Working With Soil Biology Handout

Recommended Links:
Natural Resources Conservation Service - Soils. These tests are easy to perform!

Recommended Books:
The following are, in my opinion, mindful of soil biology:
  • "Soil Biology Primer" (Revised 2000). Soil and Water Conservation Society. Ankeny, Iowa: Soil and Water Conservation Society.  Online version 
  • “Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web”  2006. Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis. Timber Press
    • Wonderful job breaking down the complexity of the soil food web.
  • "The Hidden Half of Nature" 2016. David Montgomery & Anne Bikle. W.W. Norton & Company. New York. 
    • A brilliant book. Simply brilliant! 
  • "The Soul of Soil"  1999.  Grace Gershuny and Joe Smillie. Fourth Edition.  Chelsea Green Publishing. White River Junction, Vermont. 
    • I really like their hands-on approach to performing your own soil tests. 
  • "The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet." 2014. Kristin Ohlson. Rodale Inc. New York, NY. 
    • Kristin skillfully addresses some alarming trends in soil degradation across the US. Read it! It will motivate you to take action. 
  • "Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture" 2009. Toby Hemenway. Second Edition. Chelsea Green Publishing. White River Junction, Vermont. 
    • Comprehensive introduction to permaculture. 
  • "What Is Biodynamics? A Way to Heal and Revitalize the Earth" Rudolf Steiner with an introduction by Hugh Courtney. Steiner Books.
    • Hugh Courtney does an excellent job introducing the reader to the world of Biodynamic Agriculture.
Not as mindful of soil biology (in my opinion) but still great resources for soil:
  • "Soil Science Simplified" 1995. Fourth Edition. Helmut Kohnke and D.P. Franzmeier. Waveland Press, Inc. Long Grove, Illinois. 
    • A classic! Wonderful descriptions of physical and chemical properties of soil. 
  • "The Nature and Properties of Soils" Nyle C. Brady and Ray R. Weil. Thirteenth Edition. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. 
    • Naturally, you'll want the most current edition. This tremendous reference belongs on the serious gardener's shelf. 
And if you're still looking for something to read that embraces old and new approaches to growing plants:
Self-Reliance  (Essay) by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Agriculture Course by Rudolf Steiner
Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture by Joseph Russell Smith
An Agricultural Testament by Albert Howard
The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming by Masanobu Fukuoka
Restoration Agriculture: Real-world Permaculture for Farmers by Mark Shepard
Permaculture One: A Perennial Agriculture for Human Settlements by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren
Sustainable Yogic Agriculture
Farming the Woods: An Integrated Permaculture Approach to Growing Food  by Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel
Reverence, Obedience and the Invisible in the Garden: Talks on the Biodynamic French Intensive by Alan Chadwick    
Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration by Tao Orion
A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold
Public Research, Private Gain: Corporate Influence Over University Agriculture. Food & Water Watch. 
Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway
Plowman's Folly by Edward H. Faulkner
Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy
Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution by Elisabet Sahtouris
Thinking Like a Plant: A Living Science for Life by Craig Holdrege
Faith in a Seed by Henry David Thoreau
Permaculture: A Spiritual Approach by Craig Gibsone and Jan Martin Bang
Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture by Ellen F. Davis
Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology by David Abram