Textbooks

The second of my new textbooks arrived yesterday. I’m a bit excited. With the decision to change from my former career to the general field of urban farming, I thought about whether my accumulated knowledge of plants, science, local conditions, gardening would be enough or whether I should go back to study. In the end I decided that formal study would be a) expensive (unless I got a $60k/yr govt salary out of it, which isn’t likely), and probably b) unfinishable (I don’t have a lot of patience for formal study any more and I do have rather a lot of interruptions/higher priorities). But there was one area I could certainly use boosting my skills and understanding in, especially with my stated intentions to work out at the edge of the envelope. And that was soil science.

So I bought a couple of textbooks, on the basis that I’m old enough to not need the carrot of looming exams to sit down and read and understand the fricking things, I can do that just fine on my own. One of the textbooks is a particularly simple one, supposedly, for people who aren’t doing a degree in soil science and may not understand science much but who need to do a unit in it. The other is a specialist book on urban applications, which spends time on interesting concepts such as roof gardens and other urban structures. I’m very much looking forward to delving through them.

We’ve had a long week of rain where I haven’t been able to do much in the garden and needed to do inside stuff, so of course the textbooks didn’t arrive then. They’ve arrived early in a week of sunshine where I’m outside working as hard as I can with any spare minutes. So I haven’t sat down with them yet. But I was excited enough by their arrival to flip each open to a random page and see what they were like inside. To my surprise, and mild horror, the language was almost impenetrable. It’s actually going to be quite a bit of work to read them and to learn their principles thoroughly. I think I’ve been spoiled working for the last couple of decades in science communication – I’ve gotten used to hard and complicated concepts being presented in language that you can follow.

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