The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible by Edward C Smith is supposed to be the container gardening book for vegetables. It really isn’t.
3 out of 10 stars. Amazon customers gave this book wonderful reviews and there are lots of them. I’m not sure any of them are legit. This book is not really specific on growing any types of vegetables, fruits, or herbs in containers. It reads more like he compiled notes from the back of seed packets and put them together in a book. Entire vegetables are missing. Not much of a bible really.
Here are my nitpicks:
- No fruits at all. Okay, the book says vegetables, but most vegetable gardening books also have sections on fruits. Not here. I would much rather have seen a section on fruits than the first 139 pages that were on containers and tools which I didn’t really need and was kind of useless. He repeated the same information over and over again on those 139 pages when he didn’t need to. A section on fruits would’ve been better.
- Pages and pages on one vegetable then two sentences on another. Smith really has his favorite vegetables and barely put in a sentence or two for others. I’m big on onions, carrots, and potatoes (my Irishness coming through) and those were barely given any space.
- No variety information. This is supposed to be the bible on vegetable container gardening. 139 pages are devoted to containers but there is no variety information telling you which carrot or which onion or which <plug in vegetable here> will grow best in containers. That’s a big thing to leave out.
- Erroneous information. Smith recommends growing some vegetables in containers that are extremely difficult to grow and take up a lot of real estate. Like fennel. Don’t get me started on fennel. It’s a very large bulb that tastes wonderful in any kind of root vegetable soup or stew. It’s much too big to grow in containers. You’d need a separate container for each bulb. The idea of container gardening is conserving space.
The photos are beautiful, but there aren’t that many. Information is inconsistent between vegetables. If you are going to grow vegetables in containers there are a few things you need to know which this book did not include:
- Varieties that grow well in containers.
- How to germinate those varieties (some are not local and thus must be started from seeds).
- Sunlight requirements.
- Heat requirements.
- Soil additives if needed, including fertilizer.
3 out of 10 stars. This book was really disappointing. I picked up another one of his books, the one that shows how he creates self-watering containers, and I was not impressed with that one either. I’ve scratched this author off my list.
Reviewed by Colleen.