Here’s a great resource guide from my friend Evelyn Vincent!…~Richard
Many already know Ive been interested in plants since the age of 4. I began using herbal remedies when I was about 16, started using essential oils 20 years ago.My previous business was in landscaping, I was probably the only landscaper in the US who didnt own a lawn mower or snow plow. I primarily focused on creating garden rooms (suitable for people as well as certification for Backyard Wildlife Habitats http://www.nwf.org/backyard through the National Wildlife Federation). Another aspect I brought to my business was knowledge of native plants, a passion of mine, and training as a classical Feng Shui practitioner.
Below is a list of resources that helped me to make better choices, and much progress over the years while I learned. I hope you will find them useful and that they encourage you to become more healthy, green, and contribute to maintaining the biodiversity that is being lost.
Great Sources for Seeds
Johnnys Selected Seeds http://johnnyseed.com/ – an employee-owned company. Has a very nice selection of Heirloom, organic, and non-hybrid seed choices.
Seed Savers Exchange http://www.seedsavers.org/ – A non-profit organization of gardeners who save and share heirloom seed.
The Cooks Garden http://www.cooksgarden.com/ – a nice assortment of seeds, particularly geared for those who love to garden and cook.
Books that I love which have made a difference in my relationship to plants, growing, and mother nature…
Four-Season Harvest (Revised/Expanded 2nd Edition) by Eliot Coleman
This book is a must for any gardener or small farmer – I have found this book so useful that I often took it out into the garden with me when I was learning to apply Eliot Colemans principles. He is responsible for me building my first unheated greenhouse and growing vegetables in it year round in zone 5, in central PA. I cannot recommend this book more highly!
First published in 1992. Eliot Coleman introduces gardeners to a simple, efficient system for growing and harvesting fresh organic vegetables the entire year, regardless of climate. This new edition describes the evolution and perfection of these techniques.
Garden Seed Inventory Sixth Edition
Highly recommended! Comprehensive inventory of 274 U.S. and Canadian mail-order seed catalogs with varietal descriptions and ordering information for 8,494 standard (non-hybrid) vegetables. This updated and expanded Sixth Edition lists 2,657 newly introduced varieties, many of which are heirlooms obtained from Seed Savers Yearbook or Heritage Farms seed collections. Vegetable gardeners can search everything commercially available to locate varieties perfect for their climate and resistant to local diseases and pests. Unique sourcebook widely used by gardeners and plant breeders as a preservation tool to purchase endangered varieties while sources still exist.
Fruit, Berry and Nut Inventory by Kent Whealy
An inventory of all the fruit, berry and nut varieties available by mail-order in the United States. Over 300 mail-order nursery catalogs are represented. Why settle for the same old red delicious apples when there are 66 pages of apples to choose from! Over 6 pages of nectarines, or how about a page of Jujube, or the more exotic whortleberry, sugarberry, and tree tomato? Good descriptions of each variety, where it will grow, and the nurseries that offer it. By adopting a rare fruit tree you enrich your life in a delicious way, while helping save a national heritage.
Seed to Seed (Second Edition) by Suzanne Ashworth
Complete seed-saving guide that describes specific techniques for 160 vegetables, including botanical classifications, flower structure and pollination, population size, isolation distances, and techniques for caging, hand-pollination, harvesting, drying, cleaning and storage. This newly updated and greatly expanded Second Edition now includes how to start each vegetable from seed, which has turned the book into a complete growing guide. Expert gardeners from seven regions of the U.S. have shared their seed-starting techniques. An invaluable, comprehensive reference book for maintaining heirlooms and preserving our vegetable heritage.
The New Seed-Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel
This easy-to-use reference book explains everything you need to know on starting seeds successfully, including the latest research, best growing media, gardening materials, plus sources for seeds and hard-to-find gardening supplies.
The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
A simple question: What should we have for dinner? A fresh perspective to this dilemma by following each food chain from the ground up, looking at the social, ethical, and environmental impact of four different meals. Teaches readers how to make healthy and responsible choices.
The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist by Michael Phillips
This book provides organic solutions for commercial orchardists or backyard gardeners, and practical growing and marketing advice for organic farmers and CSA growers. Fascinating stories of apple traditions and antique varieties. Lists sources for orchard equipment, organic nurseries and supplies.
Secrets of Plant Propagation by Lewis Hill
Voted one of Americas 75 best garden books by the American Horticultural Society. Gardeners find step-by-step instructions for propagating flowers, vegetables, fruits, berries, shrubs, trees and houseplants. Chapters on grafting fruit trees and seed starting provide dependable techniques for gardeners trying to propagate heirloom plants and trees.
The BackYard Orchardist by Stella Otto
A complete and practical guide to growing apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots and plums in the home garden. This highly informative book includes chapters on selecting the right site, planting, growing trees successfully in containers, caring for the trees, controlling pests and diseases, basic pruning techniques, harvest and storage.
IPM for Gardeners: a guide to Integrated Pest Management by Raymond A. Cloyd
A common sense approach. Learning to observe plants and when there is trouble, the least toxic cure is tried first. No potentially hazardous chemical is ever used. A holistic approach to the well-being of our outdoor spaces that identifies knowledge as the number one weapon in a gardeners arsenal. A great book for amateurs and professionals!
When I discovered this book I stopped using my other cutesy garden pest remedy books telling you how to use all kinds of kitchen remedies – I love this book and highly recommend it! Learn how to really grow, from the soil organisms up – rather than finding kitchen remedies once a pest strikes!
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
The Cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats – excellent book!!!
A full-spectrum nutritional cookbook with a startling messageanimal fats and cholesterol are vital factors in the human diet, necessary for reproduction and normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Includes information on how to prepare grains, health benefits of bone broths and enzyme-rich lacto-fermented foods. Be sure to visit her, Ask Sally Fallon Blog http://nourishedmagazine.com.au/blog/topics/ask-sally-fallon
Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons
Euell Gibbons was one of the few people in this country to devote a considerable part of his life to the adventure of living off the land. He sought out wild plants all over North America and made them into delicious dishes. His book includes recipes for vegetable and casserole dishes, breads, cakes, muffins and twenty different pies. He also shows how to make numerous jellies, jams, teas, and wines, and how to sweeten them with wild honey or homemade maple syrup.
Wild Foods Field Guide and Cookbook by Billy Joe Tatum
This is the classic guide to finding and preparing more than 70 wild edibles. I encourage you to learn proper identification of wild native plants and experience eating weeds – they are far more nutritious than the stuff called produce in the stores! Learn how to properly prepare weeds for delicious additions to your diet.
Eat the Weeds by Ben Charles Harris
How to find, prepare and preserve 150 natural delights from acorns to yarrow. This will show you how to prepare free food that you can find in many locations – please make sure the area in which youre harvesting is not ear a road (pollution from vehicles).
Tom Browns Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants by Tom Brown, Jr.
For untold thousands of years, human beings have thrived on the nutritional and medicinal wealth of the plant life in the natural world. In these fascinating, wide-ranging, wonderfully informative stories, Tom Browndirector of the world-famous Tracking, Nature and Wilderness Survival Schooltells all about the uncommon benefits of the common trees, shrubs, flowers, and other plants we find around us.
The Neighborhood Forager: finding and preparing delicious wild foods anywhere by Robert K. Henderson
An expert forager provides a fine introduction to the most readily accessible and tasty salad greens, nuts, teas, seasonings, and other foodstuffs available in the gardens, fields, woodlands, and parking strips of North America.
A Dandelion Celebration: a guide to unexpected cuisine by Peter A. Gail
Discover the history, nutritional, and medicinal properties of this landscape arch villain as you learn to pick, prepare, and savor every part of the dandelion. Includes seventy-five ways to prepare dandelions.
The New Farm http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/ – Helping consumers, brokers, restaurateurs and other farmers find the farm services theyre looking for.
SARE http://www.sare.org/coreinfo/consumers.htm – Provides Grants and Information to Improve Profitability, Stewardship and Quality of Life – The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has helped advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program.
Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture http://www.kerrcenter.com/ – The Kerr Center was established to provide farmers and ranchers in the area with free technical assistance and information on how to improve their operations. Wise stewardship is emphasized.
Slow Food http://www.slowfood.com/ – The associations activities seek to defend biodiversity in our food supply, spread the education of taste, and link producers of excellent foods to consumers through events and initiatives.
Local Harvest http://www.localharvest.org/ – This website will help you find farmers markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably-grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
International Seed Saving Institute� http://www.seedsave.org/
Kitchen Gardeners International http://www.kitchengardeners.org/
The Heirloom Gardeners Assistant http://www.halcyon.com/tmend/heirloom.htm
Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions http://www.westonaprice.org/splash_2.htm
Good Gardening and Eating Tips
I think the best overall advice I can give is this…
There are many books, tools and gardening items available – most of which you dont really need. When I started my landscaping business, I had $100 worth of tools – and it wasnt until two years later that I made another investment, a wheelbarrow because my old one gave out.
What Im trying to say is, gardening things are a huge industry. If I can easily manage a full time landscaping business with $100 worth of tools the average gardener can do so too!
There are so many gardening books to choose from, they remind me of packing for foods, all competing for our attention. One after the next providing interesting if not down right hazardous ways to accomplish garden tasks.
For example: NEVER mulch your garden paths with old carpet, scraps of sheetrock, roofing paper, etc. – doing so is introducing some extremely toxic chemicals to your soil! I dont care how resourceful a book or tip seems to be – toxic is toxic and you do not want it near your food or soil!
Or, why use remedies or chemicals if you have carpenter ants when Bobwhite Quail http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/NDG/Quail/Bob/BRKBob.html will provide the means to eliminate them, plus provide hours of enjoyment! Make a good size pen for them, where they will stay for several months, theyll get used to people, be used to you feeding them, and when you eventually let them run loose many of them will hang around. Be sure to have a good environment for them – nesting places, fresh water, and food.
I didnt know Quail loved carpenter ants until I set them lose, they gobbled up those ants like crazy! There were a couple who loved to follow me around the garden when I worked. Theyd come running and flying in when I shouted out, Goodie-Goodie! When they were caged every time I brought food I said goodie-goodie, so they can be trained! They are charming birds that will not tear up your garden like ducks or chickens can!
I realize this is a touchy subject for some please keep cats indoors. They are extremely detrimental to native wildlife. Outdoor cats and feral cats have had such a negative impact on wildlife that its almost unbelievable. Cat lovers, dont hate me for saying so – its true and we need to behave responsibly with our pets.
Birds are having a difficult time maintaining their populations, lets do what we can to help them:
Millions of Missing Birds, Vanishing in Plain Sight http://www.audubon.org/news/CBID_NYTimes.html
American Birding Association http://www.americanbirding.org/
If mice are an issue, fill in their entry holes (in your house) with something theyre not doing to eat or move out of the way and use peppermint essential oil to keep them away (buy Peppermint essential oil here). If that doesnt work, try lavender essential oil – I recently read a study that said lavender made mice fight, if they fight enough theyll end up diminishing their populations on their own.
In general, try to avoid remedies in regards to pest management. You can accomplish this by “first” growing great soil organisms and doing things that create good soil structure, thus minimizing the need for remedies. Learn how at BioOrganics http://www.bio-organics.com/ and sign-up for their newsletter, its terrific!
Article by Evelyn Vincent avid Native and Heirloom Plant Lover.