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Happy St. Patrick's Day


A Bit about the Book by Janine Weins

Straight-Ahead Organic A Few Tools, But The Right Tools The Friday after Wilcot and Hortence Harrington invited Elwood and Agnolia for dinner, Hortence stopped at The Hill Top Farm Farm Stand. As she selected lettuce, radishes and some scallions Hortence said, "Next year we want to have our own garden. We have never had a garden so we decided we would learn about gardening so next year we will know what to plant, where to plant it, when to plant it and how to plant it. Wilcot found a web site, Cook's Garden, that sells 100 kinds of organic lettuce seeds. I was reading that the gardener for Cook's Garden, Shepherd Ogden, has a new gardening book, Straight-Ahead Organic. Do you think the book would help us plan and plant our garden?"

Agnolia, who had not seen Straight-Ahead Organic, but knew the reputation of Cook's Garden for high quality organic products, stopped at the bookstore on her way home for a copy of Straight-Ahead Organic.

As soon as she got home Agnolia poured a glass of ice tea and opened Straight-Ahead Organic. She was pleased with the selection of topics. The first chapter discussed organic gardening and the pesticide burden caused by runoff from chemically treated lawns and gardens. The second chapter dealt with garden design, and in particular such topics as drainage, raised beds and the strategic placement to minimize exposure to prevailing winds. Agnolia didn't know if the Harringtons, who seemed to enjoy owning a lot of things would like the author's advice in Chapter 3, "Tools and Equipment," but she knew that she and her family would agree with the words in the introduction to the chapter -

It helps to remember that with technology of any kind, the best solution is usually the least complicated solution. You'll almost certainly enjoy gardening more by using a small range of well-made, functional tools than by filling the garden shed with a wall full of useless gadgets.

Later in the chapter Agnolia read "you can make a garden and maintain it as well, with a garden fork and spade alone; however, a few more tools will make the process more efficient and enjoyable." In the chapter the author recommended as essential tools a "European spade" with a "D" handle and two garden forks, one with a "D" handle and the other with a long straight handle.

Agnolia knew she would recommend Straight-Ahead Organic to Hortence when she saw, in Chapter 4 "Caring for the Soil," the sequence of photographs showing how to pry up the sod with a spade and use a utility knife to cut the roots so the soil could be prepared for a garden.

Shepherd Ogden
Straight-Ahead Organic
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