Homestead Library

I am not an expert in anything in particular.  Rather I am more of a dabbler who is trying to apply what I’ve read along the way.  This page will collect reviews of some of the books that have influenced this blog.

Carrots Love Tomatoes, by Louise Riotte

Mesoamerican farmers knew that, if you planted beans with your corn, the corn would grow better. Ancient Chinese planted mosquito fern in their rice paddies. They didn’t know that it fixed nitrogen, but they knew that it shaded the rice and made it more productive. Planting different crops in close proximity for pest control, pollination, and increasing crop productivity is called companion planting.  Carrots Love Tomatoes is your all-purpose reference guide to Companion Planting.  Full Post

Eating on the Wild Side, by Jo Robinson

Jo calls on hundreds of nutritional studies in this field guide to healthy eating.  Did you know that cooking a tomato increases its levels of antioxidants?  That broccoli starts to lose its antioxidants 24 hours after being picked?  Or that lettuce that is shredded to bite sized pieces retains 4 times as many nutrients as a head of lettuce stored whole? Full Post

Landscaping with Fruit, by Lee Reich

I’m not much of a landscaper, as I’m much more interested in productivity than beauty. However, this guide has been the perfect introduction to the major pros and cons of the fruits we could grow in our garden. This guidebook highlights the seasons of beauty of each plant. However, it’s value lies in its excellent plant summaries. Each entry begins with a general description of the plant, as well as a rating based on how much work the plant is, how attractive it is, as well as quantity and quality of the fruit itself. Each fruit’s entry is 2-3 pages long, with sections dedicated to how best to grow the plant, how to harvest and store the fruit, what parts of the plant are most attractive in each season, and the best cultivars to grow. Full Post

Grow Fruit by Alan Buckingham

This fabulous tome by Alan Buckingham offers detailed planting and pruning for everything from apples to brambles to kiwis.  I like the clear diagrams of where to cut each of the first three seasons.  I also like the pictoral guide to whatever might be ailing this kind of plant. This helpful reference guide is definitely worth adding to your toolkit. Full Post

Suburban Homesteading – Raising a self-sufficient family at the intersection of frugal living and backyard farming