Building Soils Naturally. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own organic gardening book. It was published in July of 2012. It starts with the basics and gets quite advanced on some topics. Although growers and landscape professionals will benefit tremendously, I’ve written for home gardeners who are interested in growing nutrient-dense food. There’s background information and some science, but all with a view to let you know why we do the things we do in the organic garden. Most of the information is very hands-on, letting you know what to do, and when and how to do it.
Secrets of the Soil. This is a thoroughly researched organic gardening book, a classic. You won’t find most of this valuable information in a standard soil science textbook, but it’s important stuff. Some of the info is fairly straight-forward and some gets a little far from convention, such as biodynamic gardening and other energetic methods, but you can take what you like and leave the rest. I’ve slowly been incorporating many of these ideas in my organic gardening for years.
The Non-Toxic Farming Handbook. This book is easier than ‘Science In Agriculture’ (below), but is still a successful integration of diverse techniques and technologies of classical organic farming, Albrecht-style soil fertility balancing, and Reams-method organic soil and plant testing and analysis. It covers fertility inputs, in-the-field testing, foliar feeding, refractometers, tillage, livestock nutrition, moon cycles and subtle energies, and more. One of my favorites.
Science in Agriculture. This is one of the more advanced organic gardening books, one of my absolute favorites. The science points out that low-to-mediocre crop production, weed, disease, and insect pressures are all symptoms of nutritional imbalances and inadequacies in the soil. It is a concise recap of the main schools of thought that make up organic farming – all clearly explained. Learn how to design a program to produce plants of balanced nutritional and mineral content. For advanced gardeners, this is another favorite of mine.
Hands-On Agronomy. An ecologically balanced organic soil system is essential for maintaining healthy plants and this comprehensive manual on organic garden soil management gives the “whats and whys” of micronutrients, earthworms, soil drainage, tilth, soil structure and organic matter. Kinsey shows us how working with the soil produces healthier crops with a higher yield. He seems to focus more on Albreht than the more recent Reams methods, but he has many years experience making it work.
Mainline Farming for Century Twenty-One. Dan Skow studied under Carey Reams, and the lessons he learned are important ones. This book teaches how to measure fertility down to the atomic level and bring up brix high enough to ward off fungal, bacterial and insect attack, and weeds. The shortest book of the lot.
The Ideal Soil. Great organic gardening book. It advocates balancing the soil according to the teachings of Dr William Albrecht and Dr Carey Reams. It takes the focus away from merely trying to achieve high volume yields to achieving the highest yields of the highest quality and nutritional value, while building optimal health in the soil, the crops, and the people and animals that rely on them for food.