The Organic Gardener


“The glory of gardening is hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” 

Alfred Austin 



Gardening became a soulful activity for me years ago.  One that connected me with the earth and kept me true to my principles of doing no harm.  And when I made a conscious effort to garden organically without chemicals, this idea of doing no harm was further solidified.  

And of course I needed to find lots of resources to learn how to effectively garden organically.  The book I am reviewing here was one of the first resources I bought to help me get started.  It was a couple of years later that I started to realize that gardening organically would bring in wildlife, and that was when I shifted a bit to focus more on wildlife gardening by adding more native plants.




The Organic Gardener: How to create vegetable, fruit and herb gardens using completely organic techniques


org gardener 


Author:  Christine Lavelle  and Michael Lavelle 

Paperback:  160 pages

Publisher:   Anness (October 16, 2011)

Amazon Price:  $15.97 (Hardcover)







In A Few Words

Besides an introduction to organic gardening, the authors detail the basics of organic soil management, organic gardening techniques such as weeding, watering, feeding, pruning and propagating as well as plant health.  Then they provide the steps for building an organic ornamental, wildlife and kitchen garden including a calendar to help the gardener know DSCN3926when to perform specific chores.

In the ornamental garden section the authors provide information on how to build and maintain an organic lawn.  I hope to test many of these techniques for the lawn we have left.  It needs a bit of extra care after being neglected the last couple of years.  The authors go into caring for the obvious woody plants and beds with a few planting plans, and they also include container gardening techniques and how to make your own organic container potting mix.  I can always use more help with my containers that seem to be less than stellar in their blooming performance.

Of even greater interest to me though is the wildlife garden section.  As I have already begun my own wildlife garden, I was interested to see what information they provided.  There are specifics for creating a woodland garden, sowing wildlflowers in your lawn, and how to create a wildlife pond.  I was pleased to see included here a section on providing wildlife shelter and how to attract wildlife with DSCN1851plants a detailed section of the top 20 plants to use to attract wildlife showing the wildlife the specific plant attracts and its benefit to the garden.

Finally the kitchen garden section provides a simple diamond shaped plan for planting a veg garden that can easily be adapted to crop rotation.  Companion planting, different growing methods, succession planting, different methods of sowing seed, aftercare of veggies, herb gardening and harvesting and growing fruit are included here.  This is a very comprehensive beginning guide to veg gardening.




What I Liked

I have begun to notice I am partial to concise, comprehensive garden books that give a plethora of information.  And this book easily fits that description.  It is perfect for many gardeners whether you are just starting as a gardener or you have just begun organic gardening.  Simple references in each section can help in a pinch too.  

For instance in the Kitchen garden section there is a handy chart for companion planting that helps when you are planning your DSCN3219garden.  And another chart showing which veggies are easy to use for succession planting throughout the season.  A chart I just recently discovered was the one on catch cropping or planting in spaces where a crop was recently harvested, and intercropping or planting faster growing crops between slow growing crops.  I only have so much space so I am always looking for ways to increase my harvest.

I have been gardening organically for a few years now, and I still refer to this book for an easy reference to basic information.  I especially like the Plant Health section as it provides loads of info all in one place on pests, diseases, disorders and beneficial/biological controls.  Again there are several charts with pictures of these pests, diseases and plants at risk for the problem, with the causes and treatments included. 




Not So Much

DSCN2597This book is written by authors from the UK.  While on the surface one might think that would limit parts of the book, it doesn’t.  This book was carefully written to be useful in the US, UK, Canada and Europe.  For instance the measurements used are in metric and US units, and vegetables that may have different names have both listed (ex:  Rocket or Arugula).

One word of caution is in the section on wildlife gardening.  One of the authors, Michael Lavelle, is an environmentalist and is trained in landscaping and environmental management which is one reason this section is very detailed with great information including best plants to plant.  Of course you will need to look at these plants carefully as some may not be hardy for your planting zone or they may not be native to your area.  Many though are native to a large majority of the US.




Final Thoughts

I really like this book as you can read just the sections that might interest you or those where you may be seeking assistance.  They are written in an easy to read manner even with some of the technical subject matter.  I also really enjoyed the detailed DSCN4119step-by-step instructions with some 600 wonderful garden images to help clarify methods and points of information.  And if you ever wanted to understand good gardening and good organic gardening methods this is a resource I would recommend.




Do you garden organically or have you considered it?  Do you have a favorite organic gardening book to recommend to others?


There is still time to join me in celebrating the new season coming soon to your part of the world.  

Just write a post between now and September 21st.   Leave a link with your comment on the kick-off post of Seasonal Celebrations-Autumn’s Blessings.  I will include your link in my summary post on September 22nd.  


I am collaborating with Beth@Plant Postings and her Lessons Learned meme at this same time.  What lessons have you learned this past season of summer here in the North and winter in the South.  Write a separate post or combine your lessons with your celebrations in one post.


Visit my new blog: 

new blog logo

I wanted to thank all the wonderful people who visited me last Thursday and this past Sunday as I continued to post at my new blog, Living From Happiness.  It is a blog to celebrate life, lessons, change, challenges and creativity.

I do hope you will join me there.  

There will be a new post again this Thursday.



Next up on the blog:  Monday brings another In A Vase On Monday post, and Wednesday I will have another profile of a favorite native plant/shrub.

I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.