Chelsea Green Publishing

The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm

Pages:324 pages
Book Art:Color illustrations and maps
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603583305
Pub. Date November 30, 2011

The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm

A Cultivator's Guide to Small-Scale Organic Herb Production

By Peg Schafer
Contributions by Sean Fannin
Foreword by Steven Foster

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
November 30, 2011


A leading light in the field of medicinal herb cultivation, The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm is the first cultivation guide of its kind, and presents invaluable information for growers interested in producing high-quality efficacious herbs in all climates of the US, with the historical connectedness of ancient practitioners.

It has become increasingly important-especially as the market for herbal medicine continues to grow-that we transition to local and domestic medicinal cultivation. Increasingly there are concerns in regards to not only the quality but the purity of imported herbs, and wild herbs picked for medicinal purposes are ever more endangered than in past years both at home and abroad.

Peg Schafer, longtime grower and teacher, guides readers with information on propagating, cultivating, and harvesting Chinese herbs, and presents fascinating new scientific data that reveal the age-old wisdom of nature and the traditional systems of Chinese medicine. Through 79 detailed herb profiles--all tested and trialed on Schafer's certified organic farm-Schafer offers easy-to-follow information, suitable for both growers and practitioners, for growing efficacious wild-simulated herbs. Also included is important information on species conservation, crop integration, and how to avoid the introduction of invasive species. Sidebars on traditional medicinal uses for each herb and delicious recipes are also featured throughout.

Vegetable and CSA farmers will find this book of great interest for adding value-added crops to their repertoire, and beginner growers looking to incorporate medicinals into their gardens will find this an invaluable guide to understanding where herbal medicine comes from, and will make eating-your-medicine more accessible than ever.


"For the practitioner of Chinese medicine, The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm is a teacher, drawing us closer to the herbs we use. For the casual gardener, it is a handbook for growing fresh Chinese herbs as part of a healthy diet. For anyone who has an interest in growing their own Chinese herbs, Peg Schafer gives us a new reason to look forward to spring."--Andrew Ellis, author of Notes from South Mountain: A Guide to Concentrated Herb Granules

"Peg Schafer, the most experienced Chinese medicinal herb grower in North America, charts a new course in Chinese medicinal plant cultivation by providing the guidance needed to grow the most important of these herbs domestically. This book offers more than just cultivation tips, but also an assurance of proper plant identification, optimal growing and harvesting conditions, freshness of materials, and the ability to access Chinese medicinals with the lowest carbon footprint possible."--Roy Upton, Executive Director, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia

"Peg Schafer understands in more ways than one that good health springs from the land. Herbs from the Chinese tradition perfectly complement more familiar healing plants. The concept of "regional medicine farms" resonates so well with the growing desire to eat more locally. But of course! We are what we eat, and that includes the medicinal plants that work with our bodies to create wholeness. Every plant person will instantly recognize the gift waiting within this book-Schafer shares many astute observations of how each plant garners medicinal oomph, what she calls the vital qi (chi) of each herb. And that's the right sort of inspiration to launch any thinking gardener!"--Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard, and co-author Nancy Phillips of The Herbalist's Way

"Peg Schafer is the best artisanal grower I know. For this book, she has distilled the knowledge of the small group who, over the past two decades, has pioneered North American production of Chinese medicinal herbs, and tested it through direct experience. This book clearly explains the whys as well as the how-tos, and delivers information into the eager hands of all perennial polyculturalists who will grow us a post-peak oil healthcare system; it is a gift to us all."--Jean Giblette, owner, High Falls Gardens and co-founder,

"This is by far the most detailed and thorough book that addresses the urgent issue of organic cultivation and processing of Chinese herbs. It will have a profound effect on future land use, herb availability, pesticide burdens, and sustainability in a field that is expanding rapidly around the world. I can't stress enough how valuable and rare this information is to practitioners and users of Chinese herbal medicine. I highly recommend this book for all TCM herbalists, as well as gardeners and farmers who want to learn the art of the organic cultivation of Chinese medicinals."--Bill Schoenbart, L.Ac., D.A.O.M

Book News-
Schafer, affiliated with the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm in Petaluma, California, co-founded the first U.S. company to offer organic, domestically grown Chinese medicinal herbs. In this guide for Chinese medicine practitioners and organic farmers, she gives advice on organically growing and harvesting 79 medicinal herbs. Most of the herbs are used in Chinese medicine, but a few belong to the Ayurvedic tradition. The first section of the book gives background on herbal traditions, risks to the future of herbalism, and conservation and global trade in medicinal plants. This section also gives general advice on cultivation in the nursery, garden, and field, and on harvesting, drying, storing, and shipping herbs, collecting and saving seeds, and selling herbs. The book then provides profiles of 79 herbs. Each herb entry gives a plant description, advice on propagation and planting, a list of suitable plant companions, and a brief summary of medicinal uses, plus notes on field production, pests and diseases, and harvest and yield. Each entry also includes a couple of color photos of plants in the field and the roots, flowers, or other parts when processed for medicinal use.

"Comprehensive" best describes Schafer's specialized resource. She begins, appropriately, with a discussion of small-scale cultivation as a way to protect the environment and be part of the international trade in medicinal plants. The growth of herbal trade parallels the increase in the number of Americans exploring acupuncture and other elements of traditional Chinese medicine, so this guide will meet the rising do-it-yourself interest in growing medicinal herbs. Schafer's easily understood instructions are accompanied by boxed inserts of important tips, charts and tables, and photographs. Most of the book is dedicated to 79 detailed herb profiles with growing information and medicinal uses. Also provided are plant and medicinal name cross-references; hardiness-zone maps with a China-U.S. latitude overlay; resources for herb seeds and plants; recommended readings, listings of websites, and herbal and conservation organizations; and an all-important glossary of horticultural, medicinal, and Chinese terms. This genuinely unusual, authoritative manual will likely be in brisk demand.


Peg Schafer

Peg Schafer is recognized as one of the pioneers and leaders in the field of the cultivation of Asian herbs. After more than fifteen years of commercial herb cultivation and research at the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm in Petaluma, California, Schafer has distilled her findings into a guide for growers and practitioners of Chinese medicine. Schafer has played an influential role in establishing a network of organizations including Fu Tian Herbs, the first company in the United States to solely offer certified organic, domestically grown Chinese herbs (which she co-founded), The Sonoma County Herb Association, and The Medicinal Herb Consortium. Along with offering seed and field-grown herbs, Schafer's own Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm operates as an experimental farm to investigate herb cultivation and aid herb conservation. Its internship program gives people hands-on knowledge experience in all aspects of growing and harvesting Chinese herbs.


Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

By Will Bonsall

"Society does not generally expect its farmers to be visionaries." Perhaps not, but longtime Maine farmer and homesteader Will Bonsall does possess a unique clarity of vision that extends all the way from the finer points of soil fertility and seed saving to exploring how we can transform civilization and make our world a better, more resilient place.

In Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening, Bonsall maintains that to achieve real wealth we first need to understand the economy of the land, to realize that things that might make sense economically don't always make sense ecologically, and vice versa. The marketplace distorts our values, and our modern dependence on petroleum in particular presents a serious barrier to creating a truly sustainable agriculture.

For him the solution is, first and foremost, greater self-reliance, especially in the areas of food and energy. By avoiding any off-farm inputs (fertilizers, minerals, and animal manures), Bonsall has learned how to practice a purely veganic, or plant-based, agriculture—not from a strictly moralistic or philosophical perspective, but because it makes good business sense: spend less instead of making more.

What this means in practical terms is that Bonsall draws upon the fertility of on-farm plant materials: compost, green manures, perennial grasses, and forest products like leaves and ramial wood chips. And he grows and harvests a diversity of crops from both cultivated and perennial plants: vegetables, grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and nuts—even uncommon but useful permaculture plants like groundnut (Apios).

In a friendly, almost conversational way, Bonsall imparts a wealth of knowledge drawn from his more than forty years of farming experience.

"My goal," he writes, "is not to feed the world, but to feed myself and let others feed themselves. If we all did that, it might be a good beginning."

Available in: Paperback

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Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

Will Bonsall

Paperback $34.95

The Tao of Vegetable Gardening

The Tao of Vegetable Gardening

By Carol Deppe

The Tao of Vegetable Gardening explores the practical methods as well as the deeper essence of gardening. In her latest book, groundbreaking garden writer Carol Deppe The Resilient Gardener, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties focuses on some of the most popular home garden vegetables—tomatoes, green beans, peas, and leafy greens—and through them illustrates the key principles and practices that gardeners need to know to successfully plant and grow just about any food crop.

Deppe's work has long been inspired and informed by the philosophy and wisdom of Tao Te Ching, the 2,500-­year-­old work attributed to Chinese sage Lao Tzu and the most translated book in the world after the Bible. The Tao of Vegetable Gardening is organized into chapters that echo fundamental Taoist concepts: Balance, Flexibility, Honoring the Essential Nature (your own and that of your plants), Effortless Effort, Non-Doing, and even Non-­Knowing. Yet the book also offers a wealth of specific and valuable garden advice on topics as diverse as:

  • The Eat­-All Greens Garden, a labor­ and space­-efficient way to provide all the greens a family can eat, freeze, and dry—all on a tiny piece of land suitable for small­-scale and urban gardeners.
  • The growing problem of late blight and the future of heirloom tomatoes—and what gardeners can do to avoid problems, and even create new resistant varieties.
  • Establishing a Do­-It-­Yourself Seed Bank, including information on preparing seeds for long­-term storage and how to "dehybridize" hybrids.
  • Twenty-­four good places to not plant a tree, and thirty­-seven good reasons for not planting various vegetables.

Designed for gardeners of all levels, from beginners to experienced growers, The Tao of Vegetable Gardening provides a unique frame of reference: a window to the world of nature, in the garden and in ourselves.

Sample Pictures Slide Show

Available in: Paperback

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The Tao of Vegetable Gardening

Carol Deppe

Paperback $24.95

Edible Forest Gardens: 2 Volume Set

Edible Forest Gardens: 2 Volume Set

By Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier

Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable "plant matrix" that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening-one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

What is an edible forest garden?
An edible forest garden is a perennial polyculture of multipurpose plants. Most plants regrow every year without replanting: perennials. Many species grow together: a polyculture. Each plant contributes to the success of the whole by fulfilling many functions: multipurpose. In other words, a forest garden is an edible ecosystem, a consciously designed community of mutually beneficial plants and animals intended for human food production. Edible forest gardens provide more than just a variety of foods. The seven F's apply here: food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, and "farmaceuticals," as well as fun. A beautiful, lush environment can be a conscious focus of your garden design, or a side benefit you enjoy

Available in: Hardcover

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Edible Forest Gardens: 2 Volume Set

Dave Jacke, Eric Toensmeier

Hardcover $150.00

Sharing the Harvest

Sharing the Harvest

By Elizabeth Henderson and Robyn Van En

To an increasing number of American families the CSA (community supported agriculture) is the answer to the globalization of our food supply. The premise is simple: create a partnership between local farmers and nearby consumers, who become members or subscribers in support of the farm. In exchange for paying in advance--at the beginning of the growing season, when the farm needs financing--CSA members receive the freshest, healthiest produce throughout the season and keep money, jobs, and farms in their own community.

In this thoroughly revised and expanded edition of a Chelsea Green classic, authors Henderson and Van En provide new insight into making CSA not only a viable economic model, but the right choice for food lovers and farmers alike. Thinking and buying local is quickly moving from a novel idea to a mainstream activity. The groundbreaking first edition helped spark a movement and, with this revised edition, Sharing the Harvest is poised to lead the way toward a revitalized agriculture.

Available in: Paperback

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Sharing the Harvest

Elizabeth Henderson, Robyn Van En, Joan Dye Gussow

Paperback $35.00