Teaming with Microbes
Author: Wayne Lewis, Jeff Lowenfels
Publisher: Timber Press
Healthy soil teems with life—not just earthworms and insects, but a staggering multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. Chemical fertilizers injure the microbial life that sustains healthy plants, and the soil becomes increasingly dependent on artificial, often toxic, substances. But there is an alternative: by strengthening the soil food web—the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms—gardeners can create a nurturing environment for plants. Teaming with Microbes extols the benefits of cultivating the soil food web. It clearly explains the activities and organisms that make up the web, and explains how gardeners can cultivate the life of the soil through the use of compost, mulches, and compost tea. With Jeff Lowenfels’ help, everyone—from devotees of organic gardening techniques to weekend gardeners who simply want to grow healthy, vigorous plants—can create rich, nurturing, living soil.
Teaming with Nutrients
Author: Jeff Lowenfels
Publisher: Timber Press
A 2014 Garden Writers Association Media Award Winner Just as he demystified the soil food web in his ground-breaking book Teaming with Microbes, in this new work Jeff Lowenfels explains the basics of plant nutrition from an organic gardener’s perspective. Most gardeners realize that plants need to be fed but know little or nothing about the nature of the nutrients and the mechanisms involved. In his trademark down-to-earth, style, Lowenfels explains the role of both macronutrients and micronutrients and shows gardeners how to provide these essentials through organic, easy-to-follow techniques. Along the way, Lowenfels gives the reader easy-to-grasp lessons in the biology, chemistry, and botany needed to understand how nutrients get into the plant and what they do once they’re inside.
Teaming with Fungi
Author: Jeff Lowenfels
Publisher: Timber Press
Teaming with Fungi is the first book to accessibly explain the essential symbiotic relationship between soil-dwelling mycorrhizal fungi and plants.
Life in the Soil
Author: James B. Nardi
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Leonardo da Vinci once mused that “we know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot,” an observation that is as apt today as it was five hundred years ago. The biological world under our toes is often unexplored and unappreciated, yet it teems with life. In one square meter of earth, there lives trillions of bacteria, millions of nematodes, hundreds of thousands of mites, thousands of insects and worms, and hundreds of snails and slugs. But because of their location and size, many of these creatures are as unfamiliar and bizarre to us as anything found at the bottom of the ocean. Lavishly illustrated with nearly three hundred color illustrations and masterfully-rendered black and white drawings throughout, Life in the Soil invites naturalists and gardeners alike to dig in and discover the diverse community of creatures living in the dirt below us. Biologist and acclaimed natural history artist James B. Nardibegins with an introduction to soil ecosystems, revealing the unseen labors of underground organisms maintaining the rich fertility of the earth as they recycle nutrients between the living and mineral worlds. He then introduces readers to a dazzling array of creatures: wolf spiders with glowing red eyes, snails with 120 rows of teeth, and 10,000-year-old fungi, among others. Organized by taxon, Life in the Soil covers everything from slime molds and roundworms to woodlice and dung beetles, as well as vertebrates from salamanders to shrews. The book ultimately explores the crucial role of soil ecosystems in conserving the worlds above and below ground. A unique and illustrative introduction to the many unheralded creatures that inhabit our soils and shape our environment aboveground, Life in the Soil will inform and enrich the naturalist in all of us.
The Intelligent Gardener
Author: Steve Solomon, Erica Reinheimer
Publisher: New Society Publishers
Presents advice on how to improve growing soil, discussing some of the current misconceptions about soil and providing the best methods for adding enhancements that will produce nutrient-dense foods.
How to Create an Organic Garden That's Exploding with Life, Diversity and Exceptionally Nutrient-Dense Food Whether you're an experienced gardener or just getting started, you are likely to encounter some perplexing (and common) setbacks – certain fruit and vegetable plants that don't produce the amazing taste and big yields that you'd hoped for, ornamental plants that fail to thrive as abundantly as they should, and plant predators that chew your plants to the ground. All of these issues point to plants that aren't at their optimum health. What could be wrong? Plants may be lacking in proper nutrition, missing beneficial microorganism companions, or short of the energy they need to reach their full nutrient-dense potential. The advice most often given by those in the know is “start with the soil,” but what specific steps should you take to really improve soil to optimum health? Building Soils Naturally shows how to create productive, living soil using a simple, practical, hands-on plan that includes: • Using compost and microbial inoculants to balance the soil food web, because these organisms nourish and protect plants • Controlling plant predators and weeds forever, without chemicals, by focusing on the root cause of the infestation problem • Soil testing and full-spectrum organic fertilizing, because balancing soil nutrients is crucial for healthy plants Building Soils Naturally outlines proven, sustainable methods for growing healthy food and plants that contribute to a healthy planet and a healthy you. Grow vigorous, more pest-resistant vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants by using complete and balanced nutrients – far beyond the simplistic, imbalanced concept of NPK. Healthy soil doesn't happen just by composting, fertilizing or companion planting. It happens by using a holistic approach – outlined in this book and crafted right in your garden.
Provides practical guidelines and steps to follow to be successful in a Gardening With Nature program. Gardening With Nature means more than just switching from chemical fertilizers to organic gardening products or implementing sustainable growing practices. "The switch" involves implementing a whole new preventative approach to gardening. Through a question-and-answer format the authors describe how to grow organically and sustainably using this Gardening With Nature approach --
Grow twice the fruits and vegetables in half the space on the farm, in the backyard, or in your window! Have you noticed the extraordinary flavors and yields emanating from even a small garden when the soil is just right? If you’ve ever been envious of your neighbor’s dirt or just curious about homesteading, then The Ultimate Guide to Soil is perfect for you. The book begins with a personality test for your soil, then uses that information to plan a course of action for revitalizing poor soil and turning good dirt into great earth. Next, you’ll learn to start and maintain a no-till garden, to balance nutrients with remineralization, and to boost organic matter with easy cover crops. Don’t forget the encyclopedic overview of organic soil amendments at the end. Old standbys like manures and mulches are explained in depth along with less common additions such as bokashi compost and castings from worms and black soldier fly larvae. Learn when hugelkultur, biochar, paper, and cardboard do and don’t match your garden needs, then read about when and how to safely use urine and humanure around edible plantings. With an emphasis on simple techniques suitable for the backyard gardener, The Ultimate Guide to Soil gives you the real dirt on good soil. Maybe next year your neighbor will be envious of you! This ebook includes the complete text of Personality Tests for Your Soil, Small-Scale No-Till Gardening Basics, Balancing Soil Nutrients and Acidity, and Soil Amendments for the Organic Garden.
If you want methods that won't break your back, are good for the environment, and create high-yielding, beautiful gardens of all shapes and sizes, this is the book for you!
How Plants Work
Author: Linda Chalker-Scott
Publisher: Timber Press
The more you know, the better you grow! Plants are capable of interesting and unexpected things. Why do container plants wilt when they’ve been regularly watered? Why did the hydrangea that thrived last year never bloom this year? Why do slugs wipe out the vegetable garden instead of eating the weeds? Plant physiology—the study of how living things function—can solve these and most other problems gardeners regularly encounter. In How Plants Work, horticulture expert and contributor to the popular blog The Garden Professors, Linda Chalker-Scott brings the stranger-than-fiction science of the plant world to vivid life. She uncovers the mysteries of how and why plants do the things they do, and arms the home gardener with fascinating knowledge that will change the way they garden.
True Living Organics teaches you how to grow organic marijuana both indoors and outdoors. It is the only organic marijuana cultivation guide on the market. The first edition sold over 15,000 copies, and the new edition has over 100 additional pages of all new information and photos detailing how to grow marijuana organically so that it is healthier and tastes better. Organic marijuana is preferred for medical marijuana users as well as recreational marijuana users, and growing organic marijuana is much cheaper than synthetic hydroponic marijuana cultivation systems. This new edition features all new composting techniques, improved soil mixes for maximizing yield, and all new techniques for organic marijuana gardening, including worm farms, organic tea mixes, and highly effective organic soil amendments. Also includes an all new organic hashish guide which teaches you how to make all-natural organic hash from marijuana without the use of any dangerous chemicals.
Simple explanations about how to add biology to any plant growing system makes this book easy-to-read for the general public. Guidelines for conventional, sustainable and organic applications -- whether you are growing indoor in controlled environments and soilless media or outdoors in open fields of soil, this book helps you design your growing systems and incorporate biology into your programs. Basic biology and chemistry of nutrient-cycling and plant growing environments are given, so the mystery is taken out of plant growing. Chapters include: Introduction, Synthetic or Inorganic Systems, Biological/Organic Systems, Plant Growing Systems Out of Balance, Roots Interface Biology and Plants, Types of Microorganisms, Types of Beneficial Aerobic Microorganisms, Environments for Maintaining Microorganisms, Microbes and Plants Form a Symbiotic Relationship, Integrating Biology into Plant Growing Systems, Sources of Beneficial Microorganisms, Apply Microorganisms, Testing for Biologicals, Research on MicroorganismsThere are many types of biological products for soil and soilless media enhancement available on the commercial market today and more entering daily. New research, new formulations, new stabilization techniques are enabling the expansion of these product to fill the increasing demand from consumers wanting alternatives to toxic chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.This notebook is an attempt to provide basic information about adding biology to soil and soilless media whether in outdoor fields or indoor controlled environment hydroponics systems. Whether we are using synthetic fertilizers/nutrients or sustainable practices, or have converted to organic systems, there is a way to add biology to enhance production, yield and quality.
Author: Anna Hess
Publisher: Wetknee Books
Homegrown humus is easy with cover crops! Cover crops are a simple, cheap way to boost your soil's organic matter, to fight weeds, to prevent erosion, to attract pollinators, and to keep the ecosystem in balance. Unfortunately, most information on growing cover crops is written for people who plow their soil every year and are willing to spray herbicides. You can get all of the same benefits in a no-till garden, though, if you're clever. Homegrown Humus details five no-till winners in depth --- buckwheat, sweet potatoes, oilseed radishes, rye, and oats. Profiles of other species suggest gardening conditions when you might want to try out sunflowers, annual ryegrass, barley, Austrian winter peas, crimson clover, cowpeas, or sunn hemp as well. Meanwhile, the book delves into finding cover-crop seeds, planting cover crops in a no-till garden, and easily killing cover crops without tilling or herbicide use. Understanding the C:N ratio of cover crops helps determine how long to wait between killing cover crops and planting vegetables, as well as how to maximize the amount of humus you're adding to your soil. Cover crops are an advanced gardening technique bound to increase your vegetable yields, but are simple enough for beginners. Give your garden a treat --- grow some buckwheat! This second edition is updated with three new chapters and contains a total of 54 photos.
The Soul of Soil
Author: Joseph Smillie, Grace Gershuny
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Soil is the basis not only for all gardening, but for all terrestrial life. No aspect of agriculture is more fundamental and important, yet we have been losing vast quantities of our finite soil resources to erosion, pollution, and development. Now back in print, this eminently sensible and wonderfully well-focused book provides essential information about one of the most significant challenges for those attempting to grow delicious organic vegetables: the creation and maintenance of healthy soil. Chapter 2, "Understanding the Soil System," is alone worth the price of admission. Gershuny and Smillie give lay readers and experts a clear explanation of subjects--soil life and nutrient cycles--that have confounded most authors. Nowhere will the reader find simpler and more coherent descriptions of key concepts including cation exchange capacity and chelation. There are other books about soil available, including Grace Gershuny's comprehensive Start with the Soil, and there are books that feature chapters on soil building. What distinguishes The Soil of Soilis the authors' concise presentation; they give readers important information, including technical essentials, without getting bogged down in scientific or quasiscientific mumbo-jumbo. In addition, useful tables list specific compost materials, green manures, and other resources that allow growers to translate into action the more general information provided by the book. The soil-building techniques featured include: Organic matter management Building and maintaining humus On-site composting Green manures and rotations Cultivation and weed control Nutrient balances and soil testing Using mineral fertilizers Planning for organic certification Updates to the 1999 edition include analysis of Proposed Rules for the National Organic Standards, and expanded recommendations for private testing services and soil-testing equipment for home gardeners and organic farmers. All of us involved in the cultivation of plants--from the backyard gardener to the largest farmer--need to help regenerate a "living soil," for only in the diversity of the soil and its creatures can we ensure the long-term health of ourselves and our environment. The Soul of Soil offers everyone a basic understanding of what soil is and what we can do to improve our own patch of it. Seen in this light, this practical handbook will be an inspiration as well.