• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • r ranson
  • Jay Angler
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Timothy Norton
  • Christopher Weeks
gardeners:
  • Saana Jalimauchi
  • Jeremy VanGelder
  • Ulla Bisgaard
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

 
Summary
Text courtesy of Chelsea Green
 
A Minimalist No-Till, No-Spray, Selective-Weeding, Grow-Your-Own-Fertilizer System for Organic Agriculture by Helen Atthowe, foreword by Paul Muller

The breakthrough resource for fruit and vegetable growers at every scale who want to go ‘beyond organic’ and build higher soil quality and fertility using fewer inputs through a unique ecosystem-balancing approach.

“Atthowe’s book takes ecological farming to the next level. It is packed with useful, field-tested, innovative techniques for farming more gently without sacrificing productivity. . . This is the future of farming. I highly recommend this book.”—Ben Hartman, author of The Lean Farm



The Ecological Farm is the go-to guide for ecological growing, with a unique focus on reduced tillage, minimizing farm and garden inputs, and pest control.

Reflecting the wisdom that farmer, consultant, and educator Helen Atthowe and her late husband, Carl Rosato, gained during decades of farming experience, this book guides readers on how to reduce or eliminate the use of outside inputs of fertilizer or pesticides—even those that are commonly used on certified organic orchards and market gardens. In clear language and with color photographs, charts, and graphs throughout, the book emphasizes the importance of managing the details of an entire growing system over the full life of the enterprise.

Based on advances in scientific research in ecological food production, farmers, homesteaders, permaculturists, and gardeners alike will learn methods to:

  • design a farm system that maintains a growing root in the soil year-round to feed the microbial community instead of just crops
  • strengthen the “immune system” of a farm or garden
  • supply crop needs using only on-farm inputs such as cover crops and living mulch
  • maximize the presence of beneficial insects and microbes that support healthy crop development
  • minimize ecological impact in dealing with insect pest and disease problems


  • The Ecological Farm also features a crop-by-crop guide to growing more than 25 of the most popular and profitable vegetables and fruits, including specific management advice for dealing with pests and diseases.

    The Ecological Farm makes complex, sometimes messy, ecological concepts and practices understandable to all growers, and makes healthy farming—in which nature is invited to participate—possible.

    “[This book] will guide all of us as we learn to farm in harmony with an ecosystem and to become obedient to the whole rather than being distracted by the urge to tinker with the parts.”

    —Wes Jackson, cofounder and president emeritus, The Land Institute



    More reviews:

    “Helen Atthowe has a rare gift: She knows how to listen to scientists, but she speaks ‘farmer.’ Her knowledge comes from observation and practice as if decades matter, not just seasons. Helen applies her intuitive ideas to complex whole-systems organic agriculture, with a special focus on growing the fertility of the soil. Most importantly Helen engages in her work with a sense of joy and celebration. She’s a born teacher who retains her sense of wonder that there is so much more to learn. Oh, and I think Helen must never sleep. The depth of the material she presents in The Ecological Farm and the citations she offers in support of her work is beyond my own comprehension!”

       —Bob Scowcroft, cofounder, Organic Farming Research Foundation; board member, Nell Newman Foundation



       “In The Ecological Farm, Helen Atthowe shares the practical knowledge she acquired over many years through experimentation on her own low-input, high-output ecological farm. Her book makes an exceptional and timely contribution to addressing interconnected global crises for which hands-on solutions are badly needed. Helen’s work will also be invaluable to smallholder producers who wish to transition to ecologically based, sustainable, and profitable organic production systems, also known as organic Conservation Agriculture.”

       —Dr. Amir Kassam, visiting professor, School of Agriculture Policy and Development, University of Reading, UK; former senior technical officer, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization; editor, Advances in Conservation Agriculture, volumes 1–3



    “The story of Helen Atthowe’s farming journey has stuck with me for many years, and now being able to hold it, savor it, and dive into the many nerdy details is an absolute gift. The combination of decades of experience and loads of data make her book incomparable: It is well researched, well written, and endlessly idea provoking. There are a thousand ‘Ah-Ha!’ moments, with each section offering a new applicable insight or concept for improving or understanding soil health. The Ecological Farm will teach you how to rebuild soil, minimize tillage, grow your own garden fertility, improve ecology, and much more. Quite frankly, Helen’s book belongs on the shelf of every serious grower.”

       —Jesse Frost, author of The Living Soil Handbook



       

    “Helen Atthowe employs her high skill set and shares the full depth and length of her experience in The Ecological Farm. The ecology she describes is beautiful to look at and a powerful tool for maintaining balance on the farm or in a garden. Helen guides readers through many methods, backed up by decades of results.”

       —Charles Dowding, author of Charles Dowding’s No Dig Gardening



    “With the concepts she lays out in The Ecological Farm, Helen Atthowe gifts us with a practical and scalable approach to cultivation that produces nutrient-dense food with an absolute minimum of external inputs. Full of stories and wisdom gathered from 40 years of hands-on growing, this book is a rare synthesis of careful scientific research, long-term observation, and deep intuition developed through decades of listening to the land.”

       —Alan Booker, executive director, Institute of Integrated Regenerative Design



    “In The Ecological Farm, Helen Atthowe shares decades of hard-learned lessons and keen observations. She is an inveterate tinkerer, experimenter, and researcher and has refined her organic production through the years. Atthowe has an immense respect for the role of biodiversity in the soil system. A fungi advocate, she guides the reader to reduce soil disturbance and feed the soil carbon. She writes as both a teacher and learner—as she tells readers, ‘I am still learning.’ Luckily she has taken a break from learning to share her accumulated knowledge and tips. While ‘more is better’ is often the strategy in our agriculture, Atthowe provides evidence and inspiration for selective and judicious management strategies to enhance your ecological farm.”

       —Dr. Douglas Collins, extension specialist and soil scientist, Washington State University




    Pages: 384 pages
    Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing


    About Helen Atthowe
    Helen Atthowe has worked for 35 years to connect farming, food systems, land stewardship, and conservation. She farmed and conducted research at Woodleaf Farm in eastern Oregon until spring 2023, when she moved to western Montana. She is helping the new owners of the Oregon farm learn her ecological management system as she simultaneously begins a new Woodleaf Farm in Montana, where she has already planted a no-till orchard of thirty fruit trees. Helen and her late husband, Carl Rosato, co-owned and operated a certified organic orchard in California where they pioneered methods for raising apples, peaches, and other tree fruits without the use of any type of pesticides. Her on-farm research includes ecological weed and insect management, organic minimum soil disturbance systems for vegetable and orchard crops, and managing living mulches for soil and habitat building. She is a contributing writer to The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control and other books. She has served as a board member for the Organic Farming Research Foundation and advisor for the Wild Farm Alliance. Atthowe has a master’s degree in horticulture from Rutgers University and has worked in education and research at the University of Arkansas, Rutgers University, and Oregon State University, and served as a horticulture extension agent in Montana, where she annually taught an organic master gardener course.


    Where to get it?
     
    Chelsea Green (Use the link here for 35% off - valid until end of 2023 only)
    Amazon.com
    Amazon.co.uk
    Amazon.ca

     
    Related Info
     
    Master Gardener Program with Helen Atthowe -beyond organic - available to stream instantly.
    Garden Master Course in-person with Helen at Wheaton Labs - get your ticket now!
     
    COMMENTS:
     
    gardener
    Posts: 3836
    Location: yakima valley, central washington, pacific northwest zone 6b
    712
    2
    dog forest garden fungi foraging hunting cooking composting toilet medical herbs writing homestead ungarbage
    • Likes 7
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns!

    Helen bridges the gap between academic research and practical application in her new book.  This is a very approachable book that lays out, in simple terms, how to apply holistic growing principles to any farm, market garden, or orchard.  She has the data to back up her claims and the hands-on experience that allows her to share her insights to farmers.  The book is broken down into digestible chapters.  She begins with understanding ecological relationships and soil health - the backbone of a healthy garden and farm.  She shares her experiences to explain the systems and principles she is teaching in the book.  The other half of the book is a in depth look at pests and diseases and how to deal with them naturally, without chemicals.  The concepts compound on one another and even if you dont have a science background and are just getting started with your farming journey.
     
    Posts: 1
    2
    • Likes 5
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I have Helen’s book and am in the process of going through it.  It is very helpful!   I highly recommend it!!!   I also listened to her Master Gardner course this last winter and learned a lot but have a ton more to learn!  I am in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana.  Thanks Helen for sharing all your knowledge with us!  Dana Jong
     
    Posts: 29
    2
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Welcome, Helen!
    I am especially interested in your book due to the parts on pests and diseases. I live in Wyoming and am having a terrible time with insects this year. I don't want pesticides on my plants, but do want to deter bugs. "The Ecologic Farm" looks like it has what I need.
    Congratulations on your move to Montana.
     
    steward
    Posts: 4639
    Location: Queensland, Australia
    1011
    6
    dog trees books bike fiber arts medical herbs bee seed solar homestead composting
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    C Pearce wrote:Welcome, Helen!
    I am especially interested in your book due to the parts on pests and diseases. I live in Wyoming and am having a terrible time with insects this year. I don't want pesticides on my plants, but do want to deter bugs. "The Ecologic Farm" looks like it has what I need.
    Congratulations on your move to Montana.



    Please come on over and say hi to Helen in the welcome/book promo thread here: https://permies.com/wiki/223008/Helen-Atthowe-author-Ecological-Farm
     
    Posts: 2
    1
    • Likes 5
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    As someone walking away from much of the heavy chemical farming my wife and I was raised in, books and threads like this are what we have been eating up. The more information and variety we can learn, we hope to work through and find what will work in our area. We see many small and large farms here that use organic and more soil-friendly practices and have noticed that just a mile can mean different results to the same procedure ( our farm/ranch is split into two completely different environments). The fact that authors like Helen speak farmer aids in the understanding of the goals and outcomes.  Thanks to her and to permits for the chance to see what is out there to assist us on our journey.

    Thanks to you both.
     
    Posts: 11
    3
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I’ve finished my family care/estate duties and am now ready to live where I can grow my own food and be relatively energy independent. I’m encouraged by Helen’s book as it details a farm system in harmony with nature and as I’m currently on my own at age 65, this lazy gardener can actually create and manage a livable, doable lifestyle in harmony with nature’s brilliant design!
     
    Posts: 1
    2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Is there a coupon code for the 35% off? The link didn't seem to offer the discount?
     
    gardener
    Posts: 1571
    Location: Zone 6b
    1022
    forest garden fungi books chicken fiber arts ungarbage
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Lynne Hinkle wrote:Is there a coupon code for the 35% off? The link didn't seem to offer the discount?


    The coupon code "CGP35" will apply for $15.73 in discount, shipping to US is $7.50 through USPS.
     
    May Lotito
    gardener
    Posts: 1571
    Location: Zone 6b
    1022
    forest garden fungi books chicken fiber arts ungarbage
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Pam Dawling reviewed this book on her Sustainable Market Gardening blog:
    https://www.sustainablemarketfarming.com/2023/09/20/book-review-the-ecological-farm-by-helen-atthowe/
     
    One day a chicken crossed a road and nobody questioned the motives. Thank you tiny ad.
    A PDC for cold climate homesteaders
    http://permaculture-design-course.com
    reply
      Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic