This time of year, gardening is pretty mindless stuff, like weeding and watering. Those are jobs that require very little attention, and zero creativity, so I say why not use the time to entertainment myself via one of the many devices available for that purpose?
Music and Podcasts
My entertainment of choice? Podcasts, all free via iTunes and easy as pie to listen to while gardening – if they’re loaded on a small MP3 player that will clip onto your clothes. My favorite of these is the iPod Shuffle, which costs just $50, holds lots more than I need it to, and clips easily onto any item of clothing. I prefer that tiny iPod because the others, though they have more bells and whistles, have to be carried in something or strapped onto your arm where – contrary to the ads that tout ease of use – they’re really hard to get to when you need to change the volume or move to the next podcast (or song, if you’re listening to music).
As a long-time podcast listener, I’ve tried several MP3 players and have settled on the Apple product because it’s coordinated with iTunes, and Apple doesn’t let its competing products (like Samsung’s) directly communicate with iTunes. And ya gotta use iTunes, whether you want to or not.
Now for the content, starting with a few podcasts that are actually about gardening. The highly respected garden writer Ken Druse, author of dozens of books, also podcasts. It’s called Real Dirt with Ken Druse.
Former Martha Stewart exec and popular blogger Margaret Roach also produces a weekly podcast, which I listen to religiously. You can take her advice to the bank – just adjust a bit for the difference between her zone (in New York) and ours.
Writer and raconteur Felder Rushing has a show on Mississippi Public Radio called the Gestalt Gardener, and it’s also available as a podcast through iTunes. Check it out.
But those shows just aren’t enough to entertain me while gardening AND doing housework, so I also subscribe to an array of interview shows on NPR and other public radio outlets. My favorites include Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Leonard Lopate Show, and locally, the Kojo Nnambi Show. To the mix of radio shows I add some television shows that offer the audio free as a podcast – 60 Minutes and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.
And then there’s music! The same iPods or other MP3 players can be loaded with music, which I’ve tried but honestly, find it too much trouble to seek out new music all the time. But that’s where good old FM radio comes in handy, which can be easily accessed with a somewhat larger iPod or any number of Apple competitors that play MP3s AND act as radios.
Books on Tape/CD/MP3
My pal Kathy Jentz, editor of Washington Gardener Magazine, is a big fan of audio books, and writes that she listens to them on her vintage Sony Walkman or Discman while gardening. That’s a great idea – I’m a fan of audio books, too – but ya know, those same audio books can be downloaded in digital format these days, right to the same iPod or other MP3 player that’s used for music and podcasts.