By Catherine Winter
The holidays are approaching quickly, and it’s more than likely that you have a few green-thumbed loved ones to buy for this year. Whether they’re into permaculture gardening techniques, foraging/wildcrafting, herbal medicine, or just the basics on how to keep a single tomato or basil plant alive, we’ve got you covered. Below is a list of favourite books, recommended by our contributors, friends, neighbours, family members, and community gardeners/farmers. Happy growing!
Backyard Farming, Permaculture, & Homesteading
As more people take to growing their own produce, backyards (and even front yards) are being transformed into lush food forests. Novices and seasoned gardeners alike love to learn new growing methods, and these gorgeous books are packed with knowledge that can help feed families for generations to come.
Paradise Lot, by Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates (Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City)
The Backyard Homestead, by Carleen Madigan
Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch
Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables, by Ian Cooke
All About Raising Chickens and Ducks
Few things are as glorious as fresh eggs, especially when you gather them from your own coop. If the people you’re buying for are thinking about raising chickens and/or ducks, these books can help.
The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Keeping Chickens, by Andy Schneider and Brigid McCrea
Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally, by Lisa Steele
Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks: Breeds, Care, and Health, by David Holderread
Herbalism and Natural Healing
Herbal medicine has always been a mainstay of natural health and wellbeing, and as more people turn back towards more holistic healing methods, resources such as the books below are becoming mainstays in many homes. These are some of our favourite herbalism books: hopefully they’ll become yours as well.
Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use
The Earthwise Herbal, volumes 1 (Old World Medicinal Plants) and 2 (New World Plants), by Matthew Wood
The Plant Healer’s Path: A Grassroots Guide For the Folk Herbal Tribe, by Jesse Wolf and Kiva Rose Hardin
The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual, by James Green
The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer, by Jeff and Melanie Carpenter
The Yoga of Herbs by Dr David Frawley and Dr Vasant Lad (Ayurvedic)
For Foragers and Lovers of Wild Edibles
When it comes to foraging and wildcrafting, it’s really best to get books for the recipient’s bioregion. Few things are as devastating as finding spectacular wild edible and medicinal plants in a beautiful book, and then discovering that they live on the opposite side of the country from where you are.
Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada by Lone Pine Publishing
Northeast Foraging, by Leda Meredith
The Deerholme Foraging Book: Wild Foods and Recipes from the Pacific Northwest, by Bill Jones
Preserving the Harvest
Once a person has gone through all the work of growing their own food, it’s time to preserve all that glorious abundance for the colder months. Canning, pickling, fermenting, dehydrating, and freezing are just a few methods that can be used to put food by, and these techniques are both important to learn, and a lot of fun! Besides, who doesn’t love to open a can of summer-ripe peaches or tomatoes in February?
The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes
Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, by Marisa McClellan
Canning for a New Generation: Updated and Expanded Edition: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry, by Liana Krissoff
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