It's almost thrilling reading The Ever Curious Gardener, by Lee Reich. Combining science and gardening facts, it makes so much sense, and you will discover the how and why of nature and growing plants.
This is one of those rare books that truly is a joy to read even though surprisingly it is based on logic - thoroughly researched, clear and detailed logic. Many gardening books skip over important scientific details, simply because the authors don't know them, or they think the reader is either not interested or wouldn't understand.
How wonderful then to come across this book that explains things in a down-to-earth, easy way for anyone to understand and put into practice. You'll soon have a flourishing garden... and know why it is so darn good! How about that.
The author, Dr. Lee Reich is a leading garden authority, with degrees in chemistry, soil science and horticulture. His research covers all aspects of agriculture and a comprehensive range of gardening topics. He's has numerous podcasts and written many books, including the brilliant "Weedless Gardening", which again combines good old common sense, facts and, yes... science.
- Do you want to learn something new everyday about soil, plants, microbes and how to simplify chores in your garden?
- Do you want the best plants for the least amount of effort?
- Do you want to know that what you are doing in your garden, is absolutely rock-solid, with no myths, hearsay, folk tales and in many cases misunderstandings and practices that can often confuse and even harm your plants?
How about having your unspoken questions and curiosity satisfied with every page, such as:
- Should you prune woodies in summer? The common sage advice is that you should not prune in summer, especially in colder climates because it causes new growth that will not harden off before winter, resulting in die-back. Lee uncovers the truth and the reasons why!
- The dark side of soil pH - can it poison your plants? "Low pH can render magnesium so available that it becomes toxic; geraniums are particularly sensitive. At high pH the plant nutrient molybdenum becomes available in toxic amounts." ... and it get's even more interesting than that...
- What is the difference between the nitrogen in regular fertilizer and fertilizer for acid loving plants? The secret is in the chemistry - but you will have to read the book to find the answer.
- Can too much nitrogen lead to aphid problems? "Nitrogen can be overdone. Plants gorging on this nutrient are overly succulent and barely able to hold themselves up." So this can also cause pest problems, like aphids.
- Do you need to add an inoculate for nitrogen fixing bacteria when planting beans and peas? Manufacturers of the product certainly say you do. Lee Reich explains how they might be useful in a new garden, but...
- What are lazy mutants? Ever wonder why we have weeping shrubs and trees, such as the weeping white pine? Wonder no more. It is due to lazy mutants, and Lee revels it all in the book. (For those who are not familiar with weeping trees, you really need to look into them. They are perfect for smaller gardens.)
- Does paint prevent sunscald on Trees? This topic has many facts and myths, but Lee has added a new twist. To his latex paint, he adds eggs to keep rodents away. Rodents are vegetarian and don't like the egg taste - or is it the smell? "Sometimes I throw in some cinnamon, mint, and/or rosemary for added aroma that ...." it's all explained in the book.
- What are the various things that affect the flavor of food plants produce? (Lee manages to take this complicated topic and reduce it down to easy-to-understand language for the average gardener.)
There's so much more... Did you know that a handful of soil has more biodiversity than all the animals in the Amazon Basin? And: A teaspoon of soil .... has 10,000 to 50,000 species and more microorganisms than people on earth?
Lee then goes on to easily explains how these microbes affect plants.
But really in a nutshell, "The Ever Curious Gardener" is about gardening the smart way using simple science.
It's a great read.
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