Our top recommendation has got to be The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman. It was reading this book which began to make us realise that perhaps, after all, it might be possible to realise our dream of growing organic vegetables at least semi-commercially. We started by trying out some of his methods on a small scale in our back garden and then transferred them to the field. Organising your plot, hoeing techniques, using soil blocks, extending the season - many really practical ideas. He is writing mainly for the serious grower with a larger plot, but there is something for every gardener here!
A few years ago, we found Oriental Vegetables by Joy Larkcom in the library and started reading. Here was a whole new range of vegetables we had never heard of, and ones that were apparently easy to grow and helped to fill the ‘hungry gap’ of late winter and early spring. Our favourite seed merchants sold some of them, and so we started experimenting. We found that many of our customers liked them too, proving themselves only too willing to try something new. If you want to try your hand at growing some of them, this book is the very best guide. Easy reading and fascinating. Lots of recipes and a whole section on gardening techniques. NEW EDITION
Another excellent book by Eliot Coleman. In Four Season Harvest, Eliot shows how to go on growing vegetables and salads right through the coldest winter. It works for him in a much colder part of the world (eastern USA) and it certainly works for us in warmer Devon! Some really good ideas and practical guidance for real 12 - month growing!
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The second (2008) edition of Graham Harvey’s impassioned plea for food with integrity. Thought-provoking ! If we weren’t already convinced about about growing as much of our own food as we can, it could well have got us started. Quite a bit here about the need for good mineral content in our food, and the beneficial effects of Rockdust for growing vegetables. But it is not just about growing your own - there is some good practical advice here to help everyone find real food, whether it is from your local farm shop (like us!) or from the shelves of the biggest supermarkets.
You may also like to check out Graham’s website.
Jean-Martin Fortier is a young Canadian who (like many of us) has been strongly influenced by Eliot Coleman, and has developed some of Eliot's ideas for his own market garden. His book The Market Gardener was first published in French but has proved really popular in both English and French editions. We were recommended to it by one of our customers and find it very useful. Jean-Martin Fortier is a passionate advocate of strong local food systems and founder of Les Jardins de la Grelinette, an internationally recognized model for successful biointensive micro-farming. J-M’s website