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Weedless Gardening

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Conventional wisdom says to garden from the bottom up, turning over the soil every spring until your back aches. Ironically, this does such a good job aerating that gardeners spend the rest of the season pulling weeds and replacing the suddenly energized (and easily used up) nutrients. Mother nature, on the other hand, gardens from the top down-layering undisturbed soil wi ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 8th 2000 by Workman Publishing Company
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  245 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Jun 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Great book, until Lee told me to use Round-Up. That chapter was like finding my new friend was a KKK leader.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Josh by: Jim Nayes
Probably better used as a reference book.

A few of the main takeaways are:
-You should almost never till or disturb the soil. If you are going to till the ground, it should be because you're starting your new garden and need to completely destroy what's growing there currently.
-You shouldn't be tilling, because you should be constantly (realistically seasonally and as needed in the summer) adding rich compost to the surface. Over time this will create a much healthier layer of dirt on the surface,
Erin Caldwell
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Although the concept is interesting, I was pretty disappointed that Reich didn't go into very much detail in this book. My husband asked me several questions while I was reading it that didn't get answered: How do you actually plant seeds, especially seeds like radishes and lettuce that are microscopic, using this technique? How often do you have to reapply newspapers? In addition, I felt that Reich kept mentioning that you might have to do some "maintenance weeding" at several different points ...more
Dan Moore
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone gardening or farming on a small scale
I came across Lee Reich's book a few years ago in our local library. Since I was knee deep in weeds at the time the title intrigued me. At the time it was mid summer and my garden, as usual, was an example of spring time work gone awry.

Each year, I dilligently tilled and rowed my garden as my father and his father had done, arranged the sprinklers, planted the best plants, staked the beans, caged the tomatoes and planned how this year I was going to have a TV worthy garden. Then May turned to J
Ellen Bell
Feb 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
I found this book to be thoroughly aggravating for some reason. Maybe because I'm just one of those gardening fools that likes to till my soil? Not sure... If nothing else, I'd say that it was an awfully long book to make a pretty simple point. The author could have summed it up more succinctly like this: Don't till your soil, don't step on your soil, apply mulch. 'Nuf said.
Maria Jansson
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Good thoughts. Nothing revolutionary, but a receipt that I am on the right path with my garden.
Robin Ripley
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read on garden maintenance. I would include it in my top five gardening books to recommend to beginners.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
A winner. I have implemented several of Lee's (and other author's - Ruth Stout for one) ideas. Mulching and feeding your gardens (vegetable, perennial beds, etc) from the top down to improve your soil works. I started with what I considered concrete with some wild grass on top. After about a years time, I am already able to dig into the earth with a shovel about 6-8". Many followers of this method report the same and it only gets better with time. I'm selling my rototiller.
Carolyn Semple faucher
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This was a surprisingly helpful little book that I reference often. Much of the book is about building quality soil, and all that goes along with that. I have found the section on cover crops to be particularly helpful. He also touches on irrigation systems, how to properly transplant perennial plants and vertical gardening.
It was not expensive book but it is pretty comprehensive. I like that it’s smaller, so it’s easy to bring along with me.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardening
Weedless Gardening is an excellent organic gardening resource, full of useful advice, informative tables, and additional resources. While I continue to not see a viable path between the current state of my garden and a weedless one that requires a few minutes of weeding a week, I can also dream, and at least I'll have good tips along the way!
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I think this is a handy guide for gardening, it is easy to read with clear and consistent instruction on the methods used. I dislike the drawings to illustrate a "fact" presented, when a photo would demonstrate the real information. I will definitely consider the method and apply some of this style in my own yard.
Chrissy Peterson
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
a well done book with some great ideas for easier gardening. I will implement some of these ideas this year and see how it goes.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great information on no-till gardening.
Sep 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: gardening
This was a very interesting gardening book. It presents an alternative to what most gardeners do. Especially what I was taught by my grandfather. However, the evidence for these methods is anecdotal. There are no rigorous studies to actually see if this method really results in less weeds than other methods. I tried this method in my own garden this year. Even though I didn't count the number of weeds, it didn't seem that there were less this year as the prior years. The experiment is really abo ...more
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
An interesting and fast read. Mr. Reich's approach seems logical from a scientific viewpoint. I will apply his gardening methods this spring because I've been loosening soil in plant beds for years followed by an application of shredded bark - the result of which has been anything but weedless. Disturbing the soil surface as little as is practical, addition of only 1" of organic mulch per year, and drip irrigation delivered only to plants that are welcome in the garden are the three factors I'll ...more
Apr 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Very clear and easy to read, with a lot of good tips. But flawed because the system isn't really scalable about the backyard level, and half of the book is devoted to basic gardening information everyone knows. A good book for a beginning urban gardener to buy or for everyone else to check out of the library. Visit my blog to read the highlights of weedless gardening.
Mar 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: gardening
I didn't actually read this book from cover to cover. I read the first few chapters that introduce his theory and the chapter on vegetable gardening because that was what I was especially interested in. We are going to do some version of weedless or less weeds gardening this year, so this was a good read. I guess I don't totally trust his approach to gardening, so I don't dare take the whole leap. It would be a fun experiment some year though.
Hope Gordon
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent starter book for no-till.gardening

Reich makes the case for not turning over or digging large areas of soil. Written accessibly and accurately for someone to implement this. You will be using lots of compost and mulch at least for the first few years until you learn to work with cover crops and ground covers. Reich has practical suggestions for common issues: layout, what to do through the seasons,etc.,and good resource lists for equipment supplies and some seeds.
Sarah Evan
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, gardening

For a novice gardener, this book helps explain where weeds come from and how to avoid having them. It's really common sense stuff a lot of people know, but I did not! Also, it's the basics of composting and soil quality in making yourself a weedless garden, so it's great to get those basics under your belt as well.

I wish everyone read this book before buying posion to get rid of weeds!
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is short and to the point. Definitely worth reading and I plan on incorporating some of Reich's ideas in my yard. You could really just read the first half of the book and skip the second half as a lot of the material is either pretty basic (for example, how to plant a tree), or covers very specific situations such as growing a meadow.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm optimistic about putting the techniques in this book to work. I'm skeptical that they will be as miraculous as described, but the principles here make good sense. Recommend for vegetable gardeners.
Nancy Peters
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
a paradigm-changing view of how to garden organically and with much less effort. weeds will emerge too frequently when soil gets opened to sunlight and water, so top down gardening is the weedless way to go.
Apr 03, 2016 rated it liked it
The book is a decent reference book, containing information and good ideas. It's not the most enjoyable read if you're just looking for gardening inspiration. The principles are laid out fairly clearly. Occasional illustrations and "sidebars" or "boxes" aid in presenting information.
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good information about keeping the weeds down from the start. A lot like lasagna gardening. Plenty of good tips to take note of. Mostly for vegetable gardens.
Feb 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Good overview of weedless techniques, I'm not sure it would work for me... but it will be fun to try.
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Useful! I like the concept
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent for all beginning gardeners. I wish I had this when I first started. It would have saved me a lot of time!
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm eager to try the author's methods of using a kill mulch (among others) to get a good start to the garden. The book is very short and simple, but so are his recommendations.
rebecca nitterauer
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
For those of you with backyards it is an interesting approach to gardening. I am going to try it this spring!
Lily C
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
An excellant little book full of sound advice. I will try shortly
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Lee Reich, PhD is an avid farmdener (more than a gardener, less than a farmer) with graduate degrees in soil science and horticulture. After working in plant and soil research with the USDA and Cornell University, he shifted gears and turned to writing, lecturing, and consulting.

He writes regularly for a number of gardening magazines and his syndicated gardening column for Associated Press appears