The thought of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and corn from the garden appeals to most gardeners but only some have the garden space to grow their own vegetables. Lack of space is no longer a problem according to author Edward C. Smith who has written two books on container gardening with vegetables. His most recent book, Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Pots, deals with self watering pots which Smith claims can produce as good or better vegetables than a traditional earth garden! In addition, he notes that self watering containers require less work and can be used with organic and sustainable gardening methods.
Drawing on over forty years of experience Smith covers all the aspects of container gardening needed to ensure success. Beginning with a discussion about kinds of pots available, soil mixes, and the tools needed for container vegetable gardening he goes on and describes the basics of container vegetable gardening including seed selection and planting, design of containers for maximum production and beauty, care and maintenance, managing pests and diseases, harvesting, extending the growing season in fall, and storing containers for winter. A large section of the book presents details on growing specific plants: vegetables, herbs, and plants frown for their edible flowers. The entry for each plant contains advice on the kind of pot to use, growing conditions specific to the plant, harvesting, pest control, and recommended cultivars when available.
Smith’s book offers a new approach to gardeners interested in container grown vegetables and herbs with an emphasis or organic and sustainable methods. It does, not however, go into detail on the kinds of self-watering pots available. He suggests the use of inserts that can be purchased and provides directions for making one kind of self-watering pot. Directions for other kinds may be found on line so this is not a hardship but may be a surprise to readers who thought the focus of the book was on making these pots. The text is written in a casual, chatty style and is easy to understand. The multitude of pictures is informative, attractive, and adds to the appeal of growing outstanding vegetables in containers.