When talking farming, there’s no substitute for experience: there’s a seemingly-infinite amount of nuances no matter what you’re growing, which is why experienced farmers routinely get much better results than novices even when the growing procedure seems straightforward.
While you can’t speed up time and give yourself farming experience, you can do the next best thing: learn from people who know their stuff. No matter the level of your farming expertise, here are 3 great farming books that are a must read for anyone wanting healthy and plentiful plants on their farm.
The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour: If you have a small farm or even just a garden with fruits and vegetables, you’ve probably given some thought to going off the grid and living in good part from the fruits of your labor. John Seymour aims to teach you how in his all-encompassing book that tackles a variety of topics related to becoming less reliant on others. You’ll get a heap of plant farming advice, but you’ll also find out how to manage livestock for meat and dairy as well as handling every other day-to-day need you could have. Even if you aren’t too keen on becoming a self-sufficient full-time farmer, the insights that this book gives you are sure to stick with you for life and could make a difference when it’s most needed.
Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman: Plenty of novice farmers feel seasonal growing is very limiting – when starting out, they hoped to make their hobby a year-round affair. But what if you were no longer limited to the all-important spring? In his book, Coleman gives you the blueprint on something that even experienced farmers are afraid of trying: growing and harvesting regardless of the time of year. While it’s an amazing book, it’s worth noting that off-season growing tends to be harder than its springtime counterpart, making this book best for those who have a few harvests under their belt. Still, even if you don’t have a lot experience, Four-Season Harvest will explain how various plants work and how to pair each of them with the correct season. If you’re a seasoned grower, though, you can fully expect this book to give you enough knowledge to enjoy fresh vegetables even during the harshest of seasons.
Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food by Wendell Berry: The focus of Berry’s book is clear: growing the healthiest and best-tasting plants no matter the type or the season. On Farming and Food is amazingly detailed, so don’t pick it up unless you’re willing to learn. And learn you will, as Berry explains in great detail what separates well-grown fruits and vegetables from those that were grown with money in mind. His book will give you an understanding of what farm plants are meant to look like, feel and taste, but it’ll also show you why the agricultural industry gets so much bad press – the importance of carefully-grown and health-centric food can’t be overstated, and Berry does a great job of imparting this knowledge in a reader-friendly way.