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Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting
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Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  477 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Books on container gardening have been wildly popular with urban and suburban readers, but until now, there has been no comprehensive "how-to" guide for growing fresh food in the absence of open land. Fresh Food from Small Spaces fills the gap as a practical, comprehensive, and downright fun guide to growing food in small spaces. It provides readers with the knowledge and ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published November 5th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,493)
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Rebecca
Keeping Bees? Worm bins? Chickens? Gardening on concrete? starting seeds, fermenting foods, and sprouting? Doesn't this sound AWESOME??
But one catch. It's not clear that the author has actually done all of these things-- some of them he hasn't at all-- bees, for example. He just thinks it's neat, and that other people SHOULD do it. You know, if they can find a book or something to tell them how. Some OTHER book.

Some of the chapters are useful-- the how tos for the worm bin and the concrete compo
...more
Susan Wittig Albert
Beware. This is a dangerous book. Once you have read it, you will not be able to say: "I don't have enough space (or light, or the right climate, or soil) to grow any food." You'll have to find some other excuse.

Faced with the recognition of climate change, energy depletion, and biofuel competition, even urban dwellers, says R.J. Ruppenthal, may have to "relearn basic food production skills in a hurry, if we are to survive and thrive in this new world" (p. x). Fresh Food From Small Spaces gives
...more
Melissa
Mar 14, 2009 Melissa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who eats
One of the things I initially found difficult when I was looking for ways to grow more of my own food in a teeny tiny space was how best to get started. It was easy to assume that one or two herb plants was all I had room for, hence why should I bother? But this book is a great way to take a mental inventory of your space and come up with a handful of creative ways in which to coax more food from it. Whether you decide to cultivate mushrooms in the closet or grow sprouts on top of the refrigerat ...more
Laurie
Lots of good info here on a variety of topics.
Elizabeth Hills
very general book
reasons for growing your own food
includes a discussion of peak oil and climate change, which, while true and interesting, takes a little focus away from the book.

Includes lots of suggestions about how to best utilize your space. few details, though provides a lot of references, both links and books.

what plants grow best in what conditions (full sun, partial sun, shade)
touches on how to extend growing season and increasing light in shady spaces, pest control, soil amendments
touch
...more
Anju
This book is a good introductory work for people who want an idea of what's possible. It certainly won't tell you everything you need to know, but it's a good place to start.

I particularly liked the discussions of container edibles, backyard fruit varieties, sprouting, yogurt making, and chickens. The sprouting and yogurt making are of particular interest to me since I learned to sprout mung beans from my mom, and my dad used to make yogurt at home. The book often recommends against using metal
...more
jess
I do like this book. I think it is inspirational, has a lot of good ideas, and provides that "spark" that we need sometimes to think about producing more food in the space available to us whether it is shady and has poor light, or our space is all concrete, or if the space we have is only a balcony or a shelf of a closet. Growing sprouts, mushrooms, chickens, bees, berries, nuts, and fruit are all covered here, albeit very quickly with shallow information. A lot of people really underestimate ho ...more
Andi
Sort of a 'quick guide' that leads the reader to visualize the possibilities they have for producing some of their own food, R.J. Ruppenthal packs a lot of ideas into this simple, short read. He takes a refreshing look at growing food in VERY small spaces. I say 'refreshing' because I've read so many wonderful gardening books loaded with ideas that stop me in my tracks once I realize how much SPACE is needed. Through his own trial and error he has learned to maximize his small apartment and pati ...more
Taylor Ansley
This was a strange book. At its best moments it felt like an urban agricultural guide as created by the editors of Lifehacker--in a very, very good way. Many helpful tips for DIYers looking to grow all sorts of fruits and vegetables in less-than-typical conditions. Tons of interesting hacks and a plethora of websites and books to dig deeper into topics like mushroom cultivation, dwarf fruit trees, worm composting, etc.

In its weaker moments, though, the book veered into a strange survivalist and
...more
AJ
Nov 19, 2014 AJ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to AJ by: andrea
I can't say that this book has any earth shattering information in it - if you are already growing vegetables in your apartment or have read books like Urban Homestead Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City, then you probably won't find a ton of new information in it. However the author does focus specifically on a few plants that are particularly good in low space / low light situations, such as berries and dwarf trees, so I appreciated that insight.

The author also covers
...more
Happyreader
If you're a beginner urban gardener like myself, you'll finish this book with a long list of gardening desires - dwarf fruit trees (I so want a fig tree), strawberries, winter greens under solar bells, Earthboxes (although one gardening instructor said it was a waste of money), sprouts (I want an Easy Sprout container), chicken tractors to take chickens on foraging road trips (although what's with the suggestion in the intro, fortunately not repeated in the chicken chapter, of attaching elevated ...more
Lori Conforti
I really enjoyed this introductory book to small space gardening. - lots of great tips, tricks, techniques for all kinds of topics. I've already been able to put to use the suggestion of trellising cucumbers which has saved me a lot of room in my garden. I do wish there was an index though.
Jeri
Fresh Food from Small Spaces is an informative book. It tells you how to do the things that the author suggests in a way that someone who has never picked up a spade before could do. It even gives you tips that make a lot of sense, but that would be hard to discover yourself. It made me want to go plant a fruit tree, make my own yogurt, and get some chickens. I'm not so sure about sprouting or having a bee hive.

Ruppenthal, the author, makes a good case for learning how to do all of this stuff..
...more
Leigh-ann
I borrowed this book from the library after reading Amazon.com reviews of it. I was trying to find out more about making homemade dairy products, like cheese, yogurt, and kefir, and this book seemed to be a popular title in that category. Unfortunately for me, the book was more of a how-to guide for growing foods in containers, in small shaded, areas, etc. In other words, it was exactly what the title indicated, but I'm only giving it a two-star review because it lacked the recipes I'd hoped to ...more
Cindywho
This is a good book for ideas - the author dips into gardening, beekeeping, mushroom growing, sprouts, etc... with more expertise in the gardening and sprouting areas. I may not be as ready as he is to contemplate more closely any future shortages in resources that will make more urban food production necessary, but I'm thinking I might try raspberries this spring and may try out some sprouting this winter. The writing style made my eyes roll from time to time (supernouns and "you may laugh" esp ...more
Du
2.5 stars. Some good info about accessing local and organic food for those who live in tight quarters. I focused on the fruit tree section.
Joshua
An enjoyable read, but not too substantial or informative. I would describe it as "motivational", as it is not a how-to manual, and lacks specific details. More detailed tutorials for making sub-irrigated planters (and pretty much everything else) can be found online (for free). This book would be good to give to a neighbor/friend who you are trying to persuade to get into this kind of stuff, but said person would be hard pressed to actually get anything done using only this book.
Deb
Mostly a "Rah!Rah! You can do it!" kind of book, however it dies have a couple of unique DIY gems.
The directions for making a self-watering planter are detailed, and also explain the function of each part so you can easily adapt them to many kinds of containers.
The chapter on fermented foods is something I've not seen before in a gardening book. Again, there are detailed instructions for making sauerkraut, kefir, and best of all, three kinds of kimchee.
Emilysa
Such a helpful book for the beginner gardener. He encourages use of all available space and has real ideas for how use them. Granted, some things, like growing mushrooms, are a little too much for me to want to try, but his advice has helped my little garden to actually grow. It has a lot of resources for where to get seeds, how to grow things, how to deal with light, water, and soil issues, and how to live in a more sustainable way. Definitely a good read.
Sheena
Really helpful in teaching you to garden with-in your shoebox of a living space. Gets ya thinking about real possibilities for your small space, not the huge plot of land you want to have someday. Not really a technical how-to, more of a show you how to tweak the standard gardening techniques. He leaves you with enough info to take the lessons from traditional gardening advice/steps and make it work for you small scale.
Jenn S
The author says that this book is for those in apartments, but really, I couldn't do most of the things he mentions - I can't have plants on my balcony. I appreciated the parts on reflected light, deciding what to grow and the part about containers, but that was about it. It even covers chickens and honeybees. If you're looking for something outside the mainstream thought of city growing, you might enjoy this.
Eva
If you live in an apartment and want to garden, this book is perfect for you. Seriously. Its so easy to read and you can easily skip around to the parts you need - like how to build a self-watering planter and where to order seeds and how to grow blueberries and how to make your own yogurt. Thanks to this, I'm starting peas and carrots and cherry tomatoes and mint and chives on my balconey next week.
kk
I received some great ideas from this book. It gives you ideas on how to garden in limited space. I now grow parsley and bush beans in my flower bed and I mixed dill and more parsley in a small rose bed. This book led me to investigate sprouting seeds and vermicomposting. With additional reading I now have a successful worm bin for composting and I sprout seeds and beans regularly.
Nicole Kapise-Perkins
Not as helpful as I'd hoped, but I may take it out again when it's time to start work on my garden plot and my garden pots.
Carrie
This was a really interesting book particularly about container gardening. It is by no means definitive or very instructive. It will give you some great ideas to get started but I wouldn't recommend to buy this for anyone but vegetarians. Sprouting, fermenting and growing mushrooms are covered in this text which topics are often omitted in other books of the same genre.
Melissa
just picked this up from the library, and though i'm unimpressed with any book that has a typo in the very first sentence, i'm excited by the premise of this book: growing a sizable amount of a household's food with little or no yard. it explores keeping chickens and bees, as well, both things i'm interested in pursuing in the future. i'm excited to read this!
Kristen
Actually addresses the problems of low or little light and minimal or no outdoor space for producing food. Very detailed guide, with lots of diy or low cost options for materials, covering a variety of food sources. The last chapter covers being prepared in the case of emergency/temporary resource depletion. Very accessible, comprehensive.
Lisa Nolan
This book has a lot of information! It is really a DIY kind of book! I had to return it to the libray, but I would definitely buy a copy used on Amazon, and have my husband read for ideas for our outside areas. He really knows his stuff! If you like hands-on books, and are ready to get down and dirty, wink, wink, this book is for you!
Tisha
It had some really great ideas for gardening in small spaces (even on balconies in large cities). Since I don't have a huge yard I found it interesting. I'm pretty sure I won't be making my own mushrooms in the garage though. Isn't the author's last name pretty cool?
Callina
Good source of information for people interested in gardening in limited spaces. I have a nice backyard, and this book focuses a little more on how to deal in uber-cramped urban spaces, but practical, clever ideas nonetheless. Gave me good ideas for what to plant and when, etc.
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