Book Organic Gardening

Announcing The Title , The Introduction, and The Table of Contents

I have to add the page numbers and proof several more times. Then I have to look for the pictures I want to use on the cover and design that.  Then I can get it to the printers!

The title of the book is Organic Gardening – Cutting through the Hype to the 3 Keys to Successful Gardening.
It’s coming in at about 240 pages. There are 9 Sections.

The 1st Section is a primer to prepare the reader for the rest of the book.  The next 4 Sections cover Cutting Through the Hype on the topics Watering, Framed Raised Beds, Compost and Soil Tests.  The next 3 Sections cover the 3 Keys to Successful Gardening: Soil Preparation, Adding Organic Material, and Mulching.  The last section, Section 9 is entitled Telling You What I Told You and Other Stuff.

Below is a cut and paste of the Introduction and the Table of Contents so you can really get an idea of what the book will be.

It’s getting very close to being ready for the printers and I want it to be the best it can be.  I value your input tremendously and will welcome any feedback you have.



When I started gardening 36 years ago, I knew nothing about gardening.  All I had was a shovel and a hand tool.  I got a few plants and I was on my way.

Sure, there were lots of things I didn’t know.  Fortunately, it didn’t matter.  I looked to nature and tried to mimic her the best I knew how and I was successful.  Like every gardener I had failures from time to time.  But I had far more successes.

I’ve learned over the years what is needed and what is hype. My knowledge comes from first hand experience and observation as opposed to just theoretical knowledge that comes from reading only.

I can assure you there are basically 3 simple things that help guarantee a successful garden.  I’ll explain all three in detail in this book.  I’ll cover cutting through the hype of 4 popular things that you don’t have to fuss with unless you want to. In addition I’ll give you real life examples and stories to encourage you and cheer you on.

I’ve been digging in the dirt and depending on the outcome to feed myself and my husband for 36 years.  During that time I also marketed my produce and fed a lot of other folks too.

If you have a bit of ground that you can dig in and want to have an organic garden, I can show you how to be successful.

Will I tell you everything there is to know about gardening?  Of course not.  If you garden for 100 years there will always be something else to learn.

But if you want to get started on the road to a beautiful and great garden that will produce for you without a lot of things to learn and buy — I can help you.

Table of Contents


Section I – To Better Prepare You for What’s to Follow

Chapter 1 – Organic Gardening – What It’s About
Chapter 2 – 3 Simple Keys to Guarantee a Successful Garden
Chapter 3 – Before Marketing as We Know It
Chapter 4 – The Secret to the 3 keys to Successful Gardening
Chapter 5 – Setting the Tone
Chapter 6 – The Path Less Traveled

Section II – Watering – Cutting Through the Hype

Chapter 1 – Should You Garden if You Can’t Water?
Chapter 2 – How Much/What Kind?
Chapter 3 – Disproving the Myth That You “Have to Water” to Garden.
Chapter 4 – But What if My Plants Wilt?
Chapter 5 – Things to Consider if You’re Able to Water Your Garden

Section III – Framed Raised Beds – Cutting Through the Hype

Chapter 1 – What Are They?
Chapter 2 – Advantages Without the Extra Labor and Costs
Chapter 3 – The Disadvantages of Framed/Contained Beds
Chapter 4 – Getting the Advantages and Avoiding the Disadvantages
Chapter 5 – A Time for Everything – Including Framed Raised Beds
Chapter 6 – What to Keep in Mind

Section IV – Compost – Cutting Through the Hype

Chapter 1 – What Is It?
Chapter 2 – Importance of Compost
Chapter 3 – Compost Piles
Chapter 4 – Want Something Easy?
Chapter 5 – Other Ways to Compost
Chapter 6 – You Can’t Fail

Section V – Soil Tests – Cutting Through the Hype

Chapter 1 – The Pros and Cons
Chapter 2 – Some of My Findings
Chapter 3 – What is Brix?
Chapter 4 – My Preferred Method of Correcting Soil
Chapter 5 – When a Soil Test Might Be a Good Investment
Chapter 6 – How to Take a Soil Test
Chapter 7 – Keep This in Mind

Section VI – Soil Preparation – The First Key

Chapter 1 – The First Key – Loosening the Soil Deeply
Chapter 2 – Don’t Have Time?
Chapter 3 – Before You Dig
Chapter 4 – 8 Steps to Proper Soil Preparation
Chapter 5 – How Long Should You Wait to Plant?
Chapter 6 – Repeated Hoeing and Plowing/Discing – Why Is It Bad for Your Soil?
Chapter 7 – Repeated Tilling and Hoeing – Their Effect on Organic Matter

Section VII – Adding Organic Material – The Second Key

Chapter 1 – The Second Key to Success in Gardening
Chapter 2 – What Organic Materials Should You Use?
Chapter 3 – Residual Herbicides
Chapter 4 – Compost From Compost Facilities
Chapter 5 – Is It Possible to Find Good Stuff?
Chapter 6 – Increasing Your Chances
Chapter 7 – A Big Dose of Encouragement
Chapter 8 – Ingredients for Your Own Compost
Chapter 9 – About Manures
Chapter 10 – Being Aware
Chapter 11 – Safer Bet Organic Materials
Chapter 12 – How Much is Enough?
Chapter 13 – Incorporate Biomass into the Soil or Leave on Top of the Soil?
Chapter 14 – The Value of Cover Crops
Chapter 15 – Cover Crops/(and All Garden Information) – Staying Out of Overwhelm
Chapter 16 – Want More Reasons to Use Cover Crops?
Chapter 17 – Getting Started with Cover Crops

Section VIII – Mulching – The Third Key

Chapter 1 – Mulch?/Synergy?
Chapter 2 – Organic Mulch or Non-Organic Mulch
Chapter 3 – Are You Starting to See The Interaction of the 3 Keys
Chapter 4 – Connecting the First 2 Keys to the Third
Chapter 5 – List of Mulches
Chapter 6 – Why I Recommend Straw Rather Than Hay
Chapter 7 – Leaves – Gold to Your Garden
Chapter 8 – Pine Needles
Chapter 9 – Crop or Plant Residue
Chapter 10 – Cover Crops
Chapter 11 – Seaweed
Chapter 12 – Grass Clippings
Chapter 13 – Weeds – Using Them to Benefit Your Garden
Chapter 14 – Wood Chips
Chapter 15 – Wood Derivatives
Chapter 16 – Peat Moss
Chapter 17 – Inorganic Mulches
Chapter 18 – How to Get the Most Out of Mulching
Chapter 19 – Bugs and Disease – Hiding in the Mulch?
Chapter 20 – Is Mulch Responsible for Slugs?
Chapter 21 – How Mulching Will Increase Your Yield
Chapter 22 – 9 Reasons to Mulch Your Garden Paths
Chapter 23 – In Case You’re Still Wondering About My Kitchen Scraps
Chapter 24 – The Truth about Voles – Moles – Mice – Shrews and Mulch
Chapter 25 – Know Your Enemy (Rodents)

Section IX – Telling You What I Told You and Other Stuff

Chapter 1 – Positioning of Garden Beds/Rows
Chapter 2 – My Farewell Summary Chat
Chapter 3 – Your Focus Will Determine Your Outcome
Chapter 4 – Will Everything You Plant Be Successful?
Chapter 5 – A Trap Anyone Can Fall Into
Chapter 6 – A Guarantee?

copyright by Theresa Martz 2014.  All Right Reserved.


  • Theresa,
    Congratulations on your new book!

    I’ve been missing most of your posts in the last few months due to travel, but I’m so happy to hear of your book! Who will publish it? I can’t wait to buy copies for my children and friends.

    Your friend, Gayle




  • I LOVE it! It is just like your blogs. Like having a conversation that teaches you something rather than a cut and dry textbook format.

    And broken down into bite size pieces that focus on one particular facet in each chapter too! I like that a lot so you can zero in on what particular subject you might be wanting to explore.

    For instance, when I have been fishing down at the bay and there was a bunch of seaweed washed up on shore. I wondered what the pros and cons are of using that in the garden but I never did the research and didn’t want to waste the effort to lug a bunch home and have it cause a detriment to the garden. It might be OK if handled properly. Now with your book in hand, all I would have had to do would be to skim the chapter topics and get right to the information.

    I am excited about the book coming out and I wish you so much success. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and provide a copy to my son and my sister as well as recommend to anyone who is sincerely interested in sustainable gardening. I will definitely be recommending it to our fledgling community garden group. There are several people who are interested in organic gardening but are newbies. I think this book will be perfect for someone like that. Heck, it is perfect for me and I’ve been a struggling, learning organic gardener for 5 years.

    YOU GO GIRL !!

  • Prediction: This book is going to be a major success!!!

    I can only imagine how hard it must be to properly convey and basically teach folks not only completely new to gardening, but those with some experience.  Your experience shines thru here @ TMG, along with the gift of being able to present the info to the mind in an interesting and exciting way, in that it becomes very clear anyone can do this!  People will no doubt, come away from this book, feeling in control and confident, and eager to get the knees muddy 🙂

    Awesome Job!!  Please keep on doing what seems to come natural, you’re a great teacher and writer!  🙂

  • I’m looking forward to the publication of this book. Where can one expect to buy it? Thanks very much for all of your advice.

  • Good to hear from you Gayle. Glad to know all is well and that you’ve just been traveling.
    The book, at first anyway, will be available through me on this website.
    Eventually as time allows I will put up a special page for sales — but I don’t know
    exactly when that will be. As I am able to determine costs for shipping the book — I’ll post more information here on TMG.

    Ray – When I determine shipping costs for the book I’ll also find out shipping costs
    to Canada as well. That way – you’ll be able to order too.

    Bearfoot Mama – I think you’ll find the book good to have on hand. Hopefully your girls will one day be interested in gardening and treasure the book as I know you will.

    Cynthia — Your first sentence “I LOVE it! It is just like your blogs. Like having a conversation that teaches you something rather than a cut and dry textbook format.” let me know that I’ve accomplished one of my goals. As I wrote, I just imagined talking to you and other readers/friends. As one reader put it — “it’s like talking gardening over a cup of tea.” And writing it felt the same way.

    And Cynthia – I think everyone is going to like the bite-size pieces. Every chapter is broken down into even more bite-size pieces. Easy reading was one of the goals.

    Based on the fact that many long-time gardeners have mentioned that they’ve learned a lot from TMG, the book will offer something useful for everyone.

    Jack – regarding “I can only imagine how hard it must be to properly convey and basically teach folks not only completely new to gardening, but those with some experience. ” I hope that I have been able to properly convey and teach. I’ve always felt that the most interesting way to learn is in bits and pieces and in the form of a conversation rather than the textbook format — as Cynthia mentioned. As much as I love gardening, I’ve read some informational pieces that have literally made me nod off to sleep.

    Yes, Sandra – it has been a lot of work. When I first started this book — I had plans for two more after it. This month when I came across those notes my thought was “WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!!!!!!!”

    Gabriel — just stay tuned to TMG and I’ll be telling you how to get the book. As I mentioned — in the beginning it will only be available through me — at least for now.

    Special thanks to to all who have sent personal emails correcting various spelling/typos/grammatical errors that they’ve noticed that they want to make me aware of — so hopefully they won’t be in the book. Sure do appreciate your taking time to let me know those things. I welcome all your comments and corrections. One of the things that has really concerned me is that it’s humanly impossible to catch all the typos and other errors in the limited amount of time available. I want it to be perfect — but I’ve found that to be a bit unrealistic. With your help however — I’m aiming for that!

    THANK YOU ALL for your wonderful encouragement and support. I could not have completed the book without you. You are the most wonderful readers in the world and each and every one of you are dear to me. I know so many of you even better through your personal emails to me. I’ve counted sharing your life and experiences and being able to help you at times a great blessing.


  • Theresa,

    Congratulations on your new book! I couldn’t be happier for you! I can’t wait to be able to buy your book and curl up in a comfy chair and read it. It’ll be like visiting with an old friend, just like your blog.


  • I already love your book, Theresa! It’s so down to earth with that personal touch you have, just like your blog. You are truly the real deal!
    Can’t wait for the day it’s available. Hope I’ll be able to get an autographed copy. I’m sure it will be my gardening ‘go to’ book for all the information I need.

  • What a great compliment Sharon! Thank You!
    And yes, I’d be delighted to autograph your copy of the book.
    For future reference — if what you want to know is not in the book, you know you can write to me and I will always try to help whenever I can.
    Thanks for this great encouragement!

  • Looking forward to Organic Gardening – Cutting through the Hype to the 3 Keys to Successful Gardening.

    Now the editor in me thinks:

    Organic gardening- Three keys to Successful Gardening: Cutting through the Hype

    or even more concise:

    The Three Keys to Successful Organic Gardening- Cutting Through the Hype

    or even:

    Successful Organic Gardening- Three Keys to Cut Through the Hype

    Or,or,or…Please forgive me; I can’t help myself.

  • How I wish I had had your input months ago GardenDmpls. The title changed so many times over the period of a year that it could have filled a school notebook. I thought for a while there — it would never have a name. 🙂
    At long last I determined Organic Gardening – Cutting through the Hype to the 3 Keys to Successful Gardening because that’s exactly how I approach the layout of the book. I cut through the Hype first and then address the 3 Keys to Success.
    You brought a smile to my face and I appreciate your in put.

  • I’m already planning how I can afford to buy a book for all of my grandchildren, nephews & nieces, friends, local garden clubs…..

    I know that is impossible, but I can sure spread the word on Facebook, in a family letter…..Heck, I’ll just carry mine everwhere I go & show them!

    Once they see it – they will want it!

    Most of them have already heard about you enough that they think they know you!

    I hope we can purchase it soon.

    Can you tell we are excited?


  • You make this even MORE fun Betty!!
    I do appreciate your spreading the word via Facebook and any other way also.
    As you know I don’t do Facebook and don’t even know how. So anyone who can spread the word via that social media or Twitter or whatever it will really help!

    One thing Betty regarding your wonderful comment about “Once they see it – they will want it!”:

    I just want to warn you that will not always be true. There are folks out there who are not receptive to anything other than what they already do. They want to follow along with the crowd and for various other reasons are just not interested in doing it the easy, best, fun, etc. way.

    So if someone is not as receptive as you and I feel they should be — just know that you will get a certain amount of that.

    But I’ll be thrilled if they respond favorably and join the wonderful group of folks that love TMG and want to work with nature, have a great garden, be free of chemicals on their food, and enjoy it all in the process.

    IF all goes well I am in hopes that I can get the book to the printer by the end of the month. IF that is the case I hope to have the book by March.
    TMG readers and special 100 list subscribers will have the first opportunity to buy the book.

    After that I’ll try to work on promotion for the book — although I’m going to give priority to income tax completion and starting seeds after I supply the needs of you and other TMG readers and 100 list subscribers who want the book.

    Thanks so much Betty for this great enthusiastic and supportive comment! Makes me SO HAPPY!

  • It will be my pleasure, MaryAlice! Remind me just in case. I want to make sure I don’t autograph a book that someone doesn’t want autographed.
    Thanks for the smile. 🙂

  • Oh Boy ! It is coming to fruition 🙂 I can’t wait. You are so helpful and I am so happy interacting with you. I know I sound like a broken record when I say again I am so very glad I found you! Thank you Theresa for being so selfless with sharing your time and experiences with us through the blog and the book.

  • I never get tired of hearing how you benefit from TMG and how glad you are you found me! I hope the book will present this simple information for successful gardening in a format that even more can benefit from.
    Thanks Toni! Appreciate your encouragement. I always welcome it.

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