- Print Length: 336 Pages
- Publisher: New Society Publishers
- Publication Date: December 25, 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00AAL61HK
- ISBN-10: 0865717184
- ISBN-13: 978-0865717183
- File Format: PDF
Vegetables, fruits, and grains are a major source of vital nutrients, but centuries of intensive agriculture have depleted our soils to historic lows. As a result, the broccoli you consume today may have less than half of the vitamins and minerals that the equivalent serving would have contained a hundred years ago. This is a matter for serious concern, since poor nutrition has been linked to myriad health problems including cancer, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. For optimum health we must increase the nutrient density of our foods to the levels enjoyed by previous generations.
To grow produce of the highest nutritional quality the essential minerals lacking in our soil must be replaced, but this re-mineralization calls for far more attention to detail than the simple addition of composted manure or NPK fertilizers. The Intelligent Gardener demystifies the process while simultaneously debunking much of the false and misleading information perpetuated by both the conventional and organic agricultural movements. In doing so, it conclusively establishes the link between healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people.
This practical step-by-step guide and the accompanying customizable web-based spreadsheets go beyond organic and are essential tools for any serious gardener who cares about the quality of the produce they grow.
Steve Solomon is the author of several landmark gardening books including Gardening When it Counts and Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. The founder of the Territorial Seed Company, he has been growing most of his family’s food for over thirty-five years.
Gardening for health–we are what we eat
If you garden organically in the hope of improving your health, this book could provide a major missing link. For many years we had been advised to add compost and manure–if that did not work, just add more. In some areas where we lived, that seemed good enough. Now in retirement, with years of gardening experience but with depleted sandy soil, it seemed that nothing worked. A soil test from an area university revealed that our soil was deficient in most nutrients but too high in others. The advice was to add organic amendments. Period.
After a quick initial reading of the book, I am optimistic that I will be able to balance my minerals and improve tilth in the process, by one of several options described. I should be able to calculate it myself after a particular soil test, without a degree in chemistry and higher math, or I can take an easier route and submit a sample to a lab, then get an online interpretation of what is needed–for a total of about $30. There is even a recipe for a “best guess” fertilizer, based on what most vegetables might need, for those who only have a few plants and can’t afford to test.
The most important point I have learned so far is that balancing the minerals in the soil can boost the micro-life, improve the holding capacity of moisture and nutrients and provide food for maximum nutritional value and taste.
You can get recommendations for best local varieties and planting dates from a local extension service, but this book provides home gardeners with much information that was not readily available earlier.