Monday, May 16, 2011

Cathy's Recommendations For Urban Homesteaders

I live in the vicinity of Yale/I25 and Colorado Boulevard. Not exactly the country.  My neighbor across the street has 8 chickens.  The family at the end of the cul de sac has a goat and a miniature horse and around the corner and down a few houses are horses grazing in a back yard.   Vegetable gardens abound in my neighborhood, from a few containers of tomatoes to large plots.   There is a network in the city of like minded urban farmers that grows each year.  Would you like to join the movement?  Here are some books that
will help get you started.

Composting Inside and Out
Composting Inside and Out is beneficial to anyone who grows houseplants, maintains a large garden, or participates in community gardening. The practical guide will teach why it's important to compost, the many methods of composting, and the benefits of turning trash into soil nutrients.

 The New Food Garden
This groundbreaking new book expands the concept of food gardening to embrace the whole garden. The new food garden is centered around the intensive vegetable garden, but doesn’t stop there. It puts hedges, ponds, pathways, arbors, lawns, roofs, and walls to work as additional growing space for food plants. Fruit and nut trees, bush fruit, edible vines, perennial vegetables, herbs, annual crops, aquatic plants, weeds, and edible wild plants are used to increase the quantity and variety of foods available with little extra work. The author doesn’t just look upon the garden as a place to grow food, however; it is a place to be lived in and used, so he also concentrates on making it beautiful, comfortable, and efficient. He describes practical ways in which the garden can help us to reduce our impact on the earth. Included is advice on making the garden pay for itself, or even to provide an income. The author’s ultimate aim is to change the way we approach the garden so that it feeds, heals, and nurtures us. The productive garden should be an integral part of the home, and growing food should be a part of everyday life.

 Food Not Lawns
Gardening can be a political act. Creativity, fulfillment, connection, revolution--it all begins when we get our hands in the dirt. Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on ecological design and community-building with a fresh, green perspective on an age-old subject. Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step permaculture design to help farmsteaders and city dwellers alike build fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own "paradise gardens." But Food Not Lawns doesnt begin and end in the seed bed. This joyful permaculture lifestyle manual inspires readers to apply the principles of the paradise garden--simplicity, resourcefulness, creativity, mindfulness, and community--to all aspects of life. Plant "guerilla gardens" in barren intersections and medians; organize community meals; start a street theater troupe or host a local art swap; free your kitchen from refrigeration and enjoy truly fresh, nourishing foods from your own plot of land; work with children to create garden play spaces. Flores cares passionately about the damaged state of our environment and the ills of our throwaway society. In Food Not Lawns, she shows us how to reclaim the earth one garden at a time.

 Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes
Chicken coops have never been so chic! From organic gardens in parking lots to rooftop beekeeping, the appeal of urban homesteading is widespread. Chicken and Egg tells the story of veteran food writer Janice Cole, who, like so many other urbanites, took up the revolutionary hobby of raising chickens at home. From picking out the perfect coop to producing the miracle of the first egg, Cole shares her now-expert insights into the trials, triumphs, and bonds that result when human and hen live in close quarters. With 125 recipes for delicious chicken and egg dishes, poultry lovers, backyard farmers, and those contemplating taking the leap will adore this captivating illustrated memoir!

 The Beekeeper's Bible
The Beekeeper’s Bible is as much an ultimate guide to the practical essentials of beekeeping as it is a beautiful almanac to be read from cover to cover. Part history book, part handbook, and part cookbook, this illustrated tome covers every facet of the ancient hobby of beekeeping, from how to manage hives safely to harvesting one's own honey, and ideas for how to use honey and beeswax. Detailed instructions for making candles, furniture polish, beauty products, and nearly 100 honey-themed recipes are included. Fully illustrated with how-to photography and unique etchings, any backyard enthusiast or gardener can confidently dive into beekeeping with this book in hand (or daydream about harvesting their own honey while relaxing in the comfort of an armchair).

 Undaunted Garden
From "bulb lawns" to "the never summer garden," from "perennials with fortitude" to
"annuals that span the seasons," Lauren Springer delivers us the stalwart garden. With
infectious enthusiasm, she offers down-to-earth advice and recommendations for sturdy, effortless, and beautiful plants and how to compose them with style.
Her gorgeous new edition of this best-selling book includes:
--375 new full-color photographs
--100 portraits of underused, exceptional plants
--Information on drought-tolerant and deer-resistant plants
--Discussions on weeds, sustainability, and adaptability

Bird by Bird Gardening
In a book that she considers her life’s work, veteran gardener and naturalist Sally Roth takes the chance and happenstance out of backyard birding. Readers learn what design features and edible treats will tempt particular bird families so that their birdbaths and feeders will be overflowing with the visitors of their choice. Bird-by-Bird Gardening includes nineteen garden designs for attracting specific bird families—such as hummingbirds, nuthatches, swallows, thrushes, or wrens—as well as water projects and feeder recipes for each bird family. With Rodale's best-selling bird author to guide them, bird lovers will soon have their favorite birds lingering longer in the backyard—and revisiting year after year.

Gardening Month by Month
Whether you are a green-thumbed guru or are just starting out, learn what to do when to ensure your plants are well cared for and that your garden blooms all year round in Gardening Month by Month


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