2011 Reading List (So far), Research, and Possibilities.

I tend to do most of my reading and research over the Winter, once the day length shortens enough that I don’t feel too tired to study after a day working outside.  The pattern has changed this year, and I’ve recently had the chance to get a batch of reading underway.

Reason for my Research

My own feeling is that if we want to replace our current system of food production, heavily reliant on fossil fuel, but want to avoid the sheer hard work of subsistence agriculture, then we have to use our imagination, and our intelligence. Now the military version of intelligence is ‘information that has been processed’, and so with that in mind, our ‘intelligence’ depends on an input of information, and a reasoning/evaluation phase, in order to come up with something that is useable. Much of what I read online, falls into two categories. The ‘I’ve just found out about XXXXXXX and here are some links to other sites that tell you all about it’ category is very common, and I tend not to read any further. The second ‘popular’ category is the ‘ this is what I’ve done today/this week/since my last post’ type. Most of what you find falls into one of these categories, including quite a bit of what I write.  Of more interest are the sites that point out the unusual stuff. Not weird and wonderful, but new ways of doing things. I usually read these, even if they don’t relate to what I’m doing now, because there is normally something that I can use, or at least consider using. The most valuable sites are those where the writer is either doing something completely new, or unusual, or is writing about direct observations (information) and interpreting that into something useful (creating intelligence).

One thing that many of these sites do, is to review/list useful books, and many of the books that I’ve read recently have come from a recommendation online, or have been listed on a useful website, or blog. Having checked my account with a major online retailer, I was shocked to see that in 2011, I had bought 47 books for myself, and had read almost all of them. I didn’t calculate how much I’d spent, nor did I check back to see what I’d bought September to December 2010. That figure does not include library books, nor books from second hand bookshops, nor online reading.

Food Production Research

My research(reading and online) has so far been to identify and evaluate different methods of food production, to increase my understanding of Permaculture, and to persue further the bits that interest me most. Now, having decided on the way that I want to produce my own food, I am experimenting with a grain/ vegetable/fungi polyculture. My research here is now practical, as opposed to theory, but there are still gaps in my knowledge, which my current, and future reading needs to fill. What I’m trying to do now is fit the detail into the pattern, and to make connections between different books/systems/techniques.

The experimental polyculture will progress at nature’s pace, which gives me the opportunity to widen my reading/research focus. So I’m now looking at the wider community/social/economic implications of a more simple, post peak oil lifestyle. At the same time, I want to explore the inner, spiritual side of living.  Learning from the past is also important, so I’m looking at how things were done before industrialisation, and the use of high levels of fossil fuel energy. You can find elements of all of the above in my 2011 list below.

I have roughly divided them into categories, although some do not fit neatly into a box. The books that are listed in bold, are ones that i would highly recommend. Those with an asterisk I have yet to read. I hope that you find something useful in my list, and that you are encouraged to read one, or more, of them.

Permaculture and Forest gardening

Bioshelter Market Garden                                            Darrell Frey

Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture                                         Sepp Holzer

Edible Forest Gardens Vol 1.                                   Jacke and Toensmeir

The Permaculture Home Garden                               Linda Woodrow

Chicken Tractor                                                        Lee, Foreman

The Permaculture Way                                             Graham Bell

Gardening Systems/gardening/Fruit

Organic Fruit Production and Viticulture             Stella Cubison

A taste of the unexpected                                         Mark Diacono

Gardening and Planting by the Moon 2012          Kollerstrom

Gardening when it counts                                        Steve Solomon

The Resilient Gardener                                          Carol Deppe

Landscaping with Fruit                                          Lee Reich

Uncommon Fruits for every garden                     Lee Reich

The New Organic Grower                                      Eliot Coleman

Eco yards                                                                  Lureen Rama

Nutshell Guide to growing Hazelnuts                Clive Simms

Gardening and Planting by the Moon 2011       Kollerstrom

Gardening for the Future of the Earth                Shapiro, Harrison

Small Scale Grain Growing / Systems

The One Straw Revolution                                Masanobu Fukuoka

The Natural Way of Farming                               Masanobu Fukuoka

Homegrown Wholegrains                                    Sarah Pitzer

New Roots for Agriculture                                   Wes Jackson

The Harmonious Wheatsmith                               Mark Moodie.

Agriculture / Gardening History

Fifty plants that changed the course of history Bill Laws

Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden                          Wilson

Farmers of Forty Centuries                                     F H King

Ask the Fellows who cut the Hay                        George Evans  **

Larkrise to Candleford                                           Flora Thompson

The Unsettling of America                                    Wendell Berry

The History of the Countryside                         Oliver Rackham  **

Soil, Soil Fertility and Composting

The Soil of Soil                                                    Smillie. Gershuny

The Complete Compost Gardening guide      Pleasant, Martin

Compost, Vermicompost, and Compost tea     Grace Gershuny

Beekeeping Stuff

The Rose Hive method                                        Tim Rowe

The Bee-friendly Beekeeper                                David Heaf

Skeps, their History, Making, and Use               Alston

Make Your own Skep                                             Rev. E Knobbs

The IBRA Museum Pt. 2 Skeps, tools, and

accessories                                                               Richard Jones

Honeybee Democracy                                         Thomas Seeley


Mycelium Running                                               Paul Stamets

The Mushroom cultivator                                     Paul Stamets


Peace is every Step                                             Thich Nhat Hahn

Spiritual Compass                                                Satish Kumar


Prosperity without Growth.

Economics for a Finite Planet                     Tim Jackson

Small is Beautiful                                             Schumacher

The Tipping Point                                            Malcolm Gladwell

Soil not Oil                                                       Vandan Shiva

Resilience Thinking                                        Reid


Solar Food Dryer                                             Eben Fodor

Wild fermentation                                           Sandor Katz **


Wildwood Wisdom                                       Ellsworth Jaeger

Storey’s Guide to raising Ducks              Dave Holderread

Water Storage                                             Art Ludwig

9 thoughts on “2011 Reading List (So far), Research, and Possibilities.

    1. Deano Post author

      Hi Sharron
      A longerlist than I thought it would be. I haven’t come across the blog, but will check it out. Thanks for the link.

  1. annisveggies

    Hi Deano

    Excellent list! I have read quite a few of these and others are on my “wish list”. Like you I am also interested in reading about how things used to be done and am currently reading “Men and the fields” by Adrian Bell and have “Ask the fellows who cut the hay” to follow. My partner has enjoyed both of these. I may well get the “Buffalo Bird Womans Garden” and “The Resilient Gardener” to read next.

    1. Deano Post author

      Thanks Anni
      I’ve added Men and Fields to my list. Thanks. I hope that you do read the two books that you picked out. Both are excellent.
      All of the best

  2. Pingback: Weekly round-up – 9 October 2011 | Wholesome Food Association

  3. Deano Post author

    I forgot to include that I had re read John Jeavons, How to Grow More Vegetables (Twice), and had also read Dry Farming, by John Widtsoe.

  4. Pingback: Looking Back, and Forward. « The Sustainable Smallholding

  5. Pingback: Looking Back, and Forward. - The Sustainable Smallholding

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *