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The author's classic guide to organic gardening shares the secrets of growing delicious chemical-free fruits, nuts, herbs, and vegetables, covering a wide range of basic techniques. Reissue. 15,000 first printing. Another impressive tome from Rodale Press, this practical text of nearly 1,000 pages covers organic gardening from the first soil preparation to the final harvesting and preserving. How to Grow Vegetable and Fruits by the Organic Method may be a bit daunting for the novice gardener, simply because of the size, but rest assured that all information is presented with a clear and simple vocabulary that first-timers can relate to easily. There's lots of handy lists and tables outlining the chemical composition of common items (feathers, fur, leaves) as well as charts for planting seasons and depths.
Unusual in a book of this size, there's also lots of letters from amateur gardeners addressing topics that range from a favorite type of lettuce (oakleaf) to in-house mushroom cultivation (under the sink is excellent). Illustrations tend to be line drawings, as well as small black-and-white photos--while helpful, they're just not as eye-pleasing as the big, color photos found in other books. For the committed organic gardener, the completeness of the text should more than make up for the lack of prettiness, as this book outlines numerous successful methods in use for decades. A great textbook for a crash course in organics or a handy reference manual for unfamiliar challenges, this is sure to provide fresh ideas for even the most experienced green thumbs out there. --Jill Lightner
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