Sep 17, 2011

The Gaia Book of Organic Gardening

by Charlie Ryrie and Cindy Engel

Basic introduction to the principles of organic gardening, illustrated with beautiful photographs. The Gaia Book of Organic Gardening places an emphasis on taking care of and feeding your soil, giving an entire chapter over to identifying and nurturing different soil types, and another just to composting. There's also information on planting times and methods, interplanting crops and herbs to help with attracting beneficial insects or repelling pests, how to save seeds, and keep your garden tidy. The authors points out that since organic gardeners live with nature instead of fighting against it or outright annihilating whatever they don't like, you're bound to have a few weeds and pests around. But they note that many weeds are great for feeding your compost, and without pests around you wouldn't be able to feed the ladybugs and other "good guys".

I took a lot of notes from this book. Particularly, I was interested in the interplanting suggestions, I know I need to work better at rotating my crops efficiently, and I didn't realize before that I ought to be covering my compost pile! Mine gets rained on quite a bit.

The only downside to this book is that it was written for a British audience, so some of the advice doesn't really apply to me (I don't have hedgehogs in my garden, for example). Also, I wasn't familiar with some of the terms. I knew courgettes are zucchini, but had to look up aubergines (eggplant) and tagetes (marigolds). Another book great for my itchy green thumb!

Found this one at a library sale and brought it home. I was wondering when I first opened it up, what gardening had to do with Gaia and if it was going to have some unfamiliar ideas in it (I don't know much about the concepts of Gaia). Really, it's just the name of the printing company, Gaia Publishing. And there is a small note on the publication page that says Books from Gaia celebrate the vision of Gaia, the self-sustaining living Earth, and seek to help its readers live in greater personal and planetary harmony. That's all. There's no other mention of it.

Rating: 4/5 ...... 160 pages, 2005


Gavin said...

I would love to learn more about interplanting. I'm hoping my library has this one.

Fre said...

I'm sad my library discarded it because of "low demand". But glad also I guess, because that means it's my book now!