03 March 2011
Review: Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail
Not everyone has the space for sprawling garden beds. Not everyone has the funds to invest in designer planters and elaborate arrangements. Grow Great Grub is a gardening book for those with limited spaces and budgets, who want to focus on growing food in an organic way. Gayla Trail brings an easy but comprehensive look at microfarming, no yard required.
I have been a follower of Gayla Trail for the last few years, since I started really gardening myself. Her blog, You Grow Girl, and same titled first book, bring gardening to an understandable knowledge level for both beginners and those who have experience. Focused on gardening in contained spaces, Trail's self-guidance through the years has influenced people across the globe.
In Grow Great Grub, Trail continues handing out information on edibles in words anyone can understand. Laid out from planning to choosing to growing to harvesting, the book is by no means exhaustive, but still packs a punch. A lot of this has to do with easy explanations of processes in the garden: how to decide where you need to put your garden, how to start seeds, and how to compost are among the several topics in these pages. The section on plants includes vegetables, fruits, herbs and edible flowers if you want to decorate and eat what you grow.
If you are familiar with Trail's blog or previous work, then you know that the beautiful photography included in the book is her work, along with her partner, Davin Risk. You feel like you can almost stroke the leaves of many of the plants. You will also see that there are very few commercially-built pots for the plants. Trail shows how to use a lot of ordinary items such as cans, rubber containers and wooden boxes as space-saving planters.
I enjoyed all the extras you may not expect to see. Trail includes several charts for those who like to organize in straight lines of text (which my brain truly likes). Want to know what you can grow in shaded soil, soggy soil? Need information about nutrients and fertilizers, both for purchase and ones that you might have around already? Planning to chart when to start, transplant and harvest your vegetables? All this and more has been included, along with recipes for after the harvest and garden projects scaled by difficulty.
Grow Great Grub is a terrific addition to the microfarming niche of organic gardening books. A book for people looking for information on growing food in small spaces, I am definitely planning on adding this one to my shelf.
Title: Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces
Author: Gayla Trail
Publisher: Clarkson Potter/Publishers
Date: February 2010
Read: Library Trade Paperback