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Building Soils Naturally

In an organic garden, plants in optimum health thrive abundantly, have harvests with amazing taste, and have the ability to fight off plant predators. When they don't there's often something lacking in their proper nutrition, they are missing beneficial microorganism companions, or they are short of the energy needed to reach their full nutrient-dense potential. The solution is to ''start with the soil.'' But healthy soil doesn't happen just by composting, fertilizing or companion planting alone. The solution is in Building Soils Naturally, where gardeners will find a hands-on plan of how to create productive, living soil by using a practical holistic approach - crafted right in your garden. In Building Soils Naturally, organic gardeners will find a hands-on plan of how to create productive, living soil by using a practical holistic approach - crafted right in your garden.

Paperback: 303 pages

Publisher: Acres USA; 1st edition (July 31, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1601730330

ISBN-13: 978-1601730336

Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #159,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #150 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > By Technique > Organic #432 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Sustainable Living

Building Soils Naturally: Innovative Methods for Organic Gardeners by Phil Nauta (AKA The Smiling Gardener) is all about helping you to grow the best quality food possible, starting from the ground up. It all starts with healthy soil. With living, balanced soil, plants are healthier, more pest and disease resistant, there are less weed problems, and your garden better accommodates moisture fluctuations.Begin with Soil TestingPhil advocates starting out with a good quality soil test to establish a baseline for your soil and identify any glaring problems up front. If your budget allows, annual tests or tests every few years are great, but not essential, although they will allow you to tailor your soil amending for best results. If your budget is really tight, Phil also offers tips for visual identification of soil problems, such as looking at color and texture and plant growth. Certain weeds will also proliferate in soils that are deficient in certain minerals. Balance the soil, and the weeds disappear.Create Healthy Soil in Six StepsBuilding Soils Naturally breaks down the hows and whys of soil building into six steps/components that are needed for optimal soil health. They are: Water Organic Matter Microbial Innoculants Supplemental Nutrients Biostimulants & Micronutrients EnergyWater: You'll find out why drip irrigation can stress plants. See how rainwater produces the best results in your garden, and how mulch and cover crops influence water in the soil.Organic Matter: Find out why mulch and cover crops build soil, making it more tolerant of drought and excess rains, which are best to use and which should be avoided. Get tips for indoor and outdoor composting.

This review was reprinted from the Suburban Hobby Farmer blog.I FIRST STARTED READING PHIL NAUTA and his Smiling Gardener Blog in the fall of 2010. Right away, his blog struck me as different from the other how-to-garden-better blogs. It was obvious that Phil had a wealth of knowledge. Plus, his info was often quite a bit more "technical" than the others.To give you a sense of what I mean, Phil regularly wrote about subjects like mycorrhizal fungi, biological transmutation and the brix test. You've got to admit that these topics are not what you'd normally find on blogs like A Way to Garden or Urban Organic Gardener.One Smiling Gardener article that really got my attention was on how gardeners could potentially catch mad cow disease from bone meal. Phil made a strong enough case against bone meal that I decided to stop using it on my flowers.So when Phil offered a free review copy of his newly minted book called Building Soils Naturally*, I knew right away that it would be packed with interesting info. It didn't take much convincing to get me to review it.BUILDING SOIL FROM A TO ZPhil's book starts with the basics of improving your soil, some of which he also wrote about in his Suburban Hobby Farmer guest article. Then it progresses to the deeply technical aspects of determining and curing specific soil nutrient deficiencies.Much of the information could only come from someone who has studied plant nutrition in some detail. No question Phil has studied. He started a natural fertilizer company and has taught organic horticulture at Gaia College, a school that teaches holistic land management and environmentally sustainable technologies.

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