The book begins with a personality test for your soil, then uses that information to plan a course of action for revitalizing poor soil and turning good dirt into great earth. Next, you’ll learn to start and maintain a no-till garden, to balance nutrients with remineralization, and to boost organic matter with easy cover crops
Turning waste into wealth sounds too good to be true, but many worm farmers are finding that vermicomposting is a reliable way to do just that. Vermicast—a biologically active, nutrient-rich mix of earthworm castings and decomposed organic matter—sells for $400 or more per cubic yard. Compare that to regular compost, sold at about $30 a cubic yard, and you’ll see why vermicomposting has taken root in most countries and on every continent but Antarctica.
Vermicomposting is also one of the best sustainable solutions for organic waste management. Vermicomposting manure and crop wastes on farms improves crop yields while reducing demand for off-farm inputs. Vermicast has higher nutrient levels and lower soluble salt content than regular compost, and it improves soil aeration, porosity, and water retention. Plus, vermicast suppresses plant diseases and insect attacks. Municipalities, businesses, community gardens, schools, and universities can set up vermicomposting operations to process food residuals and other waste materials.
Understanding Roots uncovers one of the greatest mysteries underground: the secret lives and magical workings of the roots that move and grow invisibly beneath our feet.
Roots do more than just keep a plant from falling over: They gather water and nutrients, exude wondrous elixirs to create good soil, make friends with microbes and fungi, communicate with other roots, and adapt themselves to all manner of soils, winds and climates, nourishing and sustaining our gardens, lawns and woodlands.
Understanding Roots contains more than 115 enchanting and revealing root drawings that most people have never seen, from prairies, grasslands and deserts, as well as drawings based on excavations of vegetable, fruit, nut and ornamental tree roots. Every root system presented in this book was drawn by people literally working in the trenches, sketching the roots where they grew.
The text provides a detailed review of all aspects of transplanting; describes how roots work their magic to improve soil nutrients; investigates the hidden life of soil microbes and their mysterious relationship to roots; explores the question of whether deep roots really gather more unique nutrients than shallow roots; shares the latest research about the mysteries of mycorrhizal (good fungal) association; shows you exactly where to put your fertilizer, compost, water and mulch to help plants flourish; tells you why greywater increases crop yields more than fresh water; and reveals the science behind all of the above (with citations for each scientific paper).
This book contains at least 80 percent more new information, more results of the latest in-depth and up-to-date explorations, and even more helpful guidelines on roots than the author’s previous book (Roots Demystified: Change Your Garden Habits to Help Roots Thrive). This is not a revised edition—it’s a whole new stand-alone book.
Increasingly, we want to know where our food comes from, who grows it and how it is grown, and interest in permaculture, backyard composting, and gardening in general, is growing. So how does the budding gardener ensure that the soil is healthy and nutrient-rich enough to support growing some great food? One answer — worms! Vermiculture is the healthiest and most cost-effective way to ensure that your soil receives the nourishment that it needs. A simple vermicompost bin can produce completely natural, nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used to boost soil health and, in turn, increase crop yield. In true Crystal Stevens' fashion, Worms at Work is a practical, easy-to-implement guide to fertilizing and enriching your garden naturally. It discusses the vital role worms play in boosting soil health, and the reasons why every gardener should use vermicompost in order to decrease reliance on toxic synthetic fertilizers. Covering simple designs for building your own vermicompost bin, whether for a small backyard garden or for a larger farm or homestead, to the care and feeding of worms and how to use worm castings in the garden, Worms at Work will help you put YOUR worms to work to grow happy, healthy plants in happy, healthy soil.
The fully revised 35th anniversary edition, Worms Eat My Garbage has taught people how to use worms to recycle food waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer for houseplants or gardens. Small-scale, self-contained worm bins can be kept indoors, in a basement, or even under the kitchen sink