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Eat More Dirt: Diverting and Instructive Tips for Growing and Tending an Organic Garden Paperback – February 11, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 edition (February 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767909208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767909204
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,169,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Dispensing organic and original gardening advice with wit and wisdom, Sandbeck walks novice and knowledgeable gardeners alike through those philosophies and practices that have earned her the title Queen of Nontoxic Know-how. From creative composting to prudent pruning, Sandbeck's approach to garden bliss stresses fun over fuss, success over stress, and victory over vermin, all without the use of products or procedures that will harm the environment. Hers is a garden where harmony can be produced without herbicides and where a modicum of patience is preferable to a dose of pesticides. Covering topics as diverse as rototilling and rodent removal, Sandbeck presents her logical, commonsense recommendations with self-deprecating humor in a comprehensive how-to guide as entertaining as it is informative. Whether recycling cooking water to quench thirsty plants or cooking hot pepper spray to deter rampant rabbits, Sandbeck relies upon readily available materials and ecologically sound strategies in her organic gardening pursuits. Arcane facts blend with feasible advice in this delightful discourse on natural and nurturing gardening. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author


Ellen Sandbeck was born in San Francisco in 1958, raised in Marin County, and graduated from the College of Creative Studies at U.C. Santa Barbara in 1979 with a B.A. in studio art. After graduation she quickly learned what "starving artist" meant.
She and her future husband started an organic landscaping business in the S.F. Bay Area in 1980. They started with tools bought on credit from their first client, and commuted to their first job (tools and all) via the B.A.R.T. (Bay Area Rapid Transit).
Huge amounts of library and field research helped Ellen Sandbeck formulate a philosophy and practice of organic landscaping which was efficient, healthy, and fun. Ms. Sandbeck lost 35 pounds in her first year of landscaping, without dieting or other exercise.
Ellen Sandbeck and her husband moved to Duluth, Minnesota in 1985, in search of a slower pace of life. Their family has now expanded to include two children, two dogs, tens of thousands of composting worms, and a small flock of laying hens.
Ms. Sandbeck grows and sells composting worms and has set up worm composting systems for individuals, schools, businesses, and the Federal Prison Camp in Duluth, where a one hundred foot long bin is used to compost food waste from the camp.
Ms. Sandbeck became a writer when a landscaping client volunteered her to write a booklet about non-toxic gardening and housekeeping for a non-profit group. Due to an enormous amount of stockpiled material, the booklet became a book, "Slug Bread & Beheaded Thistles," which Ms. Sandbeck then self-published. A few years later, much to Ms. Sandbeck's surprise, a literary agent was able to sell the reprint rights to "Slug Bread" to a major New York publisher. Three books later, Ms. Sandbeck is still surprised to be a writer.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The author writes in an easy to read, fun style.
K. B.
EAT MORE DIRT, by Ellen Sandbeck, is a fun and informative way to learn more about organic gardening.
Anne Berne
I read it cover to cover on a flight and then started reading it over again.
Michele Gelman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazonbombshell on May 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
EAT MORE DIRT is fun! More than just a gardening handbook, it's about how to get what you REALLY want out of your garden (all the time -- not just when you're resting on the lawn, avoiding the mower.) It's about how to provide the very best for all involved by using what you have to your advantage, and refusing to poison your soil, your plants, and yourself. (You might be surprised at what constitutes poison.) It's also an acerbic sort of love song for the land, one that will inspire you to "sing" organically to your own little corner of Mother Earth. (Whether or not you choose to literally sing to your plants is up to you -- and perhaps your neighbors!)
As a novice gardener, I was raised by parents whom I always felt used too many chemicals and WAY too much water! Of course, their garden is beautiful, and in that I hope to emulate them, but I'll be using Ellen Sandbeck's organic advice, appreciating her alternately dry and silly wit along the way. Check out this book: it's a joy to read and a BIG help in the garden.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Anne Berne on February 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
EAT MORE DIRT, by Ellen Sandbeck, is a fun and informative way to learn more about organic gardening. I laughed, I cried and I learned a lot! I loved the original art work by Sandbeck and all the tips that I can use right away to improve my garden's health! It was such a fun, painless read that I sat down and read the whole thing! Check out all the great illustrations, too!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like gardening with your favorite aunt--the sensible one who has sifted through a lot of foolishness to pass on the information that truly matters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michele Gelman on May 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Eat More Dirt is a great read: funny and informative. I read it cover to cover on a flight and then started reading it over again. It is full of great tips for organic gardening that are easy to implement. It helped me realise that my garden doesn't need to be "flawless" to be beautifuland that I need to design it around the work that I enjoy and have time for so that it is a pleasure, not a rod for my own back. Thank you Ellen Sandbeck. Keep writing. I am going to order your last book right now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NEL on May 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is an enjoyable journey--and tribute--toward a better world. Written by Sandbeck after the 9/11 tragedy, she wrote this book with the purpose of creating a safer environment, beginning in our own backyard. At times, this book is whimsical; at times, it is philosophical. But the theme of greener living resounds throughout. A very thoughtful and thought-provoking read for those of us that want to be more eco-minded.
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