Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Arid Agriculture: How to Reduce Heat Stress in Crops and Livestock

Regardless of where you stand on the climate change issue, there’s one reality few can deny. During the summer, many places in North America are now regularly suffering temperatures above 100˚F, whereas they rarely did in the past. It’s also widely known that such high temperatures put heat stress on crops that are not very thermotolerant.

Thankfully, there’s another reality that brings some positivity to the subject. While many crops can not steadily produce food in extreme hot weather climates, some can. And they are doing so quite effectively. Innovative, hot-weather farmers have found ways to build “guilds” of crops, livestock, and canopy plantings that successfully alleviate heat stress and produce food in even the most arid environments.

In Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, Gary Paul Nabhan addresses an issue increasingly faced by farmers, gardeners, and orchard-keepers all across the country: how to adapt their food production to become more resilient in the face of an uncertain climate. Through “parables from the field,” detailed descriptions, and diagrams, Nabhan shares techniques acquired from his time spent with farmers in the Gobi Desert, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert, and Andalusia, as well as the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Painted deserts of North America.

Throughout the following excerpt, you’ll learn how to reduce heat stress in crops and livestock through establishing boundary layers and developing nurse plants. You’ll also uncover tips for using the boundary effect principle to cool an overheated home, including a step-by-step process for creating leaf-shaped trellises.


When it Comes to Invasive Species, Just Say NO to Eradication

What if we looked beyond the notion of invasive species as enemies, and instead harnessed them for beneficial uses? Beyond the War on Invasive Species offers just such a bold alternative to the chemical and intensive eradication efforts, one that is holistic and inspired by permaculture principles. First-time author Tao Orion makes a compelling case […] Read More..

A Conversation with Medicinal Herb Farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter

In their new book, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer, Jeff and Melanie Carpenter offer a business guide and farming manual on how to successfully grow and market organic medicinal herbs. The Carpenters cover the basic practical information any grower needs to get an organic herb farm up and running, including size and scale considerations, soil […] Read More..

How to Plan Your First Foray into Seed Saving

Whether you’re a home gardener or a more seasoned horticulturist, saving seeds is a time-honored tradition vital to the preservation of important varieties of vegetables and herbs. A follow up to Seed to Seed, The Seed Garden: The Art and Practice of Seed Saving provides straightforward instruction on collecting seed that is true-to-type and ready […] Read More..

The New Farmers’ Almanac: A Collection of Essays for Beginners

What agrarian future can we realistically build together? This is a question the Greenhorns hope to answer in their latest book, The New Farmers’ Almanac 2015. Greenhorns is an organization for young farmers—a non-traditional grassroots network with the mission to promote, recruit and support the entering generation of new farmers. It exists to celebrate young […] Read More..

How to Achieve Resiliency Through Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

In today’s world the marketplace distorts our values and our dependence on petroleum keeps us from creating truly sustainable agriculture. So, how can we achieve true wealth and at the same time make society around us more resilient? The answer, Will Bonsall believes, is greater self-reliance in both how we grow our own food, and […] Read More..
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