The Living Soil Handbook

Jesse Frost


The No-Till Grower's Guide to Ecological Market Gardening

Discovering how to meet the soil’s needs is the key task for every market gardener. Farmer Jesse Frost — host of the hugely popular The No-Till Market Garden Podcast — shares all he has learned through interviews and visits with highly successful market gardeners, alongside his extensive experience and experimentation with no-till practices on his own farm.

The Living Soil Handbook is centered around the three basic principles of no-till market gardening: 1) disturb the soil as little as possible, 2) keep it covered as much as possible, and 3) keep it planted as much as possible. Jesse guides readers in applying these three principles for their own garden environment to meet their own goals.

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. Throughout, Jesse emphasizes practical information for growers who want to build their livelihood around maximizing the health of their soil.

In addition to specifics such as path management, cover cropping and bed flipping, Jesse also:

  • Explains the importance of promoting soil life and incorporating biology
  • Shows field-tested practices that are applicable across any region
  • Provides technical detail on how to execute no-till methods
  • Walks through designing your own soil-nurturing system

A gardener’s job is not to grow food; a gardener’s job is to facilitate that growth, and to be stewards. This book blends the idea of meeting the soil’s needs with the realities of making a living as a professional grower, no matter where you live.

Copyright 2021. 304 pages. Softcover.

About the Author

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.

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David S.
United States

The Living Soil Handbook Review

I really enjoyed it. The content covers a wide variety of things in good detail. I am incorporating much of what I read in my own vegetable garden.

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