Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting

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Overview

Books on container gardening have been wildly popular with urban and suburban readers, but until now, there has been no comprehensive "how-to" guide for growing fresh food in the absence of open land. Fresh Food from Small Spaces fills the gap as a practical, comprehensive, and downright fun guide to growing food in small spaces. It provides readers with the knowledge and skills necessary to produce their own fresh vegetables, mushrooms, sprouts, and fermented foods as well as to raise bees and chickens?all ...

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Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting

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Overview

Books on container gardening have been wildly popular with urban and suburban readers, but until now, there has been no comprehensive "how-to" guide for growing fresh food in the absence of open land. Fresh Food from Small Spaces fills the gap as a practical, comprehensive, and downright fun guide to growing food in small spaces. It provides readers with the knowledge and skills necessary to produce their own fresh vegetables, mushrooms, sprouts, and fermented foods as well as to raise bees and chickens—all without reliance on energy-intensive systems like indoor lighting and hydroponics.

Readers will learn how to transform their balconies and windowsills into productive vegetable gardens, their countertops and storage lockers into commercial-quality sprout and mushroom farms, and their outside nooks and crannies into whatever they can imagine, including sustainable nurseries for honeybees and chickens. Free space for the city gardener might be no more than a cramped patio, balcony, rooftop, windowsill, hanging rafter, dark cabinet, garage, or storage area, but no space is too small or too dark to raise food.

With this book as a guide, people living in apartments, condominiums, townhouses, and single-family homes will be able to grow up to 20 percent of their own fresh food using a combination of traditional gardening methods and space-saving techniques such as reflected lighting and container "terracing." Those with access to yards can produce even more.

Author R. J. Ruppenthal worked on an organic vegetable farm in his youth, but his expertise in urban and indoor gardening has been hard-won through years of trial-and-error experience. In the small city homes where he has lived, often with no more than a balcony, windowsill, and countertop for gardening, Ruppenthal and his family have been able to eat at least some homegrown food 365 days per year. In an era of declining resources and environmental disruption, Ruppenthal shows that even urban dwellers can contribute to a rebirth of local, fresh foods.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Fresh Food from Small Spaces is a helpful guide to the range of food production strategies for urban spaces. A great resource for urban dwellers, enabling even those in basement apartments to produce copious food through sprouting and mushroom production. I particularly appreciated Ruppenthal's first-hand experience in building low-cost self-watering planters."--Eric Toensmeier, author of Perennial Vegetables and co-author of Edible Forest Gardens

Library Journal

Many gardening books describe ample land and space as being a prerequisite for growing flowers, plants, and food. And the ever popular container gardening books, generally written for those with little land or space in which to garden, do not always cover the question of raising fresh food that way. Ruppenthal, a business professor and lifelong trial-and-error gardener, here fills a gap in gardening literature and helps readers discover techniques for sustainable food production-even on a small scale-by using every square inch of space that is available to them. His book walks gardeners through assessing their available space and its lighting, deciding what to grow in the spaces they have, and buying (or building) vegetable garden containers. Using his techniques, gardeners will learn to grow herbs, vegetables, fruit, grains, and mushrooms, as well as raise chickens and honeybees and produce fermented foods such as yogurt. It may be nearly impossible to live completely off the grid in an urban environment, but through practice, patience, and creativity, it is possible to establish such a productive urban garden that you can eat some homegrown, fresh food every day of the year. Highly recommended for public libraries, special and academic libraries with strong agricultural collections, and all those who are serious about producing food and creating a more sustainable lifestyle. (Photos, table of contents, and index not seen.)
—Eboni A. Francis

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603580281
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/5/2008
  • Pages: 178
  • Sales rank: 381,867
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

A licensed attorney and college professor, R. J. Ruppenthal has never given up on his gardening passion, even when his day jobs led him to a more urban life. He currently teaches at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, California, and lives and gardens in the San Francisco Bay area.

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Table of Contents

1. Creating a food system for your space
2. Deciding what to grow in your garden space
3. How to buy or build productive vegetable containers
4. Using vertical space and reflected light
5. Starting transplants and cycling your crops
6. Growing fruit and berries in your spare space
7. Sprouting grains, beans, wheatgrass, and salad sprouts
8. Making yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods
9. Cultivating mushrooms
10. Raising chickens and honeybees in the city
11. Making compost and partnering with worms
12. Survival during resource shortages
13. Helping to build a sustainable future

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A locavore's delight

    You can't get much more local than your patio, and urban gardening enthusiast Ruppenthal looks after your pennies like they were his own. This slim volume is jam-packed with space and money-saving organic ideas, from the eminently practical to the slightly over-the-top.

    "A chicken coop or honeybee hive can fit on a sidewalk, a patch of lawn, or even a balcony.."

    In no time he'll have you growing sprouts on top of the refrigerator, mushrooms under the sink and making yogurt on your countertop. And this is in addition to all those delicious tomatoes, fruit trees, berries, cukes and beans you'll be growing in containers, trellises, and terraced plantings in former flower beds.

    Ruppenthal starts out with planning for your space, motivation, and light. He then delves deeply into soil mixes, making or adapting containers, seeds and transplants, fertilizer, timing, harvesting. Everything, in short, you need to get started. He doesn't hesitate to suggest other books he's found valuable and offers alternative ideas for gardeners of different skill levels, commitment and attitude.

    His enthusiasm is infectious and often dryly amusing. The microwave, for instance, is a handy gardening tool. "If anyone else in your household might object to cooking sawdust in the kitchen, then you might want to try this step when no one else is at home." His sneaky, hidden compost pile is nothing short of ingenious.

    Not just for the beginner, this quirky highly informative gardener's treat has ideas for every gardener, all of them direct from Ruppenthal's personal experience.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great source of inspiration

    I recently decided to start growing a larger percentage of my own foods and to make an effort to eat more local foods. This book is a great guide for the beginner - it gives an intro into the crops, methodology, a small project for some crops, and ends with sources for the items discussed in the book.

    The only thing negative I could think of about this book is that it doesn't go very in depth about certain things like raising meat or honeybees, but it did give some info, several ideas and a list of resources if you are intrested. Overall I think this book was a worthwhile investment and it has become a part of my permanent book shelf, if for no other reason than the list of resources.

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    Posted December 19, 2009

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    Posted July 6, 2010

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