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

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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 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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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 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 �

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    Lots of good ideas. What tickled me so much was the advice they gave that was supposed to be so strange and progressive, and it's something I already did, made up out of my own head! One was their advice for getting rid of groundhogs burrowing near and raiding their gardens. They advise pouring used kitty litter down the main burrow opening until the geeberts get out of Dodge. I totally did that with some skunks that moved in--they were hanging out under my hay shed and spraying under my open be Lots of good ideas. What tickled me so much was the advice they gave that was supposed to be so strange and progressive, and it's something I already did, made up out of my own head! One was their advice for getting rid of groundhogs burrowing near and raiding their gardens. They advise pouring used kitty litter down the main burrow opening until the geeberts get out of Dodge. I totally did that with some skunks that moved in--they were hanging out under my hay shed and spraying under my open bedroom window at night. I found a big burrow in the back pasture that looked about the size and shape of a skunk, and poured poopy, peey used kitty litter down it one evening. It was all dug out and kicked away in the next couple of days. I kept pouring more in whenever I had enough to plug up the tunnel, they kept kicking it out, but finally they moved out. But Good. Forever. I figured they thought it stank. Come to think of it, that was sure the only time in my life I wished I had more used kitty litter to dispose of. Being a life-long cat lover, it has always been such a bulky, filthy problem.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    Hopelessly disorganized, this book was like being inside the mind of a distracted chipmunk. The anecdotes the author provided weren't always relevent, and often took strange and unrelated detours. Much of the content was unrelated to organic gardening (like the large section about the plastic content of the oceans). The content that was about organic gardening was too vague to be helpful in any real way. The scientific content she used to back up some of her theories was underesearched, simplifi Hopelessly disorganized, this book was like being inside the mind of a distracted chipmunk. The anecdotes the author provided weren't always relevent, and often took strange and unrelated detours. Much of the content was unrelated to organic gardening (like the large section about the plastic content of the oceans). The content that was about organic gardening was too vague to be helpful in any real way. The scientific content she used to back up some of her theories was underesearched, simplified so much that was became erroneous, or both simultaneously. This book can be summed up as underesearched and disorganized musings of a landscape gardener who uses organic methods in her work.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Clark

    This book is just chock full of garden essays. Very useful information as well as entertaining. I liked her writing style.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    The first paragraph of Ellen Sandbeck's conclusion reads, "Whatever other sins of omission and commission I may have committed in writing this book, I hope that I have largely avoided being boring. Gardening, and gardening books, are supposed to be fun, otherwise why bother?" That sums up the book! The book includes a huge variety of tips on everything from composting to choosing the right tools. It even goes into things I never would have expected to see in a gardening book - like suggested warm The first paragraph of Ellen Sandbeck's conclusion reads, "Whatever other sins of omission and commission I may have committed in writing this book, I hope that I have largely avoided being boring. Gardening, and gardening books, are supposed to be fun, otherwise why bother?" That sums up the book! The book includes a huge variety of tips on everything from composting to choosing the right tools. It even goes into things I never would have expected to see in a gardening book - like suggested warm-up stretching exercises to do before the manual labor. I would have liked to see more specific ideas like she included in her very helpful Organic Housekeeping book. It also could have been better organized with more helpful titles and subtitles (they were funny, but not necessarily helpful when I wanted to go back to find an idea I wanted to write down). That being said, it is a good overview and very fun to read. I emphatically believe in gardening in a way that leaves a positive impact on the environment (rather than the negative impact left by pesticides and non-native plants), and this book is motivating me to finally work on it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    claire

    There are some very interesting anecdotes and bits of information in this book. That said, her tone can be rather "know it all" and extremely self-righteous, to the point I wanted to stop reading the book. Some things mentioned that had nothing to do with gardening are the american public being lazy and architects being awful people. I would have preferred if she would have stayed on topic.. There are some very interesting anecdotes and bits of information in this book. That said, her tone can be rather "know it all" and extremely self-righteous, to the point I wanted to stop reading the book. Some things mentioned that had nothing to do with gardening are the american public being lazy and architects being awful people. I would have preferred if she would have stayed on topic..

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    More a collection of essays than straight-forward instruction on organic gardening, this book was very informative and interesting. The tips are varied and spread out, so i'd recommend using a bit of scrap paper as a book mark and to record useful ideas. In a way, this book is about why anyone would garden organically and some of the holistic effects of our gardening choices, as well as ancient gardening techniques that took long-term effects into account. Very, very interesting. More a collection of essays than straight-forward instruction on organic gardening, this book was very informative and interesting. The tips are varied and spread out, so i'd recommend using a bit of scrap paper as a book mark and to record useful ideas. In a way, this book is about why anyone would garden organically and some of the holistic effects of our gardening choices, as well as ancient gardening techniques that took long-term effects into account. Very, very interesting.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Good info in this book but moreso, fun to read & browse through. I was so excited to use one of my first home-made pest control mixtures that i applied it during the daytime. The mixture of vodka, hot pepper powder, & drop of rosemary oil applied during the day onto my tomato plants, scorched the plants into withering. However, less zealously applied & at the proper time of day, my brussel sprout plants beat the white bug.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Thomasin Propson

    Loved this book. Wasn't really a "here's exactly how to garden" book as much as a "hurray for gardens! Let's start with fixing your dirt and maybe get you some toads and then here's what we think about what you might wear and the tools you might need and some organic tips about keeping the buggers away" type guide. Very encouraging, chatty, and a fun spring read. I'm now officially in the mood for gardening! (and will start once the freakin' snow stops! sigh.) Loved this book. Wasn't really a "here's exactly how to garden" book as much as a "hurray for gardens! Let's start with fixing your dirt and maybe get you some toads and then here's what we think about what you might wear and the tools you might need and some organic tips about keeping the buggers away" type guide. Very encouraging, chatty, and a fun spring read. I'm now officially in the mood for gardening! (and will start once the freakin' snow stops! sigh.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristie

    This is a very personal gardening book. This isn't a detailed book about how to design or maintain a garden, and you won't find lists of plants and their requirements. It's part memoir, part "tips" and part philosophy. It's most useful for Sandbeck's philosophy of gardening: she argues that you should first identify the chores you enjoy, then design a garden that allows you to do those chores more than the chores you hate. This pragmatism is the basis of the whole book. This is a very personal gardening book. This isn't a detailed book about how to design or maintain a garden, and you won't find lists of plants and their requirements. It's part memoir, part "tips" and part philosophy. It's most useful for Sandbeck's philosophy of gardening: she argues that you should first identify the chores you enjoy, then design a garden that allows you to do those chores more than the chores you hate. This pragmatism is the basis of the whole book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    As the lighthearted title implies, this funny and informative book is less of a how-to and more of an easy-to-read, pick-up-and-enjoy book. That’s not to say that it isn’t packed with great tips and advice! Sandbeck will help you think about what you like to do in the garden and help you avoid things you consider onerous.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Bliss truly does arrive with dirty fingernails and muddy knees (and sometimes injured ones, in my case). This book was very enjoyable and informative. I learned many new things and was reminded of lessons I had already been taught. I truly loved the Gardening as Exercise chapter. I definitely need to practice ideas given in that chapter each time I garden :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sam Poole

    Whimsical read stuffed with great tips and anecdotes about organic gardening and some unnecessary and somewhat unwelcome political and spiritual pedantry. Still entertaining and will hang on to tips from this for my own use.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarika

    This is a must have for any gardener that doesn't take themselves too seriously. Ellen Sandbeck combines good information with humor in short blips that will keep your focus but doesn't make you feel like you're being hurried along. This is a must have for any gardener that doesn't take themselves too seriously. Ellen Sandbeck combines good information with humor in short blips that will keep your focus but doesn't make you feel like you're being hurried along.

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Ward

    Eat More Dirt: Diverting and Instructive Tips for Growing and Tending an Organic Garden by Ellen Sandbeck (Broadway Books 2003) (635.0484). Gardening suggestions from the organic point of view. My rating: 7/10, finished 2007.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    i really enjoyed it. and i learned a lot.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Readable. Great for parents and other people in your life who are basically down with a better food culture but are a little iffy on the details.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Another great Ellen Sandbeck book. Had me happily putrifying eggs to keep the deer/rabbits away from the garden.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Danette

    I picked up some useful ideas for my garden although the bit on Buddhism in the last chapter was probably unnecessary. A book by a female author.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    This book has good info on growing a healthy garden and teaches you how to start a compost pile.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lily C

    Enjoyed reading this, lots of practical advice. A little preachy in places when speaking to the converted.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Bought this while visiting the Morton Arboretum in Chicago. Loved it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Malia Walter

    A nice diversion with good humor and advice. I liked the exercise suggestions and health information.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laine

    Absorbing respectful musings on the intricacies of nature. Fascinating and charming.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Love that I learned much more than simple gardening tips from this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

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