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Crops in Pots Hardcover – April 5, 2007

4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews


"The recipes in Wong''s book offer remedies for a wide range of ailments - from sore throats to hot flashes to head lice...Wong says humans have been battling with insects for only a few thousand years. Plants, however, have been at war with insects for millions of years. ''Over that huge period, there''s been time for them to evolve all sorts of unusual strategies, many of which are natural chemical weapons - insecticides - that exist in the environment that can be used in all manner of ways,'' he says. In his recipes, Wong says he hijacks what plants have evolved for themselves, and he uses that to treat humans and animals."
--NPR''s "All Things Considered"

"A provocative title - which sounds even more provocative when you realize that the author''s name rhymes with bong. Bonus! But back off, dude. This is actually a guide to growing home remedies - legitimate remedies - for a variety of legitimate ailments, from athlete''s foot to water retention. And Wong is an ethnobotanist who trained at the famous Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in England and now lectures at the University of Kent. This book is based on his BBC show of the same name, which airs in Britain. Despite the garden-focused title, most of the book is made up of recipes, which means that even if you don''t have a green thumb, you can still try your hand at a homemade head-lice treatment (rosemary, lavender, neem oil, almond oil, garlic and tea tree oil) or beeswax lip balm (marigold petals, almond oil, beeswax, honey, vitamin E and aloe vera gel), among many other remedies." --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Yes, the title does conjure up images of pot plants and basements with grow lights, but James Wong''s new book is about those medicinal plants that may already be sprouting in your yard. Wong, a well-known ethnobotanist and BBC star, has compiled a list of 100 plants (and their parts) -- fruit, vegetables, trees, shrubs, roots, herbs, flowers and leaves -- that offer remedies for a plethora of disorders." --The Oregonian

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Bob Purnell is a writer, broadcaster, lecturer, and award-winning garden designer who also co-runs a small nursery in southwest England specializing in plants for containers. Purnell writes regularly for numerous gardening publications and has designed gardens for clients throughout England. He is the author of Reader’s Digest Container Gardens by Number. Purnell resides in North Somerset. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Readers Digest (April 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762108428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762108428
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #892,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Although I agree that McGee & Stuckey's "The Bountiful Container" is the essential book for container gardening, the beautiful photos and variety of plantings in Purnell's "Crops in Pots" make it a necessity. It's full of pictures that really show what can be achieved by container gardeners, and especially useful information about what kinds of plants do best in what kinds of containers, and how much space you really need to grow something.

Each page contains a themed grouping of plants in a suggested container with information about sun, watering and fertilizer needs. For example, "Potted Potager" suggests a 30x18in. container to grow a variety of kale, nasturium, beets, thyme, parsley, chives, coriander, dill and strawberries.

The emphasis here is on middle to large containers, but I am inspired to try mini versions in 8-10in. containers as well. A few things to note: Purnell focuses on starting with seeds and uses soil-less mixes, so refer back to M&S for using potting soil and transplants. Being English, there are no references to USDA Hardiness Zones, but your local farmer's market can help you with cultivars. He likes mixing edibles with flowers with beautiful results, but if (like me) you want to focus your energy on things you can eat, there are plenty of tumbling or low hanging foods to grow showcased in the book. Best of all, there is a section on Pests and Diseases with detailed pictures. Now I know what an aphid looks like and will keep them the hell off my tomatoes.
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Format: Hardcover
Imagine a cluster of attractive pots filled with a lush mixture of edible and ornamental plants-- containers you can enjoy on your patio, tend without stooping and protect from deer and rabbits. For anyone who dreams of a manageable, small-scale vegetable garden, Crops in Pots is bound to be alluring. The book is divided into several parts: a "how to" section discusses how to choose and plant containers, water, fertilize and so on; three sections feature lovely photographs of potted combinations of "starters" (mostly lettuce and herbs), "main courses" (mostly vegetables) and "desserts" (mostly fruits); and an all-too-brief final section on "what to grow" discusses the cultural needs of different fruits and vegetables and suggests cultivars well-suited to containers. This attractive book may help propel you out into your yard or garden center when the prospect of digging up a large area of garden would seem too daunting. The book's drawback lies in the somewhat simplistic presentation of the suggested container projects. If you are a novice gardener,you will need to consult the final section on "what to grow" as well as additional gardening books to really understand the needs of particular edibles so that your project can successfully come to fruition. If you are an experienced gardener, you are likely to find that this book, though visually appealing, fails to break new ground.
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book thinking that it would teach me how to grow my vegatables in pots because I dont have the space to plant in the ground. It was more of a fancy way to grow them with other display plants. It was not exactally what I was looking for.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is fine. The title lead me to believe there would be more emphasis on vegetables and herbs...as other reviewers have indicated Bountiful Container is a much better choice if you, like me, are seeking info on growing herbs and veggies in pots. Edible plants/flowers are fine-- but more decorative. This is just a typical run of the mill container gardening book.
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Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while, I come across a gem of a book that I don't expect much of, but it turns into an unexpected treasure. This is one of those books.

"Crops in Pots" is a visual feast of ideas for designing container plantings. Each two-page spread suggests a "recipe"/idea for container (or grouping of containers), with gorgeous photography of the finished container or grouping, a list of "ingredients," including not just the plants themselves, but a recommended size and look of a container (very helpful!). An extra treat is a literal recipe at the bottom... a delicious-sounding recipe using some of that page's container plantings.

What I love about "Crops in Pots" is that the finished plantings are visually so beautiful. Far from a strict utilitarian approach, these well-designed container "recipes" combine vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers (some edible, some just as a showy centerpiece surrounded by edibles) into spectacular plantings that are beautiful enough to grace a grand front entrance, not just hidden away on the back deck (although they will be spectacular there too!). Several reviewers have complained that some of the container suggestions include flowers along with edible plants, but I consider it an asset that the containers are just as beautiful as they are practical.

I considered giving "Crops in Pots" 4 stars since it is not all-encompassing as far as the technical side of growing edibles in containers, but honestly, that's not the goal of this book. I have other books on container gardening that go into excruciating detail on what to fertilize container cucumbers with or how much sunlight container-grown lettuce needs. This book is meant to complement, not replace, books such as "The Bountiful Container," and spark ideas for the beauty, design, and *ART* of edible container gardening. And as such, "Crops in Pots" is absolutely five stars.
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