Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: New Society Publishers; 1 edition (December 25, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #33,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #3 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > Soil #3 in Books > Science & Math > Agricultural Sciences > Soil Science #27 in Books > Science & Math > Agricultural Sciences > Sustainable Agriculture
Near the end of his new book, The Intelligent Gardener, long-time garden guru Steve Solomon makes a significant point: "There is no place on this planet that remains free of toxic residues." He then suggests we would be far better off if we quit worrying so much about toxicity and, instead, concentrated on growing and eating nutrient dense food.I've been able to follow, and participate to a degree, in Mr. Solomon's metamorphosis from expert "organic" gardener to expert "nutrient dense" gardener. Solomon, in my opinion, has long been ahead of the pack as evidenced by his books "Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades" and "Gardening When It Counts." Through his early gardening experiences and from starting the Territorial Seed business he devised his Complete Organic Fertilizer (COF) which was an attempt to balance garden soil. COF is still a good way to go for people who don't wish to go any farther and the formula is easily found on the internet. (Also in The Intelligent Gardener pps. 84-85).In the last half dozen years through association with Michael Astera's Nutrient Dense Project and a re-study of the work of scientists like William Albrecht and Victor Tiedjens, Steve Solomon has become a convert to the concept of "nutrient dense."The concept of nutrient dense food is pretty simple. The gardener works over time to balance the soil with the proper mix of minerals. The result will be soil that encourages the life forms (worms, bacteria, etc.) that help with soil symbiosis and soil that provides the nutrients plants need to grow properly. Balanced soil will mean healthier plants, resistant to pests. Balanced soil will result in food that is nutrient dense, providing us with the vitamins and minerals we need to be healthy.
So, whenever I'm thinking of buying a book, I read the negative reviews first. They are much more revealing than the positive ones--frequently they are revealing not so much of the book's quality or content as they are of the assumptions readers bring. And so it seems to be with Solomon's books. I know this review is kind of long--the next paragraph plus the last one are my quickie summary review; if you want more specifics read the 3rd paragraph too.If I could give half-stars, I'd give this 3.5. The information is useful (albeit really dense in places...but we're talking about soil amendment recipes here, so, you know) but it's not entirely practical especially if you're low on capital at the outset. What specifically was useful? Solomon's basic argument is that plants contain nutrients derived from the soil, ergo if the soil is low in nutrients so are your vegetables. Plants are more than N, P, and K. They may look ok, you may even have good yields, but wit modern soils they are not as nutritious as they should be. Now this may not be an earth-shattering revelation (although many reviewers are surprisingly resistant to the concept...see below), but Solomon couples it with some suggestions on how to test your soil nutrient levels, how to improve them (this is where the big expense may come in, depending on your situation), and also challenges gardening orthodoxy that suggests that veggies will be nutritionally perfect as long as they're organic. The reason I deducted 1.5 stars is that after reading the book one may not be in a position to apply what they learned; which maybe is not the author's fault, but it could arguably have been addressed in the book...
The Intelligent Gardener: Growing Nutrient Dense Food Nourished Beginnings Baby Food: Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Infants, Toddlers and Beyond Inspired by Ancient Wisdom and Traditional Foods Digestive Health with REAL Food: A Practical Guide to an Anti-Inflammatory, Nutrient Dense Diet for IBS & Other Digestive Issues Superfood Smoothies: 100 Delicious, Energizing & Nutrient-dense Recipes Superfood Juices: 100 Delicious, Energizing & Nutrient-Dense Recipes Superfoods Today Red Smoothies: Energizing, Detoxifying & Nutrient-dense Smoothies Blender Recipes: Detox Cleanse Diet, Smoothies for Weight Loss Diabetes, Detox Green Cleanse for Weight Loss Energy The Heal Your Gut Cookbook: Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Intestinal Health Using the GAPS Diet Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different (Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, & Just Plain Different) 100 Exotic Food Recipes (Puerto Rican Food Recipes,Picnic Food RecipesCaribbean Food Recipes,Food Processor Recipes,) Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting Growing Beautiful Food: A Gardener's Guide to Cultivating Extraordinary Vegetables and Fruit Growing Marijuana: Beginner's Guide for Big Buds - step by step (How to Grow Weed, Growing Marijuana Outdoors, Growing Marijuana Indoors, Marijuana Bible) Marijuana: Growing Marijuana, Beginner's Guide for Big Buds - Step by Step (How to Grow Weed, Growing Marijuana Outdoors, Growing Marijuana Indoors, Marijuana Bible) Cannabis:The Beginners Guide on How to Start Growing Marijuana Plants at Home (Cannabis, Cannabis Growing, Marijuana, Marijuana Growing, Marijuana Horticulture) Cannabis Success: The Easiest Guide on Growing Large Marijuana Plants at Home (Cannabis, Cannabis Growing, Marijuana, Marijuana Growing, Medical Marijuana, Medical Cannabis, Hydroponics) Gardener's Guide to Tropical Plants: Cool Ways to Add Hot Colors, Bold Foliage, and Striking Textures (Gardener's Guides) Minnesota Gardener's Guide (Gardener's Guides) Indiana Gardener's Guide (Gardener's Guides) Washington & Oregon Gardener's Guide: Proven Plants for Inspired Gardens (Gardener's Guides) Arizona Gardener's Guide (Gardener's Guides)