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From Seed to Skillet: A Guide to Growing, Tending, Harvesting, and Cooking Up Fresh, Healthy Food to Share with People You Love Paperback – December 1, 2010

26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Urban farmer and landscape designer Jimmy Williams oversees his growing grounds, plants edible gardens for clients, and dispenses cultivation and cooking tips, plus vegetable, herb, and fruit seedlings, at three Los Angeles farmers' markets. He grows and sells heirloom tomatoes from seeds that have been passed down from his great-great-grandmother.

Susan Heeger is a long-time magazine and newspaper feature writer with a specialty in garden, design, home, lifestyle, and food stories. She lives in Los Angeles.

Eric Staudenmaier is a photographer and home gardener based in Los Angeles.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811872211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811872218
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.8 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By G. Griffeth on November 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been only organi-curious to date, but I have two sisters who garden, Christmas is looming, and I knew they couldn't already have this just-released book. So after a little research I ordered one "test" copy. (As of now, there's not a lot of info on the Amazon page, but googling the book title turned up a publisher's site with sample PDFs and a worthwhile youtube video.)

The book is written 1st-person from Jimmy Williams' point of view, and he's a one-off. His stories bring to life his really unique background, with his both Native American and African/Gullah near ancestry. But each unusual story is there to illustrate concrete tips and techniques - e.g., how his grandmother used her rolling-pin as a time-saving gardening tool - he still uses one the same way. The style is vivid and brisk, engaging and inspiring, especially in the more anecdotal early chapters. The whole book is accessible and confidence-building for a garden-inexperienced reader like me, and doesn't assume any knowledge, though the very detailed discussions of techniques and special adaptations for urban growing in the later chapters build on the basic skills colorfully introduced early on.

The middle chapters comprise a businesslike, highly practical, and comprehensive guide for getting started simply, growing from seeds (or seedlings), with, for example, alternative illustrated plans for creating beds in urban gardens; and moving on to wider subjects - how to prepare, water, and maintain the soil and garden through the seasons, and to expand it over time to include more variety, recommended plant pairings and rotation, etc.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Big Wind on November 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw this book listed as one of Amazon's Best Books and took a flier. Wow! It is exactly the kind of book our family (semi urban with a small back yard) have been looking for! Comprehensive, well written, brilliantly illustrated and laid out so that even a monkey can follow it. It lays out the entire process whereby the at home gardener can become if not entirely self sufficient then virtually supermarket produce-free within a single growing season. This book is an instant classic -- and revolutionary. Remember The Whole Earth Catalogue or Our Bodies, Ourselves, or even Doctor Spock's Baby Book? It is as revolutionary, as readable and as essential as those.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By BeachBrights VINE VOICE on December 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
[[VIDEOID:mo3SC1XIXNPPR4D]]This is a very extensive book with a great story and purpose. If you are interested in lowering your food bill and becoming less dependent on others, then this is your book!

XOXO
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Farr on December 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have been working a small garden on the side of my house for almost two years now with very little knowledge and with less than perfect success. From Seed to Skillet has become my go to resource and already I am finding myself in a little Eden of my own. Written in a style that is completely accessible yet inspiring- If I had to use one word to describe Seed to Skillet it would be empowering. I have not seen a book so well laid out in a long time - It is beautiful, clear, easy to learn from and has a great sense of story to boot. All of my friends from full time farmers to those with a row of potted plants at their doorstep are getting a copy for their birthday this year.
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Format: Paperback
A fiend of mine who's a hardcore gardener gave me this book because
I had been talking about wanting to grow some of my own food but am a
totally inexperienced gardener. My friend, on the other hand, has been
gardening for years, so I thought that if she liked this book it would be
completely over my head.
When it came, I started flipping through it because of the pictures, then
I was pulled in by Jimmy Williams's story and finally, his approach to
gardening was so clear and unintimidating that I started to get excited.
I've only had the book a week but already, I know where I'm going to
put my new vegetable garden and what I'm going to plant.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By AJL on February 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When we first started gardening a few years ago we struggled with the lack of information that was out in the gardening books, blogs, and forums about just how to grow our own food to eat. We bought many books, many of them best-sellers, and they were helpful... to a point. The garden the first year had some success, but not as much as we did once we met Jimmy & Logan Williams.

I guess you could say we're extremely lucky to see them every week at the farmers market. Not only do they have the most cheerful, happy, and yummy plants to buy, but those two are a wealth of information about gardening. And since they garden organically without man-made chemicals and pesticides, we knew we were getting the helpful information we really wanted.

So I had to laugh when I finally got the book! I see they must answer the same questions over and over, because they questions we had asked over the many different weeks seeing them at the farmers market were there in the book! Starting seedlings outdoors, fertilizer mixes, specs on the garden boxes... all that information and more is in the book!

Additionally, Jimmy would tell us what we could make with the plants we bought from him to grow. We got a collard tree from him because it looked so cool, knowing we could find a recipe for yummy collard green something or another. But then Jimmy would tell us how to make the burnt onion with collard greens. We didn't make it until we got the book, but let me tell you, this one recipe alone has become a staple in our household. Some burnt onion collard greens with bread and butter makes a really satisfying dinner at our house!

I recommend this book to even experienced organic gardeners because of Jimmy's unique take on gardening that he learned himself through experience. And even if you already have a green thumb, the stories and recipes are worth it themselves! Lucky you now that you can have Jimmy helping in your garden too!
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