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The Edible Container Garden: Growing Fresh Food in Small Spaces Paperback – March 30, 2000

3.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It wouldn't matter whether or not a single strawberry or tomato raised in the pots pictured in this book ever made it to the table--they are beautiful ornamental plantings, worth growing just for their looks. But author and British permaculture expert Michael Guerra promises fresh-tasting, pesticide-free produce, and the chance to grow a luscious array of fruits and vegetables not available at the supermarket, all in small raised beds, pots, or window boxes. Whether you garden on the balcony of a condominium, the deck of a houseboat, or just choose to pack your garden with ornamentals rather than edibles, this book brings hope that you can easily harvest homegrown food, including herbs and edible flowers.

"Gardening is like learning to cook," writes Guerra. "Start with the basics and with practice your menu will increase." He starts out with clear instructions about the basics of raised bed construction, soil enrichment, and maintenance of edibles. The most useful and unique parts of the book are the chapters entitled "What Shall I Grow?" that suggest the best varieties of salad greens, berries, peas, and peppers, as well as a great many more, for smaller gardens. Enlivened by color photographs and featuring detailed lists to aid in plant choices, this is a fine introduction to urban food gardening on even the smallest property. --Valerie Easton

About the Author

An expert in ecological design, Michael Guerra is a consulting editor to Permaculture Magazine and a regular contributor to Resurgence and many other environmental publications. He lives in England.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Fireside (March 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684854619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684854618
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,885,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a beginning gardener, I was looking for a book that would spell out, in a simple, organized fashion, exactly what I needed to do to start a vegetable garden on my rooftop patio. So, I went on Amazon and purchased this book, as well as "McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container: A Container Garden of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers". Having read both, I would strongly recommend "Bountiful Container" over "Edible Container". "Edible Container" may seem more appealing because it is full of color photographs, but "Bountiful Container" is far more practical and a true reference book. "Edible Container" is largely anecdotal and may inspire you, but is frustrating if you're looking to have basic questions answered such as "what dirt should I use", "how often should I water", "what varieties should I plant and when", "should I use fertilizer", etc. "Bountiful Container" is so well-organized and clearly and concisely written that you can literally read it cover to cover (I did) and then you will find yourself coming back to it time and time again as your garden begins to grow. Swearing by the "Bountiful Container", I now how a flourishing garden full of lettuce, beans, squash, tomatoes, and strawberries.
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Format: Paperback
Michael Guerra's EDIBLE CONTAINER GARDEN - "Growing Fresh Food in Small Spaces" is filled with unique insights and original photographs. Although I don't own a spread exactly like the gorgeous places shown on several pages in this book, I am moving in that direction, so the composition of the beautiful and practical gardens of others is of interest to me. Each garden depicted in this book can be decomposed into elements that can be transported to almost any location and arranged in almost any way.
A fact of life in an urban area is compacted soil. The typical urban homesteader is unlikely to own a rototiller that can be used to plow the yard and create a friendly habitat for a few fennel plants (although these tools are becoming smaller every day). Guerra's photographs and text describe projects that finesse hard surfaces. I especially like the partitioned timber container filled with many herbs standing above a graveled path. He also shows a raised bed with a most interesting set of joined corners using eyelet screws. The hardest surface of all to "farm" is a rooftop, but several photos show just what can be done with containers on top of a building. The corn and beans growing at the edge of one roof with a street full of cars below make me wonder how any insects could ever find and destroy this produce.
Guerra suggests gardeners can recycle materials and employ permaculture principles in urban settings. One permaculture trick involves stacking and arranging plants in a canopied effect. Guerra includes a number of photos showing various structures one might build to grow plants vertically thereby maximizing the use of space while conserving water.
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Format: Paperback
This book has less to do with containers, and more about gardening in small spaces. Infact many of the examples are of small plots of land. If you don't have any land then much of this book is useless to you (but interesting none the less).
Otherwise a good book - very readable and full of practical information.
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By A Customer on January 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Inspired by the Moosewood Collective's use of fresh produce in their cooking and their environmentally conscientious attitude, I've become a member of the 'if you're going to plant something, plant it with a purpose' school of gardening. So of course, I found this book wonderful, full of practical and inspirational ideas for creating a beautiful, functional, useable garden when you have very little space/time.
The deck outside our front door is now inhabited by a very good herb garden, pots of courgettes with broad dark green leaves and beautiful yellow flowers, japanese greens and a tomato vine, making cooking with fresh produce as easy as stepping out the kitchen door for a moment. But I have visions of formal kitchen gardens full of the reds of rhubarb and maple leaves, glossy purple eggplants, large concrete tubs overflowing with strawberries. The photos in this book taken of the authors' and their friends' gardens are incredible. That something so beautiful could also be so useful is wonderfully appealing. I can't imagine myself growing anything that couldn't be eaten or used in some way these days. Even more relevant... as a young person who moves house regularly, planting in containers is ideal, because I can just pick my garden up and take it with me.
A very useful book.
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Format: Paperback
Wonderful insight, information, and photographs to help a beginning gardener with limited space start to paint her thumb green. Recycling suggestions and the use of the principles of perm culture principles in are included for those environmentally-concerned growers, and who among us isn't? At the end of this book are photos of the author's own urban lot, every inch burgeoning with plants to eat and those just for the sake of beauty.
This book deals more with space and soil, however, rather than the actual plants themselves. But for what it offers, it's great.
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