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Weedless Gardening by Lee Reich
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Weedless Gardening

by Lee Reich

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Some good information for the home gardener. Mulching is the answer to most gardening issues with weeds, but the book also includes tips for early starting of plants, watering methods, and methods of getting more production out of a garden. ( )
  addunn3 | Feb 19, 2012 |
I am a very lazy gardener. Come spring, I'm thinking about veggies and flowers, seeds and seedlings. I usually go nuts for a month or two starting seeds and turning over soil, and just about when everything gets planted, I lose all interest in it for the rest of the year. My plants rarely get watered, let alone weeded, so when I saw the title "Weedless Gardening" I knew I had to read it.

I've read a bit online about "lasagna gardening" or sheet composting, and I really like the sound of that, since my yard grows grass and weeds a'plenty, and cleaning up gardening space every year is a major pain. "Weedless Gardening" seems to be the next step in lasagna gardening, and Reich even references Lanza and her book on the subject. While Lanza advocates building what almost amounts to two feet of materials to plant into, Reich claims you only need to block the current growth and lay down as much compost/mulch as you need for immediate planting depths. It sounds too good to be true, but he claims it works, and being as lazy as I am, I'm more than willing to try it this year, especially if it means I don't have to turn over my garden again!

I had to read sections of this book multiple times because he doesn't give any multi-step lists explaining how to use his method. It took me a while to realize I wasn't missing anything, that it really was such a simple process, there's no need for detailed steps. I can't wait to get into my garden and experiment in the coming weeks.

So if it's that easy, what in the rest of the book? He gives a lot of information on how soil functions, lots of examples of soil conditions and how you might optimize them, as well as information about the geography and geometry of garden space. He also discusses specific plants and types of plants, and how to get the most out of them. And he goes into detail on how to set up a nice drip irrigation system.

Usually I won't review instructional books until I've had a chance to try out their methods, but there's so much information here and so many options as to how to proceed, I could very well spend years trying things out and optimizing my gardening techniques. What's presented here does make very good sense, and it's so easy that it can't hurt to give it a try, so I'm confident in saying this was a worthwhile read. I know this lazy gardener is very excited about the growing season now, and I think I just may be able to stick with it past the planting stage this time! ( )
  seph | May 9, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0761116966, Paperback)

"There's no such thing," my ace-gardener mom said when I told her about Weedless Gardening. I think author Lee Reich would agree that the title is a bit misleading (there will always be some weeds). Also a bit misleading are the blurbs from the publisher, which stop short of calling the book "ground-breaking" only because Reich's system is based on the total eschewal of tilling or otherwise turning over the soil. The building blocks of his philosophy have been in use for decades in one way or another: from low-till commercial farming techniques (which sometimes also involve firebombing the soil with herbicide) to simple green composting with knocked-down cover crops. But in Weedless Gardening Reich takes it all the way, no tilling, no herbicide unless absolutely necessary--all while providing everything the home gardener needs to know about cover crops, composting, and drip irrigation. In every section Reich lists mail-order and Internet sources for supplies.

The benefits of cover crops, composting, and planting in beds rather than rows are widely known, and they're dealt with in depth here. More controversial is Reich's injunction to rigorously preserve the natural layering of the soil--even when pulling up weeds, dead annuals, or old corn stalks. He makes a good case: tilling under weedy areas kills existing weeds in the short term, but turning over the dirt exposes more weed seeds to sunlight and air, and more of them will germinate; better to kill them first by mowing and self-composting or smothering them with mulch. In addition, Reich explains, water in broken-up, uniform soil tends to flow straight down; water in undisturbed soil travels more slowly, in different directions--down and sideways--thus more efficiently reaching roots. Installing a drip irrigation system further decreases water use (the book includes detailed instructions and formulas for calculating water-flow and timing) and, like many of Reich's recommendations, apparently works best when practiced in concert with his no-till, "top-down" method.

What isn't clear is how effective his system can be in an area that has been worked over by indifferent landscapers or that has already been tilled over and over for years. How long will it take for that plot's soil to resettle into something resembling its pretilled state? If my mom starts "weedless gardening" now, will she be wading through a forest of weeds or, worse, buying tasteless corn at the supermarket come August? --Liana Fredley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:44 -0400)

"Introducing a system of gardening from the top down that protects the soil, eliminates heavy work, and reduces water needs."--Cover.

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