Since I have started living a greener lifestyle, I have naturally started looking into more and more options for creating a garden. I admit that I envy anyone who is lucky enough to have the room and the time to grow their own food. When I was a child, my parents had a garden in our backyard. Some of my happiest childhood memories were created in that little plot of tilled earth. Now that I am an adult, I want to recreate that oasis of food that I grew up with for my own family. However, being a renter creates a special set of obstacles. Many renters, especially those who live in a city, don't have the space to grow a garden. If there is sufficient space, few landlords will grant their tenants permission to dig up a patch of their yards for it. This is where The Edible Balcony comes in handy.
The Edible Balcony, written by Alex Mitchell, is a guide for growing fresh produce in small spaces. It serves as a lesson that we don't need sprawling backyards or large raised beds to grow a plethora of fruit, vegetables and herbs. The book offers a variety of advice, time tables, projects and recipes for growing and eating from your own home garden, no matter how large or small your space is. For a mere 159 pages, The Edible Garden is packed full of useful information that any home gardener could benefit from. From reducing pollution to creating a more flavorful diet, Mitchell does a wonderful job of explaining why we should be utilizing our small spaces for growing food. As I read through the book, I learned how to grow potatoes in a "grow bag", what plants are best for a window box, the top plants for growing in small spaces, what ornamental plants look best when planted next to edibles and how to transform junk into unique planters.
As useful as all of the information presented by Mitchell is, what truly sold me on this book was the beautiful photography that accompanied her text. Every two page spread (with the exception of the index) includes at least one full color, highly detailed photograph that perfectly illustrates the point Ms. Mitchell is making. Another reason why I fell so in love with this book is the cocktail recipes and tips for food items that are sprinkled throughout. It is clear to me that the author truly knows what she is talking about and uses her balcony garden to its maximum potential!
I would highly recommend The Edible Balcony to anyone who is interested in starting a container garden, whether you live in the city or country. The practical tips outlined in this book can be applied to any living scenario, and to be honest, I now want to move back to the city so I can have a balcony again so I can try some of her brilliant gardening ideas. The Edible Balcony is available for purchase straight from the publisher, Rodale Books, as well as on Amazon and possibly eBay.