Steven Franz

Tree Propagator, Lover of Plants and Motorcycles

On August 7, we conducted a Facebook Live chat with Steven about his journey from Marine to firefighter to motorcycle racer to a lifelong student of perennial plants and sustainable agriculture.

The following is a list of recommended books, sources, and search techniques Steven recommends for anyone interested in perennial gardening, growing trees, and the like. We didn’t get to them as much as we should have during the Facebook Live conversation so hopefully, we can remedy that here!


On Searching for More Good Stuff

The Google search format I often use:

“subject + pdf” “subject + how to + extention”

Many national, state, and local agencies have “resources” tabs on their websites. These can be very helpful for a wide range of topics. If you’re stuck, you can always call these offices, local farmers, professionals, and your neighborhood gardener, contractor, etc. People are often very willing to help point you in the direction of resources if you’re willing to engage. Beyond that, joining groups is a fantastic way to learn skills or knowledge. My relationship with the outdoor world has been transformed by others who were willing to share experiences. There are many in the world who would happily help you engage in their own passion simply for the sake of keeping that torch lit in a time where “screen time” and technology have a hold of many would-be doers and changers of our society. Volunteering can change your life as much as it can others.

Get outside! Walk barefoot; lay prone in the forest or a field and marvel at life. Engage with it, love it, ask it questions, tell it your worries! “Hey Google” can be a great tool, but go deeper! Trust that you can find a million miracles in your daily life if you would open your eyes and get out of your car or off your couch. Relationship is the basis of life, and we are animals. My heart swells when I put my nose to a boulder under a tree that’s host to multiple species of lichen, moss, plants, insects, and countless microscopic beings going about their life. The planet needs people to be a force for healing and reciprocation. Join the party.

Recommended Reading


The Holistic Orchard, Mycorrhizal Planet by Michael Phillips

A New Tree Biology and Tree Pruning by Alex Shigo

Tree Crops by J. Russell Smith


Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation by Tradd Cotter

Mushrooms Demystified by David Aurora

All that the Rain Promises and More by David Aurora

The Mushroom Cultivator by Paul Stamets

Permaculture and Other Sustainable Gardening Practices

Permaculture by Bill Mollison

Rainwater Harvesting by Brad Lancaster

Farming the Woods by Mudge and Gabriel

Farming with Native Beneficial Insects by Xerces Society

Fruit, Berry and Nut Inventory by Seed Savers Exchange* 

*This one is mind-blowing if you’re not aware of the variations of size/color/taste/texture differences possible inside a single species. Like how a Dolgo Crab, Claygate Pearmain and Sweet 16 are all apples, but make you scream and dance in completely different ways. And that there are (or were) over 90 varieties of banana available in the US alone among the keepers of fruit


How To Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons

The Market Gardener by JM Fortier

The New Organic Grower by Elliot Coleman

Gia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway

Physical Therapy, Injuries, Optimization

How to Become a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starret

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