Twenty Reasons NOT to Garden and WHY I IGNORE THEM ALL with Garden Humorist Luke Ruggenberg

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Luke Ruggenberg is on the show today. Luke is the author of Twenty Reasons Not To Garden (And Why I Ignore Them All)
and it was that clever book title that lead me to buy Luke’s book and then track him down on Twitter and get him to be a guest on the show.  
 
Luke has worked in horticulture for quite some time. He’s currently the plant manager at Ravenna Gardens - a small but beloved, independent garden center in Seattle.  When he’s not working at Ravenna, he’s a stay-at-home dad of two little ones - a boy and a girl.  And when time permits, as Luke likes to say, he is, "bush whacking his way through the glamorous life of a self-published author of garden humor.”
 
We’re taking a humorous look at gardening today. Twenty Reasons Not To Garden (And Why I Ignore Them All) is a witty title with a double negative. If you remember double negatives from your high school English classes, double negatives are two negative words used in the same sentence. When you do that - the two negatives turns the thought or sentence into a positive one. So what we’re really talking about is Twenty Reasons To Garden. 
 
You’re going to love hearing Luke’s hilarious takes on his favorite pastime: gardening.  Luke’s perspective is unique - drawing on the downright funny aspects of growing plants.
 
Twenty Reasons Not To Garden (And Why I Ignore Them All) with garden author and humorist Luke Ruggenberg.
 
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Despite (or perhaps because of) a childhood spent dodging falling apples in his Dad's orchard, Luke kept a dormant love of all things horticultural until college, when his brother showed him how to germinate an avocado pit. He changed his major to Botany sometime the following week and never looked back, except on occasion to question the whole episode as one does a fevered dream.
 
After working for years as a professional, residential gardener, Luke set his shovel aside when his body cried “Uncle!” and he couldn't do it anymore.
 
A part-time, stay-at-home dad, Luke enjoys watching his little ones learn to pick strawberries before they learn to walk or talk; 
Luke enjoys the satisfaction that comes from being more self-reliant. He relishes the camaraderie of other gardeners. Set aside the plants and the plant people, Luke believes that his relationship to gardening is actually an, "ancient, unspoken compulsion”. He says, "There is something urgent and quintessentially human about these tricks we do with seeds and soil, this seemingly magical conjuring of food from the ground.”
 
As a gardener, Luke is most-passionate about fruit, or as Princess Leia might say, “Luke, May the Fruit be with you”.  Sorry - couldn’t resist. (This is going to be a funny show, you know).  But seriously, here’s what Luke says about Growing Fruit:
 
"Our garden was fleshed-out around a backbone of fruit. My wife and I bought our first house a few years ago in a World War II suburb of Seattle, where the houses are cinder-block and tiny, but the lots are a decent size. That gave us room to start with dwarf apple trees, an Olympian fig and Italian plum tree, blueberries and raspberries, gooseberries, currants, huckleberries, grapes, and two excruciatingly slow-to-train pear espaliers. We eat a lot of fruit; if I could grow nothing else, I would grow some kind of fruit, if only a single strawberry in a pot. Our veggie bed was then carved from the heart of the backyard and from it we coax a little of everything."
 
 
Luke is a writer. He has written several short stories, abandoned several novels, and maintained two blogs in succession: the extinct "Callus and Chlorophyll" and his current cheeky blog devoted to gardening called "Fencebroke Promontory Gardens”. 
Twenty Reasons Not To Garden is his first published book and he still is not quite sure how he found the time to write it, nor why, exactly, he felt compelled to do so. Suffice it to say that unifying all his work is a strained—but committed!—love/hate relationship with the garden, which can only come from a career bent beneath heavy flats of wonderful plants.
 
Today’s show is a wonderful celebration of gardening. It’s a welcome little break from spring planting and yard clean-up - and it’s sure to bring a smile to your face and maybe even a chuckle or two.  Here’s Twenty Reasons Not To Garden (And Why I Ignore Them All) with garden author and humorist Luke Ruggenberg.
 
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I hope today’s show tickled your garden funny bone and gave you a lighter step as you head out to your garden or the garden center this week.  
I also would like to make sure to remind you about today’s sponsor - Cobrahead - and my favorite Cobrahead tool - the mini weeder.  And don’t forget you can get 10% off your order when you use the promo code Still Growing.
 
For my sign-off today, I leave you with this thought from Luke Ruggenberg to help you grow...
 
"Grow something edible. Anything. Whatever your living situation, there's bound to be something you can try. I've grown mint in a dorm room, beans on a balcony, and carrots in a bucket. You don't need to dive in head-first; you don't need to grow everything, just pick one thing at first. Trust me, you'll feel more pride and joy picking the two little berries on your dwarf, potted blueberry plant that weird guy at the garden center talked you into, than in all of your previous food encounters combined. And then you will want to grow everything, and my work here will be done."
 
Have a great week everyone!

Thanks for Listening!

Still Growing,

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Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.

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Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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