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I recently moved flats into the top floor of a high-rise block. Still no house with a garden.. but we do now how our own rather sizeable roof terrace. I decided that I really want to plant a small garden up there and grow some vegetables, and I found this book on Amazon called ‘Crops in Pots’ to help me along on my mission!
The book is a lovely lime green colour and is a hardback book with some picture of fruit and veg in pots on it. It also states that the book has “50 great container projects using vegetables, fruit and herbs”
The book is split into sections. The first section is called “Getting Started” and gives advice on containers, different soils, watering, feeding, general care, pests and diseases and lots more useful information! I found this particular section very helpful as I am very much a gardening novice and it was good to have all the information I needed in set out neatly in one place.
The book is then split up further into sections. The next sections are called ‘Starters’, ‘Main Courses’ and ‘Desserts’.. quite strange names for the sections, I thought! This is because the different ‘container projects’ mostly have an array of vegetables in one pot to be used for a particular meal. For example in the Starters section there is a container project called “Summer Cocktail”, which is a combination of borage, salad burnet and strawberry plants. In “Main Courses” there are projects such as “Pasta and Pizza Pot” and “Once Upon A Time”, a combination of runner beans and aubergines. There is a good selection of fruit and vegetables, and even edible (and non-edible) flowers used in the container projects.
Each container project took up two pages in the book. On one page was a full page picture of what the container will look like in full bloom, and on the other page is the instructions. There is a little key at the top of each page letting you know how much sun the plants need, if they are frost hardy and how much watering they will need. Then there is a list of ‘ingredients’ needed, and this includes everything including what kind of pot to use, what kind of soil and which seeds are required. Then there is a list of instructions, and on most of the projects there were just three or four main points. One of the things that they don’t put on the page, which I think would have been very helpful, was which months to plant the seeds, and when they can be harvested. If you’re growing plants inside I guess that doesn’t matter too much, but if you are putting them outside then it definitely does. I know the information can be found on the individual seed packets but I do think it would be helpful for planning. A good little thing that they have included on each project page is a recipe where you can use what you grown, such as Thai-dressed tofu rolls from the starters section, Chard and chickpea tortilla from the main courses section and Lemon posset with frosted grapes from the desserts section.
At the back of the book there is a little sections about “What to Grow”, which gives a better description of the individual plants, herbs, flowers and fruit you can grow. This was a great help for some extra information which isn’t included on the project pages, such as particular pests you may get with the plant and tips about sowing and harvesting your crops.
I really enjoyed the book, although what I really wanted in the book was for it to be a little more ‘plain’. Instead of having four different kinds of vegetable to be grown together in a pot, I wanted it to have a little more information on growing individual fruit and vegetables. That is not to say I am not impressed with the book, I think its clever the way that they have grouped specific plants together that you may use in the same meal, but at the same time I think a lot of the grouping was used for decorative purposes to look pretty, and I was looking for something a little more practical. Though potting things in the same container would save on space, and it would be easier to care for the plants as the plants which need similar care are obviously planted together.
It says on the back of the book that “even if you only have a tiny patio, balcony or just a windowsill you can grow a bountiful crop of fruit and vegetable”, and although it says this, it didn’t offer any advice for growing your plants completely indoors (such as in a windowsill) and it didn’t have any pictures of plants being grown indoors, all of the pictures were of plants outside. I think it would have been helpful for people who don’t have a balcony or terrace to see how to place their plants inside, and what it may look like. It also doesn’t mention specifically how to grow your crops indoors, or any tips on how to grow indoors which I think would have been good.
I think this book was really handy for the information at the start about different container and soils to use. I have planted some seeds already, and my little seedlings are getting bigger every day. I have grouped some of my vegetable together in pots, though there some container projects I am unlikely to use, such as the ones with flowers in them. But for information and tips, I find this book really handy. I just wish they had more of a selection of pictures of crops in different places such as inside, as the book claims that it is possible to grow a crop on your windowsill.
If you’re looking for some interesting gardening projects and only have a small patio, balcony or terrace, I recommend this book.
The rrp of the book is £14.99 but it is for sale on Amazon for £9.71.