Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: the book

Small-Space Vegetable Gardens

Hello friends. Happy New Year.

I have good news! With the start of the new year comes the launch of Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots.

That’s right: a new book! Well, sort of. Let me explain.

Small-Space Vegetable Gardens is designed to give you all the information–and inspiration–you need to start your first (or second, or tenth) edible garden. It focuses on successful container gardening, but as the subtitle suggests, it also covers other small-space gardening options such as raised beds. It’s truly a great growing guide, full of amazing photographs and practical advice.

Sound a lot like my first book? It is. Think of it as a Sugar Snaps and Strawberries redux. Not quite a sequel, not a second edition, Small-Space Vegetable Gardens has an interesting backstory.

After Sugar Snaps and Strawberries was published and the initial flurry of book touring and promoting passed, I had several conversations with the wonderful Juree Sondker, acquiring editor at Timber Press, about a possible second book. For a couple of years, we went back and forth with different ideas, but nothing really stuck. Looking back, I know my head wasn’t in the game. I was exhausted. Writing another book was, frankly, beyond my emotional capacity.

Then, in June 2013, Juree approached me with a new idea. Timber Press wanted to revise and re-release Sugar Snaps and Strawberries. While the content of the book remained relevant and engaging, Juree said, the team felt the packaging (title, design, photos) didn’t accurately reflect the hard-working, practical nature of the content.

Juree proposed that we tighten up and repackage the text from Sugar Snaps and make it a practical and timeless reference on edible gardening in small spaces. How could I say no?

While I was (and remain) very proud of my first book, I was also happy to change it up, and more than happy to ditch the title. (To me, Sugar Snaps and Strawberries always sounded more like a tea shop than a gardening book.)

We got to work. The incredible Julie Talbot was assigned as editor, and began to look at the manuscript with a critical eye, removing things that just weren’t all that suited to really small spaces, while asking me to expand the sections on small-space gardening techniques and growing options. To provide just a couple of examples: we added quick-reference helpers such as a troubleshooting guide and a month-by-month planting chart, and removed the section on making seed bombs (while fun to make, seed bombs aren’t the most effective way of starting edibles). In short, the text is concise yet jam-packed with relevant and useful instruction. Hardworking, as Juree would say.

Visually, Small-Space Vegetable Gardens also looks brand new. Obviously, it’s got a new, straightforward title. And I’d say about half of the photos are new, showing many more garden settings and designs, providing the reader with practical inspiration. The book design makes the information accessible and easy to find, which is everything you want in a reference book, right?

I am so grateful for Julie and Juree’s thoughtful insights on the manuscript. Thank you for everything, ladies, and thanks to everyone at Timber who contributed.

I also want to thank anyone who’s come out to listen to a talk, emailed me a gardening question, or reviewed my book. In Small-Space Vegetable Gardens, I was able to incorporate feedback received over the past few years, as well as everything learned from chatting with people at workshops and gardening events. Your questions–about things like growing edibles in shade and vertical gardening–have been answered in this book.

I’ve always loved fresh starts. The chance to improve, the possibility of doing better. Maybe that’s why I’ve always liked New Years. It’s definitely part of why spring and the start of a new gardening season is my favourite time of year. So it seems fitting that at the start of 2015, I’m writing about a fresh start. I hope you’ll take a moment to check out Small-Space Vegetable Gardens. And as always, let me know what you think.

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