The fifth book in the Guides for the Prairie Gardener series is all about getting good soil—from chemical composition to compost, fertilizer to fungi, and much more.
Soil is a whole world under our feet, full of fun words you may have heard but never quite understood, like hard-pan, humus, loam, and tilth. In this fifth book in the Guides for the Prairie Gardener series, master gardeners Janet and Sheryl provide the basics of soil science so that you can apply it to your gardening endeavours.
They answer your questions on things like
- How do I test the chemical composition of my garden soil?
- What’s the difference between organic, inorganic, and natural fertilizers?
- What do those numbers on packages of fertilizer mean?
- How and when should I amend my garden’s soil?
- Hot compost? Cold compost? Worm compost?
- Egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels—yes or no?
- What exactly do mycorrhizal fungi do?
In this handy Q-and-A guide, focused specifically on the prairie region, you’ll learn what particles are dominant in your soil, how to make successful compost, the value of mulch, tips on no-till practices and cover crops, and solutions to problems such as compaction, heavy clay, salinity, and soil-borne diseases. With Janet and Sheryl’s insight you’ll soon be well on your way to healthy, happy soil.
About the authors
Janet Melrose is a garden educator and consultant, and an advocate for Calgary’s Sustainable Local Food System. She is a life-long gardener and holds a Prairie Horticulture Certificate and Home Farm Horticultural Therapy Certificate. She has a passion for Horticultural Therapy and facilitates numerous programs designed to integrate people marginalized by various disabilities into the larger community. She is a regular contributor to The Gardener for Canadian Climates magazine. She lives in Calgary where she runs her education and consulting company, Calgary’s Cottage Gardener.
Sheryl Normandeau is a life-long gardener, and holds a Prairie Horticulture Certificate and a Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate. She is a freelance writer specializing in gardening writing with hundreds of articles published. She is a regular contributor The Gardener for Canadian Climates, The Prairie Garden Annual, Herb Quarterly, Mother Earth Gardener, and many more. She lives in Calgary.
“Written with wit and charm, Janet and Sheryl have given us the comprehensive, gardener-friendly guide to soil science everyone who grows a garden needs to read.” —Daryl Beyers, gardening instructor and author of The New Gardener’s Handbook
“The Prairie Gardener’s series offers knowledgeable yet accessible answers to questions covering a broad range of topics to help you cultivate garden success. Get growing!” —Lorene Edwards Forkner, gardener and author of Color In and Out of the Garden
“This is a beautiful and incredibly well-written series of books on earth-friendly gardening. Lavishly illustrated, with photos in every segment, the books are a pleasure just to leaf through, but the accessible writing and level of expertise makes them essential to any gardener’s library. Although they’re geared to prairie gardeners, I found great information that transfers anywhere, including where I live, in the Sierra Foothills, and will enjoy them for years to come. Well-indexed, to help you find solutions to elusive problems. Highly recommended!” —Diane Miessler, certified perma-culture designer and author of Grow Your Soil!
“All your gardening questions answered! Reading the Prairie Gardener’s series is like sitting down with your friendly local master gardener. Delivers practical guidance that will leave you feeling confident and inspired.” —Andrea Bellamy, author of Small-Space Vegetable Gardens
Other titles by Janet Melrose
Other titles by Sheryl Normandeau
The Prairie Gardener's Go-To for Trees and Shrubs
The Little Prairie Book of Berries
Recipes for Saskatoons, Sea Buckthorn, Haskap Berries and More