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The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers

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By growing vegetables in containers, even novice gardeners can reap a bounty of organic food in very small spaces. Anyone can harvest tomatoes on a patio, produce a pumpkin in a planter, or grow broccoli on a balcony — it’s easy! Ed Smith shows you how to choose the right plants, select containers and tools, care for plants throughout the growing season, control pests By growing vegetables in containers, even novice gardeners can reap a bounty of organic food in very small spaces. Anyone can harvest tomatoes on a patio, produce a pumpkin in a planter, or grow broccoli on a balcony — it’s easy! Ed Smith shows you how to choose the right plants, select containers and tools, care for plants throughout the growing season, control pests without chemicals, and much more. He even includes plans for small-space container gardens that are perfect for urban and suburban gardeners.


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By growing vegetables in containers, even novice gardeners can reap a bounty of organic food in very small spaces. Anyone can harvest tomatoes on a patio, produce a pumpkin in a planter, or grow broccoli on a balcony — it’s easy! Ed Smith shows you how to choose the right plants, select containers and tools, care for plants throughout the growing season, control pests By growing vegetables in containers, even novice gardeners can reap a bounty of organic food in very small spaces. Anyone can harvest tomatoes on a patio, produce a pumpkin in a planter, or grow broccoli on a balcony — it’s easy! Ed Smith shows you how to choose the right plants, select containers and tools, care for plants throughout the growing season, control pests without chemicals, and much more. He even includes plans for small-space container gardens that are perfect for urban and suburban gardeners.

30 review for The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tarah

    (updated as I had mistakenly only given 4 stars before- GASP--this is a 5-star gardening book!) There are a myriad of really great gardening books out there. But for the best go-to, how-to books, Edward C. Smith is God. Lucky for us, he wrote the Bible. Two of them, actually. Building on his Vegetable Gardener's Bible (which is wonderful) is now the Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible. These books are the best reference books out there on gardening (well, I'm sure the *really, really* big ones (updated as I had mistakenly only given 4 stars before- GASP--this is a 5-star gardening book!) There are a myriad of really great gardening books out there. But for the best go-to, how-to books, Edward C. Smith is God. Lucky for us, he wrote the Bible. Two of them, actually. Building on his Vegetable Gardener's Bible (which is wonderful) is now the Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible. These books are the best reference books out there on gardening (well, I'm sure the *really, really* big ones that cost a billion dollars probably are, simply because they are more extensive, but for the money, these are FANTASTIC). I've been home gardening for about 7 years- first in a community garden, and now in containers, and I have read probably 75 gardening books. These are the only two I own-- and for good reason: they're straight to the fucking point. Got any basic questions about how to grow the most common fruits and vegetables? Edward C. Smith has the answer. With high glossy photos. God Bless you, Edward C. Smith. Or, bless yourself, as the case may be.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karen GoatKeeper

    I love my earth garden and don't plan to give it up but this book makes turning much of it into a container garden very tempting. The writing is clear. The explanations are easily understood. Included are plans for making your own self watering containers, compost, pot mixes and planting suggestions. The pot sizes are not numerical making them a bit vague. They do have amounts of soil contained in the different sizes but that is not easily pictured. At the end of the book is a wonderful listing of I love my earth garden and don't plan to give it up but this book makes turning much of it into a container garden very tempting. The writing is clear. The explanations are easily understood. Included are plans for making your own self watering containers, compost, pot mixes and planting suggestions. The pot sizes are not numerical making them a bit vague. They do have amounts of soil contained in the different sizes but that is not easily pictured. At the end of the book is a wonderful listing of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers with descriptions and advice for growing them in containers or otherwise. Some of the information is usable for a raised bed. Some of the plant information will be very helpful for growing those plants in the garden proper. Anyone can grow some edible plant after reading this book. This includes apartment dwellers on upper floors. This is an excellent book for anyone who grows or wants to grow fresh produce.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Super helpful book for someone like me who doesn't have space for an earth garden and knows nothing about planting. My general method is to buy and bunch of a plants, water when I remember to, and hope for the best. Every page or two I learned something new. The book is broken up in chapters by stages (selecting the right containers, soil, seeds/plants, planting, care... etc.) and then the last half of the book is an alphabetical list of vegetables and herbs. I would highly recommend for others Super helpful book for someone like me who doesn't have space for an earth garden and knows nothing about planting. My general method is to buy and bunch of a plants, water when I remember to, and hope for the best. Every page or two I learned something new. The book is broken up in chapters by stages (selecting the right containers, soil, seeds/plants, planting, care... etc.) and then the last half of the book is an alphabetical list of vegetables and herbs. I would highly recommend for others that are doing container gardens!

  4. 5 out of 5

    RL

    Excellent book, great ideas. I had been a gardener--a flat space in-the-ground outside gardener--for many years before my space in my community garden was bulldozed and destroyed. With very limited space and sunny areas, I began putting plants in pots with varying degrees of success. Finding self-esteem pots that I can afford has been challenging; Mr. Smith gives some excellent methods for making them. He also gives ideas that I hadn't thought about. I hadn't considered, for example, planting Excellent book, great ideas. I had been a gardener--a flat space in-the-ground outside gardener--for many years before my space in my community garden was bulldozed and destroyed. With very limited space and sunny areas, I began putting plants in pots with varying degrees of success. Finding self-esteem pots that I can afford has been challenging; Mr. Smith gives some excellent methods for making them. He also gives ideas that I hadn't thought about. I hadn't considered, for example, planting short-harvest vegetables in circles around those that one either plants later or simply takes longer to grow to size. His lists of different plants and habit\growth tips are quite good. I recommend this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shaina Robbins

    I've been reading a lot about vegetable container gardening recently, and this book is by far the best one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Apparently I have Squash Vine Borers in my garden. They are really destructive little jerks... But I did get some nice zucchini before they did their damage. Had some zucchini bread for breakfast.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    This was an interesting read, and I really liked all the recommendations for specific types of plants that grow well in containers. However, this was written by a gardener who lives a lot farther North than I do, so a lot of his timelines and growing advice doesn't seem like it would apply to Texas gardening.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    Quick and easy layout in terms of planning, picking, and working with your containers. I am intrigued by the fact that this, unlike the last container gardening book I read, says nothing about mulch and instead is in love with liquid seaweed fertilizer. Having said that, he isn’t a fan of spice or chilis, so I’m not sure how much I can believe him....

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Cathey

    This book was a gift from a seasoned gardener after becoming aware of my ability to kill any plant within reach. This book was easy to understand, filled with pictures and made container gardening attainable... even for me! From beginners to experienced gardeners this is a fantastic resource.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    So helpful! I'll be re-reading certain chapters to take notes before returning this book to the library, so I can plan my garden for this year. But when I have an income again, I'll be buying a reference copy for myself!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emma Kramer-Rodger

    A really good book that dives in depth into the subject of container gardening. Although I did find it a little long winded at parts and it goes into enough detail using terms that make it not ideal for a beginner gardener

  12. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    Helpful, explanatory.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    The most helpful gardening book I've found to date!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    I haven't read through this but I do use it as a reference.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heather Webb

    Helpful

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jgrace

    The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible- E.C.Smith 4 stars “I do like a good garden book” Amelia Maugery -The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society Me, too. I like a good gardening book. Until recently, I didn’t progress much beyond reading books and seed catalogs. But, now that I have some time…. I was looking for some practical advice. Realistically, I’m unlikely to do any gardening that involves heavy labor. I live in a standard suburban tract that is encroaching on Southern California The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible- E.C.Smith 4 stars “I do like a good garden book” Amelia Maugery -The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society Me, too. I like a good gardening book. Until recently, I didn’t progress much beyond reading books and seed catalogs. But, now that I have some time…. I was looking for some practical advice. Realistically, I’m unlikely to do any gardening that involves heavy labor. I live in a standard suburban tract that is encroaching on Southern California chaparral habitat. (Mea culpa.) Also, I don’t need to feed a family, but I like fresh vegetables. Add a pair of marauding dogs and a severe drought to the picture. Container gardening is perfect for my needs. This book is full of excellent advice, step by step instructions with clear diagrams and beautiful photographs. Divided into three sections; part one introduces the rationale for container gardening along with advice on self-watering containers, soil requirements and other tools and accessories. Part two walks through the steps of gardening from seed to harvest along with trouble shooting advice. The third section is the most fun to read and look at. It is basically an alphabetized reference of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers that will thrive if planted in containers. I tried the free sample of this book on my paperwhite, but black and white pictures did not inspire me enough. I’m enjoying the paper copy with its gorgeous pictures. It’s fun to thumb through when I’m not out playing in the dirt.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Penrose

    This book serves as something of a mentor for those who want to grow food, but lack a yard. It's starts out with encouraging words, and quickly gets in to explanations of where to begin. Chapters are devoted to a single topic such as, choosing the proper containers, the right potting mix, and what special tools and accessories may become necessary. There is a ton of information about how much space, sunlight, and water that different plants require, as well as insight about what grows well This book serves as something of a mentor for those who want to grow food, but lack a yard. It's starts out with encouraging words, and quickly gets in to explanations of where to begin. Chapters are devoted to a single topic such as, choosing the proper containers, the right potting mix, and what special tools and accessories may become necessary. There is a ton of information about how much space, sunlight, and water that different plants require, as well as insight about what grows well together, what looks good together, and how you can maximize your harvest, never letting growing space go unused. There are entire chapters dedicated to pest identification and management, when and how to harvest, and even step-by-step directions on how to pack up for the winter. The second half of the book is an alphabetized list of successful veggies, listing specific recommendations for pots, planting/harvesting times, and pest control concerns. These recommendations are based on the author's personal experiences with container gardening. Although I'd still like to read Carrots Love Tomatoes, I feel like this book is damn close to telling me everything that I need to know.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elie

    After trying self-watering pots as edward smith recommends, I would have to agree that it is the best way to go! I have killed many potted plants by simply going on vacation for a couple days. Self watering pots solve this problem. between this book and bountiful container, all the information for a full garden in pots is available. Smith has great technique for growing annuals. Bountiful Container discusses perennials (fruit) in addition to annuals. An outstanding book for the beginner Includes: After trying self-watering pots as edward smith recommends, I would have to agree that it is the best way to go! I have killed many potted plants by simply going on vacation for a couple days. Self watering pots solve this problem. between this book and bountiful container, all the information for a full garden in pots is available. Smith has great technique for growing annuals. Bountiful Container discusses perennials (fruit) in addition to annuals. An outstanding book for the beginner Includes: potting soil recipe, how to build self watering pots, how to rejuvenate soil for a new year, pot capacities for numerous veggies along with some good varieties to start with. Great layout. Easy to flip through and look up particular topics.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I found this to be a brilliant resource as I am a beginning gardener with dreams of growing my own food. As someone who needs a step by step on how to start a vegetable garden, I found this book to be invaluable. As a detail oriented person, I appreciated how the book is broken down into chapters about best soil composition, sizes of containers, most satisfying crops (according to the author), etc... In the chapter about the different crops, the author even describes potential pests and how to I found this to be a brilliant resource as I am a beginning gardener with dreams of growing my own food. As someone who needs a step by step on how to start a vegetable garden, I found this book to be invaluable. As a detail oriented person, I appreciated how the book is broken down into chapters about best soil composition, sizes of containers, most satisfying crops (according to the author), etc... In the chapter about the different crops, the author even describes potential pests and how to deal without using chemical pesticides. This book has certainly inspired me to start a few crops on my deck for this summer.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zacaro Caro

    Great advice even if you aren't gardening in containers. I have an "earth garden" as he calls it in this book. But I picked this book up at the library as well because I am thinking about window sill gardens, tomatoes in a container and maybe doing herbs this way. I think I'm going to buy this book, it's very useful--I could tell he wanted to write more on traditional "earth gardens" and he does a good job of explaining what is just good advice for growing in the earth as well while admirably Great advice even if you aren't gardening in containers. I have an "earth garden" as he calls it in this book. But I picked this book up at the library as well because I am thinking about window sill gardens, tomatoes in a container and maybe doing herbs this way. I think I'm going to buy this book, it's very useful--I could tell he wanted to write more on traditional "earth gardens" and he does a good job of explaining what is just good advice for growing in the earth as well while admirably staying on topic and focused towards the title. I'm looking for more of his books to buy as well. He has a fun writing style easy to read while informative at the same time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lulu

    About ten years ago we moved back to the inner city from the country, where we grew everything imaginable in our huge garden. We have a fairly decent sized backyard (33x40) for a Centretown lot, but I'm always looking for new ideas to enable me to cram in more vegetables and fruits. While I'm not big on the idea of planting in plastic, those tupperware containers are clever! I've got the bins and power-tools... all I need is some good earth to replace the road dust that makes up our garden. I About ten years ago we moved back to the inner city from the country, where we grew everything imaginable in our huge garden. We have a fairly decent sized backyard (33x40) for a Centretown lot, but I'm always looking for new ideas to enable me to cram in more vegetables and fruits. While I'm not big on the idea of planting in plastic, those tupperware containers are clever! I've got the bins and power-tools... all I need is some good earth to replace the road dust that makes up our garden. I gave this book five stars just for the bins alone, but as Tarah said in her review, Edward C.Smith is the man!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    I've browsed gardening books before, only to dismiss them as impractical or unhelpful. I'm not an avid gardener (if anything, I'm a black thumb, and I live in an area with inadequate lighting outside my home). But this book is so promising that I vowed to purchase it. It really fills in all the gaps I'd noticed from other books. It explains things so clearly that I have hope that even I can do this! Of course, we shall see. But at least I can't complain that I don't have a good resource anymore.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amber Gregory

    This book seems like a reprint of his previous book on container gardening just with a new title and cover. The idea is that even with just a small amount of space, like a little balcony, you can grow vegetables but then almost all the vegetables he recommends need large containers. Not very helpful for people who really don't have very much space to work with. (He grows his container vegetables in his large yard alongside traditional garden beds.) Not a bad book, just personally a little This book seems like a reprint of his previous book on container gardening just with a new title and cover. The idea is that even with just a small amount of space, like a little balcony, you can grow vegetables but then almost all the vegetables he recommends need large containers. Not very helpful for people who really don't have very much space to work with. (He grows his container vegetables in his large yard alongside traditional garden beds.) Not a bad book, just personally a little disappointing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    If you've read the first one in this series, Vegetable Gardener's Bible, then the container version is great for people with small spaces like a balcony, or those seeking to extend the amount of useable space they have in their backyards. Be forewarned though, those of us that have already read the first title, a lot of the information contained herein is the same. That said, the tricks and tips for container gardening are invaluable, including how to create your own self watering pots. All in If you've read the first one in this series, Vegetable Gardener's Bible, then the container version is great for people with small spaces like a balcony, or those seeking to extend the amount of useable space they have in their backyards. Be forewarned though, those of us that have already read the first title, a lot of the information contained herein is the same. That said, the tricks and tips for container gardening are invaluable, including how to create your own self watering pots. All in all, I don't regret purchasing this one in the least.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aija

    Mainly it is assumed that everyone will use self-watering containers for most plants which does not need drought to show their best:). And this is also ok, because there are few guides with photos how to build yourself as commercial self-watering containers are pretty expensive. Just be prepared. Also be aware that for many plants the author suggests to buy seedlings from local shop as it is hard or takes a lot of time to grow by yourself. However, some notes are mentioned if you decide to try Mainly it is assumed that everyone will use self-watering containers for most plants which does not need drought to show their best:). And this is also ok, because there are few guides with photos how to build yourself as commercial self-watering containers are pretty expensive. Just be prepared. Also be aware that for many plants the author suggests to buy seedlings from local shop as it is hard or takes a lot of time to grow by yourself. However, some notes are mentioned if you decide to try nevertheless.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is exactly what I was looking for in a container gardening book!! My favorite part is the last third of the book, which lists individual veggies followed by what size pot to use, how to plant, how to harvest, what bugs to watch out for...I also really like that the author marked which vegetables actually do better in a container than an earth garden. This book has filled me with enough enthusiasm to attempt to re-start my sad, failed herb garden...I'm sure I'll regret this.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara Q

    Great introduction to self-watering containers, including how to make your own. Very personable and lightly humorous voice in the writing. He gives his honest opinion about plants and strategies for a container garden, but also recognizes that your mileage may vary. Plenty of photos that actually illustrate what is being discussed on the pages. I found the book especially helpful since his experience is as a gardener in Vermont - a place with a similar short growing season like Bend's.

  28. 4 out of 5

    PennsyLady (Bev)

    The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers (2011) by Edward C. Smith softcover reference "plentiful organic vegetables from small spaces." We can be assured the Ed and Sylvia Smith have planted, tested, tasted and finally submitted some exciting ideas either to begin or expand your existing gardening. There are excellent photos, suggested readings, list of suppliers and discussion of hardiness zones. 5 reference. The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers (2011) by Edward C. Smith softcover reference "plentiful organic vegetables from small spaces." We can be assured the Ed and Sylvia Smith have planted, tested, tasted and finally submitted some exciting ideas either to begin or expand your existing gardening. There are excellent photos, suggested readings, list of suppliers and discussion of hardiness zones. 5★ reference.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    This book covers the basics of container gardening that many others have, although with a bit more detail. Where this book shines are the detailed descriptions of individual plants (veggies, herbs, flowers) and varieties that are good for containers, along with colored pictures. When I'm ready for container gardening, this will be the book I return to. Container gardening bible is appropriately named.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tressa

    I found this book very educational. I had never thought of self-watering containers before and am now quite intrigued with implementing the practice. I also liked the author's suggestions on plants for containers. I thought the book was nicely laid out and arranged with each chapter building upon the previous chapter.

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