Eat More Dirt: Diverting and Instructive Tips for Growing and Tending an Organic Garden

Overview

A witty, whimsical gardening primer for anyone who wants to tend their patch of earth with a truly green thumb.

A garden can either bring you bliss or drive you insane, but organic landscape gardener Ellen Sandbeck has spent a lifetime discovering creative, effective techniques for growing and tending a garden with ease—while being kind to the earth itself. Eat More Dirt is her delightful compendium of homespun tips and tricks for designing, ...

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Overview

A witty, whimsical gardening primer for anyone who wants to tend their patch of earth with a truly green thumb.

A garden can either bring you bliss or drive you insane, but organic landscape gardener Ellen Sandbeck has spent a lifetime discovering creative, effective techniques for growing and tending a garden with ease—while being kind to the earth itself. Eat More Dirt is her delightful compendium of homespun tips and tricks for designing, planting, nurturing, and beautifying your land without the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides.

From peat moss to irksome pests and predators, Sandbeck explores the lively world of compost heaps (which can be used to naturally “vaccinate” your garden against disease), growing good soil, choosing plants well-adapted to your climate, weed warfare, planting protocols, and eco-friendly ways to quench your garden’s thirst. Whether you tend an acre or just a window box, Eat More Dirt is an essential guide to keeping your garden thriving, the natural way.
• Build up topsoil without toxic fertilizers or noisy machinery • Compost, the other black gold
• Eradicate weeds with sunflower seeds • Protect berries from birds with a sugar-water spray
• Gentle pruning techniques • Banish beetles with wheat bran • Drive off furry pests with cayenne pepper
• When life hands you a seep, dig a pond—transforming garden irritants into garden pearls
• Pre- and post-gardening stretches • Dancing with tools • The Zen of puttering •

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
For anyone baffled or intimidated by the idea of gardening "organically," the author of the popular Slug Bread and Beheaded Thistles is back with a whimsical miscellany of useful information to make any garden a bit more Earth-friendly. Ellen Sandbeck's goal is to help gardeners work with their native environment, not against it, by concentrating on plants and techniques that work naturally rather than through excessive manipulation and unhealthy practices. "There are two main principles by which I garden," she states. "Do no harm and garden to please yourself." It all starts with the soil, or what the author calls "good clean dirt," teeming with microorganisms and lots of organic material to feed them, and she provides dozens of easy-to-find-and-follow tips on how to evaluate and improve any soil type in ways that are healthy for both plants and the environment. The author follows a similar low-maintenance approach in her discussion of how to choose the best plants for your soil and climate, how to feed and nurture your plants in ways that help them grow best, and how to keep pests out of your garden without turning it into a toxic wasteland for the many useful creatures that share our gardens with us. Sandbeck also looks at how gardening can keep the gardener's body and soul in balance, too, explaining, "Learning to love a single small plot of earth is a good start toward learning to be protective of our beautiful little planet." Though not an exhaustive primer on organic gardening techniques, Eat More Dirt is full of useful tips for even the seasoned gardener and will set the less experienced on the path to organic gardening with inspiration and confidence. Deirdre Mullane
Publishers Weekly
For anyone who loved Slug Bread & Beheaded Thistles, Sandbeck's terrific guide to "nontoxic" home care and gardening, this guide to organic gardening will seem the perfect follow-up. A Duluth, Minn. based landscape gardener, Sandbeck remains just as thoughtfully practical about sustainable practices as ever, but browsers who pick up this book (or Thistles) for the first time will be struck foremost with its beautiful design (Sandbeck is also a graphic designer), which strikes an uncanny balance between archaic and modern elements. The fonts recall late 19th century pre-Raphaelite floridity without being florid, while the silhouette-style illustrations and icons used throughout are less decorative than integral to explaining techniques and even gardening postures. Chapters on soil health, balance in design, knowledge of differing plant needs, tools and pests ("Learning from Your Enemies") are concise and commonsensical, while those on "Gardening as Exercise" and "The Meditative Gardener" cover physical and spiritual ground directly, and without goading or sentimentality. Sandbeck offers just the right amounts of encouragement, healthy skepticism and experience; this book will be a favorite of experienced gardeners and novices alike. (Feb. 11) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In her second book (after Slug Bread and Beheaded Thistles: Amusing and Useful Techniques for Nontoxic Housekeeping and Gardening), Sandbeck blends the environmentally aware attitude of Maria Rodale's Organic Gardening with the irreverent humor of Cassandra Danz's Mrs. Greenthumbs Plows Ahead to create a refreshing read. Clearly, Sandbeck is the curious type who looks upon gardening problems like pests and weeds as puzzles. Her 20 years' experience as an organic landscaper, along with her library and field research, has given her a wealth of eco-friendly tips that she graciously shares here. Sandbeck instructs readers in how to design, plan, and nurture a personal paradise while managing to throw in relevant tidbits about philosophy, theology, history, and quantum physics. Her scientific knowledge and awareness of environmental problems meld with stories of clients, friends, and neighbors, making her book highly informative without being the least bit stuffy. Also a graphic designer, Sandbeck has filled the book with delightful illustrations. Highly recommended for all public libraries.-Bonnie Poquette, Shorewood P.L., WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780767909204
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/11/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Sandbeck is the author of Slug Bread and Beheaded Thistles: Amusing and Useful Techniques for Nontoxic Housekeeping and Gardening. A landscape gardener and graphic designer, she lives in Duluth, Minnesota.
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