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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Edible Balcony: Growing Fresh Produce in Small Spaces
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
I love The Edible Balcony: Growing Fresh Produce in Small Spaces. I do not know how they got so much information and so many beautiful photographs packed into this one single awesome reference. Everything but the kitchen sink is covered:
Why should I grow food on my balcony?
Planning your piece of the edible sky
Design Basics
Pot Choice
Best crops for grow bags, window box, hanging baskets, city farming, a windy balcony, raised beds, scarce water supply, shade, fruit tree orchard, heat, exotic, forest roof garden, and futuristic balcony
Easiest crops
Crops that give alot back
Potting Mix and plant food
How to Make it personal
Bee-keeping
How to make your crops work hard so you don't have to
Highly sustainable - worm farming, storing rainwater,
Vertical farming
Hydroponics
Pests & diseases
Recommended suppliers

There are projects:
Peas and sweet peas in a wicker basket
Beets in a bread box
Colorful zucchini in a top drawer
Utilizing a hat rack as a trellis
Colander of tomatoes and nasturtiums
Utilizing reclaimed shoe hanger over over-door organizer
Utilizing balcony railings as trellis
How to make your own simple self-watering container for free
Using recycled bottles as hanging planters
Using recycled bike tires as a planter
Make a scarlet runner bean tunnel

Inspirational gardens and ideas are covered. There are beautiful photographs on just about every page. Maybe it is a little short on the harvesting end; this book is more about the creative inspiration stage and optimizing your space to your personal taste. While I don't recall the author, Alex Mitchell, mentioning the kitchen sink she did mention reclaiming a bathtub as a planter.

The Edible Balcony: Growing Fresh Produce in Small Spaces has quickly become one of my favorite gardening coffee table books.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2012
Too superficial - project details poor. This would be a good book to borrow from your local library, some interesting ideas, but it's not a keeper.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2013
This book is full of delightful pictures of near perfect planters and balconies, but there is little usable information for someone serious about setting up a balcony/deck garden area.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2013
The pictures are beautiful and the suggestions for containers are fun. Lots of clever ways to grow stuff, but I need a more hands on - 1st do this, and 2nd do this - type information.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2013
It includes what to plant, what containers, how-to and everything you need to plant on your balcony. I'm a novice and I'm having a lot of fun with it. So glad I got it. I'm already starting to see lettuce, garlic, onions, strawberries, peas, parsley, tomatoes and sunflowers and zinnias popping up on my little balcony in northern Ohio! Surprisingly, some are in pots and some in plastic bags!

Must have. Great purchase.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2013
This book is full of beautiful pictures and wonderful ideas. This book has inspired me to plant in more decorative ways. I am always on the look out for new unique flower pots but they can be expensive. This book shows all sorts of containers and things that can be used as planters. I now pick up containers second hand that seemed useless before but now I turn them into beautiful growing containers. They are unique and inexpensive. This book also covers which plants to grow where and plants that can be grown in shade. She discusses herbs and all the types of vegetables that would be good in smaller containers with gorgeous pictures to go along with it.

Sometimes I just look through the book at night before I go to bed to help take my mind off my day and help me relax and sleep easier. If you are looking for a book to inspire you to grow veggies & fruits in a small space you will enjoy this book. There are many ideas to get you motivated to grow plants in ways you might have thought not possible.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2012
Good introductory book that gave me some new ideas for my balcony. Until now I have only done herbs and tomatoes but am going to branch out more this summer
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2013
Not quiet enough details give for completely novice gardeners. I really wanted more of a 1,2,3 A,B,C book. This is more suited to those that have a little bit of experience or a little bit more help.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2014
It doesn’t get any more fresh, local and organic than this – flowers and produce grown on your own balcony or rooftop. Alex Mitchell is the English garden writer (Sunday Telegraph) and crusading gardener who has published this very interesting and highly entertaining book on making good use of very small spaces. Not everyone, after all, has broad acres of sunny garden space, but everyone wants to live well and eat well.

The reasons for balcony gardening are several and compelling, starting with the best and most important ones: because you want to and it’s just plain fun. More serious reasons are that it transforms often bare and ugly spots into attractive areas bursting with fresh life. The produce it yields is local and organic, it is riper, tastes better and is better for you. Did you know the average bit of salad greenery from the grocery store traveled 1400 miles to reach your plate, and are you OK with that? I, for one, am not. Balcony and rooftop gardens keep cities cooler, reduce air and noise pollution, help control rainwater runoff, and provide habitat diversity where it is sorely needed. And, a bonus, most such gardens are out of the reach of many destructive pests like snails and slugs.

There are two more reasons for this kind of gardening. First, it is important for every person to have a connection to the land and space we inhabit, and for that land and space to feed us, not just literally but figuratively as well, and this is especially true for urban children. Even if it is only a simple herb garden, that cup of mint tea of that bit of basil in our salad is an essential connection between us and where we live. Second, and this is an important reason to read this book even if you do not propose to raise a balcony garden, it teaches the gardener the discipline of using space wisely and treating a wholesome, sunny growing space for the precious commodity it is. The discipline of space conservation is a quality every gardener should cultivate.

Mitchell’s book is filled with practical advice and simple how-to projects to transform small spaces into tiny kitchen gardens, fragrant herbariums and blooming bowers. The pictures couldn’t be more charming and the text is spare and straight-forward. Among the ideas I found especially appealing were rooftop beekeeping; producing prolific salad greens and cutting herbs; growing robust and useful things like your own garlic, basil and rosemary; making use of even vertical space with grape vines and similar climbers, and so on. This book focuses on edible plants and produce, but obviously much can also be made of flowers in small spaces.

Urban gardening in small, wasted spaces is good for the environment, good for your family’s table and, above all, good for the soul. Check out this inspiring book and you will find yourself teeming with creative ideas and inventive ways of thinking about and then using the space around you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2013
A pretty book with little helpful information. It did have some unique ideas, such as bee-keeping on a Parisian balcony. Most ideas were unoriginal, unless one has never read a book on gardening, before. Would not have bought it if I had seen it in person, first.
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