Book review: Fresh Food From Small Spaces: The Square Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting by R. J. Ruppenthal

This book was written for apartment, condo, and small-house dwellers. The author gives suggestions for eking home-grown/sprouted/fermented foods out of postage-stamp yards, balconies, laundry rooms, sunken patios, cupboards, windowsills, and closets. He covers vegetable gardening (using reflected light, trellising, and terracing), compact fruits and berries, sprouting, fermenting (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi), cultivating mushrooms, keeping chickens and bees, and composting. Somewhere in there was also a mention of foraging. He says:
“Using this book, most urban residents can learn to grow as much as 10 to 20 percent of the fresh food their families eat from an average-sized urban condominium or apartment space.” [pg xiii]
I found many interesting nuggets in this low-visual, high-text book: Mr. Ruppenthal has some great advice on making your own extra-large self-watering containers out of storage bins, and he makes a convincing argument for sprouting (convincing enough to get even me thinking about trying it).
The final chapter discusses the sustainability movement (local food, organic agriculture, farmers markets, etc.). Just before that is an unexpected chapter on emergency preparedness. After that: no index. That bit took me by surprise – there’s not many non-fiction books without indexes these days.
— Amanda

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