I finished reading this book yesterday, and I loved it. It was very thorough and split into sections. I particularly was pleased with the section on recognizing, preventing, and controlling garden pests using organic methods.
Here are some takeaways from this book.
- There was a lot of focus on using raised, wide beds (as the cover of the book suggests) rather than narrow rows set right into the ground with walkways in between. There are many benefits to this, including controlling compaction, improving soil condition in each bed, and decreasing the space needed for each plant, primarily because the root growth can go deeper than in tradition narrow row planting.
- He also went into great depth about building healthy soil. Healthy soil — which is easier to build and keep in deep raised beds — is essential for healthy plants, disease control, and pest reduction. He covered important things like testing for pH (most plants like soil near neutral pH, sometimes slightly acidic) and macronutrients and how to correct any problems with them. There was also a heavy emphasis on compost and mulch.
- In the pest control section, he went into great depths about organic, natural control methods which focused largely on minimizing pests enough that you have to do little, if anything, to deal with a pest problem. These included rotating crops to avoid soil diseases and insects that overwinter in the soil where the plants they ate were the year before, encouraging predators that keep pest populations down (ladybugs, birds, lacewings, beneficial nematodes), and making plants as healthy as possible so they will be less attractive to pests and more able to recover from any pest problems.
- He concludes the book with a section that includes many vegetables, and each is loaded with information on planting, crowing conditions, harvesting, and so much more.
Long story short, this book is loaded with good organic gardening information and I would highly recommend it.