Vegetables, fruits, and grains are a major source of vital nutrients, but centuries of intensive agriculture have depleted our soils to historic lows. As a result, the broccoli you consume today may have less than half of the vitamins and minerals that the equivalent serving would have contained a hundred years ago. This is a matter for serious concern, since poor nutrition has been linked to myriad health problems including cancer, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. For optimum health we must increase the nutrient density of our foods to the levels enjoyed by previous generations. To grow produce of the highest nutritional quality the essential minerals lacking in our soil must be replaced, but this re-mineralization calls for far more attention to detail than the simple addition of composted manure or NPK fertilizers. The Intelligent Gardener demystifies the process while simultaneously debunking much of the false and misleading information perpetuated by both the conventional and organic agricultural movements. In doing so, it conclusively establishes the link between healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people. This practical step-by-step guide and the accompanying customizable web-based spreadsheets go beyond organic and are essential tools for any serious gardener who cares about the quality of the produce they grow. Steve Solomon is the author of several landmark gardening books including Gardening When it Counts and Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. The founder of the Territorial Seed Company, he has been growing most of his family's food for over thirty-five years.
One Back-to-the-Land Family’s Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit
Author: Ben Hewitt
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Category: House & Home
A practiculture way to grow nutrient-dense food, produce healthy fats, and live the good life The Nourishing Homestead tells the story of how we can create truly satisfying, permanent, nourished relationships to the land, nature, and one another. The Hewitts offer practical ways to grow nutrient-dense food on a small plot of land, and think about your farm, homestead, or home as an ecosystem. Much of what the Hewitts have come to understand and embrace about their lives of deep nourishment is informed by their particular piece of land and local community in northern Vermont, but what they have gleaned is readily transferable to any place—whether you live on 4 acres, 40 acres, or in a 400-square-foot studio apartment. Ben and Penny (and their two sons) maintain copious gardens, dozens of fruit and nut trees and other perennial plantings, as well as a pick-your-own blueberry patch. In addition to these cultivated food crops, they also forage for wild edibles, process their own meat, make their own butter, and ferment, dry, and can their own vegetables. Their focus is to produce nutrient-dense foods from vibrant, mineralized soils for themselves and their immediate community. They are also committed to sharing the traditional skills that support their family, helping them be self-sufficient and thrive in these uncertain times. Much of what the Hewitts are attempting on their homestead is to close the gaps that economic separation has created in our health, spirit, and skills. Ben uses the term “practiculture” to describe his family’s work with the land—a term that encompasses the many practical life skills and philosophies they embody to create a thriving homestead, including raw-milk production, soil remediation, wildcrafting, Weston A. Price principles, bionutrient-dense farming, permaculture, agroforestry, traditional Vermont hill farming, and more. The Nourishing Homestead also includes information on deep nutrition, the importance of good fats, and integrating children into the work of a homestead. The Hewitts’ story is reminiscent of The Good Life, by Helen and Scott Nearing, and is sure to inspire a new generation of homesteaders, or anyone seeking a simpler way of life and a deeper connection to the world.
Completely revised from cover to cover, this is the 35th anniversary release of Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, the bible to organic vegetable gardening in the Pacific Northwest. Now in its seventh edition, the book has been thoroughly updated and includes a new formula for complete organic fertilizer and how to tweak it for a variety of different soil conditions, how-to sections for herbs and ornamental plants, new organization for better usability, updated sources for appropriate seed suppliers, and information about natural pest controls. From the Trade Paperback edition.
How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility
Author: Michael Phillips
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Category: Mycorrhizal fungi
Regenerative practices for the farm, garden, orchard, forest, and landscape Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to recognize just how important they are to the making of dynamic soils. These microscopic organisms partner with the root systems of approximately 95 percent of the plants on Earth, and they sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human "carbon offsets" will ever achieve. Pick up a handful of old-growth forest soil and you are holding 26 miles of threadlike fungal mycelia, if it could be stretched it out in a straight line. Most of these soil fungi are mycorrhizal, supporting plant health in elegant and sophisticated ways. The boost to green immune function in plants and community-wide networking turns out to be the true basis of ecosystem resiliency. A profound intelligence exists in the underground nutrient exchange between fungi and plant roots, which in turn determines the nutrient density of the foods we grow and eat. Exploring the science of symbiotic fungi in layman's terms, holistic farmer Michael Phillips (author of The Holistic Orchard and The Apple Grower) sets the stage for practical applications across the landscape. The real impetus behind no-till farming, gardening with mulches, cover cropping, digging with broadforks, shallow cultivation, forest-edge orcharding, and everything related to permaculture is to help the plants and fungi to prosper . . . which means we prosper as well. Building soil structure and fertility that lasts for ages results only once we comprehend the nondisturbance principle. As the author says, "What a grower understands, a grower will do." Mycorrhizal Planet abounds with insights into "fungal consciousness" and offers practical, regenerative techniques that are pertinent to gardeners, landscapers, orchardists, foresters, and farmers. Michael's fungal acumen will resonate with everyone who is fascinated with the unseen workings of nature and concerned about maintaining and restoring the health of our soils, our climate, and the quality of life on Earth for generations to come.