Tag Archives: What is Simply Vegetable Gardening About?

greenbeans_galoreThis month, in many areas of the country, signs of spring are in the air and with that comes the first symptoms of spring fever where gardeners start dusting off their garden tools and get to work.



In honor of gardeners everywhere, I have dedicated this month’s blog posts to helping gardeners get started.
I have been a fan of organic gardening since reading my first issue of Organic Gardening Magazine when I was twelve years old. The principles of organic gardening always made sense to me. The ideas put forth by organic gardening principles offer solutions to many problems of modern life.


This week I am offering a 25% discount on digital copies of my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. From today through March 10, 2018 instead of the digital book being $2.99, it will be just $2.24 for a copy! Get Yours today before the promotion expires! Go to to download your copy today!

Coupon Code  LY88C

Autumn Leaves are a Wonderful Resource You Should Never Burn

We often face problems in the autumn with the leaves that fall from the trees. In our hectic busy lives, we often don’t have time to deal with them until spring. When spring comes, we often pile them up and set a fire to them. This is a mistake. Here’s an article that I wrote on Hubpages.

Stop Environmental Pollution of Burning Autumn Leaves-Use Them Instead


It is easy to make compost. Basically you need green materials (fresh green grass, manure, chopped kitchen garbage) brown material (leaves, shredded paper, chipped wood), soil, and water. In an area of your yard that is convenient to both the kitchen and the garden, layer a couple inches of each type of item listed above and let set several months, and turn the pile every couple of weeks. If you get more than an inch of rain every week, you won’t have to water the pile, but if you do, be sure to soak the pile well one time per week.


I often question whether I have enough of the right trace minerals in my compost, so I often add kelp powder to the pile along with the other ingredients.
Kelp can be used in other ways in the garden as well. I like to use it directly as a planting nutrient. I simply sprinkle kelp to the bottom of the planting hole when planting both seeds and plants.
I also add kelp to goat and chicken feed for two reasons. The first one is to guarantee that the animals get the nutrients that they need. Many illnesses that animals get are related to nutritional deficiencies. The second reason is that the kelp in the animal manure will be passed on to plants.

help from kelp photo

Kelp is beneficial in other ways too and I have written about it in my book Help from Kelp. It is available

on Kindle

and in print

Wood Ashes

When we had a woodstove for heating, we put all our wood ashes in the garden. In addition to working the wood ashes into the soil to add the nutrients, if certain vegetables are attacked by plant eating insects, wood ashes can be sprinkled on the leaves. The wood ashes don’t taste good to the insects, so they avoid the leaves treated with the ashes. For some reason, one application is enough, but it can be reapplied after a rain.

Diatomaceous Earth

In the absence of wood ashes, DE can be used in the garden as an insect repellent. Just dust it on the plants. For more information on how to use diatomaceous earth, check out another article in Hubpages:

Why I use Diatomaceous Earth in My Home and Garden
Although wood ashes and diatomaceous earth do keep insects off your plants, you can over do it and as I wrote in my article, not all insects in the garden are bad, good insects do exist.

Not All Insects in the Garden are Bad

DE Photo


In addition to Help from Kelp I have another book Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard You can get this book for free in a digital format at

Or if you prefer a book in print go to



The Mission Statement for Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing

What should I do now?

What should I do now?

Over the past several weeks I have been thinking about and developing the mission statement for my business which I call Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing.
The mission statement is important because it tells the purpose of the company. On the surface, I might have wanted to say that the purpose of my publishing business was “to make money writing and selling books”. However, I have learned that in order to do this, I need to have a mission that includes why readers would want to read the books that I write. Without including the readers as part of the mission, I am not likely to be able to sell any books.
Therefore, I had to figure out why readers would want to read my books. Since most of what I write is fiction, entertaining the reader is an important component to my mission.
Entertainment, however, isn’t all that I think my books do for others. Therefore, I look at the other aspects of the books that I write. Since my books are Christian in nature, encouragement and inspiration are also components of what I consider are part of my publishing mission.
My fiction books are also historical in nature. One of my desires as a writer is to educate. This is also the case in regards the nonfiction book that I have written as well.
The mission of Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing is to write, publish, and market books that entertain, encourage, inspire, educate, and enlighten. “The Books Folks ‘Swan’ to read.”

Elevator Speeches

I have discovered the value of determining elevator speeches in regards, not only to the business, but also in regards to each of the books that I write. The term “elevator speech” came about when individuals find themselves in an elevator with a prospective client and they have just two minutes to pitch their product or idea. This concept has been extended to giving a one or two sentence explanation for what you do. The goal of the elevator speech is to get the individual asking questions about you and what you are doing.

When someone asks me what I do,I say, “I am the publisher at Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing. I write, publish, and market books that entertain, encourage, inspire, educate and enlighten. I write “the books folks swan to read”

.After that answer I often get a slightly more specific question. “What kind of books do you write?” My answer, “I write both nonfiction and fiction. I have written a nonfiction gardening book called Simply Vegetable Gardening and I have a Historical Christian Romance series called The Locket Saga.”
This answer usually leads in one of three directions depending upon the listener’s interests. If the listener is interested in gardening, we might start having a vegetable gardening discussion. If the listener is interested in writing, the listener will start talking about wanting to write a book and will ask me writing questions. (If the listener is local, I will recommend that he or she attends our writers group and give that information.) The listener may ask me about The Locket Saga. I would tell the listener that I have three books published in the series with plans for more. If the listener starts asking me what each book is about, then I would use more elevator speeches. I practice each of these short answers regularly so that I do not stammer and can give an intelligent answer.
What is Simply Vegetable Gardening about? “This book is about tips and Strategies for producing a successful organically grown vegetable garden of a gardener with more than 40 years of experience.”
The Locket Saga about? This series is about a locket that gets passed down from bride to bride in a specific family lineage. It shares the family’s struggles, failures, and triumphs.
What is When God Turned His Head about? It is a Historical Christian Romance based in Colonial America in the 1750s, Drusilla Codman is accused of her husband’s murder.
What is Soldiers Don’t Cry about? It is a Historical Christian Romance set at the beginning of the American Revolution. A young couple is on opposite sides of the American Revolution. She is a Patriot Spy and smuggler and he is a British Officer.
What is A Coward’s Solace about? This Historical Christian romance, set at Valley Forge in 1777-1778, is about a young man who is seeking revenge for his Lenape wife’s murder, but instead discovers love, a family, and God.

Elevator Speeches for Future Books in the Locket Saga

Not only do I have elevator speeches for the books that I have already written, I have them for books that are in various drafts. Not only will I be able to state these answers confidently when someone asks what each of my books are about, but it provides a mission statement of sorts (theme) for the book as I am writing it. It definitely keeps me on track when writing each book.

What is Sailing Under the Black Flag about? This Historical Christian Romance is about a boy who becomes a man before his time when he joins an American privateer during the American Revolution.

What is In the Shadow of The Millpond about? A Historical Christian Romance during the Whiskey Rebellion in the frontier town of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania of the 1790s about a young woman who searches for the murderer so she can free her best friend and lifelong crush.

The next two books are little more than ideas, but I have elevator speeches about them as well.
What is The Anvil about? “It is a Historical Christian Romance set just before the turn of the 19th century about three families who go into the wilderness where years earlier, their ancestors were killed. A young man and a young woman discover what they are made of as they build a life in this wild hostile environment.”

What is I Have Never Had Writers Block About? I Have NEVER Had Writers Block (I’ll teach you how you too can avoid it too!) Proven strategies to avoid writer’s block that I instinctively knew and can teach others to do the same.
Other Uses for the Elevator Speech in the Business Plan
The mission of each elevator speech should reflect the mission of the mission statement. By writing these elevator speeches and including them with the mission statement, we make sure that this is true. As we look at these elevator speeches, we see that they do indeed reflect the mission statement of this business plan. Each one of those descriptions relate to the overall business mission in that it demonstrates the fact that the books that are published, written, and marketed at Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing does entertain, encourage, inspire, educate, and enlighten. “The Books Folks ‘Swan’ to read.”
In addition, these speeches can and should be used in product descriptions that show up later in the business plan. I will write more about that in a future post.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at .

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