Around the world, everyone is talking about environmental issues and the concept of “going green.” Natural organic gardening and landscaping are among the most important parts of that movement. Some organic proponents only say to stop using the chemicals. Howard Garrett, in the Organic Manual, explains in detail what to do instead. His “what to do” is the organic method. The book opens with the advice to stop the use of toxic chemicals, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers, but Garrett then goes on, in great detail, about the practical alternatives. This is one of the few books effective for use coast to coast and border to border. The organic method has no geographic boundaries.
The best kept secret of all (uncovered in this book) is that the organic program is better in every way. Whether it’s growing beautiful landscaping or delicious, healthy food crops, the Organic Manual explains bed preparation, planting, pest control, and compost making. It also covers natural living advice. The organic method is the most efficient, most cost effective, and most fun of any approach. It also produces the best trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables that you’ll ever grow.
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.