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Organic Gardener's Composting

Steve Solomon

Book Overview: 

The art and science of composting is presented in a humorous and readable manner from the basic elements to the in-depth science. An entire chapter is devoted to composting with red worms (vermiculture), and detailed information is provided on building different types of composting units. The history of the organic gardening movement is included as well as an annotated bibliography of works on the subjects of composting and food gardening.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .he resulting nutritional quality of the food we grow.

Imagine trying to make compost from deficient materials such as a heap of pure, moist sawdust. What happens? Very little and very, very slowly. Trees locate most of their nutrient accumulation in their leaves to make protein for photosynthesis. A small amount goes into making bark. Wood itself is virtually pure cellulose, derived from air and water. If, when we farmed trees, we removed only the wood and left the leaves and bark on the site, we would be removing next to nothing from the soil. If the sawdust comes from a lumber mill, as opposed to a cabinet shop, it may also contain some bark and consequently small amounts of other essential nutrients.

Thoroughly moistened and heaped up, a sawdust pile would not heat up, only a few primary decomposers would take up residence. A person could wait five years for compost to form from pure moist sawdust and still not much would ha. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Very good and thorough discussion of composting. I enjoyed this book very much and inspired me to start my own Vermicompost. Solomon's advice and knowledge are very helpful and probably among the best there is in the field.

Wow lots of info!

If you are looking for a text on composting, you have found it! Author knows his stuff, well written, interesting, no photos

A little technical, but very informative about what to put into a compost pile, where to put it, what is needed to make plants grow healthy and strong, how often to turn a pile, and how the material is broken down.

Listened by audiobook. Reader was pretty good.

Good content, not so great layout (no tables,poor sectioning of content, etc.)


I have been struggling with the notion for years as to this whole idea of how to grow a garden without harsh chemicals. I always thought I was there when I heaped up my leaves to dry every fall. After reading this book I now understand that there is a lot more to it than I had reali

I loved this book.

This book made me want to reread it. He makes his points understandable and builds upon them. I feel smarter now.