Test Your Soil With Plants
John Beeby, 2nd ed. 2013, 167 pp.
(formerly Booklet 29)
For thousands of years, farmers were able to predict the agricultural value of land by observing the plants that grow on it. Cato (234-149 BC) advised "The dwarf-elder, the wild plum, the bramble, the small bulb, trefoil, meadow grass, and quercus, and the wild pear and wild apple, are all of them indicative of a corn land." (Pliny)
This book shows you how to optimize your garden's health and productivity, simply by observing the plants growing in your garden. Learn what natural fertilizers lead to best soil health. Fully revised and updated edition.
"Notice the number of different kinds of plants growing in that soil, perhaps some so small and inconspicuous you have to get down on your hands and knees to see, perhaps others that tower above you. Realize that each one of those plants, and every plant, speaks of the conditions in which it grows. The language it speaks can only be seen, not heard. Through its presence, form, color and vigor, each plant describes - in general or very specific terms - the moisture, acidity, nutrient content, and other conditions of the soil. The simple fact that a particular plant is growing there is telling you something about that soil. The fact that the plant is stunted and its growing tips are withered is telling you something. The fact that its color is a deep green, but it seems not to be vigorous, is telling you somethings. Now, take a look at that little patch of ground and plants again, and imagine the hundred, maybe thousands, of pieces if information that are being communicated to you! " - From the Introduction
From the Introduction: "This book is a synthesis of past and current published, peer-reviewed research on plants as soil indicators. Within this book, you will find a unique and ready-to-use compilation of what both wild and cultivated plants tell about the soil in which live. You will also have at your fingertips a system of how to improve the soil's fertility with organic fertilizers based on the soil conditions indicated by wild and cultivated plants. With these two areas - how to determine what the soil needs, and how to add what is deficient in an effective and ecological manner - you will be able to help improve the fertility of your soil under a wide range of circumstances"….. "Using plants to test the soil does require a little training (which you have in your hands!) and practice, but does not require any expensive equipment, and none of the toxic chemicals used in the chemical analysis of soil. Testing the soil, especially with crop plants, is then possible for anyone regardless of their access to money or technology."
APPROX WEIGHT: 1.3 lbs.