The Holistic Gardening Handbook

A Book Review

holistic gardeningThe Holistic Gardening Handbook – creating health and abundance in your organic garden by Phil Nauta.

I wondered if it was worth the money. Is an e-book really worth it? Its not on, so I cant browse it.

Its over 300 pages. Is it going to be boring and academic and like reading a textbook?


I got a sample chapter as part of the 15 lessons for becoming a better gardener free e-course Phil offers. It was on EM or effective microbes. EM are the microbes used in bokashi. I was always rather confused about what bokashi is, and this chapter provided a very enlightening explanation.


So I took a chance. I bought the book. And I found that I was delighted with the material.


How Long is it?

Its large. Its 333 pages. (For those committed to the belief that you dont have time to read 300 pages, there is a 100 page condensed version that comes with the package.)


Even though the book is meant to be read all the way through, reading sections in no particular order works as well. I started with the food web and then skipped to compost tea.


I found I was able to fill holes in my knowledge and bridge concepts that way. But thats just me.


Whats in the Box?

The package contains:

  • the full version of The Holistic Gardening Handbook
  • the 100 page abridged edition
  • 27 audio files
  • Phils Garden Checklist
  • Phils Garden Calendar

Im a podcast junkie. So I love the audio files.

The audio files are not Phil reading chapters of the book. He covers the same concepts, but I think hes just freestyling on the topic. I found the audio very helpful in digesting the information.


I really appreciate Phils Garden Checklist as well. It is a great way to start implementing what Ive read.  You can also scan the checklist and see what topics are covered in the book.


The checklist is your map.  It reflects the big picture while providing the necessary detail to make a great garden happen.

Phils writing style is simple and direct. (Note, I did not say simplistic.) He is able to paint with a broad brush and give the big picture, while also supplying the necessary detail for implementation.


Whats the Big Idea?

The big idea of the book is:

Growing food is part of a living ecosystem, not apart from it.

I highly recommend the book to anyone whos serious about growing healthy food and promoting a healthy earth in the process.

As a closing comment, the term organic has become watered down and confused. Phil touches on this in his introduction.


Many people are looking for a new term for agriculture in which agriculture is executed in such a way as to be in balance and harmony with the surrounding ecosystems and promoting health for humans and the environment. Holisitic gardening may be that term. I just wish I would stop spelling it with a “w”.

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