Cookook Reviews

Published on August 18th, 2012 | by Jessi Stafford


Book Review: “Building Soils Naturally,” Organic Gardening Bible

So, you’ve decided to take food matters into your own hands, eh?

A great starting point is definitely participating in some form of gardening, whether it be in your own backyard, on your windowsill, with a community garden or by planting your first seed.

Building Soils NaturallyBuilding Soils Naturally by Phil Nauta is an extensive (and scientific!) look at the importance of soil sustainability in organic gardening. While it may not be the most budget-friendly answer to dirt 101, Building Soils offers an expanse of how-to knowledge to very literally lay the groundwork for any greens to grow, without asking one to buy out a Lowe’s.

Focusing somewhat on beginning steps for the first couple of chapters, Building Soils then takes the reader into an in-depth conversation regarding soil nutrients, from composting (straying far from a simple “green” versus “brown” solution), to microorganisms that support rather than damage a garden, to biostimulants and micronutrients which enrich and sustain a healthy soil makeup.

And only in six simple steps!

The book’s author, Phil Nauta, is Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL) certified, and is a major proponent of urban, organic landscapes, design and permaculture. (So, he knows a thing or two about getting down and dirty.)

Overall, the main take-aways from Building Soils are:

  • Making “living soil” and treating it as just as important a component as the plants that sprout from it.
  • Keeping it simple (and practical) in a way Bill Nye would approve of.
  • Sustainably supporting organic gardening in harmony with natural ecological functions.
  • Proper use of organic fertilizers and inoculants (for example, inoculating beans with nitrogen), as well as chemical-free pest control.
  • An actual step-by-step plan to carry out natural soil recommendations.
  • Keeping it relatively cheap in the process.

Check out the website at


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About the Author

Social media strategist and writer. Passionate about food policy, education and women's issues. Has written for Vegan Mainstream, The Next Great Generation, Dig Magazine (Baton Rouge), BlogCritics , and occasionally for Vegansaurus . Will accept payments in coffee and/or tofu scramble upon request. Graduate of the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism.

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