Humusphere: Humus, a Substance or a Living System?

Herwig Pommeresche


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In this breakthrough work — now available in English for the first time — the independent German-Norwegian explorer of soil life, graduate permaculture designer and graduate engineer Herwig Pommeresche shares his lifetime of research into humus.

His entire career has focused on the theory and practice of humus management in gardening and farming. Digging deep into a myriad of little-known research papers, he compares their findings with the usual conventional methods.

He found we have an inadequate understanding of the mechanisms by which plants absorb and process their nutrients. Our conventional model is that plants only get nutrients in the form of water-soluble salts, hence common conventional fertilizers. Fertilization methods in agriculture and horticulture have been based on this model, which the author calls “mineral model,” since the mid-nineteenth century. They largely have not been questioned since then despite the problems they cause.

But there are also works by scientists — decades deep research — which have found a completely different form of plant nutrition. Plants can, in simple terms, by “eversion” of their fine root cells take larger food particles and transport it inside the cell. They can also take up larger molecules and even entire cells — and this is what’s interesting — even in living form, a process known as endocytosis, a phenomenon long known in zoology and microbiology. Too little is known that this is also practiced by higher plants. Understanding plants nutrient uptake and the role of humus in the process will put modern agricultural practice to the test.

#7513 • Copyright 2018 • Softcover • 264 pages

20 per case

About the Author:

Author Herwig Pommeresche holds up an earthwormHerwig Pommeresche was born in Hamburg in 1938 and has lived in Norway since 1974. He received a degree in architecture from the University of Hanover. He has spent many years active as an architect and urban planner in Norway. After finishing his studies in architecture, he became a trained permaculture designer and teacher under the instruction of Professor Declan Kennedy.  Alongside other permaculture experts, he served as an organizer of the third International Permaculture Convergence in Scandinavia in 1993. He later served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Oslo. Today, Herwig Pommeresche is seen as a pillar of the Norwegian permaculture movement. He also serves as an author
and a speaker.

Herwig Pommeresche is a holder of the prestigious Francé Medal, awarded in 2010 by the Gesellschaft für Boden, Technik, Qualität (BTQ) e.V. (founded in 1993) in recognition of his contributions to organic methods and ways of thinking and to the preservation and improvement of the humusphere.

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United States United States
Lots of inaccurate information

This book was a real disappointment for me. I found it containing inaccurate information and a few times some pseudoscience. There are decades of scientific research put out by many qualified experts and published at the International Humic Substances Society if you really want to learn the actual truth on humus. However it also had basic good info in there too, so I guess that is enough to make it appear to be accurate. I would save your money with this book.

Susanne T.
United States United States
Review of Humusphere book

It is the needed next step in our understanding of cycles particularly nutrition and agriculture. We would love to see it be at least suggested reading in every high school and/or college agronomy class.

Barry A.
United States United States
Acres USA

I wanted to comment on your magazine. I have been reading it since 1970 or 1971, not sure. It's been wonderfully written with people that think common sense, but with facts. Thank You! By the way, Did you know that common sense is like deodorant? The people that need it the most don't use it? Thanks again, Barry

Donald L.
United States United States
Too Long

This book is tiresome and too long. The author never gets practical. It reads as if it was a series of articles written over several years. Lots of repetition shows it was poorly edited. Acres USA used to publish carefully crafted books but this one is just a translation with no thought to an American audience. There are no English books in the bibliography. That is not essential to be a good book but with a topic as important as how plants feed, a few relevant resources would have been welcome. This was a hard book to read and I would not recommend it.

Donald L.
United States United States
It Drags on and On

This book plows some new ground for how plants take in nutrients. But the 250 pages would have saved a lot of paper and reader's time if it had been edited to 60 pages. The author repeats the same themes several times. I suspect this book is a collection for essays and articles from years of writing. His ideas support strongly that salt fertilizers are a bad idea and the microlife in the soil actually feed the plant. He says the roots change shape to surround and ingest the food rather than the osmotic process taught in schools. I you have 30 hours to ****, start reading this book. It may change the way you view our soil. I read it and found the ideas interesting. The author never really shows how to do anything, He sets the scene for a practical idea then abandons it before he finishes the page. Very frustrating. For better information find research done by Dr David Johnson at New Mexico State University or Dr Elaine Ingham at Foodsoilweb.

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