jess's Reviews > Garden Anywhere: How to grow gorgeous container gardens, herb gardens, kitchen gardens, and more, without spending a fortune

Garden Anywhere by Alys Fowler
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's review
May 03, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: 2011, growing
Read in May, 2011

I do not prefer this book. It is supposed to be about small space gardening on a budget, which is great and important to me, so I thought I would like it. But I did not.

I thought this book could benefit from better organization and more information about indoor growing (small space gardeners gotta use every inch). Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting is a much better resource for someone interested in small space food production. Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces is another excellent small space garden book that I would recommend instead of this book.

Much of the advice for saving money is "find the stuff you need in a dumpster" which is really good advice if you're inclined to dumpster dive, but there doesn't need to be a book about that. Another way you can save money is by buying "seconds" plants at the nursery. The problem with this is that a beginning gardener doesn't have the experience to diagnose & save an ailing plant. If you're an experienced gardener, take home all the discounted charity cases and mysterious ailments.

I found plenty of the book to be either misleading or plain wrong. They pay authors to write books, right? So the information should be researched and accurate, right? Are my standards too high? I don't think you should tell people to put dumpstered copper wire around their plants unless you can prove that it actually protects plants from slugs. Gardeners beware: copper should be buried into the ground so slugs cant burrow under it or affixed to a container (again, so they can't burrow under it). It should be about wider than the slugs are long. And the barrier stops working when the copper oxidizes or if the copper gets dirty(aka when it rains). So, no, I don't think copper is an effective slug deterrent. Also? Let's be serious. It's uncommon to find copper tubing in dumpsters. Usually it's recycled or re-sold. And if you buy copper instead of dumpstering it, it's expensive, like cost-prohibitively expensive.

I felt certain that some of the photos in the book were staged/fake to imply a more impressive harvest than could be reasonably expected from some of these methods. It seems disingenuous to imply that a beginning gardener can achieve such results in a small space with free/cheap strategies. The beginners who try this going to suffer a blow to their confidence if they use these methods, and many of them will resign themselves to having a "black thumb" and give up on gardening.

The chapter on plant propagation was good. It has plant lists and specific advice for several species. I think it also had some good advice on making your own rooting hormone solution from fresh willow cuttings/bark. I appreciate propagation information, but I didn't expect that to be the best "take home" message I would get from this book. Thanks to my public library for having this book so I didn't buy it!!
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