These books for small-scale organic farmers can help you grow produce to sell, and use nature’s wisdom over chemicals. Just like living on junk food, land that gets hooked on drugs needs more drugs, but transitioning to no-dig organic gardening is better for all. Get low-cost organic certification at Wholesome Food Association.
See plants & trees to avoid near pets (avoid cocoa/pine/rubber mulch & fresh compost near pets). Use humane safe slug/snail deterrents and safer alternatives to netting for wildlife. Many plants (inc. yew & oak trees) are toxic to equines. Also see how to grow herbs.
If growing near houses or in greenhouses, keep plants away from pets (cats may knock them over). Never place plants near windows, as this confuses birds. See how to stop birds flying into windows.
- The No-Till Vegetable Farm is a method of growing crops without disturbing the soil. This book by the manager of a Maine no-till farms outlines environmental, social and economic benefits, and describes methods to grow food on human power.
- Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Diary is 75% advice on how to grow crops, and 25% writing space, linked to each week of the season (clearing weeds, feeding soil, sowing, harvesting and storing vegetables).Feed oil just once a year, and maintain weeds through mulching & hoeing. Charles accepts he’ll lose some crops to wildlife – some rabbits are so tame they ‘wave through the conservatory window while they eat supper!)
- No-Till Intensive Vegetable Culture is by veteran organic grower Bryan O’Hara, who shows how to grow high-yield vegetables using his popular no-till method. He perfected the technique on his Connecticut vegetable farm.
- The Living Soil Handbook is by a Kentucky farmer who grows and sells food, without digging. Keep soil covered, keep it planted and disturb as little as possible. The book covers soil biology and how to turn beds, use compost and mulch and grow six major crops.
- The Food Forest Handbook shows you how to grow your own food in a mini-forest. After good soil, planting, mulching and pruning, you can just leave it to grow food for you: fruit and nut trees, shrubs, vines, perennial herbs and vegetables.
- Compact Farms includes 15 plans for small-scale farmers. The illustrated guides are ideal for anyone with 5 acres or less. Covers water supply, orientation and geography and includes profiles of successful small organic farmers.