This page contains information about the websites and books that I have found useful, and inspirational. It will be compiled over time, as there is a lot to include, and I need to organise it to make it as effective as possible, so keep checking it on a regular basis, so that you don’t miss out on a potential gem.
The Soil and health Library. Out of print books to download. Some truly inspirational books. Too, many to list individually. http://www.soilandhealth.org/index.html
The Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable, by Juliette de Bairacli Levy.A fantastic book about the use of herbs to treat farm animals.
Fertility Pastures, by Newman Turner. Probably the best book that I have read on grass mixtures. It includes plants to include in herbal leys, and gives the reasons why. Excellent
The Scythe Book, by David Tresemer, and addendum by Peter Vido. This book is really two books. The first part, by Tresemer, is an account of scything, but is not detailed enough to act as a teach yourself text. The practical part is provided in the addendum. With this book, and by watching somebody who knows what they are doing, you can teach yourself to scythe. Doing a course would be better, but it is possible to learn from the book. Using a scythe frees yourself from the hassles of farm machinery, fossil fuel, and bills. If you can make hay, you can overwinter animals. If you can overwinter animals, you will not starve. Free yourself, learn to scythe.
Food and Vegetable Growing
The Resilient Gardener, by Carol Deppe. Probably the best book on food growing for self sufficiency that I’ve read to date (February 2011). Rather than list all of the good bits, read the post that I wrote about it here.
Four-Season Harvest, by Eliot Coleman, describes how to grow Winter Salad, which is particularly important when aiming for Self-Sufficiency/
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, by Edward C. Smith, is probably my most used food growing book. Particularly useful is that the author gives spacings for growing in beds, rather than the conventional spacing for growing in rows. As the book is so good, I rarely refer to other gardening books. However, I did buy a copy of Organic Gardening, the Natural No-Dig Way, by Charles Dowding, as it had been recommended by two different people. I’ve only browsed through it, but found it useful, and in need of a closer study. What was useful was that it gave recommendations for varieties of plants to grow. The previous book is an American Publication, so not all of the varieties that he lists are available in the UK. I think that if I had got this book first, it might have become the one that I relied on.
The Most influential book that I’ve read is The Earth Care Manual by Patrick Whitefield. This is the best book for Permaculture in Temperate (UK) Climates. Not a cheap book, but one that I refer to often.
I would also suggest Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison, and Reny Slay, if you can find a copy.
Gaia’s Garden, by Toby Hemenway, is an excellent introduction to Permaculture Gardens, and Gardening, with an emphasis on a slightly smaller scale than the other books here.
Bee Plants by Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust. A very plain looking book, which lists over 1,00o plants useful to bees. http://www.agroforestry.co.uk/Their Catalogue is a useful publication in its own right, and is well worth ordering
At the Hive Entrance by H. Storch. Most modern beekeeping books/courses tell you to check the hive frequently to check for swarming, that the queen is laying properly etc. This is very intrusive, and may be a factor in falling bee health. This little book describes what you can see by watching the hive, and what the activity that you observe means. It could reduce the numbe rof manipulations that you carry out, and improve the health of your bees.
Teaming with Microbes, by Jeff Lownefels and Wayne Lewis, gives a good explanation of what the microbes do in the soil. The book relates to Compost Tea, but I’ve put it here because I think that all growers need to know what is going on in the Rhizosphere (root zone) so that they can garden more effectively.
Bamboo for Gardens, by Ted Meredith. A really useful book which includes many of the potential uses for bamboo, including eating, building, pulp etc.
Hardy Bamboo, by Paul Whittaker. Contains good information about planting and cultiating bamboo species suitable for the UK climate.
There is a short review of both books on my Bamboo Books post.
Build your own Earth Oven, by Kiko Denzer. This book describes how to build a wood fired oven out of earth. If that wasn’t enough there is a great chapter on making sourdough bread. I loved the little blobs of philosophy which appeared throughout the book. A really nice, gentle read, but a thoroughly practical book. Last September some friends came to stay, and helped me to build one of the ovens. it was a great experience.
Mycelium Running, by Paul Stamets. An outstanding book, with lots to teach. The best thing that I can say about the book, is that I have now designed a new polyculture, which includes an edible mushroom patch. The book gives details of how to propagate fungi, in some cases, very simply, and includes information on the use of fungi for remdiation, filtration, etc. Well worth having in your collection.