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Best of Green Space: 30 Years of Composted Columns by Duane Campbell

B. B. Mackey Books, Independent Publisher

224 pages, 6 x 9 inches, paperback, $16.95 list price. Best of Green Space is on sale here for $15.00 including shipping. Duane is well known as a syndicated columnist and a teacher of Master Gardeners. He's a great gardener who proves that good advice doesn't have to be boring. If you cross great garden technique with curmudgeonly humor and legendary thrift, what do you get? It is Duane's great cheapological garden advice and many a laugh all through the year. Order this book as a gift to others or yourself. It is ready to ship immediately with personal service from the publisher. Click the paypal button to make the purchase and get free shipping.

For a sample story to read online, click here.

Duane Campbell

Arranged by month, topics in the book include: Resolutions, Winter Garden Junk, Remodel, January Thaw, Avocado, Plant History, Sun, Onions, Brassicas, Free February Resolutions, Aftercare, Garden Prep, Shade, Veg Bed, Summer Bulbs, It Could be Verse, First Warm Days, Planting Planning, Cheap Stuff, Soil, National Garden, Sex Ed, Soil Temperature, Passalong Plants, Garden Rooms, Tire Planters, Dihydrogen Monoxide, Animals, Sweet Potatoes, Black, Frass, Ponds, Specimen Plants, One More Plant, Edible Flowers, Terra Cotta, Oxalis Triangularis, Cheap/Fast/Good, Tomatoes, Tools, Small New Garden, Painted Ladies, Conditioned Response, Iris, Chartreuse, Water Plants, Compost, Spinning Plates, Small Treasures, Rules, Prop Box, Bill (Bill the Cat, reprinted many times), Datura and Brugmansia, Garden Aerobics, Geraniums, Fall Planting, Dahlias, Unpotted Plants, Horror, Begonias, Deadly Doses, DDT, October Chores, Trial by Death, Half Time, Garden Ornaments, Raised Vegetable Bed, African Violets, Vacation Care, Top Ten List, Bilko Door, Indoor Microclimates, Winter Blooms, Concrete Reinforcing Wire, Big Words, and Small Words.

Reviews:

“This is really going to scare Duane Campbell, but I think we’re identical twins separated at birth. Why? Two reasons: we love the same plants and we both know humor, not boredom, is what makes readers read. His new book, Best of Green Space: 30 Years of Composted Columns, is a laugh-out-loud gem that deserves a place on your bookshelf. By the end of the first page you’ll understand why “humorous writing” is not necessarily an oxymoron for garden book writers. And by the end of the book you’ll have a large dose of accurate gardening advice from a writer who obviously has great taste in plants.” —Art Wolk, Author of Garden Lunacy: A Growing Concern and a legendary plantsman

“Duane Campbell has a plaque in his garden that says, “Work is for people who don’t know how to garden.” Well, by that logic, if you read this book you won’t have to work—because you’ll sure know how to garden. Best of Green Space is full of here’s-what-I-figured-out advice, all delivered in an affable but no-nonsense voice from someone who is clearly a hands-on, dirty-nailed, and green-thumbed gardener. No wonder people have been reading Campbell’s column for 30 years!” —Pat Stone, Editor, GreenPrints, “The Weeder's Digest.”

Here are a few short excerpts. This can only be Duane!

p.64, on being frugal: "On the same page are “tomato ripening sleeves,” clear plastic, 30 inches in diameter, 24 feet long, $12.95. If you cut them off in three-foot segments, it gives you eight sleeves at...oh, something over a dollar and a half each. Garbage bags! We’re talking garbage bags! At a dollar and a half apiece! (Excuse me while I slip a little pill under my tongue.)
Several years ago I went to one of those wholesale places that sell commercial janitorial supplies and bought a case of clear plastic garbage bags, a hundred of ’em, for about fifteen cents each. I still have over half left. Toward the end of the season I slip them over vegetables and cut a few holes in them for ventilation. It keeps them warmer and helps reluctant tomatoes and peppers to ripen. I put a whole flat of cuttings in one to keep the humidity up. I put them over pots when I go on short vacation so I don’t have to have someone come in and kill my house plants.
The one thing I don’t use them for is garbage. No need for the neighbors to walk by and count the Scotch bottles."

p.83, talking about why deep planters work: "OK, Campbell. Take a deep breath, grit your teeth, and just do it. Here goes. I think it is time I said a kind word about tire planters."

p.136 about water plants: Houttuynia cordata— which as near as I can figure out is pronounced how-too-in-ee-uh—is a wonderful plant, a beautiful plant It is sometimes called the chameleon plant, but so are a dozen other better behaved species, so look at the small print. Houttuynia has gorgeous leaves in green and red and yellow and is irresistible in a catalog photo or a nursery bench. Don't ever, I mean DON’T EVER plant this in your garden. I did. Many years ago. I’m still trying to pull it out, dozens of yards from where I planted it. The roots dive to the center of the earth and come back up where you least want them. On the other hand, this is a great plant in pots for a small LINED water garden, someplace where the roots cannot escape. There is a lesson to be learned from this."

p. 176 about easy and hard to grow houseplants: "Jane, a onetime friend, once told me that she inevitably killed any house plant she tried. I got a plant from my light garden, gave it
to her, and told her it was foolproof. As we chatted for a few more minutes, the small plant she was holding slowly and inexorably collapsed. A look combined of horror and grief crept over her face.
It was a cruel trick, and I have since given up such antics. Well, mostly. The plant had been an exceptionally delicate begonia, raised and protected in a specially controlled, enclosed atmosphere. The devil made me do it.
There are, however, stunning plants that the most inept duffer can handle. And I’m not talking about dull philodendrons and the aptly named cast iron plant here. I’m talking flowers!"

And p. 187, on houseplant care: "There are two ways to be successful with house plants. Method I: You put a lot of effort into producing just the right conditions for them. Or Method II: You get plants that will endure the conditions you already have.
Method II has two variations. Method II-a: You study your conditions and read up on plants and make careful choices. Or Method II-b: You buy whatever plants catch your fancy and let them tell you which are right for your house. Those will be the ones that live."

That bit above is in a piece called "Trial by Death."

For a whole sample story, click here.

How about a longer sample? The publisher will email you one in PDF format, free. Ask for the Best of Green Space Sampler from info@mackeybooks.com.

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