Traditional American Farming Techniques



Book Description

Traditional American Farming Techniques remains as valuable today as when first published in 1916. Its thousand pages brim with information, including many organic techniques. Topics covered range from crop rotation, raising vegetables, and maximizing yields to making butter, managing farm animals, maintaining tractors, and dealing with pests. With an inspiring new introduction from Mary Jane Butters, who praises the book as a “farming bible.”

About Gardner, Frank

Frank D. Gardner was Professor of Agronomy at the Pennsylvania State College and Experiment Station.
MaryJane Butters is considered the Martha Stewart of organic farming. Here is the bio she sent to us with her new introduction.

MaryJane Butters discovered that she was a writer when she needed a mail-order catalog for her line of organic foods produced at her Idaho farm. When her passion for good stories got out of hand, her catalog became a “storefront” magazine (MaryJanesFarm®), finding its way into stores like Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart, and eventually landing on the desk of a literary agent in New York who encouraged her to write a book sharing her message of simple, everyday organic living. Her first book, “MaryJane's Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook…for the farmgirl in all of us,” produced by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, is now available in bookstores nationwide.

The founder of MaryJanesFarm® has always been a pioneer. Born in 1953, MaryJane grew up in Utah in a self-sufficient family of seven, longing for fertile ground where she could raise her own flock of chickens, maybe a cow or two, and a family. She spent summers watching for fires from a mountaintop lookout near Weippe, Idaho, and in 1976 became the first woman Station Guard at the Moose Creek Ranger Station in Idaho's Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area, the most remote Forest Service district in the continental U.S.

Later, making her way north, she made her living as a carpenter, waitress, seamstress, secretary, janitor, and milkmaid. The work of raising two children, remodeling a succession of old houses, and growing gardens full of food filled the next few years. But throughout that time, MaryJane never forgot her dream of a small family farm at the end of a dirt road. She dreamed of chicken coops, barns, root cellars, fruit trees in bloom, clematis vines, lilacs, wild roses, irises, and gardens. In 1986, she saw an ad in a newspaper for a five-acre north-Idaho homestead. It was an old relic of a house, without any plumbing, but she knew it was her dream place.

After moving to her farm, she grew and sold a variety of vegetables to local customers. In 1990, she founded a regional environmental group, Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (, and decided to develop new products for locally grown organic beans that would provide a secure market for farmers transitioning to sustainable, organic production.

Starting out back then with just a falafel mix, MaryJanesFarm® products now include a line of more than 60 instant and quick-prep organic foods.