My husband and I became first time homeowners five years ago this May and one of the things that really appealed to me about our new home was the corner lot with plenty of room for a garden. Unfortunately gardening is not a skill that I inherited from my maternal grandfather, who grew prize-winning tomatoes, my paternal grandfather who owned a farm, or my father who has a bumper crop of vegetables every year that I often abscond with. It seems that the green thumbs went to the men of my family because I somehow managed to inherit the blackest thumb I've ever seen. If I even look at a plant it dies a horrible death.
In my defense, I have managed not to kill my aloe plants, although they would look much better if I would stop burning myself every time I step into the kitchen.
Once we were settled in the house my husband built a raised bed for my garden and started a compost bin. I had every intention of planning out my garden the next spring, but several years have passed since then and I still haven't grown a thing, unless you count the weeds that start to take over once the snow melts. When I first came across Groundbreaking Food Gardens by Niki Jabbour, I was impressed, someone went and did all the hard work of planning a garden for me. This book has 73 different garden layouts to choose from, including several that can be grown on a patio, which is especially helpful if you live in a condo or apartment and find yourself without a yard to plant in. Each garden plan includes colorful illustrations to help you visualize the layout as well as helpful tips on deterring or attracting animals, selecting which plants to grow, and how to maximize the output from even the smallest garden. Whether you want a complete backyard garden or a small patio garden, something modern or something traditional, this book has something to fit your needs. Here are just a few of the layouts that caught my eye:
Beautiful Balcony Edibles - No space? No problem! You can still grow a wide range of edibles.
Canner's Garden - Enjoy year-round bounty by preserving, canning, drying, and freezing.
Culinary Herbs for Beginners - Features easy-to-grow, yet flavorful, herbs.
Grocery Garden - Created with leftovers from the farmer's market or grocery store.
Vintage Victory Garden - Based on an original design for a WWII victory garden.
After a lot of deliberation I've decided to use the plans for the grocery garden which can be grown from scraps of produce purchased from the farmer's market or grocery store. For the last several year I've been doing this to some small extent on my kitchen counter with celery and scallions to reduce waste, so it seems like a natural progression for me. The simple layout is also a great way to teach my son a variety of lessons including the responsibility of caring for something, patience, and basic nutrition. Then again, he's a little boy so he'll also be excited about playing in the mud. Once we get the hang of maintaining a garden we can expand and begin to grow some of the foods we consume the most often, my hope is to eventually decrease our grocery bill. This book will prove to be a very valuable reference as the time comes to sit down and come up with a plan of attack for our small space.
Where to Purchase
This book was sent to me for review by Storey Publishing through NetGalley. As always, all opinions are my own.
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