Digging and weeding are two chores any gardener would happily abandon. A plant biochemist and horticulturist, Poincelot contends that digging is not only unnecessary but damaging to the soil, and encourages weeds by bringing dormant seeds to the surface. One of his favorite weapons in the weed war is black plastic mulch. Yet, for organic mulchers and even non-mulchers, he has a number of unusual ideas: Hang up your shovel and trowel in favor of a bulb planter, a dibble and a furrower; foliage feeding is more efficient than root feeding; fish emulsion and seaweed extract can fertilize an entire garden. This clear, comprehensive, step-by-step approach is based on the author's experiments, in collaboration with his 80-year-old friend, Bill Loefstedt, in his Connecticut garden. (One of their discoveries, an inexpensive method of producing better transplants, may alone be worth the price of the book.) His attention to cost and a list of suppliers are helpful extras from one gardener to another. Photos. (April 23)
If you can get past the sucker-born-every-minute hype of the title, this book really contains some sound if mostly unoriginal gardening advice. Poincelot contends that soil pulverization through tilling is damaging and that plants grow better if some soil structure is retained. Having established this thesis, he devotes the remainder of the book to fairly standard gardening advice, tempered only by the no-dig rule. Nearly a third of the book is blow-by-blow, plant-by-plant horticultural hints, which you've seen already in a lot of other places. (Yes, there are still weeds to be removed.) Recommended. Malcolm K. Hill, Four Cty. Lib. System, Binghamton, N.Y.