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

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Chelsea Green Publishing, Nov 5, 2008 - Gardening - 192 pages
3 Reviews

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - flemmily - LibraryThing

This is an ideas book more than a how-to book. A lot of the advice is "go see your local plant nursery for advice." But it is still an interesting book, and a more practical galvanizer than Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JonathanGorman - LibraryThing

I keep flipping between 2 1/2 stars and three for this book. What finally tipped it was the fact that there's a nice set of notes for further reading. I've been looking for some more books on ... Read full review

Selected pages


Creating a Food System for Your Space
Deciding What to Grow in Your Garden Space
How to Buy or Build Productive Vegetable Containers
Using Vertical Space and Reflected Light
Starting Transplants and Cycling Your Crops
Growing Fruit and Berries in Your Spare Space
Sprouting Grains Beans Wheatgrass and Salad Sprouts
Making Yogurt Kefir and Fermented Foods
Cultivating Mushrooms
Raising Chickens and Honeybees in the City
Making Compost and Partnering with Worms
Survival During Resource Shortages
Helping to Build a Sustainable Future

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About the author (2008)

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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