Official Review: Dont Panic Its Organic by Dr. Andy Lopez

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Libs_Books
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Official Review: Dont Panic Its Organic by Dr. Andy Lopez

Post by Libs_Books » 22 May 2018, 12:07

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Dont Panic Its Organic" by Dr. Andy Lopez.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Don't Panic! It's Organic! by Andy Lopez is a mine of information about organic gardening. Lopez is clearly an authority on the subject, and a passionate enthusiast and advocate. Many of his key ideas are expressed in simple, easily remembered slogans, the most important of which is probably: healthy soil = healthy plants. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, the book has not really been designed, written and edited in a way that makes it an easy-to-use practical handbook. It is poorly structured, rambling and repetitive. For instance, to my way of thinking, if someone has already committed to buying a book on organic gardening, they surely do not need to be subjected to repeated admonitions - in large print, bold print AND CAPITALS - not to use chemical fertilizers.

One of Lopez's key points is to do with something called Brix, which one measures with a device called a refractometer. Now this is, I think, quite cutting-edge stuff. Certainly, I'd never heard of it, but I'm just a hapless amateur. More significantly, most of my gardening friends hadn't heard of it either, and one of them used to run a commercial market garden. In fact, the only other person I found who knew all about this is someone employed locally to advise farmers. In other words, Brix is going to be new concept for many of the book's readers. Yet, astonishingly, although he promises on page 10 that "you will know what Brix is and how you can use it for your garden"', and although he makes constant references to it, Lopez makes you wait until page 141 before actually explaining what Brix is all about.

One thing that's not really clear is what kind of readership the book is aimed at. There were times when I wondered what complete beginners to gardening would make of the book. I imagined them scratching their heads over advice such as: “You can rotate the soil every few years.” On the other hand, how much of a beginner would you need to be to have it pointed out that it might be quite a good idea to have your vegetable patch near your kitchen?

Some of the advice is incredibly detailed; Lopez is undoubtedly the go-to man for natural ant control, for example. At other times the advice is maddeningly vague and off-hand. For example, when advocating a “mineral-rich solution”, he helpfully adds, “email me for the one I use.” I wanted to say: "Dude, they bought the book! Just tell them what your mineral-rich solution is!" Actually, later on, there is a recipe for a SuperSeaweed feed (which may or may not be a different thing). Lopez, rather engagingly, tells us that it's slightly different from the one he sells, but will still give “really great results.”

If you already garden in a big way, perhaps commercially, and are thinking about converting to organic methods, this book might be helpful. If you're just an ordinary small-scale gardener, you can pick up some key tips and learn a lot about the whys and wherefores of the organic method. The problem is, though, that you have to wade through nearly 400 pages of verbiage to find all the crucial bits of information that could have been neatly, simply and clearly fitted into less than half that space. So, if you're a practical person who finds reading a bit of a chore, this is definitely not the gardening book you need. The illustrations, though charming, are not in any way illuminating or helpful, and, amongst its other failings, the book is in grave need of a professional proof-reader. A proper index (rather than an elaborated version of the table of contents) would also be a great help. Despite the horticultural wisdom on offer, the chaotic organisation and the errors are so infuriating and unhelpful that I can only I give this book a rating of 2 out of 4 stars. If it were radically cut down and edited, with useful illustrations, it could be a best-seller and make a real contribution to advancing the planet-saving practices that Lopez clearly so genuinely holds dear.

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 23 May 2018, 04:00

A book that is not structure or gives clear direction certainly can big blow the readers interest same as proofreading if not done properly. I couldn't agree more on the value that this book puts into the plants and trees (environment) which is at a risk in todays world. Time to build it up before it is lost forever. Thank you for your review!
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Post by Bianka Walter » 23 May 2018, 04:05

The author sounds really passionate about this subject. I find sometimes, when that happens, their advice and tips become a bit rambled. With a bit more focus, maybe it could be a bit better?
As someone that has zero ability to keep anything green alive, this is definitely not a book for me.
Thanks for the great reveiw! I hope the author takes some of your criticisms to heart :)
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Post by Corhan2 » 23 May 2018, 05:50

Thanks for the review. It's a pity that the book is not structured properly. I absolutely do not have green fingers, so I think I will give this one a miss.

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Post by Helen_Combe » 23 May 2018, 07:41

I love your review, it made me laugh out loud. Putting the kitchen garden by the kitchen had me sparky in tea over the carpet. I’m always wary of emails in books, you find they are no longer in use when you come to use them, and as you say, ‘Dude, I’ve just bought your book!’
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Post by Fuzzy456 » 23 May 2018, 08:04

Very detailed review, thank you. As someone previously mentioned, it sounds like the author was too passionate about his subject that he clearly lost focus. Although this is such an important topic in today’s world, it does not interest me and I will pass on the book.

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Post by gen_g » 23 May 2018, 08:51

Thank you for the detailed review! Although I have to say that a poorly structured book is an absolute turn off, so kudos to you for managing to finish it! Despite that, it does seem like a great source of information for those patient enough to work through it.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 23 May 2018, 08:56

Libs_Books wrote:
22 May 2018, 12:07
At other times the advice is maddeningly vague and off-hand. For example, when advocating a “mineral-rich solution”, he helpfully adds, “email me for the one I use.” I wanted to say: "Dude, they bought the book! Just tell them what your mineral-rich solution is!" Actually, later on, there is a recipe for a SuperSeaweed feed (which may or may not be a different thing). Lopez, rather engagingly, tells us that it's slightly different from the one he sells, but will still give “really great results.”
400 pages and he couldn't take a few sentences to finish that idea!!! I loved this comment. The book is supposed to be the helpful resource; readers shouldn't have to go out after reading the book to seek out more information the author could have included. I really love this review. I tend to be too serious and very to the point in my reviews and I really admire when someone can make theirs humorous.

I was very confused by the cover art. I thought this was going to be a book for kids because the cover art is quite childish, like a fairy tale. I won't be reading this book because I have ZERO interest in gardening or farming and I'm happy if I can keep my one spearmint plant alive in my house. But I'm so glad I read this review.

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Post by Libs_Books » 23 May 2018, 09:24

Sahani Nimandra wrote:
23 May 2018, 04:00
I couldn't agree more on the value that this book puts into the plants and trees (environment) which is at a risk in todays world. Time to build it up before it is lost forever. Thank you for your review!
That's very true. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Bianka Walter wrote:
23 May 2018, 04:05
The author sounds really passionate about this subject. I find sometimes, when that happens, their advice and tips become a bit rambled. With a bit more focus, maybe it could be a bit better?
Yes, I think he is very genuine, and does get carried away by his passion. I would like to think someone could help him to improve the book. Thanks for reading and your kind comments.
kfwilson6 wrote:
23 May 2018, 08:56
The book is supposed to be the helpful resource; readers shouldn't have to go out after reading the book to seek out more information the author could have included. ...I was very confused by the cover art. I thought this was going to be a book for kids because the cover art is quite childish, like a fairy tale.
Thank you for reading and the encouraging comments. Yes, I think the author, though very well-meaning hasn't thought things through, Apart from any other considerations, how many emails will he have to deal with if the book does become a best-seller. I agree about the illustrations, too. Lovely in their way, if you like that sort of thing, but not really all that appropriate - and I suppose to have something like that on the cover is misleading. Glad you enjoyed the review - and good luck with that spearmint.

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Post by Libs_Books » 23 May 2018, 09:35

Corhan2 wrote:
23 May 2018, 05:50
Thanks for the review. It's a pity that the book is not structured properly. I absolutely do not have green fingers, so I think I will give this one a miss.

Fuzzy456 wrote:
23 May 2018, 08:04
Very detailed review, thank you. As someone previously mentioned, it sounds like the author was too passionate about his subject that he clearly lost focus. Although this is such an important topic in today’s world, it does not interest me and I will pass on the book.
Well, thanks to both of you for taking the time and trouble to read and comment even though it’s not really your area of interest.
Helen_Combe wrote:
23 May 2018, 07:41
I love your review, it made me laugh out loud. Putting the kitchen garden by the kitchen had me sparky in tea over the carpet. I’m always wary of emails in books, you find they are no longer in use when you come to use them, and as you say, ‘Dude, I’ve just bought your book!’
Thanks, Helen. I'm glad it made you laugh. Of course, I hadn't actually bought the book. :)
gen_g wrote:
23 May 2018, 08:51
Thank you for the detailed review! Although I have to say that a poorly structured book is an absolute turn off, so kudos to you for managing to finish it! Despite that, it does seem like a great source of information for those patient enough to work through it.
Thank you! :D Yes, it was quite hard work, but I did also learn something from it.

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Post by teacherjh » 23 May 2018, 10:06

The title really caught my attention. Too bad it was poorly executed.

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Post by stacie k » 23 May 2018, 10:43

This morning I threw away yet another basil plant that didn't survive under my care. I definitely would be on the lookout for a gardening book for beginners. This one doesn't seem to suit my needs. Thanks for your insightful (and humorous) review!
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Post by Libs_Books » 23 May 2018, 11:32

teacherjh wrote:
23 May 2018, 10:06
The title really caught my attention.
Yes, I believe it's copyright - and the term "Invisible Gardener", which Lopez also uses, is trade-marked (though, confusingly, the real invisible gardener is Mother Nature, apparently). When I saw all the copyright and TM signs at the start, my heart sank, as I thought the book was going to be really commercialised, but it's not that cynical. Thanks for reading and commenting.
stacie k wrote:
23 May 2018, 10:43
This morning I threw away yet another basil plant that didn't survive under my care. I definitely would be on the lookout for a gardening book for beginners.
I haven't had much luck with basil, either – I live too far north for it to survive for long (that's what I tell myself, anyway). Thanks for reading and the kind comments.

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Post by melissy370 » 23 May 2018, 18:02

Great review. You had me laughing there at some points. Sounds like the author has good intentions, but just didn't know how to accomplish it.

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Post by cpru68 » 23 May 2018, 21:48

I love the title and was hoping this one would be good. I don’t really want to read through that much material. I would probably get bored and then not follow through. Great idea though! Too bad it wasn’t shorter and more reader friendly.
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