A Conversation with David the Good

Monday , 30, January 2017 1 Comment

David the Good’’s Good Guide to Gardening series is a must for anyone considering a foray into gardening.

Grow or Die was written with self sufficiency in mind and urges the reader to prepare for hard times, though David had the unprepared like me in mind when he wrote an appendix titled: The Emergency Quick-Start Guide, which explains how to start a survival garden from scratch.

Even if the Apocalypse doesn’t arrive in our lifetimes this book is full of useful information for the gardener, all based off of David’s hard earned experience. I particularly like one of his solutions for pests which is to create small habitats that attract beneficial bugs and plants. He cites modern farming practices which have done away with hedgerows perceived as uneconomical. What was missed was the hedgerows offer a sanctuary for trees, plants, birds, bugs and even weeds, attracting wasps, spiders, praying mantises and ladybugs. Chances are, a hedgerow won’t fit in your backyard but David describes how to plant mixed beds of vegetables interspaced with patches of perennials flowers and small shrubs that will create a healthy environment around your garden beds.

Next up, but actually first in the series, is Compost Everything. If I had to boil down David’s philosophy on gardening I’d say it is “keep it simple”. Composting can be as complicated, expensive and time consuming as you make it but at the end of the day, it can also be simple as “just throw it on the ground”. Pay attention as that will be on the exam. This book prompted me to save our food waste and I was amazed and dismayed on how much we were trashing to waste.

Check out this link on making your own compost pile. Techniques shown can scale down to a smaller area.

Finally, Push the Zone was released as David and I were having this conversation. It is doing well and as I type, it is a #1 seller in three different categories. It’s got everything from walipini greenhouses to using thermal mass to moderate the impact of both cold and heat. A paperback release will come soon.

Anyone even remotely interested in gardening should regularly visit David’s website and YouTube channel then you will never lack for solid gardening content. 

I hope that this conversation will encourage readers to begin growing something, anything and not be put off by the inevitable trial and error. As David says “gardening from fear is no way to go through life”.

If you like this conversation and want to to read another great interview go here .

 

 

Scott Cole:    Is there an interesting backstory on how Grow or Die was released by Castalia House?

David the Good:    I had written a lot of articles on preparedness, homesteading and survival gardening in a crash. After the strange success of Compost Everything, which stuck out from the Castalia House lineup like a polar bear in the Serengeti, Vox and I decided that releasing a book on crash-proofing your food supply made a lot of sense and might bring in even more readers. It makes sense in a way, when you consider Nick Cole’s post-apocalyptic novels, The 4GW Handbook and, dare I say, Victoria. If you bought one of those, chances are you’re more than a little interested in protecting and feeding your family in a crisis, even if it means getting your hands dirty.

 

SC:    I read a post at Permies.com where you described Compost Everything as a favorite of yours as it was the result of “ten years of insane composting experiments”. How long have you been gardening?

DG:    I have been gardening for 31 years, ever since my Dad helped me create my first garden when I was six. Though I love science and tracking results, I’m also an anarchistic tornado with my experimentation. I’ve thrown seed bombs, torn out flush toilets and replaced them with buckets and sawdust, guerilla-grafted peach scions onto wild plum trees hanging over the road, planted squash on top of buried goat remains, chopped squirrels into pieces to feed chickens, kept a bit of worms beneath the sink in my house, worked on breeding my own pumpkin varieties, helped build multiple food forests… I’m all over the place. I strongly believe in failing until you succeed, and I’ve been doing that for decades.

 

SC:    In the same post you mentioned gardening in four different climate zones (South Florida, Tennessee, North Florida and now the tropics). You joked that you would move to Missoula next. How likely is it that you will move to and garden in a new climate zone?

DG:    Not all that likely. I have thought about setting up an experimental location in the far north but I really can’t stand the cold. Plus I’d miss growing my own coffee and chocolate.

 

SC:    I ran across your YouTube video on how to process coffee, (note to readers: this is the 2.5 minute version, if you are interested David has more in depth videos on the subject). Is it a laborious process to make chocolate from cocoa beans?

DG:    It’s time-consuming but not really laborious. I find it to be fun, though I’m still learning how to make good systems. We’ve only lived in proximity to cocoa trees for less than a year so it’s a pretty new crop for me. They don’t like the continental US and won’t grow well even in Florida or Southern California.

 

SC:    I’m guessing cocoa trees need consistent warmth and not even a relatively cool “winter” like in southern Florida.

DG:    Yes – another problem is the lack of humidity. There are a few cocoa trees growing at The Fruit and Spice Park in Homestead (near Miami) but they’re kept in a greenhouse with extra moisture. Touchy things.

 

SC:    What would be the one unique good thing and the one greatest challenge to each of the climate zones you have gardened in so far?

DG: Great question. The good things about colder climate gardening: the bugs get wiped out by the cold and you get a reset every spring. You also get a break in the winter. The greatest challenge is timing. Plant too early and the spring frost destroys your hard work. Plant too late and the fall frost does the same. Gardening in Tennessee taught me to measure the seasons closely.

The good thing about gardening in the tropics is that you can grow year-round. You can literally feed your family on a half-acre because every time you pull something out you can plant something new. You also have a much larger range of potential crops. More than a thousand fruit tree varieties, compared to maybe 50 temperate fruit trees. Honestly – how many can you name? The downside is you never get a break in the tropics. If you don’t keep chopping and weeding, the jungle will literally eat everything you plant in a matter of months. The bugs can be an issue in some areas as well, as they never get taken down by cold.

 

SC:    A benefit of a colder climate is that the bugs get wiped out by the cold but in Grow or Die you emphatically state that one doesn’t want to lower the insect population but increase it. This seems paradoxical but reading further you go on to state that by using pesticides one doesn’t only kill the parasites but also the predators that feed upon them. Besides freezing temperatures directly affecting plants in cold climates do you think a lesser but still significant reason the yields are greater in the tropics is due to the greater (in numbers and variety) insect population or did I drink too many beers already?  It seems more insects of all types is always beneficial over a seasonal culling of the population.

DG:    It is rather paradoxical, isn’t it? Basically, you’re looking for checks and balances. If you play God and wipe out all the bugs, you make more trouble for yourself long-term. You’ll be stuck using pesticides regularly. If instead you allow spaces for beneficial species to live and breed, they’ll do some of the pest culling for you. The main reason yields are higher in the tropics is due to the year-round growing season. Secondarily, the vast variety of crops you can grow – including a lot of high-calorie roots, which add up fast – makes a big difference. I just remember that Nature is a complex and complicated system and killing this or burning that or cutting down that thing over there, well, you sometimes can’t see the ripple effects until later. So I’m cautious on interventions without a lot of observation.

 

SC:    I enjoyed your post on planting fruit trees. I’ve never given thought to the abundance of food available for minimal labor and I’m a guy that spent a couple of years in the South Pacific where large papaya was ubiquitous (papaya not ate by fruit bats, that is).  

I also noticed you mentioned the beneficial nature of bats. In the South Pacific they were pests and were shot at for sport. I’m guessing the bats you are talking about are of the smaller variety. Is the main benefit provided by them pest control?

 DG:    Fruit and nut trees are food factories as well as being beautiful and long-term additions to a homestead. I plant trees even when I know I’ll be moving. Unlike annual crops, they also preserve and can even improve the soil over time. As for bats, yes – pest control is huge. Some species eat a massive amount of mosquitoes, which in turn won’t be eating you. I am guessing that the bats in the South Pacific were fruit bats and made themselves pests by destroying crops. Those may be less beneficial though still serve a purpose. Their guano feeds the soil and chances are they also help plant trees by distributing seeds.

SC:    They were fruit bats and I believe you are right about the guano. When I mentioned the papaya I had a specific memory of an area mostly containing small volcanic rocks and don’t remember much soil on the surface. Just rocks and papaya trees all over the place. It definitely wasn’t a plantation so fruit bat guano with seeds may have been responsible.

DG:    Perfect. Nature finds a way, as the great sage Ian Malcolm once said.

 

 

SC:    You mentioned North and South Florida as different zones. Besides some temperature variation what is the major difference?  My thought is both areas get the same amount of precipitation, or maybe more correct to say both have the same chance to get hit by hurricanes.

DG:    The state has a lot of fragmented growing zones, really. Near the coast the cold is moderated by the ocean, allowing you to grow something like sea grapes whereas just 40 miles further inland it would be impossible. Some places in Florida have “sugar sand,” which is really tough to garden in; other places have sandy loam, gumbo clay, swamp muck or hard red clay. North/Central Florida where I used to live was really tough because I was in the dead middle of the state. Temperatures might hit 12 degrees one winter… then that summer soar over 100. And you’d get droughts, too. I tell people – no matter where they live – to learn their soil and ecosystems first, then plant what works there by observing nature and other successful gardens… rather than approaching their yard with a list of plants they want to grow and then failing because those plants aren’t adapted to the region.

 

SC:    Did you or do you still play Dungeons and Dragons or other role playing type games?  Wondering where the David the Good moniker game from? Maybe a Paladin character or a neutral good Druid?

DG:    No – never played any role-playing games. The way I grew up we learned that you’d catch demons from those sorts of things (no offense to our many game-loving readers, of course – there’s nothing wrong with being possessed if you like that sort of thing).

“David The Good” came from somewhere but I really don’t remember where anymore. It struck me as a medieval knight sort of name. I think I used it as a one-off in an article or something I wrote, then later went back to it. My given name was so common you couldn’t find me in the first three pages of a Google search and that wouldn’t do.

 

SC:    Besides David the Good’s books could you provide us with the top 3 books a novice or those curious in gardening should read and the top 3 websites or blogs for the same?

DG:    Yes. Read Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway for an approach that will transform the way you think about growing. Fruity name, I know, but the info is excellent. Then I’d say read Gardening When it Counts by Steve Solomon for a totally different take on gardening. That one is slanted towards survival and has some excellent insights. I have also learned a lot from Biointensive gardening, and though the book is a bit dense at points with data, How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons is very much worth having. I actually created a big list of some of my favorite gardening books here.

I’m a sucker for books.

 

SC:    I have Steve Solomon’s book.  I like his illustrations on different root systems and I can see where many of your concepts align with his, such as wide spaces between plants so roots are not competing for water. I like the chapter on Fertigation, especially where he illustrates the way water drips into different types of soils (sand = deeper but a narrower area as the water moves through the soil quickly while clay = shallower spread of water but dispersed over a wide area).

DG:    Yes, he thinks through things a lot better than many other authors I’ve read. I also got my idea for “melon pits” from Steve Solomon.

 

SC:    In the introduction to Gardening When It Counts Steve Solomon mentions he’s moved to Tasmania as it is far removed from the world’s worries. Let’s say you didn’t have to worry if a certain area is in a war zone or has a terrible government. Which location suits you most in terms of climate and the pursuit of good food, that is, your Garden of Eden?  

DG:    I love pretty much all of the tropics. When you start looking at the variety of edible species possible in locations without frost, you just can’t be quite happy in say, the Midwest. Fiji would be about right. Costa Rica is great but some of the dangers of the jungle are a drawback. Deadly snakes, for instance. Tobago is beautiful but riddled with crime. Malaysia is amazing. Though really, if someone would just give me one of the Virgin islands I’d turn that place into Eden in a few years.

 

SC:    You mentioned you are a sucker for books.  What do you enjoying reading beyond gardening?

DG:    Other than gardening, I read some business books, lots of sci-fi, plus classics. Currently reading through Moby Dick and re-reading John C. Wright’s Count to a Trillion series at the same time.

 

SC:    I know that gardening is healthy work but you must be tired at the end of the day with tending garden on top of your regular work. When and how do you fit in time to write?

DG:    Writing comes first, then when my brain is tired I do some video editing, then I get outside and garden. Some days I get up at dawn and get in a few hours outside before sitting down at my desk. I also randomly walk off into the rainforest when the mood hits me. I’d say on the average I write about 1000-2000 words per day. Having a daily website after having written radio scripts for years has simply trained me to be creative on a regular schedule. I don’t get writer’s block. Ever.

 

SC:    Looking at the books you have authored and the incredible amount of information on your blog it really must be a labor of love.

DG:    My goal is to be the top garden writer in the world. I won’t get there unless I outproduce everyone. It really helps that I love what I’m doing and that I get a lot of wonderful feedback from readers and viewers.

 

SC:    When reading your last CH interview I followed a link and found a recommendation for a chicken coopSometimes, I think about getting a few chickens but my train of thought is always interrupted by the neighborhood hawk on patrol overhead. Thing is, when travelling in Mexico or Central America every village has a bunch of free range chickens roaming about. You sound like you had bad luck with predators. Wondering if the village environment tends to deter predators?

DG:    One thing I’ve found since moving to Central America: people eat many of the predators. Everything from monkeys to possums end up on the table, unlike in the US where people wring their hands over shooing off the cute racoon they found out back. Really, though – chickens work better in some places and worse in others. Like plants, there’s no “one size fits all” approach. In North Florida, I gave up on free ranging my birds and basically kept them in a poultry prison. Here I can let them free range because they don’t get eaten.

 

SC:    What prompted you to move to Central America?

DG:    Two main reasons: freedom and a chance to try tropical agriculture. The bureaucracy and control over every aspect of life in the US is insane. I wanted to build my own house, construct composting toilet systems without a permit, plant trees in the front yard and raise my children in a less morally oppressive environment, so I simply left. I have Pilgrim blood so it runs in the family.

 

SC:    Do you mind providing a couple examples of the pro’s and con’s of Central American life for an expat? I’ve heard many folks from Mexico and Central America explain that they had a hard time adjusting to the level of control in the U.S. whereas I imagine life in Central America comes with more freedom but more uncertainty and corruption.

DG:    Yes. As a Croatian friend once told me, the upside of a nation is often its downside as well. For instance, Switzerland is very clean and efficient, but that is applied to you as well. If you like living in a place where they measure the hedges and fine you for an extra inch of growth, well… there you go. Here the government may not fix the road, but they also won’t come by your farm and get on your case for having unregistered goats. The whole idea is laughable. You can do almost whatever you want here. Just don’t expect the public services to run like they would in the first world. Corruption varies a lot from nation to nation, though. You can get in a bad way if you’re seen as the gringo with money; however, I’m in a farming area and the other farmers find me amusing. We all get along great.

 

SC:    I remember enduring significant heat in Central America. Once I set out before dawn to visit some ruins. Farmers in their white hats were already up and about. Walking down the dirt road In the cool morning air and seeing the mountains in the soft morning light I was enjoying the exotic location and it seemed like paradise, so much so I was thinking if I shouldn’t move there one day. A few hours later the heat was unbearable and the farmers not to be seen. What was the saying, mad dogs and Englishmen?

DG:    …walk where Aztecs fear to tread? We’re fortunate to be in the mountains near the sea so the climate is quite moderate here, but still: mid-day is no time to be in the sun. I’m usually out of the sun by 10AM, if possible.

 

SC:    Earlier you mentioned that gardening in the tropics was great because one could grow year round but the drawback was keeping up with the weeding and keeping the jungle at bay. Do you find plant disease or pests more of a problem in the tropics or not?

DG:    I was utterly astounded by how fast the growth of trees and vegetation took over some of my garden beds when the first rainy season started. Keeping back nature is tough. We’ve also had problems with rats eating the corn and cutworms killing seedlings, but I’m working on overcoming those things. The humidity and heavy rains also destroy tomato plants quite handily. But I’m used to having trouble with tomatoes – Florida didn’t like them either.

 

SC:    In one of your posts you mentioned the heavy clay soil of Tennessee. I can’t find the book but remember reading that each county in the U.S. had a USDA office and one could ask them questions about the local soil conditions and, I believe, even would test the soil and offer advice on growing in the local area.

I found the USDA Service Center locator but not sure if that is the correct office.  Have you ever used local USDA services for research or advice?

 

DG:    I do read some of their reports and have taken advantage of their germplasm resources. Local agricultural extensions are a nice thing to have, though they are often quite controlled by chemical and agricultural corporations. Lots of recommendations for poisons and practices I disagree with. I resigned as a Master Gardener over that, in part.

 

SC:    Please explain a Master Gardener’s roles and responsibilities.

DG:    They vary from state to state, but basically Master Gardeners are trained in the local climate and gardening (and a lot of landscaping practices… most of it doesn’t relate to growing food!) practices as laid out by the state extension/universities. The Master Gardener program I was certified by was linked to the University of Florida. They have a massive amount of data available and I enjoyed surfing through it and asking questions. However, most of the Master Gardeners were unimaginative and more interested in azaleas than growing food. It requires a lot of volunteer hours to stay active and I was frankly bored by the meetings and work.

 

SC:    Grow or Die has an excellent section on preserving the harvest. I was wondering if you are familiar with the traditional Korean earthenware, Onggiused to store (and also ferment foods such as kimchi) in the days before refrigeration?  Now days, in the Korean countryside one is more likely to see big blue plastic tubs instead but the old containers are still around (sometimes used for decoration). This type of earthenware may come in very useful in an any electricity limited scenario (or even if the good times keep rolling along and one just wants to save on the electricity bill).

DG:    I like the idea a lot. I used to have some of my grandparents’ old fermentation crocks which we used for sauerkraut and yes, kimchee. Fermented vegetables are food and medicine. We lost a lot of good things when we gained refrigeration, though I wouldn’t really want to go backwards in time too far.

 

SC:    I have started reading Compost Everything which explains how to simplify the process. Readers are instructed to compost equal parts green (nitrogen rich waste such as manure and kitchen scraps) and brown (shredded paper, leaves and wood chips). I’d like to confirm that the ratio is based on weight and not so much on volume? I’m thinking if I had some manure (dense and heavy material) for my green and had leaves for brown I should mix it, or should I say cover it, with what I guess to be the same weight in leaves?  

DG:    You know, I think it’s really more of a rule of thumb than a proper ratio. There’s quite a bit of wiggle room. I just look at the piles of green and brown materials and if they look roughly similar, throw them together. Sometimes you know your “green” is really hot, though, like chicken manure – and you only need a bit. But almost whatever you do, unless you just pile up sawdust, you’re going to get compost in a reasonable time frame. Just throw it on the ground.

 

SC:    The warning about using manure from unknown sources in Compost Everything is depressing, especially as many well folks want to use manure for organic farming but unaware that the manure may contain traces of pharmaceuticals given to farm animals, pesticides, antibiotics, herbicides, etc & etc. It really is a fallen world.

DG:    Yes indeed. I really hate that whole thing. Manure will wreck your garden. I get stories on it regularly, plus thank-you notes from people who finally know what went wrong.

 

SC:    I’m guessing that dog manure works but wondering the best way to apply it to the compost heap?  Throw it in there or break the pieces apart with a stick?  I need to dig back into your books as I remember something about mixing the manure in a bucket with a certain amount of water then spreading it.

DG:    Dog manure is more likely to be a disease vector so I would prefer to bury it in a melon pit rather than a compost pile, unless I wasn’t going to use that compost for a year.


SC:    Have you heard of Joe Salatin at Polyface Farm (Polyface, Inc. is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.)?  In Grow or Die when I read about your chicken tractor and how it helped remove pests and improved the soil, I thought of Joe.

DG:    Yes, and I’ve read multiple books by him. He’s an inspiration to many. I’m not much on keeping animals in general, but if I did, I would pay attention to Joel.

 

SC:    Some readers are probably wondering what a chicken tractor is. My thought when I read your book was it is a large, mobile, chicken coop in which the chickens are free to move around and feed but are limited to a certain area.  As one part of the lawn/field is denuded of grass you move it to another part.

DG:    Yes, you got it. Chickens break the pest cycle by eating up the bad guys and they also clear ground and manure it at the same time. Land is improved rapidly with chickens and even larger grazing animals, if managed properly.

 

SC:    Do you want to touch on gardening and your faith and where it intersects?

DG:    I am a Bible-believing Christian and a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and see nature as a designed system that can be tweaked and molded to our use. At the same time, I think many people adjust nature with a hammer and upset a lot of the excellent balance God built into the system. We need to both use what we’ve been given and protect it at the same time. I am in awe of how intricately the ecosystem works together. There have been times I just left a patch of native vegetation alone because I assumed it had reason and purpose behind it. Through observation, you’ll start to see things you never saw before. I once mowed down all the rough vegetation and wildflowers in a yard and all the honey bees disappeared in the area for a long time. Not good for my fruit trees! When you start to look for design, you will even see the weed differently. Did you know certain weeds show up in broken and damaged soil specifically as repair organisms? They’ll fix deficiencies, stop erosion, rot and die, then other forms of vegetation will arise. It’s amazing.

 

SC:    That may be an idea for a future book, a listing of beneficial weeds and a treatise on how to take care of a lawn without using chemicals.

DG:    I think lawns are an almost complete waste of time and energy unless you’re fattening up sheep on the grass. If I started writing a book like that, by about the third paragraph I’d be arguing for the planting of sweet potatoes or pigeon peas instead of St. Augustine grass. I took out a half-acre lawn at my old place and planted a big, tangled food forest with perhaps 200 plant species in it. I’m definitely not a lawn guy.

 

SC:    Even though this will be late news when this post is published, word on the street is that your new book, Push the Zone, is coming out very soon.  Who knew zone bias was a thing?

DG:    It’s out right now!  I don’t blame anyone for thinking they can’t grow tropical plants outside the tropics. The plants themselves die rapidly under cold conditions. Yet I wasn’t going to let that stop me from growing what I wanted… so I researched and tweaked and observed and planted and pushed the zone until I made things grow that were “impossible” to grow. It really was fun. Five years of hands-on research went into that book, along with some pie-in-the-sky dreaming that wouldn’t let me stop.


SC:    All the trial and error in your gardening career has made Push the Zone a good read. I’ve never lived in the deep South and I’ve never heard of using water barrels to moderate the temperature of a home, greenhouse or even delicate fruit trees. That’s an idea that will stick with me.

DG:    I was amazed by how well it worked. So simple and cheap. I like simple and cheap.

 

SC:    I take it you like mangos. Let’s say I’m in the optimal growing zone for mangos or in a zone that I can use some Push the Zone techniques to grow a tree. How many years from initial planting to the first batch of fruit? Is there a way to speed the process by buying a small tree from a nursery and planting it or a sapling from a friend’s tree down south?

DG:    From a pit you can have mangoes in 4-6 years if you’re good at it. A grafted tree goes faster, and nursery trees will be grafted. You might get mangoes in just a year or two if you buy a tree. And yes – I love mangoes.

 

SC:    I like your “hidden calorie stash” suggestion. A garden may be raided for easily recognizable crops such as tomatoes but yams will most probably either be overlooked or unwanted by the thief.

DG:    Bingo. Heck, just knowing wild plant foraging has brought me quite a few meals. I do love to plant unrecognizable edibles. I mean, how many thieves would steal your Mexican tree spinach? Or your African yams? Or even your chestnuts? Most won’t even know what those things are.

 

SC:    In Push the Zone you mentioned hoodlums smashing up a greenhouse down Miami way. In other parts of the U.S. were your crops left alone or did you have to deal with human pilferage? Is that a factor in Central America is are so many people growing food it’s not an issue?

DG:    South Florida is a low-trust, high-immigrant society. A lot of stuff gets stolen there, though lesser-known fruits and vegetables are usually safe. Where I lived in North Florida we had almost zero crime. The worst thing that happened was a neighbor kid carved one of my front-yard pumpkins into a jack-o-lantern while it was hanging on the fence. I just laughed at that. Here you will get people taking fruit if it’s right next to the road. It also matters where you live. In my neighborhood, wandering goats and cows are a bigger damage vector than people.

 

SC:    Another item I never thought about is the heat island effect of urban areas and the ability to grow plants that wouldn’t survive in the nearby rural areas. Even in an apocalyptic, no power,  scenario the sheer amount of concrete and asphalt should allow for some residual warmth until the weeds and vines start taking over. This may have been proven by your experience with growing papaya and planting close to a warm wall and under the protection of the overhanging roof (more buildings, more of these microclimates and other buildings nearby serving as a windbreak).

DG:    Yep. There are benefits to growing in the city. Even when the weeds and vines take over that heat effect will still be there. Thermal mass is an awesome thing, and stone and concrete hold plenty of warmth.

 

SC:    Talking about all this food has made me hungry. Besides what you grow on your own,what is your favorite food? If you don’t have a favorite then what would be your last meal if you had to choose it?

DG:    Dry ramen, a tin of Spam and a bottle of Jim Beam. With a pack of Camel unfiltereds. Actually, I’m a fan of hot, thick yellow Jamaican curry. I greatly enjoy Thai curry as well, especially curried scallops. Another favorite is sushi, particularly tuna rolls and sashimi. My favorite pizza is jalepenos, mushrooms and anchovies together. Also a big fan of Dos Equis on tap, with nachos and cheese dip. Limburger cheese and crackers I love. And mangoes. Mangoes are always good. I’ve been out of the states for so long that I would kill for a Wendy’s bacon double cheeseburger with a frosty and biggie fries, too, but I think that would destroy me for a day or so.

 

SC:     What is your next writing project?

DG:    Next book? It’s a toss-up between a book I’m writing with a professional beekeeper titled Beekeeping in the South… or Tactical Gardening, a book on hiding food in plain sight and growing death hedges. The beekeeping book is almost completed, so that will probably come out first.

 

SC:    Final question.  I’m afraid this isn’t gardening related but it is important to me and probably for many CH blog readers. In Grow or Die you mentioned the perils of getting kidnapped by the Brazilian women’s beach volleyball team. What did you do and where did you go that caused this to happen? I need these details so I won’t fall into the same trap.

DG:    Don’t worry. As an UHIQ Sigma male, this is simply one of the risks inherent to my nature. You’ll be fine, I’m sure, as there are very few of my breed and you are almost certainly not one, statistically speaking.

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