Gardening – Dirty books for summer

 There are no single solutions to mitigate against the unprecedented phenomena of climate change but a healthy soil that sequesters carbon, stores water, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions is of great importance.

Composting not only supercharges your soil while creating one of the most nutrient rich sources of fertilizers available, composting also allows you to close the loop in your consumption cycle.

Composting allows you to mimic the efficient way nature handles waste while converting your dirt into soil.  Unless there are bacteria, fungi and a functioning food web to transform the nutrients artificial fertilizers are largely unused. Building compost with food and carbon waste sources is really the only solution to add organic nitrogen and the nutrients to build urban garden soil.

Here are three books on the topic that I recommend you read over summer:

For the Love of Soil, by Nicole Masters

Not only a road map to healthy soil, this book has facts on soil infiltration rates and is also a fun read. “Our natural capacity to absorb water has dramatically decreased. Healthy soils can absorb over 250mm of rain in an hour,” the book reveals. “That’s nearly 10 times the infiltration rate I had been measuring around Auckland. Poor soil management is impacting on society on a massive scale.”

Nicole has tied together the soil health-plant health-animal health-human health connection with a combination of personal experience, good case studies and evidence-based science.

Dirt to Soil,by Gabe Brown

Our lives depend on soil. Civilisation was made possible by agriculture developed over centuries. But today mainstream agriculture, dominated by monoculture, has become a most destructive industry. Gabe Brown shows the importance of soil biology and how integrated organic farming methods can save ecosystems while feeding the world.

If you have an interest in your health, then this book is an inspirational read.

Entangled Life:  How Fungi Make our Worlds, Change our Minds and Shape our Futures, by Merlin Sheldrake

Entangled Life is a journey into a world you never knew existed. It will give you a new understanding of how nearly all life relies in some way on fungi!