Synopses & Reviews
SMITH and HAWKEN
THE HANDS-ON GARDENER
A COMPLETE GUIDE FOR BACKYARD COMPOSTING
Offering a wealth of both practical and technical information, here is a thorough, step-by-step program for getting the most out of composting, no matter how much time is spent. Including:
Simple or Managed Letting Nature run its course, or hurrying decomposition. Materials to use, materials to avoid. Fine-tuning the carbon/nitrogen ratio. Year-round compost production.
Equipment Bins, boxes, and the Biostack. The "red wiggler" composting worm. Shredders and loppers, sieves and sifters.
Reaping the Benefits How to improve soil texture, provide nutrition, adjust soil chemistry, fight plant diseases and pests, and discourage weeds.
Problem-Solving If the pile begins to smell. Critters and bugs. Too wet or too dry.
Liz Ball has been both the author and photographer for numerous garden books, including Rodale Press's Garden Problem Solver series. She also serves as a regional director of the Garden Writer's Association of America.
"The Complete Compost Gardening Guide glories in the details - where to get good sawdust and coffee grounds, the pluses and minuses of a whole range of animal manures, what plants grow best in what sorts of compost - as it provides countless tips for making and using compost in dozens of different ways." Book Page
"Pleasant and Martin have combined their years of gardening experience thoughtfully and convincingly. Gardening readers will wonder why it took so long to figure out that composting is at the heart of the fruits and flowers." ForeWord
"Pleasant and former garden book editor Martin here provide both a reference guide and an introduction to composting.... Essential reading for any gardener interested in composting." Library Journal
The third single-subject primer from Smith & Hawken, "Composting" is basic enough to get any new gardener started, yet sufficiently detailed to serve as an essential reference for the experienced composter. The book covers all the many compost bins and tools available and common problems, such as smells, animal attraction, drying out, and more. Illustrations.
Introducing an informative series of gardening books from Smith & Hawken: single-subject primers that provide a basic tutorial for the novice yet are thorough enough to serve as a reference for the experienced gardener.
Composting begins with the least-maintenance method--pile up dead leaves and grass trimmings in a corner of the yard and let nature do its work--and graduates to those methods that require more involvement but also yield greater and faster results. It covers materials suitable for compost; how to achieve the proper balance of carbon, nitrogen, water, and air for fastest decomposition; how to monitor and adjust the pileís heat; as well as common problems and what to do about them.
Compost is "black gold." Whether you passively keep a pile in the corner of the yard or actively manage a series of bins, creating and using the compost is the gardener's best method for tending the soil's health.
Fully illustrated throughout, Composting begins with the least time-consuming method-which produces compost in a year or two-and graduates to active techniques that turn out a usable compost in six to eight weeks. It covers materials suitable for compost (both "brown" and "green"); how to achieve a proper balance of carbon, nitrogen, air, and water for the fastest and most efficient decomposition; and how to employ compost in the most effective ways-as topdressing for lawn and garden; as soil-enrichment for a new bed; and as a medium for seedlings.
About the Author
Liz Ball is the author and photographer of eight garden books, including Rodale's Garden Problem Solver series. Her articles and photographs have appeared in numerous catalogs, magazines and books. A regional director of the Garden Writers' Association of America, she lives and gardens outside Philadelphia, PA.
Table of Contents
WHAT IS SOIL?
The Life of Soil
Making Humus by Composting
NURTURING THE SOIL
Organic Materials for Composting
Making the Simple Compost Pile
Other Simple Composting Methods
The Pros and Cons of Managed Composting
Building the Managed Composting Pile
Doing It All
Screening the Composting Area
CHOOSING A COMPOST BIN
Criteria for a Compost Bin
Making Your Own Bin
Commercial Compost Bins
Alternatives to Bins and Boxes
COMPOSTING TOOLS and SUPPLIES
Equipment to Shred or Chop Materials
Other Composting Tools and Supplies
THE BENEFITS of COMPOST
Compost Benefits Soil
Compost Benefits Plants
HOW to USE COMPOST
Using Compost in Your Landscape
SOLVING COMPOST PROBLEMS
Problems with Your Pile
Dealing with Kitchen Garbage
Substituting When Your Compost Runs out