Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sustainable Agriculture

I finished reading John Mason's book "Sustainable Agriculture". It is a well written fact and reference book. It covers not only the small garden farmer but also the professional farmer with large crop land and heavy machinery. The book covers most aspects of sustainable agriculture from crops, livestock, and forestry to water management. I appreciated most the lists and tables specifying which plants to use for which soil, which plants to combine with others for mutual benefits, which plants to rotate for soil maintenance, which natural fertilizers are available in the market and their properties, pros and cons of various mulching materials, which compost materials are high in nitrogen, which are high in carbon, which plants can be used for controlling which pest, and so on.

While some material is not useful for me (I do not intend to have any livestock, I am not a professional farmer) and some comments relate only to Australia (home of the author), I found this a good reference book to look up specifics (e.g. which plant to use for what purposes) that goes beyond the usual philosophical discussion and basic concepts of permaculture found in most videos. Recommended reading for anyone who has gone beyond the concepts level.

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