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Chelsea Green Publishing Co

The Living Soil Handbook – Jesse Frost

The Living Soil Handbook – Jesse Frost

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The Living Soil Handbook: The No-Till Grower’s Guide to Ecological Market Gardening
by Jesse Frost

Published by Chelsea Green Publishing Co - July 2021 - Paperback - 272pp – 24cm x 19cm

Principles and farm-tested practices for no-till market gardening–for healthier, more productive soil!

From the host of the popular The No-Till Market Garden Podcast — heard around the world with nearly one million downloads!

Discovering how to meet the soil’s needs is the key task for every market gardener. In this comprehensive guide, Farmer Jesse Frost shares all he has learned through experience and experimentation with no-till practices on his home farm in Kentucky and from interviews and visits with highly successful market gardeners in his role as host of The No-Till Market Garden Podcast

The Living Soil Handbook is centred around the three basic principles of no-till market gardening:

  • Disturb the soil as little as possible
  • Keep it covered as much as possible
  • Keep it planted as much as possible

Farmer Jesse then guides readers in applying those principles to their own garden environment, with their own materials, to meet their own goals.

Beginning with an exploration of the importance of photosynthesis to living soil, Jesse provides in-depth information on:

  • Turning over beds
  • Using compost and mulch
  • Path management
  • Incorporating biology, maintaining fertility
  • Cover cropping
  • Diversifying plantings through intercropping
  • Production methods for seven major crops

Throughout, the book emphasizes practical information on all the best tools and practices for growers who want to build their livelihood around maximizing the health of their soil.

Farmer Jesse reminds growers that “as possible” is the mantra for protecting the living soil: disturb the soil as little as you possibly can in your context. He does not believe that growers should anguish over what does and does not qualify as “no-till.” If you are using a tool to promote soil life and biology, that’s the goal. Jesse’s goal with The Living Soil Handbook is to provide a comprehensive set of options, materials, and field-tested practices to inspire growers to design a soil-nurturing no-till system in their unique garden or farm ecosystem.

‘Over my years practicing no-till market gardening, I’ve come to truly appreciate listening to The No-Till Market Garden Podcast and Farmer Jesse’s exploration of no-till systems. Now, this research is inked into Jesse’s very well-written and valuable guide, The Living Soil Handbook. This book is a gold mine filled with tips, tricks, and effective practices you can apply to your crop itineraries. I advise any grower to follow Jesse’s mantra: A no-till system is not a dogma, it’s a direction.’ — Jean-Martin Fortier, author of The Market Gardener

‘Jesse Frost’s The Living Soil Handbook is a terrific, practical application of the no-till principles for which he and his No-Till Market Garden Podcast have become known and respected. Disturbing the soil as little as possible—even when managing garden paths, for example—is one theme of this book about letting the living soil live and how to do so. Beautifully illustrated, this is a great read full of useful advice that will perfect your growing game.’ — Jeff Lowenfels, author of Teaming with Microbes, Teaming with Fungi and Teaming with Nutrients.


Jesse Frost, aka Farmer Jesse, is a certified organic market gardener, freelance journalist, and the host of The No-Till Market Garden Podcast. He is also a cofounder of, where he helps collect the best and latest no-till insights from growers in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Europe. He and his wife, Hannah Crabtree, practice no-till farming at Rough Draft Farmstead in central Kentucky.


We use recycled or reused material for packaging.

The tape is biodegradable.


Shipping within Australia:
Packages ship within 3 business days from the date we receive the order. They will arrive 2-8 days later.

International shipping:
Packages ship within 3 business days from the date we receive the order. They will arrive 8-40 days later.

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