Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
on November 7, 2013
I was hesitant about this book at first. However, after it seemed to start slowly, I was impressed with his discussion of soil preparation, including his container soil mix recipe. I was also pleased with his templates for making self-watering containers. Being as I'm not real handy, his designs are simple enough that I feel confident I can do it. I had the Kindle version, which had a typo in the soil mix recipe: It should simply say 1 Tablespoon of Azomite for micronutrients. However, after examining assays from both Azomite and Maxicrop, I decided to substitute equal amounts of Maxicrop, which also contains plant growth hormones and vitamins that Azomite doesn't have. Azomite is ancient lake bed deposits found primarily in Utah, while Maxicrop is kelp harvested off the 12,000 mile coast of Norway. Kelp is a renewable resource, which I prefer. However, if that's not a concern, I've used Azomite before to good effect. Both supplements are rated for organic gardening.
I also had a question about how to amend the soil mix, so I wrote the publisher. Mr. Smith replied through them that if you're using a peat-lite mix already amended with N-P-K supplements, he recommends adding no more fertilizers. This is important, because plants can die from over-fertilizing as well as from malnutrition. In fact, the symptoms may appear similar! Since I mix my own peat-lite soil, I now know how to proceed as I experiment with growing Cole crops in pots this winter. I will mix peat/vermiculite/perlite, amend according to the Cornell recipe, add an equal part compost, then plant. For those interested, here's my organic peat-lite recipe: 8 pints peat, 5 pints vermiculite, 3 pints perlite, 40cc blood meal, 40cc bone meal, 40cc greensand, 35cc dolomite limestone, 6cc Maxicrop powder.
The reason I gave 4 stars instead of 5 is because the publisher didn't reformat the book for Kindle. As a result, it's hard associating many photo illustrations with the relevant text. You may have to page up and down while reading to figure out what picture goes with what text.
I highly recommend this book for gardeners looking to expand their knowledge into container growing, or for people with limited space looking to grow some of their own herbs and vegetables. Even experienced gardeners can learn plenty from The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible.