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Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,189 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Your patio, balcony, rooftop, front stoop, boulevard, windowsill, planter box, or fire escape is a potential fresh food garden waiting to happen. In Grow Great Grub, Gayla Trail, the founder of the leading online gardening community (, shows you how to grow your own delicious, affordable, organic edibles virtually anywhere.                  
Grow Great Gru
Paperback, 208 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Clarkson Potter
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,189 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I read it because I wrote it. That might make my rating a bit biased.
Cara St.Hilaire
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you thought you were a plant geek prior to reading this, brace yourself. You'll be dreaming of warm summer days, tomato sandwiches, and ways to fit in a few pots of herbs you may never have even heard of yet (shiso? count me in!). Seriously, Gayla Trail has a very approachable way of introducing her readers to container and small-space gardening. Mark my words, she really knows her stuff. From inventive ways of starting seeds to growing your favorite flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit (ran ...more
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have Gayla Trail's book "You Grow Girl" which has been very useful to me. I didn't even notice that this one was written by her until I brought it back home from the library hold shelf. It has a variety of tips for growing in small spaces as well as how to re-use items that you would normally throw out or recycle. There is also a great section on how to preserve the food that you have grown: drying and storing, blanching and freezing and canning.

Rather than buying new plastic containers,
Cara Meredith
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s official: I am in love with backyard, urban gardening. I learned so much and can’t wait to eat my way through the summer long as the squirrels don’t get to the food first. Gulp.
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
Great overview for container gardeners and/or those with limited space. 'Microfarming' sounds so cool I almost don't mind not having a lot of space. (almost.) I like this book better than her first book, this one is more specific about each type of plant. My favorite thing that I learned - you can create more basil plants with cuttings! You have to pinch them off anyway to get bushier plants, I thought that was super cool. I did it and I was so excited when they suddenly started growing stems in ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2011
This is a great book, especially for beginner gardeners. The ideas are simple, the layout is great. I wish more time was spent on "why things don't work". There was a small section on bugs, but you can't say "You can grow anywhere!" without telling us how-I've done all the things-amendments, composting, etc. and my garden still isn't working. But other than that, the book is a great resource for a beginner working in a small area. ...more
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, reference
Great book with beautiful photos and lots of good advice. It is perfect for someone with a small space to garden (like a community garden plot, a raised bed or just containers on the deck). I love how there are recipes throughout the book, and the section on canning is awesome. I've been using this book for the last year as a guide for my garden, and I find myself pulling it out all the time to get a little advice on a particular vegetable or herb. Highly recommended. ...more
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Whatever the size of your garden, there is a lot of good information tucked in this book. Just a few weeks ago, I was skimming through and determined there was a very underutilized section of our side yard where I could grow a pot of lettuce. But, of course, just a few hours later my neighbor planted a tree blocking the light. Ah well, back to the book for other ideas.
Aug 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Lots of great info & lush photos.
May 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
A really great gardening book for people of my generation, who are living in small spaces. I intend to get a copy at a later date :)
Maura Gerrans-Ortiz
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Highly recommend this book for novice to intermediate gardeners. Experienced gardeners (my phone spelled garden nerds, 😆) may also find helpful shortcuts, or just a good reference and refresher tool.

Gayla Trail walks you through how to build a small space garden, either in beds, containers, or indoors. Her methods are organic and low impact, but also simple and mostly accessible. Folks with mobility/dexterity issues may find that indoor and/or small containers are most accessible, but your milea
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Inspiring, but a bit light. I would have liked more information on ways to actually utilize small(er) spaces, but the information on what plants (including varieties) do best where should be useful for me.
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was very helpful in terms of not only starting a garden, but also for growing the plants well through the season. It offers an array of tips, tricks, and pointers to help with all sorts of plants, and classic situations you would find in a typical garden. 5/5 would recommend!
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am looking forward to a more successful garden armed with the simple advice from this book.
Jade Paxton
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic quick read with excellent tips on growing produce!
Kari Schooley
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great ideas for growing your own food in small gardens, growing vertically, or small areas using pots, etc. Lots of information that I enjoyed reading and learning.
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homesteading
Super easy to read, very organized. Skimmed through it in one night while my toddler played in the same room.
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: growing, 2010, food
This book is totally in tune with the gardening craze that's happening right now. It's modern and stylish with gorgeous, luscious, bright beautiful photos and it's jam-packed with well-organized information. All the families of plants are organized into genuinely useful sections - not just overwhelming, irrelevant information, but really practical stuff that makes it so much easier for you to take action. How fantastic is this book? I'm not sure I even have words. I got this from the public libr ...more
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is my answer for anyone who thinks they cannot grow anything!

I devour this book from cover to cover frequently. It has helped me solve countless problems in my own garden while inspiring me to take chances and branch out into new areas of horticulture that I may not have otherwise. I love the way the book is written - it's a How To book that is easily digestible ie. you can actually understand and retain the invaluable information the author is divulging. On top of that the colour phot
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have been wanting to garden 'officially' with a plot of land for awhile now but since the universe hasn't blessed me with some sprawling acres of land, I decided to try container gardening. Wanting to read up on the how-to's, I have been picking up numerous books on the subject. And as of this date, Grow Great Grub is by far the best one I have read!

Packed full of both useful and practical information plus full of gorgeous pictures, Gayla Trail introduces us to urban agriculture and explains
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
First of all, the photography in this book alone makes this book a worthwhile read. The pictures are absolutely beautiful! As far as information, it is a great book for a beginning gardener with not a lot of space. It covers the basics of gardening from starting with good soil, all the way to harvesting and preserving your veggies. It has a hefty section on plants, detailing most of the common garden varieties of vegetables and specific growing information on each. It touches on fertilizing and ...more
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
A nice addition to You Grow Girl The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening by Gayla Trail . Whereas I read You Grow Girl straight through, this once I used more as a reference guide. It has valuable information and projects. I especially liked the recipes & preserving tips.

Sometimes I think these books are a little unfair for those of us who live in rural areas. They mention all these fantabulous plants, a huge variety, but I cannot find them locally. City folks may not have yards but they're spoiled by selection. I've spent two days looking for Lemon Verbena &
Becca Sloan
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
I am determined to have my first garden (other than a few pots on the patio) this summer. When I saw this book, it looked like the perfect resource. I was not let down. Grow Great Grub has a wealth of knowledge, plus lots of pictures for those of us who are easily distracted! Gayla included lots of information on growing in all types of locations (window ledge, patio, alley, and yard) as well as information on the plants themselves, how to arrange things and more. I'm about to reconsider my gras ...more
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
With gorgeous photos, delicious-sounding recipes, and hundreds of handy tips, Gayla Trail leads the reader through a fantastic guidebook on growing food when space is very limited.

What I am most impressed by in this book is that Trail goes into detail about every common vegetable plant you might want to try to grow, and gives specific tips for growing each in containers. Many gardening books are loaded with ideas on helping different plants thrive, but on a big scale. This is a super reference f
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: envir
Nicest thing is that unlike most farm-ish books, this one was *mainly* container gardening but not *all* about OMG SAVE SPACE WITH LABOR- AND CARPENTRY-INTENSIVE PROCEDURES, which is just as unhelpful for the 3-month-lease-signer as the "What Do You Mean You Don't Have A Haha*" school of gardens and rolling fields of grain.

*Wikipedia: "Ha-ha is a term in garden design that refers to a trench, one side of which is concealed from view, designed to allow an unobstructed view from a garden, pleasure
Christa Cordova
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Book 62 2012 Reading Challenge--I realized late in the book that the author has a blog called You Grow Girl. This edition is packed with helpful and economical advice for growing food in all spaces--small, urban, large, and in containers. She covers attracting predatory insects and companion plantings, and how to make your own fertilizers. Very much a Do - it- yourself book for the inventive person who would rather recycle than get the fancy stuff at a garden center. A section on harvesting is h ...more
Megan Duffie
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fabulous book! I have almost no skill for growing things, so this book has been super helpful. Everything is laid out in easy to read, friendly formats. She also includes a small blub on each page with information on how each plant does in a container (vs. a bed). Whether you have a ton of space to plant, or a small postage stamp yard like me, this book will have something for you. I borrowed this one from the library, but am now planning on buying my own copy...worth it. Can't wait for spring s ...more
Diana Thayer
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Good recommendations and tips for plant types and how to grow organically, as well as how to harvest and preserve. Would have liked more info on how to grow in small spaces, however, as most of the plants do best "in the largest container you can get" - and that's exactly the problem I've run into, so I was hoping for a few more creative tips regarding cheap ways to get containers and grow on one's balcony, for instance. Not necessarily a problem with the book, but the subtitle is "Organic Food ...more
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Lively, cheerful writing makes this book fun to read even when the information isn't new. There are also plenty of tips for seasoned gardeners, such as that corn salad needs cool weather to get germinating (most seeds need warmth), and that calendula petals can be used as a natural food dye in rice and baked goods.

This book also gets a tick for the customisable planting chart based on the date of your last frost - no adding 6 months to adjust for the wrong hemisphere needed.

Must look out for cho
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I write and speak about urban gardening and growing food. I take pictures too. I do graphic design work. And some other stuff.

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