Friday, 28 September 2012

Books to Inspire the Gardener Within: Repost from old blog to new.

Upon thinking of what I may write to help inspire or encourage people to get out and stick their hands in the earth, I became lost for words. I decided instead to share with you some of the many books that have inspired me over the past few years to make the choices I have in gardening.

Our relationship with food is what got me out in to the garden. I wanted to ensure my family eats healthy nutritious, organically homegrown food as much as possible. To know where our food had come from and that we had raised it ourselves.

Reading these books made me think more and inspired my persistance for gardening when I felt like a failure and wanted to throw the trowel in.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbera Kingsolver
This book is the journey of an American mum and her family to endeavour on a year of seaonal locavore eating. It includes recipes at the end of each month using the vegetables they were able to source or grow that month.

A year of Slow Food by David and Gerda Foster
This an Australian story very similar to Barbera Kingsolvers book. It also contains recipes for seasonal eating. What inspires me most is Davids cow and bee keeping. A joy I have yet to experience myself.

For beginners that are confused on where to start in the basics of gardening I always say the key to success is reasearch, learning and SOIL and COMPOST
For great reads on soil and compost have a look at:

Soil Food-1372 ways to add fertility to your soil by Jackie French
This is a great book that details the dynamics of soil, how it works and ways to feed it for maximum potential. There is a section that tells how to treat soil for specific food crops.

The Compost Book by David and Yvonne Taylor
This book is a very detailed book compared to others I have read. It tells of what compost is, how to make compost and even has an alphabetised list of all the different things you can put in compost nad how they benefit it.
Did you know you can use Yarrow and Yoghurt to accelerate composting? We throw these down our composting toilet instead of having to buy the accelerator from the company we bought the toilet through.

When it comes to actual planting I like to keep these books on hand and refer to them constantly

The Seedsavers' Handbook by Michel and Jude Fanton of the Seedsavers Network in Byron Bay
This book tells of how to propogate, grow, select, save and store seeds from your garden ensuring good stock of open pollinated plants. It even includes plants that you may not have heard of before such as Aramanth, Kale, Celeriac and Celtuce.

Companion Planting in Australia by Brenda Little
Companion planting is a process of planting certain plants together that compliment one or boths growth by the output of root excretions or leaf exudates.
These plants can benefit each other by repelling isects and providing nutrients to each other, such as beans providing nitrogen interplanted with potatoes which use that nitrogen.
In the same way plants can be harmful to each other, like tomato roots excreting toxins that only herbs like basil and parsley can tolerate. These herbs also ward off insects and benefit the growth of tomatoes.

And for those with chickens or thinking of having backyard chickens you really can't go past...

Backyard Poultry-Naturally by Alanna Moore.
This is a book to be read to believe how fantastic it is. It includes breeds of chickens and ducks, generous pen ideas, chook medicianl herb listings and even natural ways to rid chooks of illness and disease.

With the use of good organic open pollinated seed, healthy soil, great compost and companion planting I have been able to reduce the ammount of pest problems my gardens encounter, increasing the output of produce for us to eat.

I hope these help you to feel inspired and head outside with bare hands, pick up that manure, soil or compost and take in a great deep breath of it's true beauty and feel it's potential to feed your family.

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