There is always a time in the organic growing year when a book comes in useful - whether it's to help with your planting, soil management, cultivation, or just to inspire.
Here is a list of publications we recommend. Some are old favourites (and possibly out of print but worth hunting for) and some are newly published.
Fruit and vegetable growing
Organic Vegetable and Fruit Gardener by Christine and Michael Lavelle, www.lorensbooks.com A practical directory of garden produce with over 250 photographs.
Grow Your Own Vegetables and The Salad Garden by Joy Larkcom, www.franceslincoln.com. Both classics have been updated and extended - they are a must have in the organic growing library. The Salad Garden inspires us to grow healthy greens all year round - from turnip tops to tomatoes, iceplant and claytonia.
Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening edited by Pauline Pears, Dorling Kindersley. Sadly no longer in print, but there are often second hand copies available online for this beautifully-illustrated complete guide to natural and chemical-free gardening. If you find one, snap it up!
Grow Your Own Fruit and Vegetables: How to Produce and Preserve food from your Garden or Allotment by Alan and Jackie Gear. Garden Organic’s former directors have shared their wealth of experience in this new e-book. Available from Amazon Kindle for £4.79.
The Organic Gardener's Handbook by Michel Littlewood www.crowood.com.
Good Earth Gardening by Tim Foster, Pomegranate Books
Organic Vegetable Production by Davies and Lennartsson, www.crowood.com. Provides invaluable guidance for farmers and small holders on the production of organic vegetables.
Weeds – and how to manage them
Weed Management for Organic Farmers, Growers and Smallholders by Davies, Turner and Bond, www.crowood.com. This well researched book covers all aspects of organic weed management, essentially for farmers and small holders.
How to Enjoy your Weeds by Audrey Wynne Hatfield, Frederick Muller. An endearing little herbal of weeds and their uses. Sadly out of print, but worth hunting for.
Weeds by Nina Edwards, www.reaktionbooks.co.uk A new publication which explores the cultural history of weeds, as well as their uses. Special offer! Garden Organic members can get 20% off the RRP by quoting this code WEEDS20 on order, and giving your GO membership number.
Seeds and Seed saving
From Seed to Seed - a comprehensive set of 4 DVDS on the production of seed from vegetables. Dir. M Widmer, S Seguin & O Widmer by Longo Mai. The first dvd covers pollination, isolation and cleaning techniques, whilst the others focus on the different vegetables. All the main veg is covered and the whole set has been put together very well. Available from www.realseeds.co.uk. (the DVDs are in French, English and German).
Two new books on seeds have landed on the Editor’s desk – flown all the way from America.
The first, Seeing Seeds (Timberpress.com) with photos by Robert Llewellyn and words by Teri Dunn Chace is book of exquisite photographs. Richard Smith from the Heritage Seed Library writes: 'As a visual feast, this book presents a detailed analysis of the inner lives of many exotic and more familiar species. It has the potential to both bring new insights and provoke questions about the plant kingdom with its rich diversity. I found myself picking it up again and again just to browse.'
The second is more practical. The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough (Storey.com) isn’t a new publication, but is comprehensive and helpful for anyone who wants to start saving their own seeds – whether veg, fruit or flowers. There is much in here which is of help to new seed sowers and savers, as well as seasoned seed handlers.
Pests and Diseases
Pest and Disease Management for Organic Farmers, Growers and Smallholders by Davies, Sumption and Rosenfeld, www.crowood.com. Written for the organic farmer, it contains a wealth of information which provides an excellent background to pest and disease control for all types of growers.
Edible Flowers: A global history by Kirker and Newman Reaktion Books This neat little book is part of a fascinating series called Edible, in which each volume explores the rich history of individual foods and drink - from Apple to Whisky, with diversions en route to Olives, Nuts, Onions and Garlic. Did you know that the Romans believed that eating calendula helps you to see fairies? Maybe you want to cook Beef with Rosebuds? A surprising and enjoyable read.
Highgrove, a garden celebrated by HRH The Prince of Wales and Bunny Guinness, www.orionbooks.co.uk. Sumptuously illustrated, this book is a commemoration of the gardens planned, planted and cared for by Garden Organic’s patron, HRH Prince Charles.
Practical Permaculture, for Home Landscapes, Your Community and the Whole Earth (Jessi Bloom and Dave Beohnlein, Timberpress.com). An ambitious title for an ambitious and interesting publication.
Fighting Like the Flowers: An Autobiography by Lawrence D Hills, www.greenbooks.co.uk. Hills was the founder of the Henry Doubleday Research Association (Garden Organic). This autobiography describes his training as a professional gardener, his fight against recurring illness and his single-minded campaign to popularize organic gardening methods.