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families
5th Edition, 2004, 221pp., $30 (Now in full color!)

Botany in a Day is changing the way people learn about plants! Tom's book has gained a nationwide audience almost exclusively by word-of-mouth. It is now used as a text and recommended by herbal and wilderness schools across North America. Instead of presenting individual plants, Botany in a Day unveils the patterns of identification and uses among related plants, giving readers simple tools to rapidly unlock the mysteries of the new species they encounter throughout the continent.

Too often people try to learn plants one-at-a-time, without rhyme or reason. Now you can cut years off the process of learning about plants and their uses. Tom's book helps you beyond the piece-meal approach to botany and herbalism towards a more "whole" approach. Within 1 1/2 hours you can understand the big-picture of botany and herbalism. Learn how related plants have similar features for identification. Discover how they often have similar properties and similar uses.

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The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden
by Kim Flottum 2005, 168pp, $25

This book isn't just a guide to beekeeping or a honey cookbook; it's both. No other book on the market provides an in-depth review of beekeeping and what honey is good for and how to use it. Beautifully illustrated, the Backyard Beekeeper is perfect for the health-conscious person who wants to sweeten up their life by saying no to processed sugars and yes to eating organic, healthy food.

This book is the complete "honey bee" resource with general information on bees; a how-to guide to the art of bee keeping and how to set up, care for, and harvest your own hives; as well as tons of fun facts and projects that are bee related. The second half of the book is the complete guide to honey. It reviews the different types of honey and their health effects as well as provides hundreds of ideas and recipes for using honey in recipes, cosmetically in facemasks and shampoos, and for medicinal uses.

After receiving a degree in horticulture from UW Madison, Kim Flottum worked four years in the USDA Honey Bee Research Lab, studying pollination ecology. After that, he spent two years raising acres of fruits and vegetables. He brings this experience, plus nearly 20 years of writing and editing articles for beekeepers in the monthly magazine Bee Culture.

 

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Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture
by Ross Conrad (Author), Gary Paul Nabhan (Foreword)
$35, 246pp., 2007

The various chemicals used in beekeeping have, for the past decades, held Varroa Destructor, a mite, and other major pests at bay, but chemical-resistance is building and evolution threatens to overtake the best that laboratory chemists have to offer. In fact, there is evidence that chemical treatments are making the problem worse. Natural Beekeeping flips the script on traditional approaches by proposing a program of selective breeding and natural hive management.

Conrad brings together the best organic and natural approaches to keeping honeybees healthy and productive here in one book. Readers will learn about nontoxic methods of controlling mites, eliminating American foulbrood disease (without the use of antibiotics), breeding strategies, and many other tips and techniques for maintaining healthy hives. Conrad's reservoir of knowledge comes from years of experience and a far-flung community of fellow beekeepers who are all interested in ecologically sustainable apiculture. Specific concepts and detailed management techniques are covered in a matter-of-fact, easy to implement way.

 

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Natural Beekeeping describes opportunities for the seasoned professional to modify existing operations to improve the quality of hive products, increase profits, and eliminate the use of chemical treatments. Beginners will need no other book to guide them. Whether you are an experienced apiculturist looking for ideas to develop an Integrated Pest Management approach or someone who wants to sell honey at a premium price, this is the book you've been waiting for.

 

 

Beekeeping Simplified: Step-by-step instructions to make your own round hive for healthier bees.
40 pp, $7

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