Nature and Environmental Book Reviews

Short List of Best Nature and Environmental Books



Organic Gardening and Organic Farming

Recommended Books on Organic Gardening and Organic Farming

Agrarian DreamsAgrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California
Julie Guthman

Many believe organic farming to be the solution to sustainable agriculture. Refuting popular portrayals of organic agriculture as a small-scale family farm endeavor, Guthman explains how organic farming in California has replicated the industrial agriculture it set out to oppose. A fascinating overview of this modern trend. 2004, University of California Press

All New Square Foot GardeningAll New Square Foot Gardening
Mel Bartholomew

Do you know what the best feature is in All New Square Foot Gardening? Sure, there are ten new features in this all-new, updated book. Sure, it's even simpler than it was before. Of course, you don't have to worry about fertilizer or poor soil ever again because you'll be growing above the ground. But, the best feature is that anyone, anywhere can enjoy a Square Foot garden. Children, adults with limited mobility, even complete novices can achieve spectacular results. 2006, Cool Springs Press

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Short List of Best Recommended Nature and Environmental Books

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver and Steven L. Hopp

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle chronicles the year that novelist Barbara Kingsolver, along with her husband and two daughters, made a commitment to become locavores–those who eat only locally grown foods. They moved to the family farm in Virginia, where they began growing and raising their own food and supporting local farmers. For teens who grew up on supermarket offerings, the notion not only of growing one's own produce but also of harvesting one's own poultry was as foreign as the concept that different foods relate to different seasons. While the volume begins as an environmental treatise–the oil consumption related to transporting foodstuffs around the world is enormous–it ends, as the year ends, in a celebration of the food that physically nourishes even as the recipes and the memories of cooks and gardeners past nourish our hearts and souls. 2008, Harper Perennial

BurpeeBurpee: The Complete Vegetable & Herb Gardener: A Guide to Growing Your Garden Organically
Karen Davis Cutler, Cavagnarok David, Barbara W. Ellis and David Cavagnaro

Burpee has created a truly encyclopedic, but non-intimidating, guide to organic vegetable gardening that can be used and appreciated by anyone, whether or not they've ever stuck a seed in the ground. All the essential information is here--how to condition the soil, how and where to plant, sprouting schedules, what kind of yield to expect from each plant variety, and harvesting tips--in beautiful, bountiful, illustrated detail; the book's largest section, "Plant Portraits," contains explanations of the many cultivars of each vegetable and herb. If you're a novice vegetable gardener or new to organic gardening and can only afford one gardening guide, this is the one. 1997, Wiley

Carrots Love TomatoesCarrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening
Louise Riotte

This gardening classic was first published in 1975, and now a second generation of gardeners who prefer pest-resistant planning to chemicals will find a place for it on the shelves. Not only does it tell what to plant with what, but also how to use herbal sprays to control insects, what wild plants to encourage in the garden, how to grow fruit and nut trees, how to start small plots or window-box gardens, and much more. It's one of the most practical books around for any gardener of edibles, no matter how serious or casual. 1998, Storey Publishing

The Edible GardenThe Edible Garden
Editors of Sunset Books

Putting delicious food on the table doesn't get more fulfilling-or fresher-than this! Whether you have a tiny rooftop plot or a serious chunk of dirt, The Edible Garden is packed with practical advice for designing a horticultural haven that's as tasty as it is beautiful-just think of it as art you can eat! This appealing text covers tried-and-true methods as well as more avant garde approaches to growing herb gardens, vegetable plots, fruit trees, edible flowers, and more. 2004, Sunset Publishing Co.

Gaia's GardenGaia's Garden: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture
Toby Hemenway

Permaculture's central message: Working with Nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens. Gaia’s Garden brings the reach and depth of the permaculture approach to urban and suburban growers. As Hemenway demonstrates, it's fun and easy to create a "backyard ecosystem" by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively to build and maintain soil fertility, conserve water, provide habitat for beneficial insects, birds and animals and grow an edible "forest" that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods. 2009, Chelsea Green Publishing

Grow Great GrubGrow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces
Gayla Trail

Your patio, balcony, rooftop, front stoop, boulevard, windowsill, planter box, or fire escape is a potential fresh food garden waiting to happen. In Grow Great Grub, Gayla Trail, the founder of the leading online gardening community (, shows you how to grow your own delicious, affordable, organic edibles virtually anywhere. 2010, Clarkson Potter

McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful ContainerMcGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container: Create Container Gardens of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers
Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey

McGee and Stuckey share their expertise and experience in the art of container gardening. Armed with this manual, frustrated apartment dwellers can indulge their passion for growing edible things. If there is an available balcony, porch, front or back steps, growing produce in containers can be easy and rewarding. It is even possible to grow foods in a window box or on an indoor windowsill. This compendium of practical advice includes detailed information on the types of containers to use, the right soil, when to plant which seeds and how best to deal with problems such as too much or too little sunlight. Written for the beginner as well as for those with a background in gardening, McGee and Stuckey's directions are comprehensive, clearly written and frequently inspiring. 2002, Workman Publishing Company

Organic FarmingOrganic Farming: an International History
W. Lockeretz

Beginning as a small protest to the industrialization of agriculture in the 1920's, organic farming has become a significant force in agricultural policy, marketing, and research. Illustrated with case histories of important organic institutions in various countries, this is the first comprehensive historical overview of organic farming. 2007, Cabi Publishing

The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease ControlThe Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control: A Complete Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Garden and Yard the Earth-Friendly Way
Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara W. Ellis, and Deborah L. Martin

With growing consumer awareness about the dangers of garden chemicals, turn to The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control as the most reliable and comprehensive guide on the garden shelf. With all-new photos of common and recently introduced pests and plant diseases, you can quickly identify whether you've discovered garden friend or foe and what action, if any, you should take. No other reference includes a wider range of methods for growing and maintaining an organic garden. 2010, Rodale Books

The Rodale Book of CompostingThe Rodale Book of Composting: Easy Methods for Every Gardener
Grace Gershuny and Deborah L. Martin, editors

The broad spectrum of information given in The Rodale Book of Composting will be useful from backyard urban gardening on up to industrial, municipal, and farm recycling. The first quarter of the book gives you all you ever wanted to know on the science of composting--and more--along with some history. A discussion of materials, methods, structures, equipment, and uses is followed by a brief look at large-scale composting. 1992, Rodale Books

Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic GardeningRodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener
Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara Ellis, and Ellen Phillips, editors

Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening has been the go-to resource for gardeners for more than 50 years—and the best tool novices can buy to start applying organic methods to their fruit and vegetable crops, herbs, trees and shrubs, perennials, annuals, and lawns. This thoroughly revised and updated version highlights new organic pest controls, new fertilizer products, improved gardening techniques, the latest organic soil practices, and new trends in garden design. 2009, Rodale Books

Tauton's Complete Guide to Growing Vegetables and Herbs
Short List of Best Recommended Nature and Environmental Books

Taunton's Complete Guide to Growing Vegetables and Herbs
Ruth Lively

From planning and planting to harvesting, this is the most comprehensive and authoritative guide to growing your own vegetables and herbs. First-rate gardening pros share their expertise on designing a garden of any size, as well as fundamentals about soil, irrigation, pest control, crop rotation, and more. With detailed advice on growing 85 crops, plus sidebars on how to make a garden as attractive as it is productive, readers will delight in finding all the information they’ll ever need on vegetable gardening in one place. 2011, Taunton Press

Tomorrow's TableTomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food
Pamela C. Ronald and R. W. Adamchak

With the world’s population projected to grow some 50 percent by midcentury, rigorous agricultural planning becomes indispensable to forestall the onset of ecological and human disaster. Ronald and Adamchak examine the often-passionate debate about genetically engineered food and how it may affect the food supply of the future, meticulously dissecting arguments for and against such application of science. This wildly eccentric book juxtaposes deep scientific analysis of genetically engineered agriculture with recipes for such homey kitchen staples as cornbread and chocolate chip cookies. In a marvelously useful table, they outline a history of biological technology from 4000 BC through the dawn of the twenty-first century. 2010, Oxford University Press

Vertical GardeningVertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space
Derek Fell

The biggest mistake gardeners make each season is starting out too big and then quickly realizing
their large plot requires too much weeding, watering, and backbreaking labor. Vertical gardening guarantees a better outcome from the day the trowel hits the soil—by shrinking the amount of “floor” space needed and focusing on climbing plants that are less prone to insects, diseases, and animal pests. Notable author and gardener Derek Fell has tried and tested thousands of varieties of vegetables,
flowers, and fruits and recommends the best plants for space-saving vertical gardening. 2011, Rodale Books

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