Married; children: two.
Writer, landscape gardener, worm farmer, and graphic designer. Worked as a house cleaner and roofer.
Slug Bread & Beheaded Thistles: Amusing & Useful Techniques for Nontoxic Housekeeping & Gardening, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Eat More Dirt: Diverting and Instructive Tips for Growing and Tending an Organic Garden, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2003.
(And illustrator) Organic Housekeeping: In Which the Nontoxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family While You Save Time, Money, and, Perhaps, Your Sanity, Scribner (New York, NY), 2006.
Ellen Sandbeck is a writer, organic landscaper, graphic artist, and worm farmer whose books deal with environmentally safe, organic, and effective ways of growing food, cleaning house, and reducing the need for toxic chemicals in the average household. Eat More Dirt: Diverting and Instructive Tips for Growing and Tending an Organic Garden contains nontoxic organic gardening advice for beginners and experts alike, covering topics such as rodent and pest control, weeding, rototilling, composting, pruning, fertilizing, and more. Sandbeck's suggestions stress patience and common sense, and in all cases seek to provide methods of successful gardening that avoid the use of toxic and environmentally harmful substances. She also offers stories of friends, neighbors, and colleagues who have successfully built a productive organic garden using the methods and materials described. Reviewer Bonnie Poquette, writing in the Library Journal, called the book "highly informative without being the least bit stuffy." Booklist reviewer Carol Haggas concluded: "Arcane facts blend with feasible advice in this delightful discourse on natural and nurturing gardening."
In Organic Housekeeping: In Which the Nontoxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family While You Save Time, Money, and, Perhaps, Your Sanity, Sandbeck "raises consciousness while promoting simple, environmentally friendly, and cheap solutions to every cleaning challenge," remarked Deanna Larson and Michelle Jones in a review posted on BookPage. Sandbeck is dedicated to the idea of being able to keep a clean and orderly house while minimizing the effects of cleaning agents and other materials on the environment. She covers topics such as relying more on paper products than plastic; controlling odors; effective cleaning and disinfecting; handling laundry; improving indoor air quality; reducing clutter in the living space; and more. She also offers suggestions for cleaning and caring for cars, bathing pets, cleaning and caring for computers, and practicing fire prevention. Sandbeck's mission also stresses reusing and recycling, reducing consumption in general, ensuring that beneficial organisms are not harmed by the use of harsh toxic cleaners, and growing and using organic food. With this book, Sandbeck "doles out knowledge with an easy-to-digest blend of authority and humor," commented a reviewer in Publishers Weekly. Her "sensible, safe, and more effective methods for clean, healthy living help both ordinary families and the world," remarked Larson and Jones.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2003, Carol Haggas, review of Eat More Dirt: Diverting and Instructive Tips for Growing and Tending an Organic Garden, p. 1027.
E, July 1, 2003, review of Eat More Dirt, p. 60.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2006, "Productive Living at Home," review of Organic Housekeeping: In Which the Nontoxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family While You Save Time, Money, and, Perhaps, Your Sanity, p. 10.
Library Journal, February 15, 2003, Bonnie Poquette, review of Eat More Dirt, p. 161.
Publishers Weekly, April 10, 2006, review of Organic Housekeeping, p. 65.
BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (May 24, 2007), Deanne Larson and Michelle Jones, "Clean Machines for a Living," review of Organic Housekeeping.
Random House Web site,http://www.randomhouse.com/ (May 24, 2007), biography of Ellen Sandbeck.
Simon & Schuster Web site,http://www.simonsays.com/ (May 24, 2007), biography of Ellen Sandbeck.