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Reading Lists

We recently had a very good suggestion that we should have a centrally located collection of book lists about the various topics people here are interested in.

So this is a request for people to post such lists here and we will organise them into an article or something similar.

If the books on the lists could be described with the

Publisher and date of publication
ISBN number

that would be great.

If you haven't got a list yourself, but you can think of a topic you would like others to recommend books on please let us know that too.

What an excellent idea.
Barefoot Andrew

Bumpety bump.

Fiona Houston and Xa Milne
seaweed and eat it, a family foraging and cooking adventure
First published 2008
Virgin Books Limited
ISBN 978 0 7535 1341 5

A whimsical book, just the one to buy for friends who would normally shop at that little specialist deli at the end of the road, or Waitrose. It has a foreword by AA Gill and is described as "a charming introduction" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Brownbear would just love it. Smile Botanical friends will point out discrepancies. "You can't eat that with that, they aren't in flower/fruit at the same time..." I use it and enjoy it.

What about baking?

How to be a domestic Goddess
Nigella Lawson
Chatto & Windus 2000

A great guide for baking, everything from savory pies and bread through to little cupcakes or big fruit and/or chocolate cakes

Delia Smiths Book of Cakes
Delia Smith
Coronet Books, 1988

A good starter book for cakes. Gives you basic recipes many of which are very adaptable plus lots of tips of how to make good cakes

I'll do a couple when when I get home. Need to include Richard Maybey's Food for free along with that one of Cathryn's

This may be a very stupid/unrealistic suggestion, but could there be a button like the recipe button so that when we recommend a book in a thread, it can be added semi-automatically to the database?
Barefoot Andrew

The reading lists aren't going to be as sophisticated as a 'database' - when we've got some lists compiled they will likely take the form of an article, and be edited periodically.

Food for Free
Richard Mabey
Collins Gem
ISBN 978-0-00-718303-6

This was first published in 1972 but I have lost that copy. Sad This is the pocket edition which I never remember to take out with me!

The opposite extreme is

Flora Britannica
Richard Mabey
Sinclair Stevenson Ltd
ISBN 978-1856193771

Initially I found this slightly disappointing as it describes itself as being "The Definitive New Guide to Britain's Wild Flowers, Plants and Trees" and expected a reference book. It isn't but it is fascinating reading about the folklore surrounding plants and trees. Calling it a coffee table book is to slight it but it's a great one to have out and dip into of an evening.

I'd like to read Beechcombing also by Richard Mabey, has anyone read it?

Can anyone recommend a good guide to the sea shore? Seaweeds, crawly things, seabirds... (I have a book called The Pebbles on the Beach by Clarence Ellis, so I have that bit covered. Wink)
Barefoot Andrew


I use the Seashore of Britain and Europe. I can generally find most things in it, though you soon get to realise there's an awful lot of different things out there!

Publisher: Collins (29 Jul 1996)
ISBN-10: 0002199556

Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps by Thompson and Goodchilde
ISBN-10: 0141038624

These are the book that I really could not have done without. (In the format Author, Title, Publisher and Date, ISBN, my comments.)

Brenda and Robert Vale
The New Autonomous House
Thames and Hudson (2000)
ISBN 0-500-28287-0
Detailed description of energy efficient house in the Midlands with rainwater harvesting system and composting toilet. Compares the designed systems with how they worked in practice.

Sue Roaf, Manuel Fuentes, Stephanie Thomas
Ecohouse 2: A design Guide
Elsevier (2003)
ISBN 0-7506-5734-0
How to design an eco-house. Lots on passive solar design.

Cindy Harris and Pat Borer
The Whole House Book: Ecological Building Design and Materials (2nd Ed.)
Centre for Alternative Technology Publications (1998)
ISBN 1-90217-522-0
Helpful for choosing appropriate materials.

Colin Buchanan and Partners Ltd. and Mike Shanahan and Associates, Architects
Planning Standards and Guidance Series, No. 1: Cork Rural Design Guide, Building a New House in the Countryside
Cork County Council (2003)
ISBN 0-9525-86940
Really helpful guide on how to design a vernacular house that will fit into the landscape.

Mike Oehler
The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book: How to build an energy free year-round greenhouse
Mole Publishing Company (2007)
ISBN 9780960446407
Energy efficient greenhouses from predominately recycled materials.

Mike and Nancy Bubel
Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruit and Vegetables (2nd Ed.)
Versa Press (1991)
ISBN 0-88266-703-3
Detailed guide on how to build root cellars with lots of examples and details of how to store a comprehensive range of produce.

Peter Harper and Louise Halestrap
Lifting the Lid: An ecological approach to toilet systems
C.A.T. Publications (1999)
ISBN 1-898049-79-3
Different dry toilet systems. Not as good as Humanure Handbook but does look at different commercial systems.

Nick Grant, Mark Moodie, Chris Weedon
Sewage Solutions: Answering the call of Nature (3rd Ed.)
C.A.T. Publications (2005)
ISBN 1-90217-526-3
How to reduce water demand and dealing with grey and black water including reedbeds.

Joseph Jenkins
The Humanure Handbook: a guide to composting human manure (3rd Ed.)
Chelsea Green Publishing (2005)
ISBN 0-9644258-3-1
Inspirational book on dealing with human manure, mostly by composting toilets including how to make your own. Available online too.

Judith Thornton
The Water Book
C.A.T. Publications (2005)
ISBN 1-90217-523-9
Self-sufficient water systems including rainwater harvesting.

S.B. Watt And W.E. Wood
Hand Dug Wells and Their Construction
Practical Action Publishing (2007)
ISBN 978-0-90303-127-1
How to safely dig wells by hand and protect the water supply.

Graham Bell
The Permaculture Garden
Permanent Publications (2004)
ISBN 1-85623-027-9
Good introduction to sustainable and forest gardening. Useful tables e.g. Fibre Plants, Insect Repellent Plants, Soap Plants, Dynamic Accumulators. Aimed more at urban gardeners and only 170 pages long.

Patrick Whitefield
How to Make a Forest Garden
Permanent Publications (2002)
ISBN 1-85623-008-2
Lots of information on the theory and design of forest gardens. Details of some of the more common edible perennial species for UK gardens.

Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier
Edible Forest Gardens Volume 1 and 2
Chelsea Green Publishing (2005)
ISBN 1-931498-79-2 and 1-931498-80-6
Extremely detailed look at forest gardens from permaculture design principles onwards. Volume 2 has useful tables (Plant Species Matrix and Species-by-Function tables). Not all plants are suitable for the UK and it does not mention some common UK species.

Ken Fern
Plants for a Future
Permanent Publications (2000)
ISBN 1-85623-011-2
An excellent resource of edible species suitable for the UK. Lots of cool inspirational plants. Information also available in on-line database.

British Trust for Conservation Volunteers
Woodlands: a practical handbook
Antony Rowe Ltd (1998)
ISBN 0-9501643-7-2
How to plant and manage native woodlands. Lots of other useful BTCV titles and also available on-line.

William Milliken and Sam Bridgewater
Flora Celtica
Birlinn Ltd (2004)
ISBN 1-84158-303-0
Wonderful book about the plants and people of Scotland using information gathered from the public, historical writings and modern plant uses. Great for dipping into.

That's brilliant Cassie. Thanks for that.
Barefoot Andrew

Bump. Just sorting out my unwieldy email inbox, and the following list from orangepippin has been sat in there for a while Embarassed

The Fruit Expert

Dr G.G. Hessayon

If you just want to start growing apples or other fruit trees in the garden or allotment, no need to buy anything else, this has it all.

Pruning Fruiting Plants

Richard Bird

Slightly "coffee table" but simple to refer to - just find the fruit you are interested in and follow the instructions and diagrams for standards, cordons, bushes, spindles etc.

The Grafter's Handbook

R.J. Garner

If you want to start propagating your own fruit trees, this is the only book you need.

Peaches and Apricots / Plums / Cherries

Martin Crawford, Agroforestry Research

Three small notebooks, but containing very detailed information about these fruit species - useful if you are starting to become obsessed with fruit trees.

Apples in Scotland

John Butterworth

Essential reading if you want to try growing apples in the slightly more challenging environment north of the border.

The New Book of Apples

Joan Morgan et al

The definitive work about the history of apples, and includes a directory listing some 2,000 varieties in the UK National Fruit Collection.

The Apple Grower

Michael Phillips

This is the one to get if you want to setup an organic orchard and need a bit of inspiration - although you might need to translate some of the American terminology.

Intensive Orchard Management

Bruce Barritt / Washington State University

A good insight into how modern orchards are managed - very different from the garden or allotment situation, but some of the techniques can be adapted.


For porcophiles:

Manual of a Traditional Bacon Curer by Maynard Davies: everything frombasic bangers and bacon, via faggots to spiced beef and black pudding. Absolutely excellent.
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