President’s Note: Book Review – The Living Soil Handbook

living soil handbook

Recently I had the opportunity to interview the author of the book entitled The Living Soil Handbook: The No-Till Grower’s Guide to Ecological Market Gardening. The author, Jesse Frost, had moved several times over the last several years, and as a result he has needed to refine his methods for bringing soil up to a productive level fast.

The book has a lot of information packed into such a limited space. He grows organically, and most soils take three to five years to “settle down” and show the benefits after changing to an organic system.

He focuses on improving the soil biology first and foremost. The author used any technique allowed under organic regulations to improve the soil.

He also looks at each property and breaks it down into areas, and uses the best methods for each. In other words, one technique is not used on the entire property. He uses some raised beds, cardboard for weed suppression, compost, cover crops, and crop rotation. While he uses woven landscape fabric, he has concerns about plastic mulches, based on some of the potential issues with small plastic particles contaminating the soil.

Because he and his family have moved so many times, he focuses on keeping the production tools mobile. Cold frames are mobile for easy tear down. Infrastructure and equipment are selected based on need and the ability to easily move to a new farm if needed.

If you are interested in no-till organics, this book is a good place to start.

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