Book Review: Sugar Snaps And Strawberries

Sugar Snaps And Strawberries: Simple Solutions For Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden, by Andrea Bellamy

This book was certain a great deal different than I thought it would be, but it wasn’t different in a bad way.  I thought that this book, based on its title, would focus mainly on fruits and vegetables and herbs that would allow for a suitable and enjoyable edible garden, especially one with a small size.  However, this book was more about encouraging gardening as a whole [1].  This book, rather than being a book about the plants mainly, ends up being a one-stop resource for those who have small areas for containers or gardens and who want to make the most of it by growing food that is both visually appealing as well as delicious.  This is definitely an acceptable approach for me when it comes to books on the subject, and this is definitely a book I think would be worthwhile to add to someone’s gardening library, especially if they were interested in putting its ideas into practice.  Gardening edibles is a good way to eat good food, whether or not one gets any economic benefit out of doing so–quality is its own reward, sometimes.

Although a relatively short book of just over 200 pages, and one that is blessed with colorful graphic design as well as photography, this book manages to have ten chapters of material and then an additional 50 pages that describe the edibles that most people will be looking for from this book.  After a brief preface and acknowledgements, the author begins with a discussion of garden style (1) and a brief discussion about garden design philosophies.  After this the author spends some time encouraging the reader to assess their space (2) and find other space if they need more through community gardens, shared backyards, or even guerrilla gardening (3), as well as take advantage of container gardening on patio or balcony space (4).  After this comes several chapters that discuss aspects of planning one’s gardening (5) and knowing and improving soil (6).  Then comes a set of a chapters that discusses sowing and growing (7), keeping plants healthy without using harmful and toxic pesticides (8), making the most of limited space through succession planting and interplanting and winter gardening (9), and harvesting and preparing for the next year (10) before the author gives a detailed look at worthwhile edible plants and provides a glossary, bibliography, and index.

There are at least several categories of edible gardening plants that are worth keeping in mind.  There are trees with edible fruit, for example, that can help set the tone for a garden and provide something that will provide benefits for years and years.  There are other plants that are useful to grow because they provide food on an annual basis, some that are perennials, as well as various herbs that can provide spice (oregano and basil, for example, among many others).  While there are many plants that I would not ever grow in a garden because I simply do not like them (mango and beet, for very different reasons, would be among them), there are plenty of plants talked about here that do strike me as interesting, and I am especially intrigued by the author’s call for gardeners to engage in rotation of their garden to maximize the growing potential of a garden over seasons and also engage in companion gardening so that some plants will drive away the pests that plague delicate but desirable edible plants that one wants to eat for oneself rather than feeding birds or insects or slugs.  There is a great deal to appreciate and appropriate here.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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