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Compost: The natural way to make food for your garden Hardcover – February 19, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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About the Author

Ken Thompson writes regular columns for organic gardening magazines, has published over a hundred articles and is the author of An Ear to the Ground: Gardens Science for Ordinary Mortals.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: DK (February 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756613418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756613419
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,334,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Burton on November 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This may be the first nonfiction book I ever read all the way through.

It's not long, but it's very informative. And can I overemphasize? it's EASY, EASY, EASY.

The lady that said it was confusing, it's really not. It's true that he waffles a bit on woody waste, but that's where you have to make the most decisions about whether or not to use the waste and how much to use. He wants you to think before you act. The bottom line is, avoid using gobs of it in your compost but a little bit (especially shredded) is OK. If you have lots of it, make a separate pile for it. It will just take longer to break down.

What he does is take the MYSTERY of composting and simplify it so that anyone can do it. Patience is his motto. Eventually you'll get compost.

He tells you how to use crumpled paper and "green" waste (like kitchen scraps and lawn clippings) to make compost. No need to worry about turning the pile ever; no need to add stuff you have to buy at the nursery. He recommends some kind of bin, but even straight on the ground, eventually you'll get compost.

He also makes the subject fun to read about. Like the part about worm farms--for pet lovers only, he says. If you wouldn't want to raise hamsters or rabbits, don't raise worms.

I have always been deterred by complicated composting instructions before. I'm not an avid gardener, but the current economic situation is changing my mind and practices. Now I feel like I can start composting all this junk I used to cram into the trash can.
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Format: Hardcover
I was thoroughly excited when I received my copy of this book through the mail. Having not been able to find it in the local book stores, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. The design/layout and content exceeded my expectations. Previously, I hadn't been able to get through the huge books I had on the subject which looked like they were from the 80's. This book however, is thoroughly modern. The pictures and typography make it interesting and a quick read. My only complaint was that it seemed a bit disorganized, the author kept referring to things and would refer to them later in a different example and it was a bit confusing, if not contradictory. Perhaps we just organize our thoughts in different ways. For example, he repeatedly talks about woody waste, in about ten or fifteen different instances and can't seem to make up his mind on exactly how he feels. I understand that the decision to use this type of material is dependent on many other factors, which he explains, but it would have been more helpful to me, if he had said five pages on woody waste all at once rather than the one page he has specifically devoted to it and four others spread throughout the book. That said, it is probably the best organized and most user-friendly book available on the subject.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great book! Thompson is clever and writes with a touch of humor--for example, he talks about how you should let weeds dry out before you add them to the compost, but he adds that you can drown them for 6 weeks, or suffocate them for a year (43). Later, when talking about tumbler bins, Thompson says you'll need to turn them pretty often and adds, "Will you do that, or will it turn out like the exercise bike that you promised you would use every day that is now gathering dust in the attic?" (126). His writing style makes him an author that seems very easy to relate to.

This book is very modern looking. About half of the book is pictures, with relevant captions. The style looks modern, but the pictures are also useful for understanding what he is talking about (eg, different types of compost boxes and so forth).

Thompson does a great job of describing WHAT compost is, and HOW to compost. He discusses tools (a garden fork, bucket, and pruners are most important), when to use a bin and when not to, how to pick a compost bin, how to build a compost bin, and where to put it. The book also discusses worm bins, how to use compost once it's ready, why you should NOT DIG your compost into the soil (unless you just want exercise and fresh air!), and how to make potting mix. Finally, the author discusses green manure (which is crops that are grown just for a little while, so that they can decompose and enrich the soil they're planted in), and he talks about how sometimes you may not actually need a compost pile. The book finishes with a troubleshooting section and a list of useful websites.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. It's short and easy to read, but is still based on a solid research foundation. The author presents the many ifs, ands, or buts of composting, but ends up with a very simple, easy to follow composting plan that is well suited for the typical household. If you want to do something more elaborate (like I do), there's information on how to do that too.

The book is pretty small and short, but I think that's a virtue. Even if you're really interested in composting, how much do you really want to read? Overall, perfect book for the gardener who wants the practical advice and enough background to feel educated about the topic, without doing enough work to earn a PhD in the subject.
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