Apr 13, 2009

Compost This Book!

The Art of Composting for your Yard, your Community, and the Planet
by Tom Christopher and Marty Asher

If you want to turn all your grass clippings, autumn leaves, hedge trimmings, vegetable scraps, paper, cardboard, dryer lint, etc into garden food- or compost- then this book is an invaluable resource! I found it a lot more interesting and amusing than expected. Marty and Tom, the authors, share their differing views and methods of composting, as well as a plethora of other composting "recipes" they've tested out. There's instructions on how to build your own compost bin (from simple to complex), and an overview of ones you can buy. There's information on exactly what compost is, how it works and what to put in it. There's even a history of composting, and all kinds of info about how different communities have used (or ought to) composting to help manage waste, improve the environment, reduce costs, etc. (including attempts that didn't work, and why). I smiled to see that my home town, Seattle, had one of the best composting programs out there! Did you know that some archeologists attribute early man's discovery of fire to compost (beds of leaves and other litter that spontaneously burst into flame!)? That George Washington methodically tested different formulas of compost? That the interior of a compost heap can get hot enough to warm a greenhouse, or cook a chicken dinner (not actually recommended). At the end of Compost This Book! the authors instruct you on how to actually break down their handy resource volume and add it to the heap. I wouldn't go so far as to destroy a book I find useful, but I did have one already in the recycling bin that I felt shamed to toss out- a book I received from Paperback Swap that had old gum sticking the pages together. So I committed a sacrilege (at least it felt that way to me, Tom and Marty would probably applaud) and shredded that book (minus the bindings and covers) into the top of my compost bucket. Wow. I just fed my vegetables a book (well, got it diced. They won't actually eat it for months).

Rating: 4/5                        248 pages, 1994


  1. Oh, another one for my wishlist, then?
    I already have a whole pile of books on the subject, but there's always room for one more :)

  2. I'm ready to start composting this year, but for some reason I find it intimidating. This sounds like it would be a helpful book.

  3. This looks like the perfect book for my mother!

  4. I'd love to read this book! I'm a pretty hopeless gardener...well, once I had some nice irises...anyway, the parts of gardening that most interested me were composting and worm farming (you feed their pee and poop to your grateful garden) But anyway...

  5. I've seen a lot of strange uses for books in the past, but this one's new...

  6. Mrs. J- Always happy to add to someone's TBR! You have a lot of nice titles on your stack, but I can't read them all.

    Shelley- Composting is actually one of the easiest things to do- just toss the stuff in and let it sit- a lot of people make it more complicated than neccessary. This book outlines the easy methods pretty well.

    Bermudaonion- An avid gardener, I presume?

    Bybee- They do talk about keeping worms in this book, briefly. My mother has a worm bin in her garage. She uses the runoff "worm tea" to water plants.

    Anonymous Child- Yeah. New to me, too. And hopefully I'll never repeat it!

  7. Wow, I don't think I could do that!!

  8. You'll have highly literate vegetables now!

  9. I've wanted to start composting now for several years. I will have to check this book out. For me the biggest challenge right now is just getting the area and some sort of bin or fenced off area. Unfortunately my state does not have any sort of program.


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