How to Cheat at Gardening and Yard Work, by Jeff Bredenberg
One week’s worth of vacation. All year long, you accumulate hours at work, just so you can take a leisurely week off to do what you want. Sure, you have a to-do list for your vacation, but here’s what’s on it: travel, relax, shop. Hammock, here you come.
So, why do you throw away 40 hours of potential vacation each summer?
The average homeowner spends 40-plus hours a year caring for the lawn. Add in the hours spent on a garden, and you’ve thrown into the dirt more than a vacation’s worth of time.
But, making your home look good and growing some fresh food is important, right? So pick up “How to Cheat at Gardening and Yard Work,” by Jeff Bredenberg, and make your yard and garden work for you, instead of the other way around.
Although cheating at poker is not cool, cheating at gardening and yard maintenance is easy and perfectly acceptable. By “cheating,” Bredenberg says, he means cutting corners and keeping things fun.
Because you can’t grow anything without it, let’s start with POTS. That stands for Priority One: The Soil. Before you even think of putting any seed in the ground, you need to stop treating your soil like, uh, dirt and prepare it for planting. That doesn’t mean tilling; in fact, gardening experts say you shouldn’t till at all. Instead, plan early and use old newspapers and mulch to make tilling unnecessary. If you were doing your homework, you should have some compost ready, too. By the way, save your back on planting day by utilizing a few common items you might have lying around the garage.
As for the lawn, Bredenberg asks simply, “When was the last time a fancy magazine was planning to use your home for a photo spread?” Never? Then, why obsess? If it’s green and it’s not hurting anything, let it grow.
Consider installing automatic sprinklers. Plan your project, think small and buy only the plants you need. Look into gardening with a raised bed and, if you decide to go that route, be sure to wet the bed often. Recycle. Be a gardening renegade.
Thinking the only planting you want to do this year is your fanny in a soft hammock? Before you sink in, take a look at this book. “How to Cheat at Gardening and Yard Work” makes planting, mowing and cultivating sound like artsy fun.
By consulting dozens of horticulturists, gardeners and other yard-and-garden experts, Bredenberg pulled together hundreds of useful tips to make gardening easier and lawn work not work. Some of the tips in here are old news (composting), but many are fresh and unique (plant clover between vegetable rows for a soft, pleasant pathway that will benefit your soil). The ideas are easy for a neophyte gardener to tackle, yet fun for anyone who was born wielding a spade.
Throw down the gloves, grab this book and let your life go to seed. “How to Cheat at Gardening and Yard Work” is a book you can dig.
Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat, by Nancy L. Snyderman, M.D.
About 1,700 years. That’s how long you figure it will take to get into that swimsuit you bought at the end-of-season clearance last August. The swimsuit was perfect, it was marked down and you figured you could diet into it, no problem. Fat chance.
Right now, it’s balled up in a drawer, you’re feeling like a slug and it’ll be a long time before you’d dare wear it in public. You’ve been dieting and exercising like mad, but nothing works. So, next time, instead of reaching for a plate, grab “Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat,” by Nancy Snyderman, M.D. It’s possible that what you don’t know really can hurt you.
You’ve eaten grapefruit by the dozens, munched meat (no bread), dined on anything you could sip through a straw, and tried to Diet Like the Stars. You’ve lost weight, found it, lost it again and put on even more. Snyderman says the first thing you need to know is that there’s no magic bullet for weight loss.
Secondly, she says, learn that food is a friend. You need food to survive, and eating should be enjoyable. Just eat what you want, in moderation; in fact, you should build some of your favorite food no-no’s into your new lifestyle. And no, that piece of cheesecake you ate last night is not, alone, going to make you fat.
But yes, you’ll have to keep track of calories because, despite whatever you’ve heard, calories do count. Don’t fast or slash your calorie intake to slash pounds; doing so will only slow your weight loss. Conversely, you do want to get rid of those love handles: studies show that body shape is important and belly fat is toxic fat.
Think of your body as a calorie bank account and don’t worry about eating after 8 p.m.; what you eat can be more fattening than when you eat it. Forget that old “negative calorie” stuff; there is no such food. Because research has proven that lack of sleep can cause weight gain, be sure to get plenty of ZZZs. Go for the Bs in your diet (broccoli, blueberries and bananas). Remember that dieting is not all you need to shed the pounds, but don’t overdo exercising. And, although carbs are good for you, know that goodness comes with a big, “but…”
Trying to fit into your summer clothes before fall arrives? “Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat” may be the guide you’ve been waiting for.
Snyderman tells it straight about losing weight. She gives you the good news (dark chocolate can be beneficial) and the bad (spot reduction doesn’t work). She gives dieters permission to backslide and offers a diet plan with things you don’t normally see in a diet book: flexibility and a built-in “treat week.” For that real-person approach and for Snyderman’s advice-dispensing style, I liked this book.
If you’re tired of wasting your money on the latest fad-diet book, grab a copy of “Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat”. And remember–reading is calorie-free.
The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.