Our Mission:

Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Short Days, Cold Nights & Good Reads

With howling northwest winds and below freezing temperatures even for the daytime highs, the weather is becoming more and more like winter.

With conditions like this the evenings are great times for snuggling up by the fire with a good book.  Maybe with a mug of hot chocolate, coffee or a cup of egg nog, 'tis the season!

Right now I am reading a paperback copy of Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway, the popular introduction into permaculture and ecological design for home gardeners.

I'm also reading the e-version of A New Vison for Iowa Food and Agriculture by Francis Thicke, a past candidate for Secretary of Agriculture, who raises pastured dairy using natural systems as a model.  I'm enjoying his commentary on the status quo and Iowa's potential.  If you're lucky you might be able to get some of their milk through the Iowa Food Cooperative.

I just loaned out my copy of Mini Farming:Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett L. Markham.  This was one of the first books I read after we moved into this home and started our gardens.
Also on my reading list is Shrink-Smart Small Towns: Communities can still thrive as they lose population by David Peters available to download for free from Iowa State Extension.  I'm really interested in preserving our rural communities, the schools and economies, and am hopeful that regenerative agriculture will play a part as time goes on.

         What's On Your Reading List?
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Here are some other books I would recommend for readers interested in a good book to help inspire a landscape change or just kindle the dream of next season while the fireplace crackles.
Paradise Lot by Eric Toensmier and Jonathan Bates is the story of two plant geeks and their experience transforming a tenth acre lot surrounding a Holyoake, Massachusetts duplex into an edible oasis. 

If you like this book and are really interested in a deep dive into forest gardening Eric's 2-volume book Edible Forest Gardens with Dave Jacke is a veritable encyclopedia of theory and examples.

Taking the forest gardening concept to large scale agricultural systems is Mark Shepard.  His book Restoration Agriculture explains how by mimicking natural ecosystems we can create diverse, and profitable, agricultural systems that provide all our needs of food, fuel, building materials and more with more resiliency with less reliance on input heavy annual crops.

Along the same lines and previous to Mark's work is one of the inspirational works that led to the origin of Permaculture is Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture by J Russell Smith.

Another book I have to read this winter was a gift from a customer this year.  Thank you!  The Urban Farmer by Curtis Stone is a practical hands on guide to growing food for profit in your own and others backyards.  Curtis is a regular on the Permaculture Voices podcast with Diego Footer and our own local urban garden market, Dogpatch Urban Gardens, took the lessons in this book and ran with them.

There's also The One Straw Revolution, Mycelium Running, Sepp Holzer's Permaculture, The Resilient Farm and Homestead, and on and on and on...

The possibilities are sure to fill your downtime this winter and bookshelves for winters to come!

Happy Reading!

Schedule your design now, and be ready for installation this Spring!

Don't forget your indoor plants, a little boost from Browne Atlas's worm castings will do them good!

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