Here are some of our favourite books. As with our seeds, we only list books that we think are really useful.
"Grow Your Own Vegetables" by Joy Larkcom. YOU NEED THIS BOOK
It has just one or two clear paragraphs on each vegetable, explaining how, when and why you grow it in a particular way.
No-nonsense, clear instructions for all the vegetables you could want to grow, with simple explanations of why you do things a particular way rather than being a 'recipe' book.
Brilliant! We keep it to hand for quick reference all the time, even after all these years. Completely organic of course.
Order BkGY - £9.90
"Oriental Vegetables" - by Joy Larkcom
This is another beautiful book by Joy, which has only recently come back into print. This is THE book if you are wanting to know about all the wonderful vegetables grown by billions of gardeners in the east - but relatively unknown here.
It was an old ex-library copy of the first edition that really got us enthused about trying out all the oriental veg, and as a result we now have a really good selection in the catalogue, so we're really pleased to be able to offer the book as well now it is back in print.
This is an excellent reference book as well as a 'how-to' gardening book, as clear and easy to use as all of Joy Larkcom's books, with nice clear line drawings. Based on notes from her long vegetable-exploring trips to China and Japan, this book is a wonderful introduction to the huge range of oriental vegetables that are little known in this country, but easy to grow and delicious to eat.
Each individual variety of vegetable included is described in detail, with growing techniques, harvesting instructions and recipes, so you will know exactly what to do with all your crops once you have grown them.
We love this book particularly for the large section on oriental brassicas, which are a great resource for the gardener who wants crops all year, as they grow most happily in the cooler months. But there are masses of other vegetables too - roots, beans and herbs, to mention just a few. Even the most experienced gardener will learn from this book - and new gardeners are certain to be inspired by it to expand the range of what they grow.
Paperback, 288 pages . . . a large format (about A4 size) book that makes a beautiful present.
Or, even better, to make a nice gift, or just as an interesting way to try out growing oriental vegetables, we are offering the book together with our 'Oriental Explorer' seed collection of 6 different oriental vegetables. The seeds come in a pretty green paper packet, together with notes, and have been chosen not only for their good results in the UK, but also to illustrate the different families of vegetable greens mentioned in the book.
Saving you own seed at home is really simple - but just as with growing the veg, you need to know what to do for each variety. Seedsaving is easy, fun and the best way to keep our vegetable heritage alive - all you need is a little information to make sure that you do it right!
Your own vegetable seed will be fresher than anything you can buy (even from us) , and better adapted to your conditions, and you'll get huge amounts you can swap with your friends - as long as you follow a few very simple steps to keep things pure.
This book tells you the basics - it's all very easy, and you only need things you'll find in the kitchen like sieves, colanders etc.
We provide basic seedsaving information with all our seeds, but if you really want to develop your seedsaving skills, a good book on the subject is essential.
Here Sue Stickland provides all the information that you could need in an simple, accessible format: why to save your own seed, basic seedsaving techniques, followed by crop by crop instructions for each individual vegetable.
Paperback, 200 pages ....all you need to know about easy home seed saving.
We are offering this at a special subsidised price as part of
Back in print now: Order BkBG - £9.90
Seed Saving Baggies
We hope you will reuse the bags we send our seeds out in to store your own saved seeds. But if you don't have enough, this may help. These are small 2 inch x 1 inch ziplock baggies, with write-on panels for labelling them with a normal bic pen.
Normally only available in boxes of 1000, we have made them up into packets of 20.
Order Bag1 - 20 bags £1.20
The Fat of The Land by John Seymour
We are now distributing this wonderful book by John Seymour, who together
with his wife Sally, was
This book is more autobiographical; it tells the story of how they
moved from riverboat to country cottage and started their own smallholding,
It is well-written, funny, and inspiring, and was one of the books
that set us off down this path too.
Paperback, 188 pages ....we have a big box in stock, just add it to your seed order.
Order BkFL - £10.00
How to Grow Apples and Make Cider by Bill Bleasdale
A lovely little booklet full of hand drawn illustrations of orchards, tree planting and cider making.
Useful and informative, but also very amusing, and sure to inspire anyone to have a go at making their own cider or perry. It takes you from planting your trees and caring from them right through to your finished glass of cider.
We're looking forward to trying out Bill's cider making instructions as soon as our newly planted apple trees get a bit bigger - we will report back in a few years on the results!
Pamphlet style book, hand drawn and lettered, 30 pages
Order BkCi - £4.99
For the other books, we have a deal with Amazon - if you want to buy a copy of one of these, click on the link provided and you will go to that page of Amazon's website. We know they're a big international corporation but if you buy it from them via these links, they send us a small commission, which goes to our Library Fund.
This helps us afford all the expensive reference books we need to breed better vegetable varieties. To assuage our consciences, we have also given the ISBN numbers of all the books so you can instead buy from your local independent bookstore, which would be a much Better Thing to support. They'll also get it for you quicker!
General social & political:
Party's Over: Oil, War and the fate of Industrial Societies"
by Richard Heinberg - ISBN 1902636457.
This book is a very readable, rational, scientific, well thought-out
analysis of how we've got to this state. It is pretty convincing that
the problem is not that we will 'run out' of oil, but that by about
2006 - 2010, total demand will start to exceed total production. The
potential consequences are immense, as some of us (who? and in which
countries?) will have to do without our '90 servants'. World leaders
are no doubt aware of the problem - look at current events in Iraq,
Iran etc. But it would be good if everyone else knew why we are doing
these things too.
"The Earth Care Manual" by Patrick Whitefield- ISBN
"Patio Produce ", Paul Peacock (Spring Hill 2009) ISBN: 1905862288
New Organic Grower, by Eliot Coleman (Chelsea Green, ISBN 0-930031-75-X)
"Growing Green" by Jenny Hall & Iain Tolhurst (The Vegan Organic Network 2006) ISBN: 0955222508
to Seed" by Suzanne Ashworth.(ISBN 1882424581).
"Botany for Gardeners" by Brian Capon. (ISBN 0881926558)
It does assume a bit of scientific background knowledge but is ideal
for someone who studied biology at school but wasn't paying much attention,
or has forgotten a lot of what they learnt! Lots of nice photos and
diagrams, text probably to about A-level standard or a bit higher in
your own Vegetable Varieties" by Carol Deppe ( Chelsea
Green Pub Co; ISBN: 1890132721)
This book will give you the basics, and then if you're interested, the nitty-gritty too. Well written and inspiring, this is the second edition. It was this book that led us to the popping chickpeas. Buy it from Amazon
for a Future" by Ken Fern. (Permanent Publications; ISBN: 1856230112)
Heavy-Duty Reference Books:
Lost Crops Of Africa - Vol 1: Grains (ISBN 0309049903)
Now available to read online for free! See here (thanks to Clive Richards who found this)
"Amaranth: Modern Prospects for an Ancient Crop"
Clive found this one online too: see here
The CABI series of horticultural references
'Principles of Plant Breeding' by R W Allard (The 1960 edition,
NOT the recent edition) ISBN 0 471 02315 9
Note that there is a newer edition just released at some absurdly high price (£100?), but with fewer pages, and judging by the publishers blurb, lots of info about modern genetic engineering methods. This original version from 1960 is much more relevant to the sort of breeding we are trying to do, and is cheaply available second hand . I got my copy through amazon for about 15 dollars after a week of putting up a 'book wanted' request.
I have seen others (Simmonds did a very similar volume that is totally & utterly incomprehensible), but this one is the most accessible, and does explain very clearly what you are trying to do in terms of backcrossing, pedigree breeding etc.
Out of print but easily obtainable on-line secondhand; try abebooks, amazon etc.