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McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container: Create Container Gardens of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers Paperback – February 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
McGee (Basic Herb Cookery) and veteran gardening writer Stuckey (Gardening from the Ground Up) share their expertise and experience in the art of container gardening. Armed with this manual, frustrated apartment dwellers can indulge their passion for growing edible things. If there is an available balcony, porch, front or back steps, according to the authors, growing produce in containers can be easy and rewarding. With some limitations, it is even possible to grow foods in a window box or on an indoor windowsill. This compendium of practical advice includes detailed information on the types of containers to use, equipment needed, the right soil, when to plant which seeds and how best to deal with problems such as too much or too little sunlight. They also explain more sophisticated techniques like succession planting, whereby ongoing seasonal planting takes place in the same container. This can yield a harvest of peas in early summer, tomatoes in late summer to early fall and kale that will grow into winter. Included are mouth-watering recipes for harvested container crops. Written for the beginner as well as for those with a background in gardening, McGee and Stuckey's directions are comprehensive, clearly written and frequently inspiring. Illus.
From the Back Cover
Complete with all the basics of choosing the right containers, determining soil types, applying fertilizers, and knowing when to start from seed and when to start from seedling.
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Top Customer Reviews
I purchased the book originally in paperback, and then several months later, when it became available for my Kindle for a steal of about $2. I tell everyone about it. I gave my original copy away to another apartment-dweller. I have memorized some of the sections, practically.
And it's incredible. When I went shopping for soil, I found that the Miracle Gro Orangic Potting Soil for Container Veggies and Fruits had the ingredients these ladies DIDN'T recommend, and hardly any of the ones it did. I bought new potting soil for WAY cheaper, and my plants promptly popped out of their seeds. I listened to their pot recommendations, and LOVED the fact that it gave specific information on depth requirements for each plant. I have carrots, snap peas, lettuce, kale, New Zealand Spinach, potatoes, and a lemon tree all flourishing (relatively) on my patio. And I wouldn't have been able to do it without this book. To top it all off, I bought the vast majority of my seeds from McGee's family's Nichols Garden Nursery, and not only do they have the best seed strains and prices I could find anywhere online (disease-resistance is key!), they gave me a free seed packet! I have enough seeds to last me 5 years.
I found their suggestions regarding light, fertilizer, soil, buying seeds, pot selection, disease, planting (either by seed or by transplant) all invaluable, and after all this you still have 75% of the book left to look up specific information on individual plants. And in these individual sections, their experience comes across in a big way. The only problem I've found thus far was with sprouting snap peas, but that was it(I discovered wrapping them in wet paper towel and then placing the wet-towel bundle in an open plastic bag pre-sprouted my seeds perfectly).
I grow most of my plants in reusable grocery bags, the kind you get from the grocery store for about a dollar. I don't have a drill, so that somewhat limits my ability to capitalize on their encouragement to turn just about anything into a pot. With the bags, I just snip some holes in the bottom (and maybe bottom of the sides), fill with soil, plant, and that's it.
The authors divided this book into three sections. Part One takes the reader through the process of deciding what to plant and how to design the garden that balances your wants and your needs, taking all things into consideration. Part two consists of basics about tools, soil, seeds, containers - a great primer for a total beginner (someone who has never even kept a houseplant) or a helpful supplement to those new to container gardening in particular (who maybe previously have kept a traditional garden, but have since downsized and still want the benefits of homegrown vegetables without all of the upkeep). Part three is the real gem here, though. It's an encyclopedia type reference section with full 1-2 page entries on most common vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, and fruits (yes, fruits!) available to container gardeners. Each entry contains detailed information about the best way to start (seeds vs. transplants),care for, avoid common problems with, and harvest each plant to help guarantee your success with the specific plants you choose to grow. This last section alone is well-worth what the book costs, and makes it a handy addition to any gardening library.
Bravo to the authors for writing such a useful and insightful guide to container gardening. I know I'll be enjoying my copy for many years to come!
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Con: Needless recipes and goofy facts clutter up space in a gardening handbookRead more