Best Books for Newbie Organic Gardeners
The Best Books for Newbie Organic Gardeners
#1. Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza
Patricia Lanza's Lasagna Gardening is perfect for the new organic gardener because her method is so straightforward and easy. The general idea behind "lasagna gardening" is to make a compost pile right in the place where you want to plant. When making a new garden bed, you simply lay newspaper or cardboard right over the grass, pile organic materials on it (Lanza gives recommendations for what to add to your lasagna garden) and let it all decompose. In no time at all, you end up with rich, crumbly, nutrient rich soil---without the backbreaking work! I highly recommend this book for anyone who is new to the world of organic gardening, or is looking for an easier way to get great results.
#2. The New American Backyard by Kris Medic
The New American Backyard is an in-depth primer in planning, planting, and maintaining an organic yard. Medic discusses everything from making the most of your site, choosing the best plants, saving energy, organic lawn care, and pruning. In addition, the book contains a fabulous, full-color encyclopedia of the most common garden pests, diseases, and weeds. Finally, Medic provides a comprehensive garden maintenance plan to keep everything growing great.
I used this book in planning my own garden at my first house, and I can't recommend it enough. I still pull it off the shelf frequently, especially to check the pest enyclopedia.
#3. Rodale's Chemical Free Yard and Garden
Rodale's Chemica-Free Yard and Garden is another one of those books I wouldn't be without. It is truly a working gardener's garden book---there are no glossy photos of perfect gardens here. The book contains everything you need to know about soil improvement, organic weed, insect, and disease control, and chapter-long guides about growing vegetables, flowers, fruit, trees, and lawns. There are also several handy forms in the back of the book for planning and recording conditions in your garden.
#4. Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening: Perennials
If growing flowers is your passion, you really need to check out Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening: Perennials. The book is divided into two sections. The first section contains chapters on evaluating your site, planning a perennial garden, choosing plants, cultivating and planting, and how to maintain perennials. The second section is an encyclopedia of perennials, complete with full color photos, planting and care instructions, propogation guidelines, and lists of popular cultivars. The book is full of attractive and useful photos, as well as helpful sidebars that explain points from the text.
I was surprised how packed with information this book was, especially since it is only 160 pages long. Perennials is useful in planning a garden, but it's also a great book to curl up with during winter to daydream about the next season's perennial garden.
#5. Teaming With Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis
Teaming With Microbes is an organic gardening geek's dream come true. Lowenfels and Lewis get into the science behind organic gardening; how the insects, bacteria, fungi, and other soil organisms work together to make plants grow, and how the home gardener can help this process thrive in their own garden. This book is loaded with information. While the book is very science-based, it is not a dry read at all, which I was happy to discover when I read this book as part of a garden blogger book club I participate in (yes, there really is such a thing! And it's a lot of fun, too.) Most of the book tells about all of the organisms that can help or harm the garden. The most useful part of the book, however, are the chapters on how to tailor your compost to the types of plants you are growing, and how to make actively aerated compost tea. If you are the type of gardener who is curious about the "why" behind organic gardening methods, this is the book for you!
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