It tends to be a bit quiet on the farm January through March. The chilly air, wind, and precipitation make it the perfect time of year to sit in front of the fire, read, and dream about the cool stuff you’re going to do in the upcoming growing season.
There is an overwhelming sea of books, ebooks, and magazines out there on the subject of farming/homesteading and I’ve found that it can be difficult to sort through the nonsense. So, today I thought I would share what resources I’ve found to be really helpful in planning for spring, summer, and fall on the farm.
Landscape Architectural Graphic Standards: Leonard J. Hopper, RLA, FASLA This book is a godsend. We have been trying to come up with an overall plan for responsible management of our land and this book on landscape architecture contains everything you’d ever need to know about site management and landscape planning. It details how to construct a driveway or road, how to calculate the shade value of a tree, how to divert water from structures, etc… I’d definitely recommend investing in this book to anyone with acreage to manage.
The Holistic Orchard: Michael Phillips I’ve just started reading this book but let me tell you, it’s really interesting. It reads a bit like a text book, but in my opinion, that’s a plus (the more you know, right?). There’s a lot of science in this book as this guy’s approach to orchards focuses on creating the healthiest environment for your trees as possible. He goes into great detail about the ecology of the trees and their pests. Definitely a fascinating read so far.
Growing a Sustainable Diet: Cindy Conner This book focuses on gardening rotationally with an emphasis on soil care using composting and cover crops. This would be great for folks who don’t have access to manure to supplement their soil or for vegetarian/vegan gardeners who want to avoid animal inputs. Super interesting.
Canning for a New Generation: Liana Krissoff I love this book. It’s full of modern and interesting canning recipes with plenty of info for the beginning canner. The photos are crisp and beautiful and recipes and suggestions on how to use your canned food are included. Plus, none of the recipes require a pressure canner. I made the recipe for Whole Jalapenos with Honey and Allspice and they’re pretty freakin’ awesome.
Raising the Homestead Hog: Jerome D. Belanger Because we’re planning to get a couple of pigs this spring, we’ve been trying to learn as much as we can about caring for them. Almost every website I visited in my search referenced this book as a ‘must have’ for the beginning pig farmer. It covers pig breeds, building pig enclosures with salvaged materials, growing your own feed, home butchering, and smoking/preserving your pork. It covers so much ground, it’s definitely a valuable resource.
Sow True Seed 2016 Catalog This is where I’ll get all my seeds and planning information for my summer and fall gardens. I’ve talked about this company before, but they’re local, sustainable, heirloom, and their seeds are super high quality so they’re definitely worth another mention. Sow True Seed’s annual catalog lives on my coffee table because it’s referenced so often through out the year.
Taproot Magazine Taproot is a magazine full of inspirational stories, art, photography, and crafts centered around intentional living. There is so much wholesome content for folks interested in food, education, community, art, and sustainability. It doesn’t really help me plan my season but it warms my farmy heart and keeps me inspired so I think you all should check it out.
What are you reading these days?