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Pre-2008 Posts

Two Words

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Seed Catalogs!

This is actually a 2007 post, resurrected and revised so I can plug Bountiful Gardens once again!  Their 2008 seed catalog which I received a couple weeks ago is as awesome as all their seed catalogs are, more like a book full of good reading than a seed catalog. 

From John Jeavons’ annual letter to friends and customers:

As we are all aware, there’s a lot of interest and commentary lately about Peak Oil.  What is not so obvious is that Peak Soil,  Peak Water, and Peak Food may soon follow.  This is not something any of us wants to hear.  It can feel overwhelming!

There are ways, however, that each of us can make a difference — in our own backyard.  It’s possible to use 94% – 99% less energy per pound of food produced — compared to conventional agriculture — using your own energy at home combined with GROW BIOINTENSIVE sustainable mini-farming.  It works with just compost, nutrients in organic fertilizer form and open-pollinated seeds!  When we do this we become part of a solution to global warming — excess carbon dioxide is taken out of the air due to the increased plants in our garden and the increased amount of compost and roots that are in the soil because of the biologically intensive system!

In August I taught a six-day workshop at Manor House Agricultural Centre in western Kenya.  There were 138 participants, mainly from Kenya, but also from seven other African countries.  The purpose was to  help stimulate the African continent in its own “re-greening” process, encouraging a surge of small-scale farms growing foods more productively  using GROW BIOINTENSIVE.

 Here at home we can have our own “re-greening” and feed our soil abundantly using the 60/3010 system:  growing 60% compost crops that also provide food, 30% calorie-efficient special root crops, and 10% vegetables to provide the additional vitamins and minerals we need for health.  This catalog has the seeds that will support that system.  Corn, an excellent 60% crop, provides a large amount of biomass for compost as well as delicious food. Black Aztec corn was grown by the Aztecs 2,000 years ago.   Its kernels are white and sweet but turn black when dried and make excellent blue flour.

Some of the special root crops which provide a large number of calories per unit of area and time are leeks, parsnips and burdock.  Leeks have a great flavor raw or cooked and their leaves and stalks are all edible.  They make a delicious addition to soups and stews.  …Parsnips are hardier than carrots, and a freeze improves their flavor.  Takinogawa Long burdock not only supplies food but has medicinal qualities and is an important vegetable in China and Japan.  Its roots cook like carrot with a sweet, rich flavor. 

…Currently people in 130 countries are using biointensive p ractices.  You can become a member and support this wonderful work that addresses not only food security but many of the other challnges now facing all of the Earth. 

The Bountiful Gardens catalog is my all-time favorite source for open-pollinated seeds, books on sustainable agriculture, composting, intensive beds, tools, row covers, and research papers from Ecology Action of the Midpeninsula/Bountiful Gardens.  Here is a sampling of research papers available for order, many for less than three bucks:

  • Biointensive Mini-Farming:  A Rational Use of Natural Resources
  • The Complete 21-Bed Biointensive Mini-Farm
  • Dried, Cut and Edible Flowers for Pleasure, Food and Income
  • Learning to Grow All Your Own Food:  One Bed Model for Compost, Diet and Income Crops
  • The Smallest Possible Area to Grow Food and Feed
  • Sustainable diet and dairy production for a family with one cow
  • Solar Water Heater
  • Intensive Food Production on a Human Scale: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Small Scale and Intensive Food Production
  • Siberian Biointensive Research Report
  • Biodynamic Gardening in India
  • One Basic Kenyan Diet:  Diet, Income and Compost Crop Designs in a Three Bed Learning Model

Then there are these books available:

  • Nourishing Traditions …wonderful unusual recipes from all over the world.  The author disputes modern “fat-free” theories and tries to show how different cultures have been able to achieve balanced and healthful diets using their own local food sources.
  • The Expanding World of Solar Box Cookers
  • Handy Farm Devices:  How to Make Them
  • Growing Medicinal Herbs in as Little as Fifty Square Feet– Uses and Recipes
  • Herbal Antibiotics  With the increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, scientists are now studying medicinal herbs such as garlic and echinacea.  This book presents some current information about the herbs most effective in fighting drug-resistant bacteria.

New!  For 2008

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Vol. 1,  Guiding Principles — An introduction to harvesting, storing, conserving and use of water in gardens and landscapes especially for gardeners in arid regions.

Natural Beekeeping — Organic approaches to modern agriculture

The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide — A guide to living off the land and a field guide to plants in the US including description, uses, nutritional analysis, collection and storage and recipes

Many of Bountiful Gardens’ resources are available in Spanish, Russian, French,  Chinese, Portuguese, German, Japanese, Arabic.

Order the catalog!

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Two Words

  1. Sigh. No planting for me this year. North Carolina is in extreme drought.

    Posted by Miranda | January 12, 2008, 8:14 pm
  2. Several of these books look like they’d be helpful as I prepare for the next growing season. In particular, those that emphasize growing in a small area, as I am living in a city and will have only a small plot in a communal back yard to use.

    Growing our own food is a great way for each of us to save money, as well as to reduce one’s carbon footprint. Besides, having fresh vegetables right in my backyard makes me much more likely to eat them!

    For water, I will look into a rainbarrel system and saving of greywater for irrigation of vegetables.

    Posted by Harpy_75 | January 13, 2008, 5:25 pm

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