Vegetable Container Gardening: 7 Easy Steps To Healthy Harvests from Small Spaces

September 22, 2012

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law prof September 23, 2012 at 2:07 am
114 of 125 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars
Not as good as Vegetable Gardener’s Bible or Bountiful Container, October 14, 2006
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law prof (Los Angeles, CA USA) –

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I learned a great deal from Edward Smith’s other book, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, and I use it as a reference on germination and growing soil temperatures. So I did not hesitate to order his Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers when I decided to buy some books on container gardening. I ordered this book and McGee and Stuckey’s Bountiful Container. Bountiful Container is comprehensive, thoughtful and very helpful. However, this book reads like an ad for self-watering containers, which were apparently provided free to the author with the hope that he might endorse them. Unlike the author’s first book, this lavishly illustrated book is short on information, more suitable for a coffee table than a container gardener. If there were a money-back guarantee, I would request it.

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S. Sell September 23, 2012 at 1:16 am
119 of 129 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars
Very Average, July 19, 2007
By 
S. Sell (Tempe, AZ United States) –
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This book starts out good and states that it’s going to tell you how to make your own self-watering containers. However, once you get through all the initial fluff, I found the details necessary to actually follow through on the author’s suggestions to be extremely limited. The author discusses how to make any pot self-watering, but uses a ready made insert. Then he does not say where to get the ready made insert from. Parts of the book read more like a pat on the back to his own successes with pictures from his own garden. That’s great, but I bought the book to learn how to set up my own self-watering system which I still am at a loss after reading the book. I was very disappointed.

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Erika Mitchell September 23, 2012 at 1:04 am
142 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Bountiful Pots, May 17, 2006
By 
Erika Mitchell (E. Calais, VT USA) –
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This book is a manual for vegetable gardening from containers. Smith, an experienced vegetable gardener, noted that many would-be gardeners lack access to garden plots, or find tending such plots difficult because of physical challenges. Gardening in containers would make it possible for these people to grow some of their own food, but yields have been notoriously low for container-grown vegetables. Smith and his wife Silvia embarked on a project several years ago to see if they could develop improved growing methods that would produce produce of acceptable quality and quantity in containers. What they found through their experimentation is that virtually all garden vegetables can be grown very successfully in containers, and that some actually do better in containers than in traditional earth gardens. In this book, they describe in detail how to grow vegetables and herbs in containers, noting which crops and varieties are the best choices for container growing. The book is a joy to browse through, with its numerous high-quality color photographs, many of which were taken by Silvia Smith.

Smith notes that the key to good vegetable yields is an ample and continuous supply of water. In traditional pots, this is hard to achieve, since the pots must be checked and watered several times a day during peak seasons. A further problem is that many of the nutrients are washed out of the soil each time the pot is watered. This led Smith to the new generation of “self-watering pots,” which consist of a container for holding soil and roots, suspended over a large water reservoir, with a significant air gap in between, as well as a means for water to be wicked into the soil from the reservoir. Smith found that when vegetables are grown in such self-watering pots, they can go for days, or even a week without watering, yet the soil never goes dry, nor loses nutrients through watering. He found that many garden vegetables thrive in such pots (although he notes that a few herbs do better in traditional pots).

In addition to describing types of pots for bountiful vegetable gardening, Smith provides very useful information about soil mixtures to use in the pots. He enumerates garden pests that may be encountered and ways to overcome them. Throughout the book, he stresses organic methods and sustainable garden practices. A very useful section of the book is the alphabetical guide to garden vegetables, in which he takes up each common garden vegetable in turn and provides specific tips for growing the vegetable in a container, noting any varieties that are better for container-growing than others.

I first heard about Smith’s container garden efforts when I saw his container-grown artichoke with a giant blue Judges’ Choice ribbon at the Tunbridge Fair. That incredible display got me intrigued with the idea of trying to grow some vegetables in pots myself. As Smith notes in the book, certain heat-loving vegetables such as eggplants and artichokes are practically impossible to bring to maturity here in northern Vermont, but they can actually produce significant yields when grown in self-watering containers. Although I do most of my gardening in a large earth garden, I’m looking forward to using Smith’s methods to grow eggplants in containers this summer. With some luck, I may finally be able to enjoy some homegrown eggplants, despite our cool Vermont climate.

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MoonscapeDreamer September 23, 2012 at 12:51 am
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great Info, April 2, 2012
By 
MoonscapeDreamer (Ontario, Canada) –

This review is from: Vegetable Container Gardening: 7 Easy Steps To Healthy Harvests from Small Spaces (Kindle Edition)

A friend loaned me this book, and at just the right time. I’m getting ready to order the seeds for my garden, and I’ve been contemplating container gardening.

This book has lots of information on not only what to plant but how to plant, maintain and harvest. It also gives advice on what to plant together to confuse any pesky bugs.

It looks like I’ll be referring to this book all growing season as it has lots of valuable information for those of us new to container gardening.

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JP September 23, 2012 at 12:23 am
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Helpful and Informative, April 2, 2012
By 
JP (Los Angeles, CA) –

This review is from: Vegetable Container Gardening: 7 Easy Steps To Healthy Harvests from Small Spaces (Kindle Edition)

I thoroughly enjoyed this little book. It’s full of gardening tips, some I knew, some I forgot, some I never heard of. Growing up we had a large yard with a beautiful thriving garden. Now living in a smaller space makes having a “real” garden not possible, but I can still have a container garden. I’ve had them in apartments before with great results. Trying to get back into it after moving I got this book and am all jazzed up ready to head off to the nursery to get some seeds and my balcony garden going. I’ve alwyas preferred growing things from seeds, and was happy she had a section on that. Some books seem to think you can only grow vegetables from nursery-purchased shoots. I’ve always grown things from seeds though. Somehow I feel more accomplishment at it. 🙂

I’ll definitly start with her Top 10 List of Easiest Vegetables to Grow. Ten is already more than I have room for, but I’ve grown some of them before with good results so will start there.

Overall a great little book and a good starter for anyone who is new to container gardening. Highly recommended.

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Roberta Karchner September 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good beginning ideas, May 1, 2012
By 
Roberta Karchner (United States) –
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This review is from: Vegetable Container Gardening: 7 Easy Steps To Healthy Harvests from Small Spaces (Kindle Edition)

If you are considering planting a small garden for the first time, this book will offer you many options and ideas. If it does nothing else, it will convince you to get going in the garden, something we all need encouragement to do.

Don’t have space for a garden? Just use a container. Want to keep your weeds to a minimum? Use newspaper and cardboard. These and many other ideas will spark your imagination.

This is not a fully detailed book, it talks about drip irrigation, for example, without going into great detail of telling you how to put together a system. It discusses companion planting while giving a few examples, but without providing a full list. But it will set you along the way, and it will give you much to think about.

If you want a more detailed book, they are out there, but this one is well worth starting with.

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