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The Rodale Book of Composting: Easy Methods for Every Gardener Paperback – January 15, 1992

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The Rodale Book of Composting: Easy Methods for Every Gardener + Let it Rot!: The Gardener's Guide to Composting (Third Edition) (Storey's Down-to-Earth Guides)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; Revised edition (January 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878579915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878579914
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is an update of Jerry Minnich and others' The Rodale Guide to Composting ( LJ 5/1/79), which itself updated J.L. Rodale's Complete Book of Composting (Rodale Pr., 1960. o.p.). The broad spectrum of information given will be useful from backyard urban gardening on up to industrial, municipal, and farm recycling. The first quarter of the book gives you all you ever wanted to know on the science of composting--and more--along with some history. A discussion of materials, methods, structures, equipment, and uses is followed by a brief look at large-scale composting. The writing is an uneven mix of scientific detail and the anecdotal. Chemical reactions are described in exquisite detail, and yet most quotes, while attributed, are neither dated nor their source given. Stu Campbell and Kathleen Bond Borie's Let It Rot: The Gardener's Guide to Composting ( LJ 1/91) is more readable and inviting for the individual gardener. While useful for its in-depth, detailed coverage, Rodale's almost-textbook is recommended only for comprehensive gardening collections.
- Sharon Levin, Univ. of Vermont Lib., Burlington
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Lovers of compost. . .will be able to polish their techniques, and beginners will experience a whole new adventure."--Eddie Albert, Award-winning actor and avid gardener

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Customer Reviews

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See all 44 customer reviews
The book identifies the kinds of wastes that work best in the compost pile.
Dianne Foster
I will use this book for years to come and recommend it to anyone interested in gardening.
Paula Anderson
I have been using this book for over 5 years and finally got my own copy of it!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Robert Huffstedtler VINE VOICE on June 5, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the bulk of the material contained in this book could be found online, it's still a worthwhile purchase. Indeed, it is a must have. The purchase price of the book will be quickly regained in the money you will save making your own compost rather than purchasing bagged compost or synthetic fertiliser.
A few of the chapters are more interesting than useful to the home gardener. For instance, one of the early chapters discusses the history of composting beginning with the ancient Akkadians. The final chapter discusses managing large scale compost operations (by large scale, I mean tens and hundreds of tons of waste) on the farm or as part of a municipal waste management strategy.
The core of the book, however, is very directly useful. A chapter is provided describing the chemistry of what goes on in composting, and what goes on as plants attempt to take nutrients from the soil. Another chapter describes the various types of life from microbes to insects and worms (including lovely line drawings) that inhabit a compost pile during the various phases of its lifecycle.
By far the most useful chapter is chapter 6, which provides a list of potential ingredients for your pile and suggestions on how to obtain them. Numerous charts are provided that indicate on balance whether an item should be considered a "green" or a "brown", and (should you desire more specifics) the actual NPK content of various ingredients. This is fully a fifth of the book.
The next most useful chapter is chapter 10, which gives suggestions for various sorts of compost bins you can buy or build. Another chapter describes tools like chippers and shredders that might be useful to you if you plan to make a fair amount of compost.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Will Nance on December 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was the first book I ever read about composting, a subject I was minimally interested in. After one reading I was hooked on composting! I bought the book about six months ago and have since read it over and over, always seeming to learn something new every time I read it. In the meantime I have read everything I can find about composting. This book seems to cover everything. The other things I read are generally just a different way of saying the very things that are in this book.
I believe the Rodale Book of Composting should be called the bible of composting for the everyday person.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This guide is really an excellent introduction to composting but an experienced composter will also find much useful, detailed, and interesting information here. Unfortunately, it's a terribly dry read, especially some sections near the front of the book. Do not despair, Dear Reader! If it gets too dry and technical skip ahead and it will get better.
A beginner will gain a complete understanding of the compost process, a guide to selecting an appropriate method for their own needs, and guidelines to buy or build their own composters. An experienced composter will gain greater understanding into why some batches are more successful than others and how to improve the quality of their compost, along with incredibly extensive lists on exactly what material can be used in composting and why. This book addresses the needs of the urban and suburban gardener, along with the needs of the homesteader, organic farmer, and family farmer.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on March 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
I began using the Rodale methods for organic gardening including composting back in the early 1970s and continue to do so today. I swear to you these methods work. If you truly want to be a great gardener and help save the planet from the depredations of the backward and evil, read this book. Rodale's dream of a compost pile in every back yard is alive. We can all make a difference and THE RODALE BOOK OF COMPOSTING shows you how.
In the early pages of the book, the editors Deborah Martin and Grace Gersuny (the book is a composite of excellent articles published over the years in ORGANIC GARDENING) have included a history of composting. Composting was known to the Jews, the Romans, the Greeks, American Indians, and other traditional people. Washington and Jefferson used organic methods to grow their crops, vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Composting was a major activity for farmers until the petro-chemical industry persuaded farmers they needed oil-converted-to-fertilizer-and-poisons to grow crops. Practices are changing, but as the new AG bill shows, not fast enough.
Why should the little guy compost? This book gives you all sorts of reasons for composting, but my response is why not compost. You can compost if you live in an apartment on the 29th floor of a building in New York City, and you might want compost for your house plants after you read this book. I have composted for so long I cannot imagine how anyone gardens and does not compost. First of all you add nuitients not available from man-made sources and these nuitrients help you grow great plants. Think of compost as breast milk. Why would you give your roses canned formula when they can have the real thing? When you use compost on your plants, you strengthen them against disease and predators.
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