Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholemew
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening
How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons
I glean info from these books to apply to my garden. Some things work great, others not so much.
Currently, I'm trying to expand my knowledge about Permaculture, and
Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway is a great intro book into the concepts.
The never-ending debate is about mulching in our family. My Mom and I disagree about the need for mulching. I say, mulch heavily (like 1' deep) and she says "No, it invites slugs, weevils and other harmful pests." So far, I'm letting her do it her way in the raised beds but the soil pays for it. It dries up so fast in this CA weather. The trees do get lots of mulch in the backyard since slugs don't eat bark, she agreed to let me do that. I show her piles of leaves and yard waste stacked because we had no room in the compost. Showing her the soil line right below the rich decaying material, were mostly red wriggler worms and hardly any slugs or weevils. I explained that slugs will eat the decaying material if there's plenty of it. They only bother to eat the greens because they lack food. She just shakes her head in disbelief. (I'll convert her some day... hehehe.) We are having an explosion of slugs this year. Perhaps it's the extra rains we're getting.
She and I also disagree with my adoption of the "Square Inch" methods that the Dervaes incorporate. I pack the lettuces/carrots in. I seed them very densely and thin them as they grow. She complains it takes too much work. I say we get more food out of the bed than neatly spacing them out according to seed package instructions or mature size of the plant, and the density provides a natural living mulch. She says the plants don't thrive because they compete too much for nutrients with each other. I say you just keep adding more nutrients as needed. You can tell if a lettuce is anemic. It starts yellowing and stops growing.
"The best fertilizer is the Gardener's Shadow." ~author unknown
So, there you have it some reading recommendations and a glimpse of our daily discussions. :-)