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The Manic Gardener

Kate Gardner

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Host: Kate Gardner

Organic vegetable gardening is the new national pastime, outstripped only by advice about how to do it. But sorting through all that “information” requires either a PhD in horticulture, or a leap of faith – neither one of which seems like a particularly good idea when you just want to grow some tomatoes. Kate taps the experts to sort through fact, fad, and fiction, covering all things gardening, from the difference between synthetic and organic fertilizers to how to make the most of a small garden space. For solid information backed by reputable science, or if you’re just plain curious about how things actually work in that plot of earth in your backyard, “The Manic Gardener” is your place to dig. Get the straight story from Kate, delivered in her distinctly quirky style.

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The Manic Gardener – Energy and Landscaping: Surprising Connections

We’ve all heard this one: to shade your house in summer (and save the energy used to run fans or air-conditioners), plant a tree on the south side of the house. According to my guest this week, that’s not so much a no-brainer as it is brainless. (Though she’d never put it so rudely.) In […]

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The Manic Gardener with Kate Gardner

Having survived a childhood in Manhattan, Kate has been working her way westward ever since, away from cities and crowds, gardening as she goes. Her goal was the American West, but she overshot by thousands of miles at one point and spent three years in Japan, where she did not garden. (She taught English and directed a play instead.)

About ten years ago, a corrective trip east landed her in Bozeman, Montana, where the entire state qualifies as a crowd-free zone. So far, so good. However, Montana also has a growing season you’d miss if you overslept. Since actual gardening is so frustrating there, Kate started writing about it.

Her English degree had served her well over decades of teaching literature and writing, but when she started writing her own articles about organic gardening, she sometimes wished she’d gone in for chemistry. Or soil science. Or horticulture, entomology, public health—something Useful and Scientific. As if hoping to dispel her ignorance by displaying it publicly, Kate promptly started a blog, The Manic Gardner: An Organic Gardening Blog with Twisted Roots.

Her two sons being grown and gone, Kate lives with her husband and a cat in a log cabin on an absurdly small plot, considering that this is Big Sky country. When she isn’t out back mooning over her peas and zucchini, you can find her inside, tearing her hair out over precisely why gypsum flocculates sodic soils and only sodic soils.

Kate Gardner blogs at The Manic Gardner: An Organic Gardening Blog with Twisted Roots.


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