Book Review: Steve Solomon’s “Gardening Without Irrigation”

In searching for more books written by Eliot Coleman and Steve Solomon, I came across this link to a copy of the book on Scribd.  I wanted to share the link with you and offer a few thoughts.

Plant spacing has always been a problem for me in my gardening.  I have this problem with always wanting to maximize value or return, and so I squeeze in as many plants as I can into a given space.  Not only is that bad for the plants, but it is also water intensive.  In order to reduce or eliminate water usage, plant spacing is paramount.  One big idea learned in this book is that capillary action within the soil will draw the water in from much further than I thought possible.

Another idea discussed is mulching.  Steve Solomon is a big proponent of dust mulching.  I’ve been a big mulcher in the past, mostly with grass clippings, though.  I’m not sure I’m sold on the idea of dust mulching, because we live in an area that can get pretty windy and I don’t want my valuable topsoil blowing away.  As for me, jury’s still out on this one.  I would love to hear from other’s experience with dust mulching, though.  I’m still intrigued and open minded on this matter.

Thanks, Robert.


3 responses to “Book Review: Steve Solomon’s “Gardening Without Irrigation”

    • Robert @ hisandhershomesteading


      Dust mulching is where you go through with your hoe or tine and lightly till up the surface of the soil around all the plants. It leaves a thin layer of fluffy soil on the top that acts as a mulch. That layer prevents the sun from evaporating the water out of the soil. We’ve all seen pictures of dried out areas where the soil gets wide, deep cracks all over the place. A layer of mulch (be it dust mulch or otherwise) would prevent that and help the soil retain its water.


  1. Dust mulch is a crock from the 1920s & 30s that directly caused the Dust Bowl. It is from misreading apparent moisture movement from dawn to dusk. Bare soil cannot keep in moisture – evaporation is inevitable. Moisture does not move down unless it is raining.
    You are correct in your apprehension – in a windy area you must protect your topsoil with organic matter or stones to keep your soil & moisture where needed.

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