Vegetable Seed Saving Handbook
Seed to Seed, Suzanne Ashworth
The seed saver's standard reference that gives information on saving all the common vegetable seeds. An important book to have if you're saving seeds of heirloom varieties. Buy it new or used at Half.com or at the publisher's here.
Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's & Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding & Seed Saving, Carol Deppe
A thorough, readable book detailing all aspects of seed selection and breeding techniques for creating your own new varieties. An essential resource for home breeders.
The New Seed Starter's Handbook, Nancy Bubel
A good reference on successfully starting and caring for seedlings of common garden vegetables and flowers.
Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation, Gary Nabhan
Written by the ethno-botanist founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, Gary Nabhan, this book is a fascinating tour through the topic of food plants centering on seeds and their evolving relationships with the humans who grow them. Interesting, readable... simultaneously enlightening and heartening.
Garden Seed Inventory, Seed Savers Exchange
In Garden Seed Inventory, Seed Savers Exchange lists commercial sources for almost 8,500 varieties of open-pollinated and heirloom vegetable seeds in Canada and the United States. Originally compiled by Seed Savers Exchange's Kent Whealy, the Inventory lists the number of sources remaining for each variety, so that preservationists can tell at a glance how much danger of extinction a particular variety suffers from. An invaluable reference.
Faith in a Seed: The Dispersion of Seeds and Other Late Natural History Writings, Henry D. Thoreau
A collection of the natural history studies that Thoreau was working on at the time of his death. Among his most thoughtful, this book is full of unique and interesting observations on seed dispersal and other seed-related processes. Thoreau's ideas on natural history—taken from his keen observational skills and unique way of seeing—were elegant, profound and far ahead of his time.
Shattering: Food, Politics, and the Loss of Genetic Diversity, Fowler and Mooney
A fascinating account of the politics and mechanisms supporting genetic erosion of our food plants. Discusses weaknesses of cold storage for genetic conservation (i.e., 'seed banks') as opposed to 'living seed banks' such as Seed Savers Exchange. University of Arizona Press.
Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture, J. Russell Smith
A classic of sustainable agriculture first written in 1929. Smith passionately talks about damage from modern agriculture taking place even in the 1920's (writing two decades before J.I. Rodale... probably an inspiration for Rodale as well as Bill Mollison and many others). Smith describes viable, visionary alternatives for a mixed agriculture based on high-yielding, low-care tree crops. An interesting perspective, much information not available elsewhere, and intriguing seed breeding project ideas.
Reprinted from Vegetable Seed Savers Handbook, Jack Rowe 1998, howtosaveseeds.com