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The Intelligent Gardener: Growing Nutrient Dense Food [Format Kindle]

Steve Solomon , Erica Reinheimer

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Vegetables, fruits, and grains are a major source of vital nutrients, but centuries of intensive agriculture have depleted our soils to historic lows. As a result, the broccoli you consume today may have less than half of the vitamins and minerals that the equivalent serving would have contained a hundred years ago. This is a matter for serious concern, since poor nutrition has been linked to myriad health problems including cancer, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. For optimum health we must increase the nutrient density of our foods to the levels enjoyed by previous generations.

To grow produce of the highest nutritional quality the essential minerals lacking in our soil must be replaced, but this re-mineralization calls for far more attention to detail than the simple addition of composted manure or NPK fertilizers. The Intelligent Gardener demystifies the process while simultaneously debunking much of the false and misleading information perpetuated by both the conventional and organic agricultural movements. In doing so, it conclusively establishes the link between healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people.

This practical step-by-step guide and the accompanying customizable web-based spreadsheets go beyond organic and are essential tools for any serious gardener who cares about the quality of the produce they grow.

Steve Solomon is the author of several landmark gardening books including Gardening When it Counts and Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. The founder of the Territorial Seed Company, he has been growing most of his family's food for over thirty-five years.

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62 internautes sur 63 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Customize Your Fertilizer 23 janvier 2013
Par aubreypub - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Near the end of his new book, The Intelligent Gardener, long-time garden guru Steve Solomon makes a significant point: "There is no place on this planet that remains free of toxic residues." He then suggests we would be far better off if we quit worrying so much about toxicity and, instead, concentrated on growing and eating nutrient dense food.

I've been able to follow, and participate to a degree, in Mr. Solomon's metamorphosis from expert "organic" gardener to expert "nutrient dense" gardener. Solomon, in my opinion, has long been ahead of the pack as evidenced by his books "Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades" and "Gardening When It Counts." Through his early gardening experiences and from starting the Territorial Seed business he devised his Complete Organic Fertilizer (COF) which was an attempt to balance garden soil. COF is still a good way to go for people who don't wish to go any farther and the formula is easily found on the internet. (Also in The Intelligent Gardener pps. 84-85).

In the last half dozen years through association with Michael Astera's Nutrient Dense Project and a re-study of the work of scientists like William Albrecht and Victor Tiedjens, Steve Solomon has become a convert to the concept of "nutrient dense."

The concept of nutrient dense food is pretty simple. The gardener works over time to balance the soil with the proper mix of minerals. The result will be soil that encourages the life forms (worms, bacteria, etc.) that help with soil symbiosis and soil that provides the nutrients plants need to grow properly. Balanced soil will mean healthier plants, resistant to pests. Balanced soil will result in food that is nutrient dense, providing us with the vitamins and minerals we need to be healthy.

Steve Solomon spends a lot of time debunking the concept promoted by J.I. Rodale that compost would solve all problems and that by continuing to heap organic matter on a garden a garden would only get better and better. This is not the case as Solomon explains in detail in a chapter titled: SAMOA (The S*** Method of Agriculture). More important is bringing calcium and magnesium into proper balance. When garden soil is properly balanced, according to Solomon, the garden will create its own nitrates.

Balancing calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulphur, sodium and other minerals is the key to nutrient dense food. Getting this balance correct begins with a $20 soil test. Then, with a copy of The Intelligent Gardener in hand, one can use the worksheets provided to come up with a prescription for a custom fertilizer designed for one's own garden. Solomon's colleague and co-author, California gardener Erica Reinheimer has developed a website where you can find copies of the worksheets found in Steve's book. On this same website you will find a link to "OrganiCalc" which allows you, for a small fee, to compute your custom fertilizer prescription on line.
30 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Gardening for health--we are what we eat 4 janvier 2013
Par Wellness Advocate - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
If you garden organically in the hope of improving your health, this book could provide a major missing link. For many years we had been advised to add compost and manure--if that did not work, just add more. In some areas where we lived, that seemed good enough. Now in retirement, with years of gardening experience but with depleted sandy soil, it seemed that nothing worked. A soil test from an area university revealed that our soil was deficient in most nutrients but too high in others. The advice was to add organic amendments. Period.

After a quick initial reading of the book, I am optimistic that I will be able to balance my minerals and improve tilth in the process, by one of several options described. I should be able to calculate it myself after a particular soil test, without a degree in chemistry and higher math, or I can take an easier route and submit a sample to a lab, then get an online interpretation of what is needed--for a total of about $30. There is even a recipe for a "best guess" fertilizer, based on what most vegetables might need, for those who only have a few plants and can't afford to test.

The most important point I have learned so far is that balancing the minerals in the soil can boost the micro-life, improve the holding capacity of moisture and nutrients and provide food for maximum nutritional value and taste.

You can get recommendations for best local varieties and planting dates from a local extension service, but this book provides home gardeners with much information that was not readily available earlier.
36 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent explanation and summary of Albrecht and Astera's methods 23 décembre 2012
Par Homesteader - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
First of all, the subtitle is a bit misleading. You won't get information on many aspects of growing nutrient-dense food, like variety selection and time of harvest, out of this book. What The Intelligent Gardener does provide, though, is well worth the price.

I've been nibbling around the edges of learning about soil testing for the last couple of years, but this book turned my understanding into a full (and nutrient-dense) meal. Solomon's work is based largely on Albrecht's studies of the optimal ratios of cations (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium), with a lot of updates from the more modern work of Astera. Solomon breaks it all down into simple worksheets that anyone can fill out with a calculator able to multiply, add, and subtract.

A second warning is due --- you'll need to put quite a bit of cash into Solomon's method if you have a large homestead. Solomon's math only works if you do a Mehlich 3 soil test, which is about $20 per sample; then, you'll probably be committing to adding several hundred dollars' worth of amendments (like gypsum) to get your soil back in balance.

Even if you don't want to go the scientific route, though, this book is worth it for its explanation of the chemistry of soil. Highly recommended!
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great book for the price. 5 janvier 2013
Par Julie Alberlan - Publié sur
This is a great book for those who want to take their garden "beyond organic". It describes why balancing minerals is so important for plant (and human) health. The author is very candid and funny about the mistakes he's made over the years, and is very earnest about helping people to avoid those same mistakes. He goes into detail about soil testing and how to calculate the proper minerals to add to you garden from the soil test. He also has a mineral "recipe" for fertilizer, for those who do not want to test their soil. The only (slight) criticism I have of the book is that the author seems a bit negative (or perhaps confused or undecided) about the role that animals' grazing can have on soils.
22 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 More philosophy than practicality 25 janvier 2014
Par L. Crawford - Publié sur
There were several keywords that appeared in finding this book that perhaps my expectations were too great. There are many unseemly things that really grate on me about this book. It's not that he takes organic gardening to task (his position being that organic gardening as it is currently practiced is only an incomplete piece of the solution) as I think his criticism is fair. However, it is in desperate need of editing (to the point that I will seriously reconsider buying anything else fro this publisher and frankly starts feeling like a bitch-fest against Rodale and everything he claims (perhaps justly) they advocate is wrong. While I can appreciate his position, the point is made ad nauseum and starts feeling more like sitting at the beauty parlor and catching up on all the tawdry neighborhood gossip. It is excessive and shows a lack in character in my opinion. That combined with a condescending voice throughout is leaving me really struggling to finish it.

Why two stars? Though I don't appreciate the manner in which he makes his case, I think it is a case that should be made. That organic gardening falls short of vitalizing or revitalizing stripped soil and perhaps (as he argues) strips the soil even more effectively than conventional practices after a few years have elapsed on a given plot of land. He makes a good point, one in which I am interested in learning more about. But the point could have been made in far fewer pages and without the condescension.
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