Friday, March 13, 2015

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden: Grow Tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers by Karen Newcomb

Ten Speed Press (February 17, 2015)


This classic gardening bestseller (over 500,000 copies sold) uses ecologically friendly, intensive biodynamic methods to produce large amounts of vegetables in very tiny spaces. Revised for an all new generation of gardeners, the 40th anniversary edition includes brand new information on the variety of heirloom vegetables available today and how to grow them the postage stamp way.

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.
My Thoughts:

My desire to garden has kind of come and went through the years. One year, early in our marriage, Jonathan and I planted a full garden. It was pretty much a disaster. One year, we planted lots of tomato plants within buckets and containers. That was very successful until worms devoured them. DEVOURED them! I was heartbroken, and haven't ventured into the world of gardening again, other than planting flowers and trees(mostly of the fruit variety) here and there. There's been both great success and huge failures in that realm.

As I continue on a *somewhat* minimalistic journey inside our home, though, the desire to garden has hit me full force this year. Not having to clean every second of every day(as it has *seemed* for so long) opens up more possibilities! I already have several projects planned for our little outdoor world whenever the weather warms up(and it's not pouring rain) I DO want any projects I take on to be manageable by just me and the boys, though, since Jonathan isn't able to take on anymore at the moment. (He's working hard enough!) These projects will double as nature lessons for the boys, too, so getting fresh food in the mix can't be beat.

All of that is why this book is perfect for me. It's great for beginners, like me, and also great for learning to get the most out of any space used. This means a good harvest and variety within a small space, and less upkeep than a typical garden. Since my help will be 3 little boys, I need something that doesn't take a ton of time. I DO want plenty of time for reading, after all! ;)

This book will give you several different maps, depending on your "bed" size and what foods you want to harvest. It shows you exactly where to plant each plant. You'll also see examples of different shapes. There are ALL kinds of tips within these pages, from preparing the soil to harvesting to storing your food once you've picked it. It will let you know how many of each plant to include based on the number of people that will be eating it. (For example, you'll only need 1 artichoke plant per person, but 30-50 carrot plants per person.) It will tell you when to plant what, and even how to stretch out your space("crop stretching") For example, when you harvest broccoli, replace it with carrots, beets, or radishes. Pretty cool, huh? :) It'll tell you which foods freeze well(cabbage doesn't, but broccoli does). It will even tell you exactly how to prepare it for the freezer. There's even recommendations for what to use for each type of pest, and what symptoms to look for on your plants.

The only somewhat negative is the lack of pictures. There are very few of them, and they aren't really what I'd call "color" pictures. There is some green and grey and brown, but it's kind of like newspaper kind of coloring, and that's pretty much reserved for the "maps". The only photo-like picture you'll see is on the cover. Honestly, it's packed full of so much help and information that I don't even care about the lack of pictures!

This book is seriously a dream come true for a beginning gardener that doesn't really know where to begin, like me. It is *filled* with useful information for your whole gardening journey, and I definitely recommend it if you need a guiding hand through the whole process.

*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.


Purchase Link:

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden: Grow Tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers



  1. This sounds like the perfect book for me. I've always wanted to do more gardening and end up feeling overwhelmed by my lack of experience.

  2. I love to flower garden, but haven't had much luck with vegetables. My yard doesn't really have a great place where it gets enough sun. The small areas that do have my roses! If we ever move I'd like to try planting some food and this book looks like a very helpful read. : )

    1. We've tried several rose bushes, but so far only one has survived. I really hope I can get better at growing them, though, because I love them! ;)