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Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden Paperback – January 1, 2011
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Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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A movement to embrace home-grown edibles, whether propelled by economics or the hope for sustainability, is taking shape around us, writes Bellamy, setting the stage for a thorough introduction to the basics of creating a small-space garden, in which beauty combines with functionality. Bellamy offers design tips as she discusses assessing space and common site problems (e.g., poor drainage); preparing containers, raised beds, and soil; sowing; growing; maintaining plant health; pruning; and harvesting. Highlighted are edibles from apples to zucchini, with details for the cultivation and enjoyment of each fruit and vegetable, including useful growing tips and information on the most popular varieties. Of particular inspiration are Bellamy’s suggestions for veggie patches on balconies, patios, and the tiniest of city plots. Many full-page color photographs by Jackie Connelly complete this yummy and useful presentation. --Whitney Scott
“A fine piece of informational, inspiring and winning work.” —Horticulture
“Particularly useful to those urban/suburban homes with very limited space.” —Sustainable Horticulture
“A marvelous book that’s entertaining, extremely useful, and lovely. I recommend it highly.” —Garden Rant
“Full of wisdom and practical advice. . . . Stands apart for its tone, which is both gentle and practical, and its many fascinating sidebars and offshoots. Easy to flip through and find something fun to read in a hurry.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Whether you’ve got a porch or just a windowsill, Heavy Petal blogger Andrea Bellamy has you covered—her Sugar Snaps and Strawberries is an accessible, comprehensive guide to small-space gardening.” —Portland Mercury
“An invaluable resource for aspiring greenthumbed terrace farmers.” —The Source Weekly
“A great book for beginners and for those of us who need winter eye candy.” —Red Dirt Ramblings
“Chock-full of wisdom, pluck, and good ideas.” —Midwest Home
“Full of smart ideas for how to deal with a seemingly impossible growing situation.” —ReadyMade
“Bright, cheerful, and motivating. . . . you will wonder why anyone would ever hesitate to grow a few edibles even if they have only a fire escape or deck.” —Commonweeder
“I’d recommend it to any new gardener of edibles, particularly one who has limited or no access to a plot of earth she can call her own.” —Digging
“An inspiring book for those with a can-do spirit but not much gardening space.” —Life on the Balcony
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For example, there is a partial photograph of a raised bed that is domed by some chicken wire. The caption reads, "Dissuade larger pest such as cats from digging in newly cultivated beds by covering them with chicken wire or by keeping exposed soil frequently watered--they seem to prefer digging in dry beds." Believe me, in the past there has been no love lost between me and my neighbor's cat.
This book, which is conversational in nature, will especially appeal to the beginning gardener. The first chapter will help you explore you "garden style." One might find beauty and utility in a weathered gallon can of crushed tomatoes or might be interested in tucking red cabbage along the edges of an ornamental garden. Bellamy lays out several considerations you'll have to keep in mind when you design your "edible garden." For example you might want to think about a "few key design principles [that] can help you create a gorgeous edible garden." No, they aren't laid out in detail, but rather are tossed out for you to think about. After all, only you know what you have to work with and what appeals to you.
The second chapter asks you to "take the time to observe these [external factors] in your space before leaping in and planting." You'll have to consider things like your climate, hardiness zones, how much sunlight you have, the quality of your soil, drainage, wind, the amount of space you have, etc. Once you've pondered the basics, you'll learn about how you can find space, the assorted places you can build your garden, how to plan your plants, you'll learn the basics of your soil, how to sow seeds, what to do as your garden grows, how to maintain your garden, different types of planting (vertical, succession, winter gardening, etc.), how to harvest, and finally how to prepare for next year's garden.
This is an excellent instructional guide for the beginning gardener. Not only does Bellamy lay out the basics of gardening, but also includes a plant-by-plant reference guide in the back, "Edibles from A to Z." She has numerous "Top Pick" fruits and vegetables that she personally selected. Bellamy briefly discusses the plant and then gives information as to how to grow and harvest them, throws out a few tips, lets us know if they are suitable for container growing, discusses problems, and offers up some popular selections. There are numerous full-color photographs scattered throughout these pages. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, and a bibliography with listings of other books the reader may wish to explore. This is definitely a book the beginning gardener with limited growing space just might want to add to their list!
One of my favorite parts of garden books are the pictures, and Sugar Snaps and Strawberries does not disappoint! The photos are beautiful, and inspiring, but they're also real, and attainable. You look at them and think "I can do this!" Another visually appealing aspect of this book is the overall design, it looks like a crafty person's scrapbook and makes the book feel very approachable.
The next thing on my list of requirements for a gardening book is actionable information that I can implement right away. Even though I've been gardening in one form or another for close to twenty years, I felt refreshed and re-inspired by Andrea's advice. I really appreciated the sidebars sprinkled throughout the book with quick "hey, try this" sort of tips. For example, on page 19, Andrea made a list of easy-to-digest info on making an edible garden beautiful, with ideas like "Aim for a variety of leaf shapes in your planting. Contrast crinkly leafed chard with fern like carrots and large leafed squashes with tall, slim straps of leeks."
Andrea really does a great job of holding your hand as you create your vegetable garden, but respects you enough to point you towards a vegetable garden that is just as pretty as any flower bed. Someone who has never gardened before can pick this book up, follow Andrea's advice, and be very successful. And those of us who have grown a tomato or two in our lives will find plenty of great ideas and advice to keep us flipping to the next page.
If you're looking for a last minute gift for the gardener on your list, Sugar Snaps and Strawberries by Andrea Bellamy is definitely it!
p.s. One of the photos in the book depicts a canoe completely packed to the brim with a gorgeous vegetable garden. You really can garden anywhere!