by Rose Marie Nichols McGee & Maggie Stuckey
McGee and Stuckey have written an essential reference for urban dwellers like myself who want to grow edibles in small spaces. Sure, there are a ton of books out there about creating tiny urban oases of ornamental plants, but this is one of the few books that focus on growing edible plants. It is well organized into sections that take you through the planning stages and gardening basics to the care of different plants. The plants are then further grouped into vegetables, herbs, fruits, and edible flowers. Scattered among these sections are also a good number of recipes to put your garden of earthly delights to good use. What’s great about a lot of them is that they take advantage of parts of the plant you can only get by growing them yourself (or would otherwise go out of your way to find), such as Green Garlic Soup, or Stuffed Squash Blossoms.
Thanks to their wealth of experience, McGee and Stuckey have packed an encyclopedia of knowledge into a very compact book. They have good advice to share about both the limitations and advantages of container gardening, and about a wide range of plants from the most common to some more exotic. There are pages dedicated to themed gardens, such as fun vegetables for kids, and ideas for different combinations of plants to make a garden that’s not only good to eat, but beautiful to look at as well. Any time I have a question like how early to start seeds for Lemon Cucumbers? or How deep does the pot have to be? or How do I get rid of those damn aphids? I go to this book first.