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Gardeners tend to assume that any organic product is automatically safe for humans and beneficial to the environment—and in most cases this is true. The problem, as Jeff Gillman points out in this fascinating, well-researched book, is that it is not always true, and the exceptions to the rule can pose a significant threat to human health. To cite just one example, animal manures in compost can be a source of harmful E. coli contamination if imporperly treated. Gillman's contention is that all gardening products and practices—organic and synthetic—need to be examined on a case-by-case basis to determine both whether they are safe and whether they accomplish the task for which they are intended.
Ultimately, Gillman concludes, organic methods are preferable in most situations that gardeners are likely to encounter. After reading this eye-opening book, you will understand why, and why knowledge is the gardener's most important tool.
“Trying to find definitive, impartial advice is hard. . . . How do you separate the hype from the facts? Spending 13 bucks on Gillman’s new book. . . may go a long way.” —Washington Post
“To be the best gardener, tend your soil, plant a diverse garden, tolerate some imperfection and make informed case-by-case choices to deal with problems. [This] book can help.” —Chicago Tribune
“You’d have to be a professional horticulturalist yourself not to learn something from Gillman’s wide-ranging descriptions of the more arcane chemical and mechanical garden methodologies that are out there. . . . He shares his knowledge and experience in a way that entertains, enlightens, and sometimes surprises.” —Garden Rant
“I’ve come away from this book—a reference text masquerading as a beach read—with hands-on knowledge that is just plain useful. The book gives you the facts about synthetic and organic techniques and encourages you to do further research, then make educated decisions about your own garden. . . . He is calm and even in his approach. His bottom line is that we all need to be more mindful about how we garden, and he encourages us to work towards a safer, healthier, and better world.” —Horticulture
“Gillman is a brainy University of Minnesota horticulturalist who is applying both science and common sense to the battle between ‘organic’ and ‘chemicals.’ It turns out there are things found in nature that aren’t all that good for your backyard zinnias, or the planet, and that some man-made stuff actually serves both masters.” —Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine
“Refreshing, lucid, and enlightening. Their spare style, with no illustrations, and concentration of facts rather than ‘inspiration’ even gives them an old-fashioned charm.” —BBC Gardens
“Finally, someone wrote a clear and concise book about gardening practices and products.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“A highly readable, intelligent, and scientifically based discussion on the benefits and, yes, drawbacks of organic gardening.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“If you’re a gardener, run, don’t walk, to your nearest laptop or bookstore to buy [this book]. If you think you already know this stuff, trust me. You don’t. . . . It’s a tough, confusing world out there for gardeners. Best to bypass the gurus. Read this book.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“Destined to be a bestseller. . . . An easy to read, practical, and fascinating book for veteran gardeners or someone who just moved from an apartment to their first home with two feet or 2,000 feet of gardening space.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Sure to cause controversy and heated discussion. . . . What this book does is introduce more than 100 products and planting techniques and cite the latest university tests and factual results so that gardeners can make responsible choices and not continue to link the words ‘organic,’ ‘safe’ and ‘effective’ so firmly in their minds.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer