Book Review

Soil and Composting -- Taylor's Weekend Gardening Guides

by Nancy J. Ondra

Houghton Mifflin Co. 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003. 122 pages. Paperback. 7-1/2 by 9-1/2 inches, color photographs. $12.95.
(Price/availability info may have changed since original publication of review.)

Reviewed by Robert R. Chambers (03/1999)

This book starts off with a fairly detailed but popular discussion of what soil is, and then goes into various amendments, methods for soil modification, and ways to live with the soil you have. The next section is on mulches and how to use them, but does not get into detail, such as how to chop tree prunings into mulch. Then there is a section on fertilizers, with emphasis, as expected, on organic sources of the nutrients. There is a sizable section on making and using compost, and finally some observations on soil care in different kinds of gardens.

The book is quite readable, and is illustrated with color pictures and drawings. It provides general coverage of a broad range of questions one might have about keeping one's soil healthy. It certainly wouldn't hurt most gardeners to focus more on their soil, and going through this book can help that process. I thought the advice was usually sound.

This is sort of a survey book to be read for one's general horticultural education. But the subject is very important, and there are probably many gardeners who would profit from studying these subjects. It seems to be an excellent first introductory book.


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