There are several kinds of gardeners –
1) those who don’t really want to be bothered learning much and just want to plunk a plant in the ground,
2) those who want to learn how to garden but aren’t constant tinkerers and the last,
3) those who want to learn about gardening and can’t leave anything alone long enough but insist on messing about with all the details.
We’re going to ignore group one, those who don’t care to garden nor learn about it.
I’m firmly in the second camp where I love learning about things but pretty much believe once you’ve set up the conditions, the plants will take care of themselves.
This book is for the third group; those gardeners who delight in endless messing about in the garden with tiny details.
Six Major Sections
There are six major how-to sections in the book where Phil outlines what you’ll need.
- Organic Matter:
- Microbial Innoculants:
- Supplemental Nutrients:
- Biostimulants and Micronutrients:
Let Me Be Clear
I’m not saying the systems and methods Phil Nauta describes in his book don’t work. I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that I’ve never worried about anions and cations in my life when it comes to garden soil.
I use compost regularly and a bit of compost tea here and there along with some fish emulsion and if I water, I get good garden results (or at least good enough for me).
To give you some sense of this, not only does this book go into the realms of making good compost tea, it also delves into recipes for “Effective Microorganisms” (EM) which is like making super compost-tea (as I said – great for those who love to tinker).
Nauta also gets a tad confused here and there through the book about which audience he’s writing for. The subtitle of the book is “Innovative Methods for Organic Gardeners” but the references through the book also include farming – as when he’s writing about ragweed, “cattle should be kept from ragweed because it taints milk”. Not many of us have cattle running through our gardens.
The fact that you need to be a tinkerer is nicely illustrated in the same how-to-control ragweed section, “Ragweed out of control can be managed with manganese, copper, vitamins C and B12, calcium, phosphate and sugar in a solution, recipe to be worked out on-scene according to test readings.” I use a hoe or my hands to pull ’em out.
The author is a huge believer in constant testing of soil for all manner of issues so while I believe in soil-testing for large farming operations and for solving specific soil problems, I don’t do soil testing myself. As I said, I’m not a tinkerer – and because I find that a deep mulch and adding compost solves many of my garden problems, I’m quite happy to work from that basis.
He’s also a believer in Energetics – advising that techniques of energy transfer through playing certain kinds of music in the garden and suggests further reading in the field of paramagnetism, radionics for gardeners to learn how to increase garden energy and hence harvests. There are a ton of things happening in the garden I don’t pretend to understand and good for him for writing about what he believes, but in my world, you have to be a tinkerer to go forward with this level of stuff.
If you’re a soil scientist or traditional gardener, this is right up there in the realm of voodoo-gardening.
Doug’s Bottom Line
So bottom line – do I recommend the book? If you’re a tinkerer and want to mess about – absolutely. This would be a starting point for playing with some bleeding edge (and likely over-the-edge) information. You’ll get some options to explore and resources for that exploration.
But if you’re a general gardener interested in having a good garden without a lot of messing about and constant testing, I’d say take a pass on this one.
Building Soils Naturally This is a link to Amazon if you want to check out other (more positive) reviews