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Secrets of the Soil: New Solutions for Restoring Our Planet [Paperback]

Peter Tompkins , Christopher Bird
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Earthpulse Press,U.S. (31 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890693243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890693244
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 258,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The soil is alive 18 Feb 2007
I've just got through reading this book, it is quite a large book, and i was a little put off by that at first, but after the first two chapters i found it completely engrossing.

It is basically a research book into the method of farming and gardening known as bio-dynamics, the authors visit experts, working farms and observes biodynamic preps being made as well as giving an indepth history of biodynamics, composting and scientific understanding of biodynamic techniques.

This is a great book for anybody who is interested in bio-dynamics or is skeptical of organic/ biodynamic growing methods and wants a scientific background to their belief.

Their really is so much information in this book, that it's quite hard to do it justice in a review. There are chapters on the history of domestication and farming in America, the spread of bio-dynamic agriculture in vinyards, the political and un-ethical side of the petro-cemical fertiliser industries, landfil composting prijects, a very detailed scientific assessment of bio-dynamic methods, a chapter on the hunzas and their idillic agricutural system in the glacial valleys of the himalayas.

After reading this book and discovering the amazing facts about bacteria, bugs and earth worms, and how the soil itself is a living organism which is being grossly neglected by modern chemical-based farming methods you will have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of that brown mucky stuff that lives under trees and patios.

only criticism of the book i can give is that it doesn't give enough practical information for gardener who've read the book to apply on their own gardens, but does have an excellent bibliography and list of contacts for further information in the back.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  45 reviews
195 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another round of applause for Tompkins & Bird! 2 April 2001
By K'sGarden - Published on
This is a thoroughly researched book that will astonish you in more ways than one. It is HIGHLY educational, but you won't find any of this valuable information in a standard textbook on soil science, gardening, or whatever.
Some of it might seem a little far-fetched or at least put a little pressure on preconceived beliefs, but the nice thing is, Tomkins & Bird have found a way to present some rather amazing concepts in a take-it-leave it sort of way, because the most assured thing about this book is that you will be inspired with the DESIRE to do SOMETHING no matter how "small" the beneficial act!
While the factual information about mankind's stupidity and carelessness over the last few decades will break your heart all over again, this book offers many different ways for each of us as individuals to help heal the soil - the very foundation of life under our own two feet - and to help heal OURSELVES in the process.
Even if your custodial duties only incude managing your own lawn, a few trees, some flower beds or HEY a little compost pile with kitchen scraps and pulled weeds -- this book will inspire and empower you to begin helping to restore (or at least convince you to stop trying to kill) the vast UNIVERSE of microorganisms which live literally in your own back yard! Given half a chance, these little "buggers" will work hard to produce all the natural chemicals you will ever need to enjoy soft green healthy grass in your lawn, lovely fragrant flowers, nice sturdy and shady trees, and if you're into growing foodstuffs, wonderfully healthy food containing life-giving protoplasm and perfectly cheltated minerals... WOW... and all these things absolutely free of charge!
This book will re-acquaint you with the "lowly" earthworm which is far from being a worthless creature! Ancient peoples who were far more "in tune" with the inner workings of nature and who demonstrated far better common sense than their modern counterparts (us) revered this gentle organism. You will quickly learn the reasons why!
What is all the fuss about "hierloom seed" varieties? It's not just a bunch of sentimental folks who are trying to preserve their grandad's favorite tomato and great grandma's favorite pretty flowers, or who just like collecting a different sort of "antique".
Do you get all upset with WEEDS? Think again. The neat information in this book puts the "we" back into weeds again. It's entirely possible to "make peace with these weeds" and end the bloody war with the use of our backyard chemical weapons. Weeds are visible indicators that our soil needs certain nutrients or minor assistance. If we pay attention, we can learn from them, and they will quietly become less bothersome. Think I'm kidding? No way. And there's much much more!
This book will really change the way you think about the earth as a whole, about the "dirt" under our feet, and about Life in general. And the title is apt, the things you learn are real "secrets" that should no longer be kept secret.
Your Soul will thank you for this read.
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secrets of the Soils will open your eyes to unseen worlds. 8 Mar 1999
By Allan Balliett - Published on
First published in 1989 by Harpers and Row, "Secrets of the Soil" not only breathed new life into an increasingly solipsistic U.S. Biodynamic movement, it also provided the initial pulse for the growing interest among American alternative agriculturists in the use of "subtle energies" to boost the productivity of their farms and gardens by enhancing soil fertility while providing new means of working with pests and plant diseases. Radionics, Cosmiculture, Chelation, Vortices, Agnihotra, are all covered in Secrets of the Soil with unerring insight and enough depth to keep the home researcher motivated for a lifetime. As if this were not enough, all the information about fringe science, the Towers of Power, the Cosmic Pipes, the Dowsing and the "Wishing," is sandwiched between four thick chapters and two fat appendices that cover Biodynamic agriculture in about as straight forward and practical of a fashion as you will find anywhere. If you work with plants or eat food and don't own this book, you better buy it now! It will give you something to think about, or, in other words: thought for food!
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing reading 24 Oct 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Secrets of the soil changed the way that I approach life. The book details the wonders of how everything is connected in the cosmos, and we are but a tiny but powerful influance on our home.This book led me to discover the life saving benifits of minerals. it is simply a good good read.there are NO chemicals used in our garden or home thanks to secrets of the soil. it's a shame this book is out of print. it should be required reading in all of the school systems in the world, it's that informative. Best book I have read to date. Rev.Bruce Curtis
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonder-ful book! 4 Dec 2007
By Susan Siemers - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I stumbled across this book in the library in 1994 and read the first few chapters about biodynamic organics and thought, "This is too far out for me!" I read MB's review, and I can understand how he feels, as this stuff is way outside the realm of mainstream thinking. However, by the time I had finished the last chapter, stuffing manure in cow horns seemed downright normal. So I thought, why not give biodynamic organics a try?

Now, 13 years and many gardens later, I am totally sold on this method. There are not enough years in my life to try all the other things in this book, but I don't need to since I am so pleased with how biodynamic organics has improved the soil in my sandy garden. It is now teeming with earthworms, and my soil is becoming friable, instead of sifting through my fingers like sand on the beach.

This book has been in and out of print a few times. I lent my first copy to someone and never saw it again, was elated when the book came back in print and am now more careful with my new copy. This book is a gem, and one that I refer to again and again. I have visited the Josephine Porter Institute and Perelandra, two places mentioned in the first and last chapters, just because I had to see for myself what was going on.

Too often, just because we cannot measure something, we don't give it credibility. But guess what? The Earth wasn't flat until the day we devised the instruments to measure its roundness. And so biodynamic organics and many of the other farming methods outlined in this book have validity even without a "scientific" way to measure their efficacy. I measure by counting worms!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A serious book with essential information 1 Dec 2006
By Gary Edmonds - Published on
I must have read this book several times over. It contains an amazing overview of the unknown world under our feet!

Even though some information might seem far out there, since publication of this book many claims have been scientifically proven to be very essential to a new century in agriculture. In particular the Chapter on Sonic Bloom describes a technique that is now used all over the world.

The authors of this book where one of the first to compile and publish information on this essential subject! If the soil is neglected, the plants are, too!

Modern farming methods are in dire need to be revised for the good of long term results. This book is a must read for everyone that has a green thumb and yearning to know more about plants!
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