Eat More Dirt

I check out many—too many—gardening books. Some row into piles near my library desk, and some I pack home to plant in my dining room. I first borrowed Eat More Dirt: Diverting and Instructive Tips for Growing and Tending an Organic Garden in April. I glanced at a few random pages, and soon covered it with other books. Maybe I expected it to grow and bloom.

I took it home again the other day, began at page one, and by page four I was inspired to action. Out to the garden I went. Then my husband opened it. Excited to tell me what he’d read, he found me pruning a tomato.

The author, Ellen Sandbeck, writes from her heart. She loves her garden:

We love that which we know intimately. No lover ever knew his beloved better than a gardener knows his garden. Learning to love a single small plot of earth is a good start toward learning to be protective of our beautiful little planet.

Sandbeck offers wide-ranging advice, gleaned from working as an organic landscaper and vermicomposting (worm bin) specialist:

  • Your garden can either bring you bliss or drive you insane, and it is within your power to decide which it will do.
  • There are two main principles by which I garden: Do no harm and Garden to please yourself.
  • Gardening is more like a dance than a race. Garden at a slow, steady pace, and you will be able to work all day, and the next. [From the chapter “Gardening As Exercise.”]

Drawing on library research, the author quotes from Mark Twain, Vita Sackville-West, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Joseph Campbell, taking up an alphabet’s worth of topics, from ants—intelligence of to do-it-yourself concrete removal, worm wisdom to Zen Buddhism.

Read Ellen Sandbeck for wise, kind, surprising approaches to gardening. Eat More Dirt deserves its place in the sun.



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4 responses to “Eat More Dirt

  1. Lovely post, Julie. Her words of wisdom make me so excited for future gardens!

  2. lc

    Wonderful post, Julie! This is such an inspiring and smart gardening book. It completely changed my approach to digging in my yard!

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