Soil and Compost

 Compost bins—Photo credit: Linda Shepherd Soil-humus—free online image Worms—free online image

October 30, 2019 — Soil, Compost, and Gardening Methods

All about soil: more than dirt! You’ll learn about gardening with soil stewardship in mind. The class includes how to improve and maintain soil fertility so you can grow nutritious produce; the importance and limitations of soil testing; amending soil; the value of compost and how to make it; and a discussion of gardening methods that foster healthy & fertile soil. Below are resources to enhance your learning.

Class 2 Outline – Soil

Class 2 PPT – Soil

Class 2 – Soil-Notes to PPT

Class 2 Outline – Composting

Resources on Soil

Basic level online information on soil:

Intermediate level online information on soil, more details:

  • A Home Gardener’s Guide to Soils & Fertilizers — WSU Extension Publication EM063E, a free 23-page download PDF on soil science, explains the impact of soil pore size, soil organisms, soil pH, cover crops, and organic and processed fertilizers and amendments for Washington gardeners.

Other WSU online information on soil:

Resources on Composting:

  • Backyard Composting — WSU Extension Publication EB1784E, a free 9-page download PDF, describes the science of composting, and how to do fast “hot” composting and slow “cool” composting.
  • Using Coffee Grounds in Gardens & Landscapes — WSU Extension Publication FS207E, a free 6-page download PDF, examines the science and myths behind using coffee grounds in gardens and provides recommendations for using coffee grounds appropriately.
  • Composting with Worms — Oregon State University Extension EM9034, a free 13-page online publication that describes how to build a worm bin, obtain and feed worms, and harvest vermicompost.
  • Composting Yard and Food Waste at Home  — Seattle Public Utilities’ 12-page online PDF describes the benefits of composting, various methods, the “food web” of the compost pile, recipes for composting yard waste, food scrap composting, and worm bin composting.

BOOKS available through the King County Library System

Basic level information:

  • Healthy Soils for Sustainable Gardens edited by Niall Dunne, Brooklyn Botanic Garden 2009.
    Short, excellent overview with complete information and abundant illustrations.
  • Building Soil: a Down to Earth Approach by Elizabeth Murphy, Quarto Publishing Group, 2015.
    Thorough book on soil science, targeted to home gardeners. Abundant illustrations.
  • Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations byDavid R. Montgomery, University of California Press, 2007. A big picture look at soil and civilizations, with clearly explained science too. A page-turner!

Intermediate level, more details:

  • Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web byJeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis, Timber Press, 2010. Well written, detailed look at soil biology for gardeners.
  • Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition byJeff Lowenfels, Timber Press, 2013. Well written and thorough, clear scientific information with recommendations for gardeners.

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