Updated: November 25, 2020
Grow Great Grub author Gayla Trail reminds me of DIRT GENTLY, another Canadian blogger who talks about container gardening.
Dirt Gently is a hockey loving gardener who posts about his southwest-facing balcony garden in Montreal. His somewhat irreverent gardening posts are about the progress he’s making growing seedlings.
His seedlings include spinach and bok choy, which he’s growing in his BEDROOM CLOSET.
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Although Dirt Gently claims to have a black thumb, don’t let him fool you. He knows a thing or two about container gardening. This is especially true in situations when space is limited for growing plants.
He jokes about how the light leaks out at night from the grow lights in his closet and knows, for example, that the prevailing wisdom is to battle dampening off with chamomile tea and cinnamon.
The other day, one of his tweets caught my eye. It said that his seedlings were turning purple and he asked if anyone knew what was causing it.
Alkaline seed starting mix
I have had the same problem and wondered what could be the reason. Could I potentially have the same problem?
Later that day while reading Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail, I learned that alkaline seed starting mix could cause a lack of phosphorous, resulting in seedlings turning purplish.
Maybe this was a common enough seedling starting problem, but I was startled to have the answer materialize so soon after the question came up.
It’s no coincidence that the answer to Dirt Gently’s problem was in Trail’s book. Grow Great Grub is aimed at readers that share his characteristics. Hell … Dirt could have even been inspired to start a balcony garden by Trail, although I have no way of knowing if this is the case.
Like Dirt Gently, Trail’s way of thinking is edible gardening can be easy and fun no matter where you live. This thought is all over her blog: You Grow Girl.
So if you’re an urban gardener battling space constraints as you grow food for your table, this book will provide you with the basics of organic gardening.
What you’ll learn in Grow Great Grub
In almost every chapter of Grow Great Grub, Trail discusses what varieties grow well in containers and which should only be planted in the ground.
She systematically demystifies micro-farming one topic at a time. Readers will learn how to:
- Find room to garden no matter where you live.
- Start seedlings and harden them off.
- Feed your growing plants.
- Deal with insect pests and diseases organically.
- Grow all the basic vegetables, herbs and a few fruits.
- Store and prepare some of your harvest.
Trail teaches using both words and photos. In fact, the photos may be the best part of the book.
Her original blog was a photo blog called Making Happy, where she no longer posts. Even if you didn’t read English, Growing Great Grub would be fun to look at because the photos are captivating in and of themselves.
After reading Trail’s book, experienced gardeners probably will come away feeling that the discussion of individual topics was a little too cursory.
Those with experience are left wanting more. But for the new gardener who wants a good understanding of organic gardening principles, Grow Great Grub fills the bill.
Related articles that might interest you:
- Book Review: The Apple Grower
- Book Review: Eliot Coleman’s Four-Season Harvest
- Top Five Vegetable Gardening Books for Northerners
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