Grow Tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers.
When I first started vegetable gardening in the 1990’s I thought you had to “go big or go home” with your garden plot. I had a big yard and I began a huge garden with my neighbor (it was probably 30×30 feet). We gardened together for years and were reasonably successful, feeding our families the best we could. Looking back it seems that in the long run, the effort it took to rototill and prepare that big garden plot and then maintain all the weeding it required, was not really worth the amount of vegetables we harvested.
Eventually, we found a wonderful book, The Postage Stamp Garden, and began to use raised beds. They were a huge time saver for us and thanks to that book our harvests really increased. As a new gardener, it was one of my favorite books to learn about growing techniques for the vegetables I wanted to eat.
Imagine my delight when I learned that after 40 years, the author Karen Newcomb has updated and republished it under the name The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden: Grow Tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers.
What is a Postage Stamp Garden?
It’s growing more than you ever dreamed possible from a small space. These techniques will allow you to double or triple the amount of vegetables you might normally grow in conventional garden space. It’s small space gardening information at its best. In the book you will:
- // Learn the basic principles of small garden design.
- // Get 11 garden plans that can be incorporated into your yard. These range in size from 4×4 feet to 8×10 feet.
- // Learn about plant spacing and how to get the maximum number of vegetables and herbs growing in the space you have.
- // Understand crop rotation principles and how to begin them in your postage stamp garden.
- // Begin to incorporate window sills, window boxes, and patio containers into your garden plan.
- // Know the quality of soil you need and how to amend it so earthworms will arrive.
Vegetable Gardening Reference
The book goes through every conceivable thing you might want to know about growing every conceivable vegetable. There are 7.5 pages devoted just to beans. It starts with a general description of the vegetable, whether it is a cool or warm season crop and if it will be good to grow in a postage stamp garden. (Beans are excellent, by the way). Then the author goes in depth about planting, crop-stretching, typical problems, growing tips, harvesting, storage and recommended varieties. Wow!
The recommendations have been updated with the most up to date organic heirloom, and open pollinated varieties, and then give you seed sources so you can easily purchase what you want. Overall, it’s an excellent reference for any vegetable gardener.
Bean growing tip (page 82): Did you know you can miraculously turn pole bean vines into bush like plants? “Pinch off the growing tips every time they exceed 12 inches. This keeps them at easy picking height and doubles the crop over comparable bush beans.”
How to Compost
I’m fanatical about composting. I hate to see good kitchen scraps go to waste. Maybe you want to start composting too, but let’s face it, not everyone has room for a typical three bin compost system. The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden has instructions for creating seven different types of compost systems. It starts by using a galvanized garbage can, to building a 3×3 compost bin from scrap lumber. You are sure to find a system that will work in your small space yard.
This book is for you
If you are a new gardener – this is for you. You will appreciate having the in-depth information about how to grow specific vegetables.
If you have a small yard and want to grow healthy, organic vegetables – this is for you. The author’s promise of 2-3 times additional harvest is hard to pass up, especially when you only have a small area to grow.
If you are an experienced gardener – this is for you. In addition to using the book as a refresher for planting, the chapter on controlling pest, diseases, and critters organically is another handy reference.
Is there anything I don’t like?
Inside the book – I love it all! My beef is with the quality of the book itself. It’s paperback and the covers curl up. It is the gardening season and I’ve been using the book as a reference, Even though I have only had it a month, it’s beginning to look beat up. No fault of the author, of course, and not enough of a reason not to recommend it. Maybe I’ll go to the library and ask them to put one of those clear covers on it. That way it will withstand the constant use it’s bound to get.
The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden is a classic gardening bestseller (over 500,000 copies sold) and teaches you how to use ecologically friendly, intensive biodynamic methods to produce large amounts of vegetables in very tiny spaces. Revised for an all new generation of gardeners, the 40th-anniversary edition includes brand new information on the variety of heirloom vegetables available today and how to grow them the postage stamp way.
To accommodate today’s lifestyles, a garden needs to fit easily into a very small plot, take as little time as possible to maintain, require a minimum amount of water, and still produce prolifically. That’s exactly what a postage stamp garden does. Postage stamp gardens are as little as 4 by 4 feet, and, after the initial soil preparation, they require very little extra work to produce a tremendous amount of vegetables–for instance, a 5-by-5-foot bed will produce a minimum of 200 pounds of vegetables.
When first published 40 years ago, the postage stamp techniques, including closely planted beds rather than rows, vines and trailing plants grown vertically to free up space, and intercropping, were groundbreaking. Now, in an ever-busier world, the postage stamp intensive gardening method continues to be invaluable for gardeners who wish to weed, water and work a whole lot less yet produce so much more
Find it on Amazon. There are affiliate links in this post. I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.