Like I said last month, book reviews aren’t really the emphasis of this site, but we’ll make exceptions. Since Grow Great Grub has inspired me to launch past my existing gardening attempts (i.e., beautiful summer tomatoes and a sad Meyer lemon tree) into the world of potted herbs (stay tuned!), I thought you might like to hear about it, too.
I was so excited to get a review copy of this book because the whole point of it is that not only can you garden anywhere, but also you can grow food anywhere —even in the city, even in a small space. Rather than fancy pots or planters, you’ll see gorgeous photos of seeds sprouting in repurposed tins, wooden crates, trash cans, even toilet paper rolls in this book. There’s attention given to making these creative gardens aesthetically pleasing as well as practical, which anyone in a small space would recognize as important and which I think makes the process seem much more approachable and worth trying.
I love reading about bloggers who became authors, particularly ones who were blogging when I was in high school, which was a time when, let’s be honest, I didn’t know what a blog was. That’s exactly the story of Gayla Trail, who has grown her YouGrowGirl.com site (launched February 2000) into a community of modern gardeners filled with forums and articles, as well as written two books: You Grow Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening and now Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces.
This paperback book is filled with full-color, gorgeous images, mostly taken by Gayla herself (preview pages here). It’s organized into sections such as a primer on gardening, information on different types of plants (vegetables, fruit, herbs/edible flowers) and tips on harvesting (including a chapter on canning/preserving).
What This Means for Me:
As I said above, I’m going to try growing herbs. This makes me nervous (lemon tree, anyone?) but I think it’s the safest place to start. In the FAQ section of the book’s Web site, Gayla addresses the question of where to get started in small-space gardening, particularly if you’re new: “Herbs are generally low maintenance and will thrive in small spaces. They also provide the biggest windfall for the least amount of work….Growing indoors on a windowsill presents a larger challenge so I would suggest beginning with resilient herbs that will tolerate less-than-ideal conditions. Thyme, oregano, marjoram, Cuban oregano, chives, cress, and sage all do well in a sunny window.”
Bonus! Free Canning Labels!
One more thing! On Gayla’s site, there’s a free PDF, featuring labels for mason jars, perfect for canning. Check it out here.