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The Ever Curious Gardener (PDF)
Using a Little Natural Science for a Much Better Garden
Curious why caressing your cucumber plants will help them bear more fruit? Or why you should grow oranges from seed even if the fruit is inedible? Or why trees need to sleep and how to help them?
Join acclaimed gardener, scientist, and author Lee Reich on a journey through the delights of your garden in this laugh-out-loud treatise on the scientific wonders of plants and soil. Offering eye-opening insight and practical guidance, coverage includes:
- How to maximize both flavor and nutrition in your garden bounty
- Helping plants thrive during drought
- Outwitting weeds by understanding their nature
- Making the best use of compost
- Tips on pruning and orchard care
- Why the dead language of Latin can make you a better gardener.
The Ever Curious Gardener is an irreverent romp through the natural science of plants and soil, ideal for newer gardeners moving beyond back-of-the-seed-pack planting to experienced gardeners whose curiosity at the wonders of cultivation grows deeper and stronger with each season.
Lee Reich, PhD, dove into gardening decades ago, initially with one foot in academia as an agricultural scientist with the USDA and then Cornell University, and one foot in the field, the organic field. He eventually expanded his field to a "farmden" (more than a garden, less than a farm) and left academia to lecture, consult, and write. He is author of many books including Weedless Gardening, The Pruning Book, and Landscaping with Fruit, as well as a syndicated column for Associated Press. In addition to providing a year-round supply of fruits and vegetables, the farmden has an educational mission and is a test site for innovative growing techniques. Science and an appreciation of natural systems underpin his work, and Lee's goal is to get more people to grow more food sustainably and organically. He has a PhD in Horticulture from the University of Maryland, an MS in Soil Science, and a BA in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. He blogs at www.leereich.com/blog from his farmden in New Paltz, NY.
"Behind the pleasures of the successful garden, there are the apparent mysteries. How does it all work? Curious gardeners have questions and Lee Reich answers them as effectively as that favorite science teacher in school did -- clearly and concisely."
Eliot Coleman, farmer; past Executive Director, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements; host, "Gardening Naturally;" and author, Four Season Harvest
"As an ever-curious gardener who seeks to understand the science behind all things gardening, I look to my horticultural heroes for that. Lee Reich is always one of my top go-to authorities. Much to my delight, and no surprise, this book is everything I was hoping and more. Leave it to Lee to blend science with real-world application, mixed with a chuckle or two throughout the pages. A fresh, fun, and fascinating must-read for every curious gardener."
Joe Lamp'l, Creator & Host, PBS's Growing a Greener World
"From root to shoot, flower to fruit, here is an essential field guide to the science behind plant cultivation. Chapter by chapter it will steer the gardener's hand and delight the mind at the same time."
Roger B. Swain, Host, PBS-TV's "The Victory Garden"
"Armed with Lee Reich's brand of gardening science, I brush a hand along the tops of my seedlings so they grow sturdier stems. Or I jostle their trays and say, "Good morning". When hoeing weeds, I wear a long skirt that brushes the tops of my cucumber and melon plants and they produce more female flowers, hence, more fruit. Combining scientific reasoning with the joy of touch and observation will not only make you a better gardener, you'll find yourself with permission to play in a curious world full of intrigue and creativity."
MaryJane Butters, organic farmer, small dairy owner, beekeeper, author, magazine editor MaryJanesFarm.org
"As a commercial grower, I don't read that many gardening books... although I make an exception for Lee's Reich books. The Ever Curious Gardener explains some of the science behind what's going on above ground and below ground in your garden and — most important — how you can work with these natural systems to grow plants that are healthier, more productive, and more attractive. For a better garden and more interesting gardening, read this book."
Jean-Martin Fortier, author, The Market Gardener
"The Ever Curious Gardener is a wise and witty book that offers not just the "how-to" of gardening but also the "how come". By showing you the science behind growing plants, it gives you the tools to follow Nature's rules – the only ones that count. What Harold McGee is to the cook, Lee Reich is to the gardener."
Barbara Damrosch, author, The Garden Primer and The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook
"Gardeners in the know wait for books by Lee Reich, and The Ever Curious Gardener shows why. Very few writers combine science, history, and personal observations to produce a great (and humorous) read with so much practical advice quite like Reich. This latest, and hopefully not last book, does not disappoint."
Jeff Lowenfels, author, Teaming with Microbes Series
This is perhaps the most readable gardening book that I have ever encountered. Full of carefully presented garden practices supported by scientific know-how, it's fun and informative -- what more can I sa."
Jeffrey Gillman, Director, UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens and author, The Truth About Garden Remedies
"There are far too few garden scientists with the ability to write for a popular audience, so thank goodness Lee Reich can do just that! His newest book is full of current, factual information that's of immediate use to gardeners everywhere. It's the perfect excuse to "let your curiosity get the better of you."
Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU horticulturist and author, The Informed Gardener series and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do
"With The Ever Curious Gardener, Lee Reich presents some of the natural science behind the scenes in the garden. Not in a detached, academic manner, but pragmatically (and sometimes humorously), as it can be applied to make for a better garden and gardener. Read this and reap."
Ron Khosla, Professor Environmental Sciences, Southern Oregon University, International Consultant to United Nations FAO, and founder, Huguenot Street Farm
"The Ever Curious Gardener cultivates curiosity and brings out everyone's inner science nerd. Lee Reich's engaging and authentic style blend science with practical gardening knowledge. Anyone reading these pages is guaranteed to harvest new, insightful knowledge."
Lisa Kivirist, author, Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers and Homemade for Sale
"Lee Reich demystifies the giant science experiment of the garden to help us become more expert, successful gardeners."
Margaret Roach, A Way to Garden website and podcast