/ Shipman's Home Sweet Homepage
/ Site map
Shipman's reading list: radical agriculture
Due to my long exposure to the Whole Earth
Catalog and associated publications like the Whole
Earth Review, I've run across some agricultural theories
that could hardly be more contrary to the way ag is usually
practiced in the USA these days.
I'm not really much of a practitioner of these off-the-wall
ideas, but have had some surprising successes with them in my
own yard. I think any home gardener or even small landholder
might benefit from trying some of these ideas. Why are so many
important books out of print?!
- The one-straw revolution: an introduction to
natural farming by Masanobu Fukuoka (Rodale Press,
1978, ISBN 0-87857-220-1). A wu-wei
(do very little) approach that dispenses with insecticides,
fertilizers, and all turning of the soil. Long out of print,
but available again, in an edition from India, from
Plants Of The
Southwest, 6680 4th St NW Albuquerque, NM 87107,
- Tree crops by J. Russell Smith
(Devin-Adair, 1987, ISBN 0933280440).
Why not plant perennials that drop the food right on the
ground for you? Exhaustive analyses of different
trees and their merits. Among the unusual ideas:
instead of planting an orchard of small stunted nut
trees, why not plant five nut trees on an acre so
they all get plenty of light? It takes a longer-term
approach to get the benefits, obviously.
- The Ruth Stout no-work garden book by
Ruth Stout and Richard Clemence (Rodale Press, 1971,
0-87857-000-4). The bible of the mulchers. Put down a foot
of rotting straw (around these parts, I can almost always
find poor hay for $2 a bale). When it rots down to six inches deep,
add another six inches, repeat. To plant, dig down through
the mulch to the ground, plant the seeds, and when they get
tall enough, push the mulch back against the stems.
In places with adequate rain, this is just about all you
need to do, and the soil just gets better every year.
Here in the arid West, I think it works great if you
just add drip irrigation lines on top of the mulch.
- Carrots love tomatoes and Roses love garlic
by Louise Riotte. All about companion planting, where you
plant multiple species that get along, and avoid planting
together those plants that don't get along. I grew some
great corn and soybeans under mulch one summer with this
method combined with the Ruth Stout method.
Next: Shipman's reading list: software design
See also: Shipman's reading list
Previous: Shipman's reading list: history and historical fiction
John W. Shipman,
Last updated: 2002/08/09 23:04:16