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Organic Field Crop Handbook

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The Organic Field Crop Handbook


The Organic Field Crop Handbook is COG's most popular book and is used in university courses around the globe. This book is a must read practical reference guide for both organic field crop farmers and conventional farmers who are considering making the transition to organic farming.  The handbook contains updated information on growing methods, organic certification and the economics of organic farming in Canada.

The book covers organic methods including:

  • how to increase and maintain soil fertility using green manures, compost, soil amendments and more,
  • how to maintain a healthy soil life using crop rotation, reduced tillage and compost,
  • how to compost manure safely and effectively (a detailed troubleshooting guide is included),
  • how to control weeds using tillage, intercropping, crop rotation, flame weeding and other methods,
  • how to reduce soil erosion and maintain soil moisture in dryland areas,
  • how to use green manures and cover crops to add organic matter, fix nitrogen, reduce nutrient leaching, control weeds and more,
  • how to save seed from field crops,
  • how to control pests and diseases, and
  • how to ensure that your crop is free from contamination by genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

The Organic Field Crop Handbook contains a detailed worksheet to help farmers develop their own crop rotations.  Approximately one third of the book is devoted to detailed descriptions of how to grow various field crops.  Based on interviews with successful organic farmers from across Canada, each crop profile includes information on suitable crop rotations, intercropping, seeding rates, weed and pest control, harvesting methods and more.

The crop profiles include:

  • cereal crops: barley, oats, rye, spelt, spring wheat and winter wheat (with brief descriptions of kamut, einkorn and durum),
  • pulses: dry beans, fava beans, lentils, field peas and soybeans,
  • broadleaf and other crops: buckwheat, canola/rapeseed, corn, flax, industrial hemp, oilradish, potatoes and sunflowers,
  • forage crops: forage legumes, forage grasses, cereals, feed corn, fodder roots, fodder brassicas.

Read a review by the Rodale Institute

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