September 1, 2013

Maine Gardener: Biodynamics writer covers lots of healthy ground


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Deb Soule gets into medicinal plants as well as biodynamic preparations and basic garden tips in her new book.

Courtesy of Avena Botanicals

Soule said she had been working as an herbalist for 15 years before she really understood the role of pollinators in the garden, and that is why she put a section on pollinators toward the front of the book.

She said every gardener should make an effort to have a lot of plants that are enjoyed by pollinators and to avoid using pesticides that can harm them.

Almost half the book is devoted to the various herbs and other plants that have medicinal purposes, how to grow them, how to use them and what problems they will address in the human body.

She thinks that many plants that people consider weeds, such as the dandelion, have many benefits that people do not recognize.

Soule's book is full of pictures, all taken at the Avena Botanicals' 3-acre garden, most taken by her and her staff, others taken by professional photographers who allowed her to use them.

It took her four and a half years to write the book, and although it is self-published, she hired a professional book designer, David Allen, who spent five months helping her put the book together.

The title, she said, came because she is always telling her mandolin teacher that she has to teach him to move like a gardener, and he suggested it.

Soule said she has just begun marketing the book, and it is available at Avena Botanicals and a lot of local bookstores.

She said she hopes to sell it mostly at local book and garden stores, but it will soon be available through various online booksellers.

The biodynamic preparations can be purchased at the Josephine Porter Institute at Avena Botanicals is at

Soule will be a keynote speaker Sept. 21 at the Common Ground Fair in Unity.

Her topic -- women gardeners globally and locally -- was selected before the book came out, and is one that has interested her for many years.

Tom Atwell has been writing the Maine Gardener column since 2004. He is a freelance writer gardening in Cape Elizabeth and can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:


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