Thursday, 2 March 2017

Book Review: Good Soil by Tina Raman, Ewa-Marie Rundquist & Justine Lagache

So the email went something along the lines of "we have this new book that you might be interested in reviewing, it is a little out of the ordinary.......... it is about manure....."  Well of course I said yes to a review copy, how could I not?

This book is already a bestseller in Sweden, Norway and Germany.  Now you could look at the cover and wonder what it is that is being so lovingly cradled in the hands, but I suggest we assume good compost and move right along.  Most gardeners know the value of good compost and its components.  Manure is a vital part of gardening, often used and an easy way of improving your soil.  This book tells you why, tell you what it is and tells you the benefits of using manure.  The book is frank, informed and eminently readable.

I will share with you the contents list:

Biology
Soil
Chemistry
Philosophy
Nourishment
Methods
Plants.

Each section is gone through carefully and with an irreverence that works really well.  The book does not try and be funny, it does not need to do so, but it has a lightness of humour that works well with what could be a sticky subject.  Noticeably, right in the centre of all the science and research based information is philosophy.  The chapter discusses biological and chemical fertilisers, the natural vs the synthetic.  It is asking the readers to make a choice and explaining their views on the choices we make.

This is also a no-holds-barred book.  There is a section entitled 'Pee -Liquid Gold', followed by a section called 'Poo - The Outhouse'.   How can you not love a book that has a whole page called 'Serious Crap'?   I admit I was under the impression that compost toilets work best for vegetarians but this section is about all crap.  Bearing in mind I live on the site of an old sewage works and there have been signs of slurry in some parts of the garden (decades old yet not quite decayed), I suddenly feel like my garden has been working hand in hand with this book all along.
The images in the book are stunning and it is laid out in a way that makes it interesting and easy to read.  At the back of the book the three authors are described as "a copywriter who also designs gardens, an art director who gets excited by recycling and an incredibly down to earth photographer."  These identities shine out of this book.

I loved this book, if you care about the environment and how you garden, or if you just want to know more about manure, this book is for you.

This book is published by Frances Lincoln

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