Soil Science for Gardeners: Working with Nature to Build Soil Health

Robert Pavlis. New Society, $18.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-86571-930-9
Pavlis (Building Natural Ponds), owner of the botanical garden Aspen Grove Gardens, in Ontario, Canada, brings fresh life to a dry topic, digging deeply into the science of soil health in this understated and informative manual. Writing that “growing plants is very easy if you understand the soil below them,” Pavlis instructs on scientific basics (“there is more biodiversity in the top foot of soil than anywhere else on Earth”), weighs in on such garden practices as tilling and mulching, and gives advice on developing a personalized plan (“Don’t do things in the garden because someone told you it is a good idea; do them because you know how they impact plant growth”). Pavlis is skeptical about professional soil testing, while making suggestions for several different DIY tests (including burying a pair of white cotton underpants; if the soil is microbe-rich, the microbes will eat the cotton). Sidebars do quite a bit of myth busting, such as of the oft-touted ratio of “browns to greens” in compost, or that “soil is a living organism” that requires “feeding.” Full of valuable information for both home and professional gardeners, Pavlis’s step-by-step primer breaks down a complex topic in a manner both entertaining and easily understood. (May)
Reviewed on : 01/06/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Lifestyle
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