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Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces Paperback – February 2, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Recipe from Grow Great Grub: Root Vegetable Fries

1 large carrot
1 large potato
1 large sweet potato
1 large beet
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

Roasted potatoes are good and all, but a roasted root vegetable medley is just as easy to make and a little bit fancy, too. Substitute any root vegetable, including starchy potatoes, turnip, parsnip, celery root, or rutabaga. While the veggies are roasting, toss a garlic bulb or two into the pan at about the 30-minute mark--the result: easy, creamy garlic! Yum.

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the vegetables into 1/2"-wide spears and toss in a roasting pan with olive oil and herbs to coat. Keep the peels on; that’s where the vitamins are.

2. Roast for approximately 40 minutes, turning regularly until all sides have turned a golden brown and the fries are cooked straight through.

Serves 2–4

About the Author

Gayla Trail created her acclaimed gardening website, YouGrowGirl.com, in 2000. A graphic designer, writer, photographer, and gardener, she has contributed to "BUST" and "ReadyMade" magazines as a gardening guru. She lives in Toronto.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 Original edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307452018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307452016
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gayla Trail is a writer, photographer, and graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the creator of the popular gardening project, YouGrowGirl.com and the author of three books on gardening: You Grow Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening, Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces, and "Easy Growing: Organic Herbs and Edible Flowers from Small Spaces as well as an in-demand gardening personality and spokesperson with a focus on urban gardening, growing food, sustainable living, and community. Her work as a writer and photographer has appeared in the New York Times; O, the Oprah Magazine; ReadyMade; Domino; Budget Living; and more.

Gayla's love for gardening began with parsley seeds planted in a Styrofoam cup when she was five years old. Inspired by the potato plants her grandmother grew in a bucket on her senior centre's fire escape, Gayla has always gardened in whatever space she had available, including a hot and exposed building rooftop, a community plot, windowsills, shared yard space, fire escapes, a concrete parking pad, stoop steps, and a small urban backyard.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought "Grow Great Grub" because I got so much out of "You Grow Girl". I really didn't see how the author could come up with that much excellent material again, but she did.

You probably should stop reading and just buy the book. The quality is excellent. Photographs are beautiful. The book is easy to read and doesn't waste time. Well done!

Pictures of what vegetables are supposed to look like always help. I'm always turning to my neighbor and asking, "Did I plant that or is it a weed?" Usually the neighbor says it's a weed, but I'm never sure.

The text covers harvesting, drying, preserving, and storing, only one of which I want to do, harvesting, but the other topics are beautifully covered for those who are ready. I'm pushing my luck just to grow and harvest a plant from seed. Maybe next year I'll preserve and store.

She lists plants that grow well in depleted soil, shady or very hot spots and makes coverage interesting on topics of nutrients, fertilizers, containers, pests, building self-watering planter boxes cheaper than buying, a great idea.

I learned about heat-loving spinach I was already growing, but had no idea what it needed! Lists of recommended varieties of vegetables and those that work well in containers are especially helpful.

Now I know when to harvest vegetables, something that always baffled me, including when to dig up onions, when to stop watering, and hang them to cure, and when my radishes were ready to harvest, unfortunately I didn't learn that in time for the current crop, how radishes can be used as a pest repellent for squash, that carrots are slow to germinate but ready to eat at any size, and when potatoes are ready to harvest. I had been about to pull mine out to check. I'm glad I didn't.
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Format: Paperback
So you're like me: you have a small, but comfortable apartment and you want to have some greenery to spruce things up. A practical soul, you don't just want flowers. You want to be able to grow your own herbs and vegetables, and look forward to your windows popping with color in the summer. But this is your first real foray into the world of container gardening.

This book is not your bible.

While it is beautifully composed, and contains a helpful chapter about canning, there is a distinct lack of real facts and procedures. In short: this is an impratical book. Questions about drainage, how to compose your garden, or how to trellis are barely answered. While the sections on individual produce to grow are inticing, they lack the information you need to really make a go at things. This book can be a good starter, but only when complemented with other, more in depth books, and a good gardening center that can guide you through the practical steps.

As an alternatives, try McGee and Stuckey's The Bountiful Container. Less pretty picture, but far more useful information.
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Format: Paperback
When you first open this book, you'll notice it's beautiful. Seriously beautiful. The photographs are vivid, and the layout is really extraordinary. But then once you get past that, you start to realize it is crammed full of all kinds of information that would be helpful to both the novice gardener and the serious food-grower.

A really, really exemplary sophomore effort by Trail. Run-do-not-walk to buy this great work.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've spent years killing plants until getting Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces a few months ago, which finally revealed:

-why the rosemary survived but did not grow (too small a pot)
-why the basil died (unrelenting exposure to wind)
-why the thyme survived where the basil did not (the thyme is drought resistant and didn't care that I'd ridiculously put all my herbs in a tiny coir-lined window basket on a wind-whipped second story balcony)
-why the mint rotted (mints like to "stay wet" I'd been told by other books. Apparently not that wet, and only the soil not the leaves.. Excessively wet + poor air circulation = rot)
-how all of them could have benefited from mulch (did not occur to me to mulch pots)
-a clear metaphor to understand and see how often any plant needs water
-how to make simple plant foods
-and on and on!

It also explained terms I had seen thrown around in several gardening books, like the warning to not let your plants "bolt" (which at the time I could only imagine involved my herbs running away to a more competent home). If years of looking at those unhelpful charts so common in other books, describing the exact conditions favored by each plant (type of soil, pH, full sun vs partial shade, etc) have led you to believe that each plant can only be grown in its own meticulously placed test tube, this is just the book to coax you out of that hopeless paradigm. And I spent maybe a decade thinking "partial shade" meant some kind of sparse, broken shade, like under a tree, when it turns out the "partial" refers to time; 4-6 hours of direct sun per day compared to 8 hours of direct sun per day for "full sun.
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