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The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening Hardcover – January, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This hefty reference manual is absolutely packed with specific information on everything from bee-keeping to window gardening. More like a standard textbook than most gardening books of today, Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening has been around since 1959, and in its 1,000-plus pages manages to address everything from the nitrogen content of common items (feathers, eggshells, etc.) to choosing the most appropriate foundation planting for a formal entrance. The only illustrations are plain black and white, and fancy color photography is nonexistent. This lack is balanced by the healthy dose of charts and analytical lists shown throughout. Don't be scared by the seemingly technical presentation--this is a clearly written book that's easy to follow even for the novice gardener.

The answer to any possible gardening question is sure to be found here for both backyard green thumbs and those interested in heavy, possibly profitable, production of organic vegetables and herbs. Arranged alphabetically, you'll find multipage explanations of organic fertilizers next to a one-paragraph description of fenugreek. Most plants have multiple listings, as the authors tried to include many slang names of common flowers and grasses--no Latin necessary with this plant guide. Not meant to be a glossy coffee-table book, this encyclopedia is exactly what a reference book should be--serious, friendly, helpful, and thorough. --Jill Lightner

About the Author

J.I. Rodale is the founder of Rodale Press, Inc. His idea that healthy soil is directly related to healthy people was originally controversial, but has proven to be a truly timeless philosophy.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1152 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Press; Reissue edition (January 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875968414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875968414
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,554,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sandra D. Peters on June 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book has been around for many years and is one of the most valuable resources on organic gardening. True, it does not have beautiful glossy coloured pictures to capture one's attention, and you likely will not find it sitting around on someone's coffee table ready to stimulate conversation. However, what the book does offer is a wealth of information covering organic garden techniques, vegetable growing, organic fertilizers, fruit orchards, fruit and nut culture, herb gardening(my favourite section) and exotic tropical fruits (certainly not conducive to all climates, such as mine, if you are an outdoor gardener.) This is not a book the average person will sit down and read, cover to cover, in an evening - the length is over one thousand pages! However, if you are into organic gardening this is a must-have book. I particularly like the way the book is organized; considering the size of this monsterous volume, everything was easy to find. You are definitely getting a terrific value for your dollar, considering this is probably the only book you will ever need in respect to organic gardening.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book along with another J.I. Rodale book titled "How To Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the organic method. This is truly an "Encyclopedia". I've read the entire book and loved it. It is in an easy to understand language and covers hundreds of subjects.This book list over 850 popular flowers outlining each step to grow them the organic way. This book describes and instructs how to grow over 60 popular vegetables. Everything from how to prepare the soil all the way to harvesting. Also covers soil, fruits and nuts, composting, homesteading, greenhouse gardening, lawns and landscaping and many other special sections. I know that I will use this book as my "go too" for most of my gardening questions.
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Format: Hardcover
These two books have sat on my shelf for more than 20 years. After years of consulting both, I'm discarding the All-New and keeping the J.I. Rodale classic (which I will call the Old). Other reviewers have noted the inferiority of the All-New. Here are some comparisons that may be helpful:

The All-New calls itself "Authoritative" but is littered with factual inaccuracies. For example: under "Onion", sets are described as "the least susceptible to disease"; every other source warns that sets are the most disease-prone. Growing advice includes, "Always go easy on nitrogen, which can produce lush tops at the expense of bulbs". In fact, lush top growth is positively correlated with bulb size; every leaf equals one bulb ring. Onions need plenty of nitrogen. This is a biological fact, not a grower's opinion. The Old "Onion" entry is a practical beginner's guide without factual errors. (E.A.Holcombe's review also notes the New's erroneous tip that you can catch tomato hornworms on dill plants. What you'll be catching is the swallowtail butterfly.)

The All-New calls itself "complete". Granted, no one-volume encyclopedia is going to be comprehensive, but the All-New's hit-and-miss approach is below average. It does have a few longer entries than the Old--on grafting, for example (but I have too little grafting experience to judge its worth). Most subjects get a more thorough treatment in the Old. Most interesting are the Old entries on "Microorganism", "Mycelium", and ""Mycorrhiza". Mycorrhizas are a hot research area in the Organic world right now; J.I.Rodale was writing about this at least forty years ago (my pale green hardback is the 31st printing-January, 1977). The All-New has none of these entries.
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By A Customer on May 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have been a poor man's gardener for 40 years or so. Over the years I have accumulated dozens of books or booklets on gardening, yet I always end up looking up any subject in the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. It's the most useful book I have.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting historical book on organic gardening. As the name suggests, it is set up in encyclopedic style, with a variety of articles on different topics that are of interest to gardeners. Some of the items are a little dated, but it is still of interest.
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This was one of the last "more technical" editions of this book. After this edition, it was changed quite a bit and some valuable information removed. I bought this as a replacement lost in a divorce, so I knew what I was getting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This came highly recommended if you want to grow your own organic veggies, etc. Extremely helpful and packed with loads of useful information! More than I would have expected. :)
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Format: Hardcover
This book was recommended to me by an expert organic gardner. It has been been well worth the investment. A must have for anyone looking to grow anything organically or not.
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