Giveaway: Talking Dirt by Dirt Diva Annie Spiegelman

Sheri Reed
Home & Garden

Talking Dirt
Talking Dirt; Amazon

Congratulations to our winner kimmiegiggler!

Author Annie Spiegelman, the Dirt Diva, is here today talking about readying your organic spring gardens and giving away a copy of her book: Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva’s Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening.

To enter to win a copy of Annie's book, simply tell us...

What's one thing you're planning to put in your spring garden?

Talking Organic Spring Gardens by Annie Spiegelman aka The Dirt Diva

Home gardeners are more interested than ever in learning how to grow their own food in an economical, healthy and safe way. If you're going to grow food, be ready to be a doting parent because growing vegetables can be a bit challenging.

Erratic weather and pests like to come around and try to make you a failure of a farmer. In early spring here in California, we can plant broccoli, kale, sweet peas, lettuces, spinach, beets and chard straight into the ground. (Wait until April or when nighttime temperatures heat up a bit more before planting tomatoes.)

In colder climates, you'll have to be patient and wait till the snow melts off of your herb garden. Enjoy your time indoors perusing garden catalogues and planning your spring garden. You can sow seeds indoors or in a greenhouse now to plant in the ground after the last frost. (To check frost dates in your area, visit Farmer's Almanac.)

Wherever you live, before planting vegetables or fruit, find an area that receives 6-8 hours of sun. (Leafy vegetables can be happy with less sunlight, 4-6 hours.) Then weed the area like mad! Next add a layer of compost. Please stop purchasing chemical fertilizers. That's like feeding junk food to your plants. They'll grow unnaturally large but be depleted of true nutrients and be prone to a disease or a pest infestation. Then you'll want to go buy pesticides to kill the bugs. Common pesticides, many derived from chemical warfare used in WWII, not only kill the bad bugs, but they kill the good bugs as well, who are predators of the bad bugs. We all need to get off that vicious 'fertilizer-pesticide' cycle before we contaminate more land and water, and all end up in the wacky shack!

Your new mantra should be 'compost, compost, compost.'  Just what is compost? Some say it’s black gold. I say, it’s fabulous! Compost is a rich soil amendment that is created by recycling food scraps and yard waste. Compost will slowly feed your plants and retain water as well. Adding a 2-3 inch layer of compost to your yard once in the spring and again in the fall will keep the happy microbes and earthworms busy underground, chomping up organic material into a form of nutrients that your plants can take in slowly for months.

You can make your own compost or buy it from your local garden center, or in some forward thinking towns, the recycling or refuse center. If we all started using compost, our plants would be healthier thus requiring less chemicals to combat any pests that come for a visit. Since I went organic in my yard, I haven’t had one snail or slug come to say hello for the last 5 years. Before that, when I was still hooked on chemicals, I’d have hundreds. Organic gardening is the safest way to garden so that our kids can live in a world with clean, uncontaminated water, soil and air.
Good luck, sweet kumquats.

Tune in tomorrow for Annie's 5 Tips for Growing your Springtime Vegetable Garden.

Enter to win a copy of Talking Dirt:

To be entered to win a copy of Annie's book Talking Dirt, just leave your answer to the above question in the comments below! 

Here are the giveaway rules...

Only your first comment counts as an entry.

One (1) CafeMom who replies to this post with a comment by 11:59 pm (EST) on Saturday, April 17, 2010, will be chosen at random to receive a paperback copy of Talking Dirt  (valued at $15).*

*No Purchase Necessary. Starts April 13, 2010 at 12:10pm (EST) and ends April 17, 2010 at 11:59 pm (EST). Open to U.S. residents, 16 years and older, who are CafeMom members. Void where prohibited. Click here for the Official Rules.

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