Organic Ways and Wisdom

Farmers of Forty Centuries

Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan

F. H. King

Includes 248 black and white photos taken by the author.


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I have carried a copy of Farmers of Forty Centuries around with me for almost 40 years and go back to it regularly, each time finding something new, useful, and insightful that I somehow hadn't really seen in all my previous readings.  It is simply a work of genius, the warm and thorough descriptions of the way the people of these three cultures have worked with and cared for the Earth throughout, literally, 40 centuries.

F. H. King lived and worked in the late 19th /early 20th centuries.  He was one of the founders of the University of Wisconsin School of Agriculture, and left behind a body of work and a human approach to the task of growing and producing food that inspires and informs even today.  Farmers of Forty Centuries chronicles his journey of observation to China, Korea and Japan.  It went out of print shortly after I purchased my copy those many years ago, and returned to print only last year (2011).  I can't describe how happy it makes me to be able to offer it to you now - really, it is the fulfillment of a dream I've long held.

If you are interested in gardening and farming, or if you find a richness in learning about the daily lives and work of people who lived more simply than we do now, you will find a lifetime of wonder and information in this single book.  Your gardening will improve, your farming will take on a simpler, more effective pathway, and your understanding of the world and its variety of wisdom will grow enormously.

This book is a treasure.  I hope you all find your way to it.

The One-Straw Revolution

An Introduction to Natural Farming

Masanobu Fukuoka


Preface by Wendell Berry

Introduction by Frances Moore Lappé


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I think that in many ways The One-Straw Revolution is one of the most meaningful and inspiring books ever written about agriculture and also about human life.  It has certainly been one of the most meaningful and inspiring books in both our lives.  About a decade before we met, both Bob and I were reading Fukuoka's beautiful thoughts and doing what we could to bring them to bear on our own lives.  Our lives, of course, continued to move on and both of us managed to lose our precious copies, also before we met.  Fukuoka's thoughts and experiences continued to live within us, but so did thousands of other things.  We discovered the importance of this book in each other's lives only a couple of years ago, after it had been out of print for about a dozen years.  We tracked down an affordable used copy and revisited our old friend and his wisdom once again.  It was like being reinvigorated, refreshed and renewed ~ we brought to life again ways of gardening, of living that had remained dormant for many, many years.  Both we and our garden have thrived in new ways as a result.

What you will find between the covers of this book is in no way a conventional "how-to" about natural farming or gardening or eating.  Instead, you'll be given that rare opportunity to see the world through the eyes of someone who was so convinced by a single idea, namely, that nature always knows more than human beings, that he devoted his life to learning to comprehend nature's way of doing things and how he could shape his farming practices to let nature tend the crops and animals in the best way possible.

You'll be introduced to the cycle of the year from the perspective of sequential growing and harvesting; you'll find ways of supporting relationships between plants and animals such that each nourishes the other's life; you'll even find how human life and human needs can be best met in terms of food through the seasons and a work load that is steady but not overbearing.

In short, you'll find a way of looking at and understanding the world around you that has the possibility both figuratively and literally, to feed you body and soul throughout your life.

It is so very wonderful to find this book back in print!

How to Grow More Vegetables* - 8th Edition

*Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine

John Jeavons

8th Edition, Revised

Foreword by Alice Waters



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John's methods are nothing short of miraculous.
- Alice Waters (from the Foreword)

Decades before the terms "eco-friendly" and "sustainable growing" entered the vernacular, How to Grow More Vegetables demonstrated that small-scale, high-yield, all-organic gardening methods could yield bountiful grops over multiple growing cycles using minimal resources in a suburban environment.

The concept that John Jeavons and the team at Ecology Action launched more than 40 years ago has been embraced by the mainstream ad continues to gather momentum.  Today, How to Grow More Vegetables, now in its fully revised and updated 8th edition, is the go-to reference for food growers at every level: from home gardeners dedicated to nurturing their backyard edibles in maximum harmony with nature's cycles, to small-scale commercial producers interested in optimizing soil fertility and increasing plant productivity.

Whether you hope to harvest your first tomatoes next summer or are planning to grow enough to feed your whole family in years to come, How to Grow More Vegetables is your indispensable sustainable garden guide.  I have used these methods for as long as this book has been in print, and have never found it wanting for sound advice that yields beautiful harvests.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The Sustainable Vegetable Garden

A Backyard Guide to Healthy Soil and Higher Yields

John Jeavons and Carol Cox



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From the author of the widely beloved How to Grow More Vegetables comes this concise and more focused introduction to biointensive gardening that shows it is not only possible but easy to grow astonishing crops of healthful organic vegetables and fruits, while conserving resources and actually helping the soil.

The Sustainable Vegetable Garden presents the basic principles of this gardening classic in concise, easy-to-understand terms accessible to even a beginning backyard gardener. You'll learn to view your garden as its own mini-ecosystem and to foster the soil's life-giving cycles of nourishment and replenishment. By using these Biointensive techniques and working in concert with the cycles of nature, you'll soon produce yields up to four times greater than are possible with conventional methods, and in a fraction of the space! More importantly, you'll be preserving and enriching for future generations one of our most precious resources: the soil itself. With this book at your side, you'll be part of the ecological solution, for sure!


The Organic Lawn Care Manual

A Natural, Low-Maintenance System for a Beautiful, Safe Lawn

Paul Tukey



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Make your lawn a place where you're happy to see your children play! I am so impressed with Paul Tukey's beautiful book - it really does give simple and effective guidance for creating a child-friendly, pet-friendly, bird- and planet-friendly lawn. Many of the methods he mentions are one's we've used in different places and at different times - we can vouch for their effectiveness. Many others are new to us, but are so logically straightforward that we don't doubt for a minute they will work.

A real plus for those whose lives have them moving from place to place is that Tukey offers instructions, ideas and suggestions for different locales - everything from grass type to weeding strategies is related to basic climate and soil types found throughout North America. This is an outstanding contribution to our understanding of organic methods.

The Earth Moved

On the Remarkable Acheivements of Earthworms

Amy Stewart



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The most important lesson that gardening has taught both Bob and myself (separately and at different times and places) is that the only way to create vibrant, healthy soil is to make a good environment for earthworms. Everything else is theory - some of it good, even brilliant theory, but theory nonetheless. Earthworms are fact, and an ever-increasing population of earthworms in your garden is the only sure sign that fertility and vitality are increasing. Amy Stewart's book tells us why this is so as she sings the praises of those simple creatures who are perhaps the most helpful beings on our dear planet.

In witty, offbeat style, Amy Stewart takes us on a subterranean adventure and introduces us to our planet’s most important gatekeeper: the humble earthworm. It’s true that the earthworm is small, spineless, and blind, but its effect on the ecosystem is profound, moving Charles Darwin to devote his last years to studying its remarkable attributes and achievements.

With the august scientist as her inspiration, Stewart investigates the earthworm’s astonishing realm, talks to oligochaetologists who have devoted their lives to unearthing the complex web of life beneath our feet, and observes the thousands of worms in her own garden.

If you don't already love earthworms, after reading The Earth Moved, you'll not only discover a new-found warmth in your heart for these little creatures, but find that every time you see one, a desire to help it along its way will arise. And, as you'll by then know, there's no better way to help the Earth than by helping earthworms get on with their lives.

Secrets of the Soil

New Solutions for Restoring Our Planet

Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird



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Secrets of the Soil tells the fascinating story of the innovative, nontraditional, often surprising things that certain scientists, farmers, and mystics are doing to save our planet from self-destruction -- such as using the techniques of Rudolf Steiner's biodynamic agriculture with its reliance on ethereal forces from the planets, Dan Carlson's growth stimulating Sonic Bloom, and rock dust fertilizer to revitalize depleted soils. Secrets of the Soil devotes the bulk of its more than 400 pages to describing the techniques and results of biodynamic agriculture - complete with dozens of photographs. This is a wonderful resource and an ideal place to begin your own hands-on work toward restoring our planet.