This is a selection of books that I like and recommend. Most of these books are written (and designed to be used) like an automotive manual. They are not written as a narrative and so you can use them (for example) by identifying your problem and jumping right to that section of the book to solve it.
The New Organic Grower: Master’s Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener (A gardener’s supply book)
It’s hard for me to say anything bad about this book other than I wish I had a PDF version in my smart phone so I could refer to it whilst out and about.
If you have any intentions of growing food for market/profit then this is the book for you. If you want to grow heaps of food for the whole family then this is also the book for you.
There is everything from how to choose a site to marketing to customers.
This is one book I will hand down through the generations along with all my scribbles (imperial-metric conversions etc.)
The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year-round Vegetable Production Using Deep-organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
I promise that if you read this book, you will never complain about the troubles of winter growing again. Well at least Australians won’t.
What was a revelation for me (and for Eliot when he discovered it) is that it isn’t the cold that makes winter growing/harvesting difficult but rather the angle of the sun in the sky.
Basically if you are between the equator and about the 45th parallel, and providing you can keep snow and frost off your plants, you can grow a lot of veg throughout winter (excluding the summer fruit types like tomatoes, melons etc.).
The trick is is to plant in late summer to harvest through out winter.
The approach to the gardening is very simple and methodical. If you follow the steps as directed, it’s pretty hard to fail. For me, the best chapter in the book is the vertical growing section. I was amazed how simple it was to grow all sorts of plants that normally require huge amounts of space (and are therefore prohibitive for the small garden owner to grow) like pumpkin and water melon etc. in a small garden bed on a trellis.
My favourite permaculture book. This is the condensed version of Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual and is a lighter read, yet still has all the great ideas and illustrations to go with it.
This book also has a great species list (for food forest type plantings) for the cooler Mediterranean climates.
Don’t give this to Granny for Christmas and expect a permaculture convert overnight. Although I have owned this book for years, I made a choice not to read it until I took a PDC. I am glad I made that decision. Geoff Lawton (who I did my PDC with) said that he carries a copy with him everywhere when he is on design projects and refers to it constantly to solve design problems. This book is what is says. It’s a designer’s manual used for permaculture design.
The Permaculture Home Garden
A great book for beginner/intermediate gardeners or those new to organic gardening. The book is mostly about a particular garden design called a “Mandala” garden and involves the use of a chicken tractor to prepare intensive garden beds before planting and also goes back on to the bed after harvest to clean up. If I had a flat block, this is the design I would use.