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The Complete Compost Gardening Guide: Banner Batches, Grow Heaps, Comforter Compost, and Other Amazing Techniques for Saving Time and Money, and Producing the Most Flavorful, Nutritious Vegetables Ever
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The Complete Compost Gardening Guide: Banner Batches, Grow Heaps, Comforter Compost, and Other Amazing Techniques for Saving Time and Money, and Producing the Most Flavorful, Nutritious Vegetables Ever

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  309 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin turn the compost bin upside down with their liberating system of keeping compost heaps right in the garden, rather than in some dark corner behind the garage. The compost and the plants live together from the beginning in a nourishing, organic environment. The authors' bountiful, compost-rich gardens require less digging, weeding, mul ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 13th 2008 by Storey Publishing, LLC (first published 2008)
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All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel BartholomewLasagna Gardening by Patricia LanzaWestern Garden Book by Kathleen Norris BrenzelCarrots Love Tomatoes by Louise RiotteFour-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
Gardening Books
215th out of 288 books — 102 voters
Bokashi Composting by Diego AdamWorms Eat My Garbage by Mary AppelhofLet it Rot! by Stu CampbellMuck and Merlot by Tom DoorleyThe Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant
Books About Composting
5th out of 102 books — 3 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 813)
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Jessica
I can't wait to start composting! This book has been really great in helping me figure out where I should put a compost pile and what can go in the pile. I also now have a ton of ideas (maybe too many) for different kinds of composting I can do so I'll have to explore some to figure out what will work best for our yard. I found the last section, which details the popular items that a gardener would plant and good fodder crops, to be very useful.
Katie
This is the most complete book on composting I've yet seen. It's thorough, and a good reference guide to have.
Roberta
For the first time ever, I have a compost heap for my garden; nothing fancy, just a little pile that I hope come spring or summer will enhance my garden soil and give me a bumper crop of kitchen vegetables.

The book gives concise advice on different methods of composting, and lists of what (and what not) to put into your compost. The well done photo illustrations are very helpful, and the tone of the book gives the reader a sense of confidence.

I was definitely inspired to finally take my chances
...more
Ruth
I have read about composting before in several gardening books. After being exposed to the topic over and over again, I still felt completely unprepared to start my own compost pile. But reading this book has changed everything (and has likely saved my pitiful garden as well).

This book is thorough. The author describes in detail how to build a compost pile, where to keep it, what goes in it, and what ratios you need to have a high-heat or low-heat compost pile. She also has several great ideas o
...more
Kristen
One day, while working on the front yard of our house, Todd looked at me and said, "Did you ever thinking owning a home would involve so much poo?" No, no I didn't. I bought this book because I was thinking of starting a compost pile in our small backyard. It's an extensive and exhaustive book on composting and maintaining of edibles, and it's really good. My only problem was that it was really written for a reader who has a large backyard, somewhere where they can dedicate a good amount of spac ...more
April
A complete guide indeed; perfect resource guide to own.
I love the science and detail in the book that covers the why behind the yes and no of composting. I had no idea there were so many different ways to compost depending on your garden and yard goals. Lots of ideas to implement as I establish my goals over the next few years.
Amy Yarrington
Everything you could ever ask or want to know about composting! Aside from the slightly too-cutesy names for the various composting methods ("Honey Hole"? Really?) this book is a wealth of information for the gardener just trying to start a composting practice. I really appreciated the fact that they covered many different methods and discussed when to use each one. I felt liberated after reading the book and a more free to just "try it and see what works", especially when armed with all the inf ...more
Sher
Book 66 2012 Reading Challenge -- This book is like a composter's Bible. Over the top on details and different ideas. I felt completely overwhelmed and intimidated, since I am a novice vegetable gardener.
Still, I gathered some helpful ideas-- such as a growing heap inside the garden walls that is a compost pile but you grow, for example , summer squash out of it. Additives, ground covers, worm composting with and with special worm bins. Different styles of composting for different plants -- I g
...more
Bernadette
LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. And it is about dirt. Really, compost.
But after reading this, I actually signed up to be a Master Composter.
And I am the girl that doesn't like wriggly things.

Pretty straightforward and approachable explanations of why soil is important and then very practical and (dare I say) fun ways to make your soil awesome.

I thought it might be pretty bland but there are great photos/illustrations, great step by steps and a great writing style that can take a plain as dirt story an
...more
Kris
Good information, rather dry... thorough and detailed
Erin
This is the only book on composting you will ever need. It discusses many different composting methods, style, and tools, and it ends on uses, cover crops, and green mulching. It uses the real, personal experiences of the authors, fantastic step-by-step photos and diagrams, and some great recipes and info graphics.

I got a lot of new ideas and plans from this book, and I can't wait to get started on my new composting projects. I checked this book out of the library, but it is such a fantastic re
...more
Amelia
I found this book lying around the house and spent several weeks flipping through it. The author's tone is relentlessly cheery, to the point where I found it a bit annoying. There are many beautiful illustrations, and probably some good information in there somewhere, but every time I went looking for answers to a particular question I couldn't find what I needed. Basically, I didn't feel that it was organized in a useful way, but it might be good for someone wanting an overview and introduction ...more
Jenn
This was a wonderful look at the very many ways to compost (worms, bins, tumblers, pit composting, etc). The very plentiful photographs were illuminating, the writing descriptive and encouraging, and the authors enthusiastic. It would be perfect for anyone new to composting. I however was hoping for a bit more technical information about ratios of browns and greens (this was just touched on) and more detail about compost trouble shooting, Ph levels, etc. Overall it was still a worthy read and I' ...more
Kathy
good reference
Janet
If I were a more advanced gardener, I probably would have given this book more stars since some of the terms and concepts were not necessarily for beginners. I would have also not skimmed a large portion of it. I am currently interested in composting with worms and chicken manure. The authors did discuss more thoroughly the former, but not much with the latter. At this stage, just learning how to grow veggies is enough. Trying to grow them in a compost garden adds another dimension of difficulty ...more
Amy Vey
What a super informative book on everything you ever wanted to know about composting! I was flabbergasted by how much information this book contained. It will be my go-to reference guide when I get further in the process.
Patricia
May 22, 2011 Patricia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Patricia by: Oregonian
This book suffered greatly from the way in which the information was presented, which was too bad because there is a lot of good information in it. It seemed like every single page referred me to yet another page in the book. A few times of flipping from page 27 to page 188 to see what they are taking about seems acceptable, but after the first few times I think there's an indication that your book is suffering from layout issues, or perhaps your information needs to be categorized in a differen ...more
Kim
I think this is a really good guide to composting... I can't say for certain since I'm only reading in preparation for the garden that will be mine in 8 days, and have absolutely no prior knowledge or other reading to compare this book to!

I like the non-nonsense approach and the clear definitions. The authors give names to different kinds of compost piles, which was helpful to this gardening neophyte. I think I'll be returning to this book for advice again and again.
Knitography
There is something for everyone in this book, although if you are already a reasonably experienced and successful composter, this will be of most use to you if you'd like to expand your composting operations to more than one pile.

For anyone who needs to troubleshoot composting problems, or for beginners looking for information on where to start and what tools are needed, this is an excellent resource.
Alex
Nov 28, 2013 Alex rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: garden
I'll be back to revisit this book as a valuable and balanced resource. I like that it not only addresses the composting needs of the vegetable gardener, but also composting for sustainability.

Shredded paper is not as good as dead leaves, but not really problematic. Avoid composting wax impregnated paper and magazines, and pick out the plastic windows before you shred or compost.
Tony Bradshaw
The book has an uncanny knack of saying "find out more on page ###" so much so that it almost makes me just jump around all around. I finally stopped jumping around and just read it cover to cover. I enjoyed the pointers, and i did learn a lot; however, not one that I am adding to my library.
Tim Gannon
One of the more popular books out there - seemed to repeat itself many times but does offer you a variety of ways of making compost depending on your degree of interest, time, space, and motivation - from trenches, to piles, to bins, to cold vs hot techniques
Suzanne
Amazing, clear, and complete layman's guide to composting. Barbara Pleasant gives you all the info (even new techniques) in a very understandable, easy to read format. This book about ROTTING is lovely too--a coffee table book about decay!
Cyn
Feb 23, 2011 Cyn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: garden
I look forward to using technique and tips that I learned in this year veggie/herb/flower gardens. I have always wanted to make a worm bin, I have started compost piles in my beds and will try the pit/ditch method of composting.
Mary
So I suppose I should probably buy this book, because I still don't "get" composting, but I suppose I don't ever "get" ANYTHING until I just do it. I'll say this much, it is in better layman's terms than other sources I've read.
Melva
Jul 08, 2010 Melva added it
I picked up this book from the library for my momma. She really enjoyed it and got good ideas for her high-tech compost bin. She abandoned it half-way through 'cause she said reading it was keeping her from gardening too long!
Michael
Some new ways to compost like in the ground,etc. were listed. Offered different techiniques and great tips on what to compost and when. Would be a handy book to keep around the house for the gardener.
Gary


Amazing book. Written for the person that is ready to get dirty and join the ever changing world of exchange between life death and growth. Will be referencing this book for a good long time.
Dan
Jun 24, 2009 Dan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any soon to be serious gardener
Recommended to Dan by: Amazon
Shelves: gardening
Rather than examining composting alone as a standalone activity, this book addresses the integration of composting with a multitude of gardening activities. But I am not done yet.
Courtney
Not that composting is difficult, but I actually learned quite a lot from Ms. Pleasant's book. I have already started 2 different compost piles for 2 different plants/beds in my yard.
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