Home & Garden

Fun, new ideas for composting

The Complete Compost Gardening GuideBy Barbara Pleasant& Deborah L. MartinStorey Publishing 319 pp $29.95

Good, rich compost is worth its weight in gold to experienced gardeners. Its value lies in improving soil structure and invigorating its complex of nutrients and micro-organisms. It supports gardens that produce bountiful harvests, while at the same time recycles left-over organic material instead of sending it unused to landfills. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide is a treasure map to discovering that this often overlooked resource is within your reach.

Pleasant and Martin don't just cover the basics with information on setting up compost bins and establishing a good C/N, or carbon-to-nitrogen, ratio; they have created fun, new ideas for integrating composting into the gardening process, like using "Banner Batches', "Honey Holes' and "Layered Craters'.

With a sense of humor, sound facts, and a conversational style, topics from vermiculture to selecting plants as ”Perfect Matches“ for various composting methods are presented. There are wide-ranging discussions about not only composting, but many aspects of gardening. Almost every page contains a helpful idea, be it tool selection, worm reproduction, relative values of odd raw materials for compost, or seed-saving.

You'll also want to visit Pleasant's Web site, BarbaraPleasant.com, to see what's been happening lately in her garden. Enlightening and reader-friendly, this is one of the best gardening how-to selections I've seen recently. If you're one of the many folks returning to growing your own vegetables in your home garden, you'll find expert advice and encouragement here.