Sunday, March 22, 2015
The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden by Karen Newcomb (Book Review)
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.
I started planting my own little garden 3 years ago when we moved into our new house. I didn't have much to go on and I don't have a naturally green thumb so I try to pick up books on gardening when I can. I do not have a huge space for a garden in my backyard so I have only been growing a few different types of crops each year. I was so excited to hear about the postage stamp method in The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden. The idea is to grow as many types of vegetables and herbs you can in a very small space. The book is full of great information. There are some wonderful layout ideas at the beginning of the book if you don't have any idea of what you want to do already. There are also some great tips for getting the soil ready and composting. The best part though is the list of all the crops you can grow, which will do well in a postage stamp garden (and which ones will grow well together or hinder each other), how long each will take to grow and other important information for growing these plants. There is also a handy guide towards back that lists which bugs can be a problem for each different type of vegetable and what you can do to take care of it. I love that this book is on organic gardening and also lists some heirloom and non-gmo sources to get your seeds from. In fact, there is a pretty comprehensive list of seed sellers at the end of the book and it lists the specifics of each company (organic, non-gmo, heirloom,ect.). This book will be very useful for an newbie backyard gardener like me (yes, I still consider myself new to this 3 years in. For me, it is a continual learning process). I look forward to hopefully having more things growing and higher yields this year! And there truly is nothing like eating something fresh out of your garden!