Some Selected Books on Organic Gardening, Lawncare, Farming, etc.
Compiled by Terry Slade
Teaming With Microbes - Jeff Lowenfels, Wayne Lewis
Subtitled: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web
2006 Timber Press 196 pages (paperback $24.95) ISBN10:0881927775 ISBN13:9780881927771
Explains recent science behind organic concepts such as the "soil food web". Very important book!
Dirt - The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth - William Bryant Logan
2006 W.W. Norton 224 pages (paperback $14.95) ISBN10:039332947X ISBN13:9780393329476
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/039332947X There is a documentary film based on this book called Dirt! The Movie.
Healthy Soils For Sustainable Gardens - Niall Dunne
2009 Brooklyn Botanic Garden 120 pages (paperback $9.95) ISBN10:1889538469 ISBN13:9781889538464
Backyard Composting - John W. Roulac
1992 Harmonius Technologies 96 pages (paperback $6.95) ISBN:0962976830
Good basic up-to-date info on making and using compost. Very easy to read.
The Rodale Book of Composting - Grace Gershuny, Deborah L. Martin, editors
1992 Rodale Books 278 pages (paperback $14.95) ISBN:0878579915
As "the bible of composting" this book supercedes Rodale's Complete Book of Composting (1979), which itself superceded Rodale's The Complete Book of Composting (1960).
The Complete Book of Composting - J.I. Rodale and Staff
1960 Rodale 1007 pages (hardback)
Classic work with tons of info on composting. Long out of print but used copies are easily found.
Compost This Book - Tom Christopher, Marty Asher
1994 Sierra Club Books 248 pages (paperback $12.00) ISBN:087156596X
Let It Rot! - The Home Gardener's Guide to Composting - Stu Campbell
1st edition: 1975 Garden Way 109 pages (paperback) ISBN 0882660500
3rd edition: 1998 Storey 160 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN 1580170234
Mike McGrath's Book of Compost - Mike McGrath
2006 Sterling 128 pages ($9.95 paperback) ISBN10:1042733984 ISBN13:9781042733987
McGrath is the host of the radio show on organic gardening, "You Bet Your Garden", and a former editor of Organic Gardening Magazine.
Secrets of the Soil - Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird
Subtitled: New Solutions for Restoring Our Planet
Revised edition 1998 Earthpulse 422 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN:1890693243
A collection of lots of ideas, many quite radical, including ideas from Rudolf Steiner. The authors are well-known for their previous book (published in the 70's), The Secret Life of Plants.
Start with the Soil - Grace Gershuny
Subtitled: The Organic Gardeners Guide to Improving Soil for Higher Yields, More Beautiful Flowers, and A Healthy, Easy-Care Garden.
1993 Rodale 274 pages (paperback $15.95) ISBN:0875966977
Soul of the Soil - Joe Smillie, Grace Gershuny
Subtitled: A Soil-Building Guide for Master Gardeners and Farmers
1st edition 1983
4th edition 1999 Chelsea Green 173 pages (paperback $16.95) ISBN:1890132314
Soil - Rodale Organic Gardening Basics Vol. 2
2000 Rodale 106 pages (paperback $14.95) ISBN:0875968384
Compost - Rodale Organic Gardening Basics Vol. 8
2001 Rodale 106 pages (paperback $14.95) ISBN:0875968562
1995 Taunton Press 95 pages (paperback $14.95) ISBN:1561581011
A collection of articles from Fine Gardening magazine.
The Gardener's Guide to Better Soil - Gene Logsdon
1975 Rodale 246 pages (hardback) ISBN 087857106X
The Enlivened Rock Powders - Harvey Lisle
1994 Acres USA 194 pages (paperback) ISBN 0911311483
Based on ideas from Rudolf Steiner.
Soil and Composting - Nancy J. Ondra
The Complete Guide to Building Healthy Fertile Soil - Taylor's Weekend Gardening Guides
1998 Houghton Mifflin 122 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN:0395862949
Secrets to Great Soil - Elizabeth P. Stell
A Grower's Guide to Composting, Mulching, and Creating Healthy, Fertile Soil for Your Garden and Lawn
1998 Storey Communications 215 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN:1580170080
The Humanure Handbook - Joseph Jenkins
Subtitled: A Guide to Composting Human Manure
2nd Edition - 1999 Jenkins Publishing 302 pages (paperback $19.00) ISBN:0964425890
Amazon: (2nd edition) www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0964425890
3rd Edition - 2005 Jenkins Publishing 256 pages (paperback $25.00) ISBN10:0964425831 ISBN13:9780964425835
Amazon: (3rd edition) www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0964425831
Some might consider this an extremely radical book, others might consider it totally basic info. For more on the subject, see also Farmers of Forty Centuries, listed below in the Organic Farming section.
The complete text of this book is online at the author's website: www.jenkinspublishing.com/humanure.html
Worms Eat My Garbage - Mary Appelhof
1st edition 1982
2nd edition 1997 Flower Press 162 pages (paperback) ISBN:0942256107
Author's website: www.wormwoman.com
All about vermicomposting (composting with worms). The author is known as "The Worm Woman".
Worms Eat Our Garbage - Mary Appelhof, Mary Frances Fenton, Barbara Loss
Subtitled: Classroom Activities for a Better Environment
1993 Flower Press 214 pages (paperback $22.95) ISBN:0942256050
Worm composting for kids. Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0942256050
The Earthworm Book - Jerry Minnich
Subtitled: How to Raise and Use Earthworms for Your Farm and Garden
1977 Rodale 372 pages (out of print) ISBN:0878571930
The Worm Book - Loren Nancarrow, Janet Hogan Taylor
Subtitled: The Complete Guide to Worms in Your Garden
1998 Ten Speed Press 152 pages (paperback $11.95) ISBN:0898159946
The Earth Moved - Amy Stewart
Subtitled: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms
2004 Algonquin Books 256 pages (hardback $23.95) ISBN:1565123379
2005 Algonquin Books 240 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN:1565124685
Amazon (hardback): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/1565123379 Amazon (paperback): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/1565124685
Author's website: www.amystewart.com
Redesigning the American Lawn - A Search for Environmental Harmony
F. Herbert Bormann, Diana Balmori, Gordon T. Geballe
1st Edition 1995 Yale University Press (paperback) ISBN:0300061978
1st Edition 1995 Yale University Press (hardback $25.00) ISBN:0300054017
2nd Edition 2001 Yale University Press 178 pages (paperback $18.00) ISBN:0300086946
A serious examination of lawns. Very important book! From the back cover:
"Americans enthusiastically plant, weed, water, spray, and mow 31 million acres of lawn. But is our dedication to theses lawns contributing to the serious environmental problems facing the planet? The authors in this book argue that it is, and they offer strategies for creating and caring for aesthetically pleasing and ecologically sound lawns." Discusses the "freedom lawn" - whatever lives under the mower blade.
The Lawn - A History of an American Obsession - Virginia Scott Jenkins
1994 Smithosonian Institution Press 246 pages (paperback) ISBN:1560984066
Very interesting and thorough look at the history of the modern lawn and the lawn care industry.
American Green - Ted Steinberg
Subititled: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn
2005 W.W. Norton 320 pages ($16.95 paperback) ISBN10:0393329305 ISBN13:9780393329308
Looks at the sociology and ecology of modern American lawn care. (I have not yet seen this book).
Lawn People - Paul Robbins
Subititled: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are
2007 Temple University Press 208 pages ($23.95 paperback) ISBN10:159213579X ISBN13:9781592135790
Another sociological look at modern lawn care. (I have not yet seen this book).
The Organic Lawn Care Manual - Paul Tukey
2007 Storey Publishing 271 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN:1580176496
Biggest, newest, best book yet on organic lawn care. Recommended.
The Complete Guide to Organic Lawncare - (Back to Basics series)
Subtitled: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply
2010 Atlantic 288 pages (paperback $24.95) ISBN: 1601383673 ISBN13:9781601383679
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/1601383673 Even newer - have not yet seen.
Down-To-Earth Natural Lawn Care - Dick Raymond
1993 Storey Communications 154 pages (paperback $16.95) ISBN:088268102
The author once hosted The Joy of Gardening TV show and has 50 years of experience in lawn care. Good coverage of the subject in a "down to earth" manner. Excellent book.
Building a Healthy Lawn - A Safe and Natural Approach - Stuart Franklin
1988 Storey Communications 168 pages (paperback $9.95) ISBN:088265189
Good basic book on the subject.
The Chemical-Free Lawn - Warren Schultz
1989 Rodale 194 pages ISBN:0878577998
Good basic book on the subject.
Handbook of Successful Ecological Lawncare - Paul D. Sachs
1996 Edaphic Press 284 pages (paperback $18.95) ISBN:0963605313
Safe and Easy Lawn Care - Barbara Ellis, editor
Subtitled: The Complete Guide to Organic Low Maintenance Lawns
(Taylors Weekend Garden Guides - Book 2)
1997 Houghton Mifflin 121 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN:0395813697
Wild Lawn Handbook - Stevie Daniels
Subtitled: Alternatives to the Traditional Front Lawn
1995 MacMillan 223 pages (hardback $22.00) ISBN:0025294458
Lots of info on replacing lawns with wildflower meadows, etc.
Lawns - Rodale Organic Gardening Basics Vol. 1
2000 Rodale 106 pages (paperback $14.95) ISBN:0875968376
Good, basic, easy-to-read guide. Chapters: 1 Go Organic!, 2 Getting Ready for Planting, 3 Picking the Right Grass, 4 New Lawns, 5 Essential Tools, 6 Mowing Tips, 7 No More Weeds, 8 Lawn Alternatives.
How to Get Your Lawn and Garden Off Drugs - Carole Rubin
Subtitled: A Basic Guide to Pesticide-Free Gardening in North America
1st edition 1990 Harbour Publishing
2nd edition 2003 Harbour Publishing 128 pages (paperback) ISBN:1550173200
Lawns Grasses and Ground Covers - Lewis and Nancy Hill
Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening
1995 Rodale 160 pages (paperback $14.95) ISBN:087596667
Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn - Hannah Holmes
2005 Bloomsbury USA 240 pages (hardback $24.95) ISBN:1582344795
2001 Brooklyn Botanic Garden 112 pages (paperback $9.95) ISBN:1889538124
Garden Insects of North America - Whitney Cranshaw
Subtitled: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs
2004 Princeton University Press 656 pages (hardback $99.50) ISBN:0691095604
Amazon (hardback): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0691095604
(paperback $29.95) ISBN:0691095612
Amazon (paperback): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0691095612
The definitive book on garden insect pests. Totally Awesome! Lots of good color photos. Organized by what the bugs do. Chapters at the front give info on controlling various types of insect pests.
Insect Disease and Weed I.D. Guide - Jill Jesiolowski Cebenko, Deborah L. Martin, editors
Subtitled: Find-It-Fast Organic Solutions for Your Garden
2001 Rodale 308 pages ISBN:0875968678
Lots of pictures of diseases and pests.
The Gardeners Guide to Common Sense Pest Control
William Olkwoski, Sheile Daar, Helga Olkowski
1995 Taunton Press ($19.95 paperback) ISBN:1561581496
(this is an abridged version of Common Sense Pest Control 1991 Taunton Press)
Basically a manual of IPM (Integrated Pest Management), which relies on a variety of physical, mechanical, cultural, and biological methods to keep pests under control, with chemicals being used as a last resort. Tons of great info. Highly recommended.
Weeds of Southern Turfgrasses Murphy, Colvin, Dickens, Everest, Hall, McCarty
1992 University of Florida 208 pages (paperback $8.00) ISBN:0974696307
Best book on weed identification I have found. Multiple color pictures (427 total photos) and descriptions of about 200 common lawn weeds. Though this is specific to the south, many of these weeds would be found elsewhere. Grassy weeds first, then broadleaf, arranged by families in alphabetical order. Includes glossary of taxonomic terminology, index of common names, index of scientific names, illustrations of diagnostic features of grassy weeds (ligule, auricle, collar, sheath), and broadleaf characteristics (leaf margins, leaf shapes, leaf attachments). Some editions indicate published by the University of Florida, some (older?) indicate published by University of Georgia. None of my copies show an ISBN or copyright date. Does not seem to be available from Amazon and not usually found in bookstores, but not really a rare book. Various extension service offices might sell it, or search around on the web. Can be ordered for $14.00 (04/28/12) from the University of Florida Bookstore: www.ifasbooks.ufl.edu
Weeds of the Northeast - Richard H. Uva, Joseph C. Neal, Jopseph M. Ditomaso
1997 Cornell University Press 416 pages (paperback $29.95) ISBN:0801483344
Excellent comprehensive serious manual for weed identification. Although it covers the American Northeast, many or most of these weeds are found throughout the US and in other places. Good color photos.
Weeds of the West - Parker, Lee, Nelson, Cudney, Burril, Whitson, Dewey
1991 University of Wyoming 630 pages ISBN:0941570134
5th edition: 1996 Western Society of Weed Science 630 pages (paperback) ISBN:0941570134
9th edition: 2006 Diane Publishing 628 pages (paperback $60.00) ISBN10:0756711827 ISBN13:9780756711825
(Haven't been able to sort out all the various editions and revisions. Seems to list for $60 new, but can sometimes find new at extension service websites for $30 or less. Used copies may be over $100. Some editions have been issued in hardback.)
Each weed gets 2 pages - the left page is a full-color photo, the right page is descriptive text and more color photos. Excellent reference for identifying over 300 common and important weeds of the western US. Most of these are rural or farm weeds rather than urban or lawn weeds. Organized alphabetically by family name. Fun just to look at the pictures. Highly recommended.
Controlling Weeds - Erin Hynes
1995 Rodale Press 160 pages (hardback) ISBN:0875966675 (paperback) ISBN:0875966683
Amazon: (hardback) www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0875966675
Amazon: (paperback) www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0875966683
Excellent book - each weed gets a color photo. Includes info on how to control each weed without chemicals. Out of print but easy to find cheap.
Controlling Weeds - Susan Roth, project editor
1989 Ortho Books / Chevron Chemical 96 pages (paperback) ISBN:0897211979
Of course this one features chemicals, but it is a pretty good ID book with color photos. Easy to find used ones cheap.
Weeds - Control Without Poisons - Charles Walters
1991 Acres USA 352 pages (paperback $22.00) ISBN:0911311580
Publishers website: Acres USA
Classic text on what weeds are all about. What they reveal about the soil and how to control them. Oriented to farming.
Weeds - Guardians of the Soil - Joseph Cocannouer
1950 Devin Adair
Explains that weeds grow for a reason and are usually trying to improve the soil.
The full text of this classic work is online here:
By the same author: Farming with Nature
Invasive Plants - Weeds of the Global Garden - John M. Randall, Janet Marinelli
Brooklyn Botanic Garden 21st Century Gardening Series Handbook 149
1996 Brooklyn Botanic Garden 111 pages (paperback $9.95) ISBN:0945352956
Specific info on about 80 species of invasive plants - trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, grasses, vines, and aquatic plants. These are all non-indigenous species that have escaped cultivation in the US. Also presented is general info on various techniques for control and eradication. Very interesting and important book.
Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide - Peter del Tredici
2010 Comstock 392 pages (paperback $29.95) ISBN:0801474582 ISBN13:9780801474583
The Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Book - Thomas E. Anderson
Subtitled: A Short Natural History and Cautionary Account
1995 Acton Circle 130 pages (paperback $14.95) ISBN:0963937189
Outwitting Poison Ivy - Susan Carol Hauser
2001 Lyons Press 128 pages (paperback $14.95) ISBN:1585742732
Weeds in My Garden - Charles B. Heiser
Subtitled: Observations on Some Misunderstood Plants
2003 Timber Press 247 pages (hardback $22.95) ISBN:0881925624
Weed Science: Principles and Practices 4th edition - Monaco, Weller, Ashton
2002 John Wiley 682 pages (hardback $125.00) ISBN:0471370517
Weeds: In Defense of Nature's Most Unloved Plants - Richard Mabey
2011 Ecco 336 pages (hardback $25.99) ISBN10:0062065459, ISBN13:9780062065452
An Amazon.com Listmania list of books about weeds: www.amazon.com/lm/3DTVO9UNFDFPI
A Nation of Farmers - Sharon Astyk, Aaron Newton
Subtitled: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil
2009 New Society Publishers 369 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN10:0865716234 ISBN13:9780865716230
Publisher's Website: www.newsociety.com/bookid/4034
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer - Novella Carpenter
2010 Penguin 288 pages (paperback $16.00) ISBN10:0143117289 ISBN13:9780143117285
An Agricultural Testament - Sir Albert Howard
First published in England 1940, First American Edition 1943 Oxford University Press
Republished by Rodale Press 1972, 1976. Recently republished by Rodale
Super-classic. The author was knighted by the queen of England for the discoveries he writes about here.
The Soil and Health - Sir Albert Howard
Subitled: Farming and Gardening for Health or Disease
1947 Devin-Adair Company/Rodale Books 307 pages (paperback)
Farmers of Forty Centuries - F. H. King
2004 Dover 464 pages (paperback $14.95) ISBN10:0486436098 ISBN13:9780486436098
1990 Rodale Press (paperback) ISBN:0878578676
Rodale Press 379 pages (hardback)
(Dover edition subtitled: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan)
(Earlier editions subtitled: Or Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan)
Super-classic, first published in 1911. Various editions exist besides those listed above.
Plowman's Folly - Edward H. Faulkner
1943 Universtiy of Oklahoma Press
By the same author: Soil Development
The One-Straw Revolution - Masanobu Fukuoka
Subtitled: An Introduction to Natural Farming
1978 Rodale Press 181 pages (hardback) ISBN:0878572201
2004 India Press 181 pages (paperback) ISBN:8185569312
2009 New York review Books Classics 200 pages (paperback $15.95) ISBN10:1590173139 ISBN13:9781590173138
Super-classic. Very important book. One of the primary texts for the permaculture revolution that will save the planet. Presents ideas on "do-nothing" agriculture. Fukuoka has obtained crop yields equal to any other method without fertilizing, plowing, tilling, composting, etc. After being out of print (except for the Indian edition) for many years, finally reissued in paperback in June 2009. A quote from Michael Pollan: "The One Straw Revolution is one of the founding documents of the alternative food movement, and indispensible to anyone hoping to understand the future of food and agriculture."
Permaculture Handbook - A Designer's Manual - Bill Mollison
1997 Tagari Publications 579 pages (hardback $70.00) ISBN:0908228015
The classic original permaculture book from the creator of the concept.
The Permaculture Way - Graham Bell
subtitled: Practical Steps To Create a Self-Sustaining World
2005 Permanent Publications 239 pages (paperback $29.95) ISBN:1856230287
Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability - David Holmgren
2002 Holgren Design Services 286 pages (paperback $30.00) ISBN:0646418440
Earth User's Guide to Permaculture - Rosemary Morrow
2000 Simon and Schuster 152 pages (paperback $13.00) ISBN:0684872013
Gaia's Garden - Toby Hemenway
Subtitled: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
2001 Chelsea Green 222 pages (paperback $24.95) ISBN:1890132527
Plants for a Future - Ken Fern
Subtitled: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World
2000 Permanent Publications 300 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN10:1856230112 ISBN13:9781856230117
Plants For A Future Website:www.pfaf.org
Noah's Garden - Sara Stein
1993 Houghton Mifflin 294 pages (hardback $21.95) ISBN:0395653738
Noah's Garden Revisited - Sara Stein
1997 Houghton Mifflin 448 pages (hardback $35.00) ISBN:0395709601
My Empire of Dirt - Manny Howard
Subtitled: How One Man Turned His Big-City Backyard Into a Farm
2010 Scribner 277 pages (hardback $25.00) ISBN10:1416585168 ISBN13:9781416585169
Author's website: mannyland.wordpress.com Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/1416585168
The Apple Grower - Michael Phillips
Subtitled: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist
2nd edition: 2005 Chelsea Green 360 pages (paperback $40.00) ISBN:1931498911
1st Edition: 1998 Chelsea Green 300 pages (hardback $35.00) ISBN:1890132047
Growing Great Garlic - Ron Engeland
Subtitled: The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers
1991 Filaree 219 pages (paperback $16.95) ISBN10:0963085018 ISBN13:9780963085016
Author's website: www.filareefarm.com
Agriculture - Rudolph Steiner
1993 Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association 310 pages (paperback) ISBN 0938250371
Lectures given in 1924.
The Unsettling of America - Wendell Berry
Subtitled: Culture and Agriculture
1996 Sierra Club 234 pages (paperback) ISBN:0871568772
Gardening for the Future of the Earth - Howard-Yana Shapiro John Harrison
2000 Seeds of Change 230 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN:0553375334
A compilation of ideas from the top organic gardeners on the planet. (Bill Mollison, John Jeavons, Alan York, Carol Deppe, Alan Kapuler, Wes Jackson, Masanobu Fukuoka). Very cool book. Tons of important info. Highly recommended.
Gardening When it Counts - Growing Food in Hard Times - Steve Solomon
2005 New Society Publishers 340 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN:086571553X
A quote from the back cover: "A magnificent synthesis of garden science, original garden research, and agricultural history. It shows us how to garden like our ancestors gardened - how to grow all our family's food with just hand labor, with just four basic hand tools, and with little or no electricity or irrigation." Carol Deppe
Food Not Lawns - Heather C. Flores
subtitled: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community
2006 Chelsea Green 344 pages (paperback $25.00) ISBN:193339207X
Four-Season Harvest - Eliot Coleman
subtitled: Organic Vegetables From Your Home Garden All Year Long
2nd Revised Edition 1999 Chelsea Green 234 pages (paperback $24.95) ISBN:1890132276
Best of Organic Gardening Edited by Mike McGrath
Subtitled: Over 50 Years of Organic Advice and Reader Proven Techniques From America's Best-Loved Garden Magazine
1996 Rodale Press 310 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN:0875966470
Organic Gardening Manual J. Howard Garrett
1993 Summit 202 pages (paperback) ISBN:1565300823
Seeds of Change - Kenny Ausubel
1994 Seeds of Change 232 pages (paperback $18.00) ISBN:0062500082
The New Self-Sufficient Gardener - John Seymour
2008 DK Publishing 256 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN:0756628989 ISBN13:9780756628987
Revised edition of a well-respected classic. Seymour passed away in 2004 at the age of 90.
How to Grow More Vegetables - John Jeavons
Subtitled: (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine.
6th edition 2002 Ten Speed Press 231 pages (paperback $17.95) ISBN 1580082335
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/1580082335 Author's website: www.growbiointensive.org Classic book on bio-intensive organic gardening.
The Sustainable Vegetable Garden - John Jeavons, Carol Cox
Subtitled: A Backyard Guide to Healthy Soil and Higher Yields
1999 Ten Speed Press 118 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN:1580080162 ISBN13:9781580080163
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/1580080162 Author's website: www.growbiointensive.org
The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book - Ruth Stout, Richard Clemence
1971 Rodale 217 pages ISBN:0878570004
Mulch, mulch, mulch.
Lasagna Gardening - Patricia Lanza
1998 Rodale 244 pages (hardback $26.95) ISBN:0875967957
Weedless Gardening - Lee Reich
2001 Workman 200 pages (paperback $8.95) ISBN:0761116966
All New Square Foot Gardening - Mel Bartholomew
2006 Cool Springs Press 272 pages (paperback $19.99) ISBN10:1591862027 ISBN13:9781591862024
Supercedes previous edition:
Square Foot Gardening - Mel Bartholomew
1981 Rodale 347 pages (paperback $16.95) ISBN:0878573410
Author's website: www.squarefootgardening.com
The Truth About Organic Gardening - Jeff Gillman
Subtitled: Benefits, Drawbacks, and the Bottom Line
2008 Timber Press 208 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN10:0881928623 ISBN13:9780881928624
The Truth About Garden Remedies - Jeff Gillman
Subtitled: What Works, What Doesn't and Why
Revised Edition: 2008 Timber Press 212 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN10:0881929123 ISBN13:9780881929126
The Garden Primer - Barbara Damrosch
1988 Workman Publishing 673 pages (paperback $16.95) ISBN 0894803166
A good comprehensive basic gardening book.
Passalong Plants - Steve Bender, Felder Rushing
1993 University of North Carolina Press 221 pages (paperback) ISBN:0807844187
A page or two each on 117 "passalong" plants, plants that are easy to share by cuttings or seeds. These are mainly hardy plants from the south, many are less commonly seen than in years past, and many are rarely found for sale. A lot of these plants I sometimes call "little old lady plants", as you might be more likely to find them in the gardens of older folks. A very special and fun book. And if you ever get the chance to see Felder Rushing speak (like at a garden show), he puts on a very entertaining presentation.
Palms Won't Grow Here and Other Myths - David A. Francko
Subititled: Warm-climate Plants for Cooler Areas
2003 Timber Press 267 pages (hardback $27.95) ISBN 0881925756
Pruning Made Easy - Lewis Hill
1997 Storey 217 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN:03703800006
Good, thorough book on how to prune shrubs and trees.
Landscaping for Wildlife - A Guide to the Southern Great Plains - Jeremy D. Garrett
2003 University of Oklahoma Press 209 pages (paperback) ISBN:0806134895
Brugmansia and Datura - Angel's Trumpets and Thornapples - Ulrike and Hans-George Preissel
2002 Firefly Books 144 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN:1552095584
Thorough treatment of the subject, with lots of great color photos.
Passion Flowers - John Vanderplank
3rd Edition - 2001 MIT Press 224 pages (paperback) ISBN:0262720353
Thorough treatment of the subject, with lots of great color photos.
Xeriscape Handbook - Gayle Weinstein
Subtitled: A How-To Guide to Natural, Resource-Wise Gardening
1990 Fulcrum 142 pages (paperback $24.95) ISBN:1555913466
Water-Wise Gardening - Thomas Christopher
Subtitled: America's Backyard Revolution
1994 Simon and Schuster 271 pages (hardback $25.00) ISBN:0671738569
The Low-Water Flower Gardener - Eric A. Johnson and Scott Millard
Subtitled: Guide to Growing 270 Colorful Unthirsty Plants
1993 Ironwood Press 144 pages (paperback $16.95) ISBN:0962823619
Low-Water Gardening - John Lucas
1993 JM Dent 176 pages (paperback) ISBN:0460861514
In A Desert Garden - John Alcock
Subtitled: Love and Death Among the Insects
1997 W.W. Norton 186 pages (hardback $27.50) ISBN:0393041182
Water Storage - Art Ludwig
Subtitled: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds for Domestic Supply, Fires, and Emergency Use
1995 Oasis 125 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN10:0964343363 ISBN13:9780964343368
Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers - Doug Ladd, photos by Frank Oberle
(A Nature Conservancy Book, A Falcon Field Guide)
1995 Falcon Press 262 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN:1560442999
320 color photos, descriptions of 295 species. The photos are very nice, usually of the flowers. I always wish there were more photos, like several for each plant, showing leaves, whole plants, seedheads, etc. But the photos of the flowers are very good. Book is organized by color of the flower. Have seen 2 different covers on this book, but appear to be otherwise identical.
Roadside Wildflowers of the Southern Great Plains - Craig C. Freeman, Eileen K. Schofield
1991 University of Kansas 280 pages (paperback $17.95) ISBN:0700604480
253 full color photos. Book is organized by color of the flower.
Wildflowers Across America - Lady Bird Johnson, Carlton B. Lees
1993 Abeville Press 309 pages (hardback $39.95) ISBN:0896600491
Sort of a coffe table book, but lots of great color photos and lots of info. Popular enough that you can find a cheap used copy.
Texas Wildflowers - Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller
1992 University of Texas 271 pages (paperback) ISBN:0292780605
Southwestern and Texas Wildflowers - Peterson Field Guides - Niehaus/Ripper/Savage
1084 Houghton Mifflin 449 pages (paperback $18.00) ISBN:0395936128
Field Guide to North American Edible Wild Plants - Thomas S. Elias, Peter A. Dykeman
1982 Van Nostrand Reinhold 286 pages (hardback $22.95) ISBN:0442222009
Edible Wild Plants - A North American Field Guide - Thomas S. Elias, Peter A. Dykeman
1990 Sterling Publishing 285 pages (paperback 16.95) ISBN:0806974885
Excellent book. Lots of pictures, mostly in color. Organized by season. Includes poisonous plants section.
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America - Peterson Field Guides
1999 Houghton Mifflin 374 pages (paperback $19.00) ISBN:039592622X
Covers 370 edible plants and 37 poisonous look-alike plants.
Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants - Bradford Angier
1974 Stackpole Books 255 pages (paperback $16.95) ISBN:0811720187
Excellent book. Each plant gets a page of text and a full-page color illustration. Organized alphabetically by common name.
Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West - Gregory L. Tilford
1997 Mountain Press 237 pages (paperback $21.00) ISBN:0878423591
Color photos. Alphabetical by common name. 110 edible and medicinal plants, 21 toxic plants and advanced medicines. Edibility and medicinal uses for each plant.
Stalking the Wild Asparagus - Euell Gibbons
1962 Alan C. Hood 303 pages (paperback $17.50) ISBN:0911469036
Classic book, popular in the 60's/70's.
Guide to Wild and Usefull Plants - Christopher Nyerges
1999 Chiago Review Press 237 pages (paperback) ISBN:1556523440
Black and white photos.
Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie - Kelly Kindscher
Subititled: An Ethnobotanical Guide
1987 University of Kansas 276 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN:0700603255
Covers about 80 plants. Lots of info on food uses and cultivation. Black and white drawings.
Tom Brown's Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants - Tom Brown Jr.
1985 Berkley Books 241 pages (paperback $12.00) ISBN:0425100634
Author's website: www.trackerschool.com
Covers about 45 plants. No plant illustrations. Lots of practical info. The author is one of the top experts on wilderness survival.
Handbook of Edible Weeds - James A. Duke
1992 CRC Press 246 pages (hardback) ISBN:0849342252
Covers about 100 plants. Alphabetical by genus name. Illustrated with line drawings. Lots of info on the uses of the plants.
Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada - Charles Francis Saunders
1976 Dover 275 pages (paperback $7.95) ISBN:0486233103
Reprint of 1934 edition. Black and white line drawings. Includes chapter on acorns as human food.
Eat the Weeds - Ben Charles Harris
1995 Keats Publishing 254 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN:0879836261
Originally published in 1969. No illustrations. Covers about 150 plants. Several pages on acorns.
It Will Live Forever - Bev Ortiz
Subtitled: Traditional Yosimite Indian Acorn Preparation
1991 Heyday Books 148 pages (paperback $11.95) ISBN:0930588452
Full details of how one tribe of Native Americans used acorns for food.
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not-So Wild) Places - "Wildman" Steve Brill
1994 Harper 336 pages (paperback $15.36) ISBN:0688114253
Author's website: www.wildmanstevebrill.com
Cornucopia II: A Sourcebook of Edible Plants - Stephen Facciola
1st Edition: 1990 Kampong Publications 677 pages (paperback $35.00) ISBN:0962808709
2nd Edition: 1998 Kampong Publications 713 pages (paperback $40.00) ISBN:0962808725
Healing Wise - Susan S. Weed
1989 Ash Tree Publishing 295 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN:0961462027
Author's website: www.susanweed.com
This book differs from many other books on weeds and edible plants in that instead of small bits of info on many plants, only 7 plants are covered, and each gets a whole chapter. The plants are: Burdock, Chickweed, Dandelion, Nettle, Oatstraw, Seaweeds, and Violet. Very special book. The author has some other books as well.
Wicked Plants - Amy Stewart
2009 Algonquin Books 223 pages (hardback $18.95) ISBN:1565126831
Author's website: www.amystewart.com
Eastern / Central Medicinal Plants - Peterson Field Guides - Stephen Foster, James A. Duke
1990 Houghton Mifflin 365 pages ISBN 0395467225
The Secret Teachings of Plants - Stephen Harrod Buhner
Subitled: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature
2004 Bear & Co 313 pages (paperback $18.00) ISBN 1591430356
The Lost Language of Plants - Stephen Harrod Buhner
Subtitled: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines for Life on Earth
2002 Chelsea Green 336 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN 1890132888
Publisher's Website: www.chelseagreen.com/2002/items/lostlanguage
Sacred Plant Medicine - Stephen Harrod Buhner
Subtitled: Explorations in the Practice of Indigenous Herbalism
1996 Raven Press 210 pages (paperback $18.95) ISBN 0970869606
American Medicinal Plants - Charles F. Millspaugh
1974 Dover 806 pages ISBN 0486230341
This is an unabdridged reprint of a 2-volume work published in 1892. 180 plants are covered, each gets a black and white illustration (color in the original edition).
Indian Herbology of North America - Alma R. Hutchins
1973 Shambhala 382 pages (paperback $19.00) ISBN 0877736391
Covers over 200 plants. Alphabetically by common name. Illustrated with black and white drawings.
Native American Ethnobotany - Daniel E. Moerman
1998 Timber Press 927 pages (hardback $79.95) ISBN 0881924539
This book is a massive database, correllating thousands of pieces of information. Clues to the vast plant knowledge possessed by past inhabitants of this continent. The main body of the book is the catalog of plants, listed alphabetically by genus name. This is followed by a bibliography, an index of tribes, index of usages, index of synonyms, index of common names. Drug, food, fiber, dye and other uses are described for over 4000 plants. There is an online database which incorporates this info: herb.umd.umich.edu
Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie - Kelly Kindscher
Subititled: An Ethnobotanical Guide
1992 University of Kansas 336 pages (paperback $12.95) ISBN 0700605274
The Way of Herbs - Michael Tierra
1980 Unity Press 216 pages ISBN 0913300438
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0913300438 Clear and concise basic text on using herbs for healing. A classic. I recommend this as an introduction to herbology.
Smoke Plants of North America - M.R. Ross
2002 MultiCultural Educational Publishing Co. 192 pages (paperback $15.95) ISBN 0970372108
Very interesting book covering over 100 native herbs that can be smoked. It was cool to find more info on mullein (Verbascum thapsus), one of my favorite plants, which is featured on the cover, and which grows as a weed in much of western US. Mullein is smoked to help with lung problems. Also some interesting info on Datura, which can be toxic if ingested, except when smoked, which should be safe, and is an instant cure for asthma attack.
Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants - Christian Ratsch
Subtitled: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications
2005 Park Street Press 944 pages (hardback $125.00) ISBN 0892819782
This massive work covers over 400 plants and includes 800 color photos and 670 black and white illustrations.
Mycelium Running - Paul Stamets
subtitled: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
2005 Ten Speed Press 339 pages (paperback $35.00) ISBN10:1580085792 ISBN13:9781580085793
I found this book after seeing Paul's segment on the special features of Leonardo Dicaprio's environmental documentary, The 11th Hour, in which he briefly discusses the idea that mushroom mycelium (the underground "root" portions of mushrooms) are a very powerful tool for building, rebuilding, remediating, and detoxifying soil.
The author's website: Fungi Perfecti - www.fungi.com
All That the Rain Promises..And More - David Arora
subtitled: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms
1991 Ten Speed Press 256 pages (paperback $17.95) ISBN 0898153883
Mushrooms Demystified..A Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Flora - David Arora
1986 Ten Speed Press 1020 pages (paperback $39.95) ISBN 0898151694
Simon & Schuster's Guide to Mushrooms
1981 Simon & Schuster 510 pages (paperback) ISBN 0671428497
Each species gets a half-page color photo.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms
1981 Knopf 928 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN 0394519922
Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America: A Field-to-Kitchen Guide
David W. Fischer, Alan E. Bessette
1992 University of Texas Press 256 pages (paperback $35.00) ISBN 0292720807
Tree Crops - A Permanent Agriculture - J. Russell Smith
1950 Devin-Adair 408 pages (hardback $7.95) (out of rpint)
1978 Harper Collins (paperback) (out of print)
Reprint Edition: 1987 Island Press 422 pages (paperback $60.00) ISBN10:0933280440 ISBN13:9780933280441
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0933280440 Trees for food. Even covers acorns! An important visionary classic work. Reprint edition has preface by Wendell Berry.
Tree Maintenance - P.P. Pirone
6th edition 1988 Oxford University Press 514 pages (hardback $40.00) ISBN:0195043707
A standard work on tree care, often just called "Pirone's". Continually revised, many editions available.
Arboriculture - Richard W. Harris
1983 Prentice-Hall 688 pages (hardback) ISBN:0130439355
Another text on tree care.
The Complete Trees of North America - Thomas S. Elias
1980 Van Nostrand Reinhold 948 pages ISBN:0442238622
I don't know of another similar book - this is an identification guide to all trees found in North America - not some or most, but all. It has been out of print for a while, but copies can be found.
A New Tree Biology - Alex L. Shigo
Subtitled: Facts, Photos, and Philosophies on Trees and Their Problems and Proper Care.
2nd edition 1989 Shigo 618 pages (hardback) ISBN:0943563046
Shigo is the man when it comes to educating those who work with trees. He is big on learning how to prune trees for the health of the tree, rather than just for the needs of people. He also speaks of the dignity of trees - if you need to top a tree and totally butcher it - just take it out. And of course people should pay attention to where they plant trees. Countless trees are planted under power lines, insuring that they will need to be butchered or removed. Alex has played a big part in educating people about the BBC - branch bark collar and about the fact that it is not normally desirable to apply pruning sealer to fresh pruning cuts.
Shigo has many other tree books. Info can be found here: www.chesco.com/~treeman/treeinfo.html
Tree Pruning - A Worldwide Photo Guide - Alex L. Shigo
1989 Shigo 186 pages (hardback) ISBN 0943563089
Shows through illustrations examples of poor pruning techniques.
Brush Cats - Jack McEnany
Subtitled: On Trees, the Wood Economy and the Most Dangerous Job in America
2009 St. Martin's Press 240 pages (hardback $24.95) ISBN10:0312368917,ISBN13:9780312368913
Looks at logging in northeast US, which is mainly done by independent workers on private land, working with sustainable practices, as opposed to the mechanical clear-cutting practiced in the northwest.
Botany of Desire - Michael Pollan
Subtitled: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
2001 Random House 304 pages (hardback) ISBN:0375501290
2002 Random House 304 pages (paperback) ISBN:0375760393
Very interesting book. In four parts - apples, tulips, marijuana, pototoes. Each example is covered thoroughly, looking at how the needs of the plants and the needs of humans have interacted. Highly recommended. See my Food Books page for a couple of other books by Pollan.
Botany in a Day - Thomas J. Elpel
Subtitled: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
5th Edition 2004 HOPS Press 221 pages ISBN 1892784157
How to learn to identify thousands of plants by learning the characteristics of the major plant families. The author is one of the top authorities on wilderness survival, including edible plants and edible insects. Lots of cool books and videos available fron his website.
Publisher's website: www.hollowtop.com
Author's website: www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com
Plantwatching - Malcolm Wilkins
Subtitled: How Plants Remember, Tell Time, Form Relationships and More
1988 Roxby 207 pages ISBN 0816017360
Botany for Gardeners, Revised Edition - Brian Capon
2005 Timber Press 240 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN 0881926558
Basic concepts of botany explained clearly and simply by a botany professor. Not a substitute for an actual botany textbook.
An excellent discussion on current botany textbooks can be found here: /www.amjbot.org/cgi/content/full/89/1/172
Manual of Woody Landscape Plants - Michael A. Dirr
subtitled: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses
1st edition 1975
2nd edition 1977 526 pages (white cover w drawing)
3rd edition 1983 Stipes 826 pages (white cover w photo)
4th edition 1990 Stipes 1007 pages (green cover w photo) paper/hardback
5th edition 1998 Stipes 1250 pages (brown cover) (hardback $65.80) (paperback $57.75)
Serious landscape industry reference for shrubs. Mainly just text - some line-drawings of leaves, no photos or other illustrations of plants. Lots of detailed info on each plant, including many varieties.
Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs, An Illustrated Encyclopedia - Michael A. Dirr
1997 Timber Press 493 pages hardback $69.95
Lots of full-color photos of standard landscaping trees and shrubs.
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation - From Seed to Tissue - Michael A. Dirr
Subtitled: A Practical Working Guide to the Propagation of Over 1100 Species
1987 Varsity Press $35.00
Tropica - Alfred Byrd Graf
Subtitled: Color Cyclopedia of Exotic Plants and Trees for Warm-Region Horticulture in Cool Climate, the Summer Garden, or Sheltered Indoors
Fifth Edition 2003 Roehrs (hardback $185.00) ISBN 0911266267 Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0911266267
Subititled: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada
1976 Wiley 1279 pages (hardback $150.00) ISBN 0025054708
Comprehensive reference work for plants of North American horticulture.
May have been sold to IDG Books, may still be available from Wiley.
Southern Living Garden Book Steve Bender, editor
1st edition: 1989 Oxmoor House 512 pages (paperback) ISBN 0848720237, (hardback) ISBN 0848720172
2nd edition: 2004 Oxmoor House 640 pages (paperback $34.95) ISBN 0376039108, (hardback $39.95) ISBN 0376039094
Encyclopedia of over 5,000 plants with tons of general info. Unlike the giant expensive volumes above, this is an easy-to-use reference with all the basic info about all of the plants that would be commonly encountered in gardening in the southern US. This is an essential practical reference - the best book to get for general info on specific plants. Though it is specific to the southern US, there would be much info of value for other areas, as many of these plants will grow elsewhere. Most highly recommended! 2nd edition adds illustrations. The big chain hardware stores (Home Depot, Lowe's) usually have stacks of these. I think Sam's Club has them for about $10 off list price. And Amazon has a super discount price.
Know It And Grow It - Carl E. Whitcomb, Ph.D
Subtitled: A Guide to the Identification and use of Landscape Plants in the Southern States
1st edition: 1975 revised 1976 Carl E. Whitcomb 500 pages (hardback) ISBN:none
2nd edition: 1983 Lacebark Publications 720 pages (hardback) ISBN:none
(Titled: Know it And Grow It II - A Guide to the Identification and use of Landscape Plants)
3rd edition: 1996 Lacebark Publications 802 pages (hardback $60.00) ISBN10: 0961310901 ISBN13:9780961310905
(Titled: Know it And Grow It III - A Guide to the Identification and use of Landscape Plants)
Author's website: www.lacebarkinc.com
A well-respected volume with lots of info on many landscape plants. Not as comprehensive as Dirr, though it does cover some additional categories of plants. Chapters: 1. Deciduous Trees 2. Deciduous Shrubs and Vines 3. Broadleaf Evergreens 4. Palms and Cycads 5. Ground Covers 6. Coniferous Evergreen Trees and Shrubs. Each plant gets a page of text and a page of black and white photos. Recommended. Whitcomb was a professor at Oklahoma State University. Check his website (link above) - he has a few other serious horticultural books as well.
Roadside Flowers of Oklahoma - Doyle McCoy
1976 Doyle McCoy 116 pages comb bound ISBN 0691998520
Roadside Flowers of Oklahoma - Volume 2 - Doyle McCoy
1978 Doyle McCoy 60 pages comb bound
Roadside Trees and Shrubs of Oklahoma - Doyle McCoy
1981 University of Oklahoma Press 116 pages ISBN 0806115564
About 160 species described and illustrated with color photos. Every other page covers 3 species with 3 photos on opposite pages.
Roadside Wild Fruits of Oklahoma - Doyle McCoy
1980 University of Oklahoma Press 82 pages ISBN 0806116269
About 105 fruits described and illustrated with color photos. Every other page covers 3 species with 3 photos on opposite pages.
Oklahoma Wildflowers - Doyle McCoy
1987 McCoy Publishing (out of print?) ISBN 0691998512
Oklahoma Botanical Literature - Forrest L. Johnson, T.H. Milby
1989 University of Oklahoma Press (out of print?) 150 pages ($18.95 hardback) ISBN 080612198X
This is a giant bibliographical listing of books and periodical articles pertaining to Oklahoma plants.
There is an updated online bibliography on Plant Literature of Oklahoma here:
Field Guide to Oklahoma Plants - R.J. Tyrl, T.J Bidwell, R.E. Masters
subtitled: Commonly Encountered Prarie, Shrubland and Forest Species
2002 Oklahoma State University Press (out of print?) 515 pages ($25.00)
Best Garden Plants for Oklahoma - Steve Owens, Laura Peters
2007 Lone Pine Publishing 176 pages (paperback $16.95) ISBN10:9768200308 ISBN13:9789768200303
Haven't picked this up yet. Looked at it briefly in a bookstore. Noticed many obvious ommissions. Probably could and should be a much larger book, though it is meant for beginners. Good color photos. Owens has been the host of OSU's excellent Oklahoma Gardening TV show.
Oklahoma Gardeners Guide - Steve Dobbs
1999 Cool Springs Press 423 pages (paperback $19.99) ISBN:1888608560
Revised edition - 2005 Cool Springs Press 272 pages ISBN:1591861241
Might be a good introductory book, but I would probably recommend instead the Southern Living Garden Book (see above).
The Perfect Oklahoma Lawn - Steve Dobbs
2002 Cool Springs Press 160 pages ISBN 1930604777
This is a "cookie cutter" book from a series with various state's names inserted into the title. Lots of basic info, but I would recommend any of the organic lawn care books on this page over this one, which is not organically oriented.
Some Other Resources
My Earth Links Page has many useful links.
My Food Books Page lists some related titles.
Journey to Forever
Tons of info on organic farming and gardening, including info on lots of books. Also many older classic books are online there.
Source for many interesting books on organic farming, etc. You can request a printed catalog from their website.
Dave's Garden - Garden Bookworm Guide to Garden Books
Over 1000 gardening books reviewed.
Agroforestry Research Trust
Their publications page lists many books on forest gardening, fruit and nut trees, useful plants, etc.
Some Publishers with Lots of Good Books on Gardening, etc:
Chelsea Green - www.chelseagreen.com
Timber Press - www.timberpress.com
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This page revised 07/07/11. This page first posted 01/28/05 (it snowed all day).