The Living Soil Handbook: The No-Till Grower’s Guide to Ecological Market Gardening

Jesse Frost. Chelsea Green, $29.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-64502-026-4
No-Till Market Garden podcaster Frost takes a deep dive into soil health in his practical, informative debut. A “garden needs to be built on a solid foundation just as a house does,” Frost writes, laying out the three principles that inform his approach to soil tending: keep it covered, planted, and as undisturbed as possible. He emphasizes the importance of mycorrhizal fungi, which “act much like an underground internet, sending nutrients and messages across large distances among plants,” and of soil testing. On the advice front, he guides readers through no-till approaches, evaluating potential garden sites, and creating beds, and shares recommendations for compost, mulch, and cover crops. Seven “mainstay” crops—arugula, beets, carrots, cherry tomatoes, garlic, lettuce, and sweet potatoes—are highlighted, as is advice for selling one’s produce at market (for beets: “taking a few extra seconds to clean up the bunches makes all the difference”). While geared more toward the professional grower than the backyard gardener, Frost’s accessible explanations and encouraging delivery provide valuable insights: “Diving deeper into the process of photosynthesis and its relationship to the underground ecology... can make you a wiser steward of the soil.” Gardeners interested in sustainable agriculture will find this a great place to start. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/28/2021
Release date: 07/01/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
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