The Rooftop Growing Guide (review)

First things first.

The Rooftop Growing Guide by Annie Novak isn’t quite what I had hoped for, but I’m not going to hold it against the book.  I don’t have a roof suitable for a garden, but I have a sunny patio.  I was hoping for a book that would house a good amount of information about container gardening, but it really is a book for overall guidance on rooftop gardens.

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You might be thinking, “no duh, the title is pretty self-explanatory.”  In my defense, there’s a lot of crossover information, so maybe you can forgive me being a bit too optimistic at the time I turned the cover.   

After getting over my disappointment, I can tell you that this a great informational book.  There’s a section about assessing your climate, microclimates, sun exposure, etc.  There is some information about container gardens, like making your own sub-irrigated container (which I love to call a self-watering container and it annoys my roommate to no end – haha).  But the container gardening information is only about 10 pages.

I liked the section about irrigation methods and how to maintain a healthy soil.  The latter also has a very useful information about composting.  I wish I had this knowledge on hand when I had started my compost pile.  I might have gone with a tumbler system instead of an upright barrel system.  It’s more expensive, but I think it would have worked best for me.  (And looking at the Compost Troubleshooting grid reminds me that I should turn my pile.)

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There is some planting advice, but it’s fairly basic.  The chapter is 22 pages long, and 4 of them are dedicated to harvesting your plants.  The chapter that, to me, shines the most is the chapter about pests and problems.  It covers pest control, insects, and common plant disease.  The pictures were helpful, and there’s also mini-section about DIY/organic pest control.  (Note to self, try a nightshade spray and/or garlic oil this year.)

So!

Do I like this book?  Yes.

Will I use this book?  Mostly not.

Would I recommend this book?  Only if you’re actually planning on having a rooftop garden.  (^_^)

Reference Links:

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/239618/the-rooftop-growing-guide-by-annie-novak/

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/221139/annie-novak/

Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post.

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The Rooftop Growing Guide (review)

Small edible garden book for beginners

A gardening book graces my home this time!

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden by Karen Newcomb is a good beginner’s vegetable garden book.  It was originally published in 1975, but the copy I have is a revised edition from this year.  There are sections in it that I really like: the plants per person suggestions, the 11 sample garden layouts, a section on container gardening, explanations on soil mix (like what is bone meal, blood meal, or fish emulsion), and introductory explanation about crop rotation (there’s a handy soil nutrient deficiency chart.

Most handy is the list of vegetables and herbs with symbols indicating if they are a cool/warm season crop, and how well they grow in small gardens.

The only downside is that since this book was originally written in 1975, the variety of vegetables and herbs is somewhat conservative.  I was surprised that there is a page dedicated to Asian Mustard Greens, but then again you’re not going to find any mention of shiso (which is an Asian herb that’s pretty easy to grow).  I was also a bit puzzled that celery listed in the section about companion vegetables, but there is no page dedicated to growing celery.

I guess another downside is in the pest section.  There’s a lot of handy information, but this is the one section where I feel that pictures would be really useful.  (There are no pictures in the book outside of the 11 sample garden layouts.)

On the bright side, there’s a great section on composting that I think is fantastic.  The author gives a few different methods:  anaerobic bacteria using a garbage can, garbage can using the more customary method of dried materials and wet materials, using a barrel, using a plain old pile, a quicker method using shredding, and lastly the familiar compost bin.

For the next month, I’ll probably be referring to this book regularly while I try to determine what I want to grow in my container garden this year.  It’s a pretty solid starting point.

Reference Link:

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/237484/the-postage-stamp-vegetable-garden-by-karen-newcomb

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I am not getting compensated in any way outside of getting a book for free.

Small edible garden book for beginners