I write a lot about gardening on this blog, and in the summer I write a lot about my backyard garden. I’m fortunate that I have a yard with enough space for a nice-sized vegetable garden. Not everyone has that type of space though.

A Little Piece of Earth: How to Grow Your Own Food in Small Spaces by Maria Finn (Universe Publishing, $19.95) addresses the problem of having no yard or very little yard. I was sent a copy of this book to review, and I was pleased to find the author goes beyond (but does include) the window box or balcony garden.

In addition to the very useful information on window boxes and balcony gardening, Finn discusses indoor gardening, rooftop gardens, the “spaces between” such as borders, patios, and pergolas, creating an edible wall garden, foraging for food, and community gardens. Composting in small spaces is discussed, too.

This book has an attention to detail and discusses not only the how to plant but the best types of planters to use in small spaces. If you’re going to start from seed in a small space, Finn has ideas for attractive containers to start seeds in since they will most likely be highly visible. She gives ideas for planting certain edible plants together to create such things as tomatoes, peppers and cilantro to create a Pico de Gallo balcony.

Useful recipes are interspersed throughout the book as well as methods for storing the bounty produced from these small space gardens.

If you’re an urban gardener or someone with a very small space, I think you’ll get plenty of ideas from this book. Even as someone with a large yard for planting, I was inspired. I’d love to try creating the shitake mushroom log that should produce mushrooms for five years. The edible wall garden would look great on the brick exterior of my house. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

A Little Piece of Earth
A new gardening book inspires those with small spaces to grow their own food.