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Wildflower Wonders: Appreciating the Prairie Ecosystem

Editor-in-Chief Oscar H. Will III ponders the relationship between heirloom cultivars and their wild plant ancestors.

Highlights from the Philadelphia Flower Show 2017

The Philadelphia Flower Show is an annual event that draws visitors from around the globe. The 2017 theme was "Holland: Flowering the World."

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Best Homemade Insecticides for Your Garden

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SEED LIBRARIES

Historically, seed companies were generally small, often family-run businesses. Because they were regionally based, they could focus on varieties well-suited to the local environment. A Pacific Northwest company, for example, would specialize in different cultivars than a company based in the Southeast. However, the absorption of these small, independent seed businesses into large multinationals – combined with the advancement of biotechnology, resulting in hybrids and genetically modified seeds – has led to a serious loss of genetic diversity. The public is now at the mercy of the corporations who control the seeds.

In the past few years, gardeners have realized the inherent danger in this situation. A growing movement is striving to preserve and expand our stock of heritage and heirloom varieties through seed saving and sharing opportunities. Seed Libraries is a practical guide to saving seeds through community programs, including:

  • Step-by-step instructions for setting up a seed library
  • A wealth of ideas to help attract patrons and keep the momentum going
  • Examples of existing libraries and other types of seed saving partnerships

Whoever controls the seeds controls the food supply. By empowering communities to preserve and protect the genetic diversity of their harvest, Seed Libraries is the first step toward reclaiming our self-reliance … while enhancing food security and ensuring that the future of food is healthy, vibrant, tasty and nutritious.

$19.95

THE YEAR-ROUND SOLAR GREENHOUSE

Fresh, local, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables are hard to find in winter in cold climates. Growing warm-weather crops such as tomatoes, bananas, avocados, and other perennials is nearly impossible using conventional structures. The solution for millions of backyard and small-scale commercial growers is self-heating solar greenhouses.

The Year-round Solar Greenhouse is the one-stop guide to designing and building greenhouses that harness and store energy from the sun to create naturally heated, lush growing environments even in the depths of winter. This book covers principles of solar greenhouse design and siting, glazing material properties and selection, controlling heat loss, ventilation, and construction methods. Additionally, an in-depth section covers sustainable ways of heating the greenhouse without fossil fuels (including using thermal mass and storing heat underground with a ground to air heat exchanger).

Variations include attached solar greenhouses, earth-sheltered greenhouses, plus integrating hydroponics and aquaponics. More than a dozen case studies from across North America provide inspiration and demonstrate specific challenges and solutions for growing year-round in any climate.

Grow your own food, anytime, anywhere using the power of the sun!

$29.95

THE HEIRLOOM LIFE GARDENER

Tired of genetically modified food? Every day, Americans are moving more toward eating natural, locally grown food that is free of pesticides and preservatives ... and there is no better way to ensure this than to grow it yourself. Anyone can start a garden, whether in a backyard or on a city rooftop; but what they need to truly succeed is The Heirloom Life Gardener, a comprehensive guide to cultivating heirloom vegetables.

In this invaluable resource, Jere and Emilee Gettle, co-founders of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, offer a wealth of knowledge to every kind of gardener ... experienced pros and novices alike. In his friendly voice, complemented by gorgeous photographs, Jere gives planting, growing, harvesting and seed saving tips. In addition, an extensive A to Z Growing Guide includes amazing heirloom varieties that many people have never even seen. From seed collecting to the history of seed varieties and name origins, Jere takes you far beyond the heirloom tomato. This is the first book of its kind that is not only a guide to growing beautiful and delicious vegetables, but also a way to join the movement of people who long for real food and a truer way of living.

$29.99