If you are interested in improving soil quality and growing healthier, more productive vegetables, Anna Hess’s book Balancing Soil Nutrients and Acidity, part of her series on how to improve garden soil, offers an excellent and comprehensive explanation.
My choice of non-fiction reading these days is all about how to improve garden soil. I recently shared the methods we used to transform a large area of lawn into garden, and this year we are starting our berry patch. Understanding soil quality is the foundation for everything we do.
Anna Hess is an excellent resource for explaining the specifics of soil quality in a concise, detailed way.
Today I am reviewing Anna’s third volume in the The Ultimate Guide to Soil: The Real Dirt on Cultivating Crops, Compost, and a Healthier Home. In Balancing Soil Nutrients and Acidity Anna writes in-depth, but with a very practical, down-to-earth (pun intended) manner. In this volume, Anna takes us deeper into the balancing of soil composition, specifically as it concerns soil pH.
In chapter one she tells us why soil pH matters, and offers practical solutions for altering your soil’s pH to achieve the best balance for the particular plants you wish to grow. This was especially important to me as we are investing in creating a large blueberry patch. Every gardening book tells you blueberries thrive best in acidic soils, but it has been difficult to find good information on how to achieve the proper pH. Anna’s book Balancing Soil Nutrients and Acidity, explains soil pH in a very understandable way and she offers practical methods for adjusting it.
Chapter two talks about soil minerals and why these under-appreciated nutrients are vitally important for healthy plants and good production. Anna helps us understand the value of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals to the health of our plants, and she offers a simple explanation of how the different nutrients interact.
Blindly applying soil amendments without understanding your current soil composition can create more problems that will need correcting down the road, and Anna’s book takes this complicated subject and makes it easy to understand and apply to your specific soil type.
Amendments for Your Soil
Chapter three gives excellent practical strategies for mineralizing our soils using animals, fungi, cover crops, and dynamic accumulators. Again, Anna is practical in her approaches and works toward long-term, sustainable solutions, not just quick fixes for the short-term.
I enjoyed this book particularly because I want to know why I am doing what I am doing, rather than blindly applying amendments. Anna is excellent at explaining the why in a simple and practical way.
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