There are many tools, products, and books that have helped Chelsie and me build our farm, and though we are always going to advocate that you support your local businesses wherever you may be, some of these items are not always available where you live. That being said, here is where you can find a list of our favorite resources that we have found in our adventures and links to where you can order them online.
Table of Contents
1 – Great Farming and Gardening Books and Tools
2 – Reaping the Harvest
3 – Chicken Keeping
4 – Bee Keeping
The products in these lists are affiliate links, which means if you purchase any of these items a small commission will be paid to help support the farm without costing you any extra. We truly appreciate your support!
Why We Love This Book: This book was one of the first we ever purchased when we began our journey into urban farming. At the time, we just wanted to get a little food production out of our few raised garden beds to feed our family, but the practices and techniques we learned from this book not only inspired us, but paved the way for us to eventually become a commercial farming operation on a small piece of land.
Why We Love This Book: If the Mini-Farming book inspired us to start growing our own food, this book totally pushed us over the edge into commercial growing and gave us the confidence that it can not only be done, but done well and in an environmentally sustainable way. Jean Martin passes along an abundance of insightful information about how to grow all types of crops on less than 2 acres and make a living doing it.
Why We Love This Book: When we moved into our current home, one of the selling points for us was the large back lot that I knew I was going to convert into our small urban farm. We were fortunate enough to meet and spend some time with the sellers and they eventually gifted us this book as a housewarming gift. I’ve read it front to back and referenced it countless times. Garlic is one of our favorite things to grow on the farm, goes into almost every dish we prepare and is one of our top sellers at any market. This book is a wonderful reference to add to the shelf of anyone who plans to grow garlic on their property.
Why We Love This Book: Yes, another book about Garlic! But hey, there can never be too much Garlic right?!?! At least not in our home. And this book is another great resource for aspiring garlic growers. Less encyclopedic than The Complete Book of Garlic, but still a great reference written by people with an abundance of experience working with this crop.
Why We Love This Book: Oh Eliot Coleman…how you have paved the way. I could really put just about any and every book this man has written on my recommendations list as I’ve read and I own nearly all of them. Eliot was one of the first to commercially operate a farm using low till practices, season extensions, cover crops and other things that we use at our farm. He even designed many of the tools we use today. Read anything and everything you can by this man.
Why We Love This Book: This book re-inspired us when we were having doubts about the future of our farm. We thought “maybe we are just too small” or “If only we had ….” Compact Farms gives an insight into many farms all across the USA profiting off of their small lots. They give very cool maps of each farm, discuss the growing techniques, irrigation methods and production for each farm listed and this book is packed full of beautiful pictures. This book single handily reminded us…WE CAN DO THIS!
Why We Love This Book: This book is a great reference tool that we use frequently when attempting to identify pests around our farm. Great pictures of insects in various life stages with practical prevention and removal techniques.
Why We Love This Product: We use one of these in our greenhouse and our grow rooms. Small, portable, accurate and inexpensive.
Why We Love This Product: Our go to for seed trays.
Why We Love This Product: We like these staples because they are thicker and stronger than the normal products you see at most garden stores. We have found those staples do not last long and they often bend or even break in hard soils. Not these ones!
Why We Love This Product: This product is lightweight and comes in a 600 ft roll. For the home gardener, this will be all the mulch you need for a long time. We use this on all of our nightshade beds and long season crops. Drastically reduces the amount of time weeding.
Why We Love This Product: We use this around the farm anywhere we need a semi permanent weed barrier, such as in the greenhouse or even occasionally along pathways. This is heavy material and lasts multiple seasons.
Why We Love This Product: One of our most frequently used products. Row covers are porous and allow water and sunlight in, but also keep pests out and protect plants from frosts. We even use these in the hottest parts of the summer to provide shade for some of our cooler season crops.
Why We Love This Product: Our go-to plug tray.
Why We Love This Product: Our preferred tool for harvesting a number of different crops around the farm. Small, lightweight and very durable.
Why We Love This Product: Perfect case for our harvest knife.
Why We Love This Product: We are a low till farm which means we do not use mechanized equipment frequently. This tool along with our broad forks are our most utilized bed prep and cultivation tools.
Why We Love This Product: A great accessory to have for your Hoss Hoe. Makes weeding a breeze. We also use this for bed preparation.
Why We Love This Product: Every bed, every row, everywhere we plant, we use a broadfork to prep the beds each year. This tool coincides with our practice of low till farming and helps to assure soil health as the years go by. There are many broadforks available which all may achieve the same result, but we especially like the all steel design of this one.
Why We Love This Product: Without question our most used tool on the farm. Every day we use multiple stirrup hoes around our plot to cultivate weeds. The sharp two-sided blade allows you to push or pull the tool and cut below the soil surface to kill weeds at their root.
Why We Love This Product: Aside from the harvest knife, this is the other tool we always have on our belts. Strong enough to prune berry bushes and small stems and can also be used to harvest fruits.
Why We Love This Product: A great fertilizer product with no added chemicals.
Why We Love This Product: Large enough to throw the kids in for an evening walk and maneuverable enough to guide through the complex layout of beds and rows on the farm. The removable side walls allow for greater carrying options and this thing is built strong.
Why We Love This Book: Packed full of beautiful pictures and inspiring stories and recipes to help you make the most out of your harvest.
Why We Love This Book: Keep chickens for long enough and inevitably you’re going to find yourself with a sick bird. From Bumblefoot to Marek’s and everything in between, this book is a must-have shelf reference for anyone with a backyard flock.
Why We Love This Book: This was the first book we purchased when we started thinking about raising chickens on our land. It is a very easy read and is packed full of extremely useful information. This book helps you choose which breeds are best suited for your needs, includes basic coop and run designs and so much more. Paul recommends this book to students during every Chicken Keeping class he teaches.
Why We Love This Book: Chickens are great, don’t get me wrong. But they can be more than a little destructive to plants and landscaping around the property with their constant digging, burrowing and pecking. This book provides insight into what plants you should grow and what strategies you should use to keep your birds from completely destroying all of the beautiful vegetation you have worked so hard to establish on your land.
Why We Love This Product: We add a few drops of this vitamin supplement to our birds’ water each time we feed. This not only helps build up their immune system and provides additional nutrition, but it also helps birds absorb calcium if you are getting a lot of pimpled eggs with calcium deposits.
Why We Love This Book: In our opinion, if you are thinking about keeping bees, or if you already have a hive on your land, you MUST have this book. This is one of the best shelf references we’ve seen on the subject of beekeeping and despite the fact that it is such a thick book, we’ve read it from cover to cover more than once and reference it constantly. The pictures are beautiful and if for nothing else, this makes a great coffee table book!
Why We Love This Product: When you’re just getting started with beekeeping, it can be quite intimidating. This product covers the majority of your upper body and makes you feel safe and confident when working your hives.
Why We Love This Product: Conveniently assembled 10 pack of frames with wax foundation already included.
Why We Love This Product: As you progress through your beekeeping journey, you will get better at maintaining your colonies, and they will grow. This is a convenient piece that comes with all you need to expand your hive to accommodate your growing colony.
Why We Love This Product: We like Apivar especially because of the opportunities it provides to treat your bees for Varroa at any time of year. We usually do a spring and a fall treatment depending on our mite counts, but unless you have honey supers in place, this product can be used year round unlike others available.
Why We Love This Product: It gets cold in the winter and mice like a nice warm place to stay out of the weather, especially one that might be full of honey. This is a simple product that helps your colony avoid infiltration from mice and other small vermin.