Wednesday, December 19, 2012

5 books about container gardening that are perfect for a commitment-phobe like me

"Plant carrots in January and you'll never have to eat carrots."
- Anonymous

I'm not a plant person. (Or a cat person, dog person, child person). I'm not NOT a plant person, but neither do I feel that it's my purpose in life to own or raise or grow one. As a diehard commitment-phobe, they smack too much of permanence. I had given it a go in the past, and realised quite quickly that I have no gardening skills whatsoever. Things die when I get a hold of them. (You can kinda see why it's just as well I don't have pets or kids). In my mid teens I collected cacti. At first, I thought they'd be hardy enough to withstand even my bouts of manic overwatering/manic avoiding. Not so. Every single one of them died. And yet people still kept giving them to me as gifts. D'oh. Looking back now, I think it was more that I couldn't find the right balance between caring too much and not caring enough. (Story of my life, really). So, the other day, thinking that maybe it was time I grew up and stopped being a Tan Peter Pan, I thought that I could trial pot plants for a few months. If they survive my care (such as it is), then maybe I could try something a little more permanent. actual goldfish instead of an image of fish bones on my bag (see attached image). Maybe. I'm not sure. A colleague suggested I could work my way up to being a puppy guide dog walker but, really, I fear for the well being of the dog. One step at a time. Beginning with container gardening! More specifically, herbs. I went for herbs because I'm more likely to remember to look after them if I'm going to eat them one day. (One track mind here, folks). And so, if you're scared of commitment like I am (seriously, even calendars scare me, and this was pointed out to me by the calendar-selling sales assistant), try a pot plant - a teeny, tiny one - to start with. And maybe one day, I, too, will be a real live girl! You don't know how much I fear for these pot plants - as experiments go, I've had better ideas. Lucky for me I work in a library with loads of books that can help. Like these ones below. Which will hopefully help me avoid plant murder. Maybe. I think.

Small-space container gardens : transform your balcony, porch, or patio with fruits, flowers, foliage & herbs / Fern Richardson
Small and sassy: choosing colors, containers, furniture, and lighting -- Elements: working with weather and climate -- Birds and the bees: attracting wildlife to your garden -- Potager with a twist: growing gorgeous food -- Succulents and scents path: loving a long and narrow space -- Secret garden: planning and planting for privacy -- Verdant and vertical: creating an upward, tropical oasis -- Green thumb crash course: learning the essentials for success -- Uninvited guests: troubleshooting pests and diseases. 

Small is bountiful : getting more crops from your pots / Liz Dobbs with Anne Halpin
Imagine the satisfaction of diving into a plate full of food that you grew yourself. Stepping out onto your patio and picking fresh ingredients for a meal is a special experience that is possible almost all year long. "Small Is Bountiful" shows you how to use the latest practices of high-density patio gardening to grow a cornucopia of mouthwatering fruits, delectable vegetables, and fresh herbs in large and small plant containers, window boxes, and hanging baskets.

Grow your own vegetables in pots : 35 ideas for growing vegetables, fruits and herbs in containers / Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell
A tiny garden, balcony or sunny window ledge can hold pots of fruits, vegetables and herbs - and in these 35 brilliant projects, Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell shows you not only how to grow them all from scratch, but how to plant them in an array of attractive containers, from colanders and woven bags to recycled cans and wooden fruit boxes. An amazing range of crops can be grown this way, including herbs, climbing beans and peas, new potatoes and root vegetables, peppers and chillies, soft fruits and cutand- come-again salad leaves that will provide you with fresh salads throughout the summer. Growing your own means you can ensure that all your crops are produced to the highest standard, and this book is packed with tips and techniques, from companion planting to deter pests to choosing the right container for the right crop, advice on feeding and watering, knowing when to harvest, and treating common diseases without using chemical sprays. Grow Your Own Vegetables in Pots will tempt the novice gardener to start growing and the more experienced gardener to produce crops that are a pleasure to grow, harvest and eat. 

Container garden idea book / editors of Fine gardening
Over 300 photos, plant recipes, and eye-catching designs for container gardens of all shapes and sizes, invaluable hands - on advice from gardening pros, inspiring combinations of flowers, vegetables, and herbs, ideas for entries, patios, decks, beds and borders, and more.

Pot it, grow it, eat it : home-grown produce, from pot to pan / Kathryn Hawkins
What can be more satisfying than growing your own fruit and veg and then eating it, fresh from the pot? Growing your own produce needn't be limited to those with large gardens or acres of outdoor space. It may be surprising to discover that a whole range of vegetables, salads, herbs and fruit can be grown in limited spaces, such as windowsill containers, pots, small front or back gardens and balconies. Divided into three main chapters, the first section looks at what you can grow, the tools and materials you'll need, choosing the right containers as well as where to site them for optimum results.

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