Win a Copy of The Heirloom Life Gardener

I couldn’t put down my copy of The Heirloom Life Gardener, the fascinating story of how Jere Gettle started the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. You can win a copy of the book that boldly states, “Anyone can start a garden.”

To enter the book giveaway, post a comment here on what gardening means to you before Friday, January 13, at 5:00 p.m. Mountain time. The winner will be selected at random from all comments and notified January 16. This giveaway is open to gardeners in the U.S. and Canada.

The new book called The Heirloom Life Gardener is all about gardening with heirloom vegetables. But there’s much more to it than that. I think this book is also a love story.

Jere Gettle started working in his family’s garden when he was only 3 years old and almost immediately he knew he wanted to become a seedsman one day. He started Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company in 1998 in the bedroom of his family’s home when he was only 17. That first seed catalog has grown to one that includes 1400 varieties from 70 different countries.

The Heirloom Life Gardener: The Baker Creek Way of Growing Your Own Food Easily and Naturally (Hyperion Books, 2011, $29.99) describes how he first fell in love with the rich colors of the garden and surrounding landscape. He describes in detail how he started searching for rare and wonderful seeds with his first trip–alone–into Mexico. His need for seeds, what he calls seed fever, has taken him to the places where people are still using traditional farming and gardening methods. He’s stopped at roadside vegetable stands in Guatemala and bustling markets in Thailand to find the most beautiful and delicious varieties to share with us.

I like how Jere, his wife Emilee and writer Meghan Sutherland create an interesting timeline that shows how his interest in heirloom seeds intersects with changes in our food supply and the grow-your-own food revolution. Heirloom vegetables, fruits, herbs, and other plants, don’t just tie us to the past, they are important to our food safety.

Heirlooms are seeds that have been around for many years and no one has tinkered with them. These are the seeds that are non-hybrid and open-pollinated. That means any heirloom seed you plant today will grow into the same plant next year and the next year, just as it grew years (and years) ago. One of the oldest seeds Baker Creek sells is the ‘Black Spanish’ radish that dates to around 200 A.D.

I think every gardener needs to read the chapter called “Seeds in America.” This chapter explains how agriculture underwent dramatic changes starting in the mid-twentieth century when it became industrialized. Advances thought to improve agriculture, such as genetically-modified seeds and chemical pesticides and fertilizers, are actually “mixed blessings, which have the potential to jeopardize the health and well-being of future generations.”

It’s my hope that gardeners everywhere will pick up a copy of The Heirloom Life Gardener, buy a pack of heirloom seeds, and start planting.

[I received this free review copy of The Heirloom Life Gardener to keep, but I’m such a fan of Baker Creek Seed Company that I’ve decided to pass it along to one lucky reader.]


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Gardening is a calming force in this hectic world. it helps to give me focus on the “task at hand” and build to see the future of the beauty that will be.

Thanks for being the first gardener to share what gardening means to you. I really appreciated hearing from you!


Gardening connects me to generations of ancestors who were family farmers, it connects me to my Dad who taught me. It connects me to the land and the seasons and nature. It grounds me. And it gives me and my family great vegetables!

For me, gardening is a way to connect to nature and to refresh my spirit.

Gardening means trying to grow fruits that my family can more easily enjoy by going into the backyard and picking them versus going to a supermarket and buying them. I really enjoyed your post.

It’s the time for me to immerse myself in an activity that makes me feel closer to the natural world. It’s also the opportunity to see what works, to make mistakes, and to try something different next time. Please make it be spring right now!!

i love going to my garden for peace and quiet working by myself. and other times i love to see my children’s excitement to see things growing that they will be able to eat!

Gardening to me is the most satisfying thing you can do. To be able to work at something and then enjoy the finished product, there really are no words. I would love nothing more to live off my land full time and I am taking steps everyday to make that dream come true. I would much rather go to my backyard then the grocery store any day.

Gardening to me is relaxing and a learning experience. I’m always trying new experiments. One in fact I’m starting this week. Can’t wait for spring to start again!

I think gardening and all it entails helps me connect to my grandfather…he taught me all about planting canning and enjoying the “fruits” of your labor…he was a seed saver when we were kids… I’m not even sure how many years he planted the same varities…he was also grafted all his trees on their property one had all the citrus the other was a few different plums ,,,we always thought it was magic…but he taught us that gardening was magic…

I started gardening about 4 years ago and every year my skills and knowledge increase tremendously. This was the first year I have harvested lemons from my indoor/outdoor meieri lemon tree. Each year I get closer and closer to my goal of leaving factory farms and grocery stores in the dust. I support local dairies and organic/humane meat producers and I grow everything else that I can. This has been rewarding beyond words. I enjoy turning adults and children on to living off the land. My friend has a budding interest in doing the same. I plan on giving him a lemon tree and should I win your book, I’ll pass that on as well.

When I am out in my garden I am transported back to a time before my mom was sick and I only a little girl watching and learning what she had to teach me before she left. This is a special time that I reserve for her and I. I may not be able to see her but I know she is there with me loving the fact that I also became a gardener enjoying the dirt running through my fingers, nurturing my beautiful, colorful life giving plants with my chickens by my side awaiting any treats I might find. This is what gardening means to me.

Gardening and the subsequent shopping trips to greenhouses with my Mom, aunts and cousins means the world to me!

Gardening is my escape from the technology and constant information stream that is most of our lives. Being able to turn some compost while planning my spring bed is a joy. Nothing else compares to pulling that first fresh tomato off the vine and slicing it. Besides, a little dirt under the nails is good for everyone.

Gardening is a way for me to teach my grandchildren all the important things in life and to make sure you stop and smell and touch and enjoy everything around you that nature has to offer.

Gardening is a way for my 14 yo son to feel like he has accomplished something great. He loves to grow things and proves that he is good at something. It is a way for him to prove to the male figures in his life that he really is good at something. I love him!

Gardening means, to myself and my family, healthier eating which equates to healthier and happier living!

I enjoy gardening. It helps take the stress out of the everyday things we have to do. And I love the fact there are no chemicals in my garden. All organic including pesticides. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

Gardening is my soul and salvation. haveing raised 6 children-one with Muscular Dystrophy, Ineeded an out where I could, love, nurture and see results. Pleasure to all of my senses. I could vertually LIVE in my garden, it speaks to me in so many lovin wats. God gave me this tool to be able to Bless everyone,not only w/beauty to adore but to be able to feed many hungry hearts. Peace. Thank You! MJ

When I was a little girl I spent my summers with my grandmother. Her love of God and gardening were the two most important things that she taught me. I spent many hours with her in her flower beds, not only did she teach me about flowers but that they were a gift from God. Every time I work in my yard my grandmother (Dear) is with me. She passed away in 1964 but her spirit lives on in my garden and my heart.

We live in Northern NY.Gardening is a spiritual lifesaver every Spring.After long Winters,it’s refreshing to see the rebirth of my flowers every year.I have an Autistic son so life can be a daily challenge sometimes,and walking into my gardens refills my spirit and renews my energy in a way nothing else does.During the Winter,I focus on my inside garden…ie houseplants. 🙂

I have gardened since I was a kid. My dad taught me at a young age. We had a big garden. And I loved gardening with him. I still garden as much as I can. It is very rewarding and home grown food is the best. We now live where the ground is rocky so have been expanding my garden with some raised beds. Also do flower gardening. It is so ralaxing and i’m out there being one with nature. Love it. This book that you are offering sounds like it will have many good ideas, tips etc. Will also be great to receive articles via subscription.

Gardening = Sanity.
Getting my hands in the dirt keeps me ‘grounded’ emotionally and spiritually. The connection with Mother Earth is a powerful one!

For me gardening used to be an enjoyable pastime. Now, gardening is our way of life. I have come to realize that there is more therapy in gardening than any psychologist’s office, more nutrition in my home garden than in any grocery store, and more love in my life because I can grow beautiful flowers and fresh vegetables and fruits for my family. My children are gone now, but my husband and I have found that “empty nest syndrome” means we have time to garden together, from planning, to harvesting, and it has become a shared passion for us. Life is good!

Gardening is the revelation of God’s goodness. The cycle of life, beauty in the smallest of plants and creatures, texture and color beyond compare. Gardening forever entwines generations of folks, strengthens relationships between earth and man.

Gardening is my way to feed my family and enjoy a beautiful landscape. I have found it to be one of the best ways to meet people as someone is always stopping to ask questions. It is the most relaxing thing you can do in this crazy stressful world.

What gardening means to me:
One word; Family.
I come from a long line of farmers and backyard gardeners.
Gardening offers a wonderful bond I can create with my daughter; passing down generations of knowledge, stories and love.
It connects our past and present.

Gardening is a way to enjoy the foods that mother earth can provide for us(in a much healthier way than buying those genetically modified foods we see on store shelves today). Its also a way to provise food for the wildlife,birds,squirrils,and other wild life you see every day. Some plants attract butterflies,which help you and your children study and learn about nature on a daily basis. Besides that, it is just plain relaxing to tend to those beautiful flowers. 🙂

Gardening is free therapy. Busy hands, a calming mind. I’d be lost without it.

Gardening to me is very relaxing and it is definitely an ego booster when something I plant, actually grows beautifully. I find it refreshing after a long day or week at the office.

I have been gardening for quite some time now. I have been using heirloom seeds for just about as long. I enjoy the feeling I get when I stop to think of how old a line of seeds is. I would like to visit with the people who planted the seeds way back when.

Gardening to me means peace, fun, fresh air, all the good things in life. Getting dirty brings back fun memories from my childhood. Would rather be outside in my yard than indoors anyday. In fact, my house work dwindles down to next to nothing during nice weather…thank goodness for my husband!

For me, gardening is how I reduce our family food bill and increase our consumption of healthy foods. As I worked to eliminate the processed food from our household and family diet, I found out weekly food bill skyrocketed before our garden came into full production. My goal is to keep our garden growing year-round at to have both foods to preserve and to store root crops in our enclosed carport.

Gardening has been a part of my life since childhood when I watched my father tend his backyard garden. As a mother I planted the garden to provide the wholesome vegtables from my childhood for my family. Now as a “garden granny’ I garden for the joy and peace it brings to my life. I’m closest to God in my garden.

Gardening means re-connecting with nature and the earth, and bringing that relationship to my children.

Gardening is something that produces such abundance, you can share with everyone you know.

Stepping on the earth, with soil under my nails and sometimes in my hair, takes me to another world…a blessed one where there is quiet, peace, and simple adventures. Gardening is a blessing in my life. I am glad it has arrived and is here to stay!!!

Seed fever, seedsman, these are new terms to me. Only three years ago I discovered my love for gardening and I have learned there is always more to learn. What a phenomenal way to feed my body, spirit, and mind. Thank you for introducing what sounds to be a most interesting book.

to me, gardening is my new passion. i bought my first house at the ripe old age of 48 and there were a few small garden plots with wonderful rich soil. the seller even planted a tomato plant for me. watching things grow from a bloom into a fruit amazes me every time. i can’t get enough of it! thanks for the opportunity to read this love story.

Gardening is about connecting. When I garden I am connected to my Mother, to her mother and so on through the generations. When I garden I am connected to the the earth and all that gives life. I am connected to healers, mystics, friends, etc.

Gardening to me is about discovering new things, new ideas, & concepts. It’s about learning & involving oneself with nature & the surrounding environment. Gardening is about thriving & surviving to the fullest extent.

Gardening is about learning new ideas & concepts. It’s about involving one’s self in the surrounding environment. Gardening is about thriving & surviving.

Gardening connects me to wonder, and joy. It means I can go out and pick my lunch in the summer. It means lots of snow peas and spinach. Sometimes it means I have more than enough, and plenty to share. It means wildness and experimentation. Cats roll around in my catnip. I take naps on the straw bale I bought for extra next year. I can grow and eat varieties the store does not carry, including a few “weeds”. I love that. I like to have a relationship with my plants, and feel their spirits.
Gardening means I get to play in the compost and find worms everywhere in my yard.
I love to see what comes up each year and I relish how the plants flourish. This is so good for the spirit!

Gardening is a way for me to distress. If I am in a bad mood I go out to my garden and it makes me happy; even I am just pulling weeds. I love being outside!

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