Getting Grubby

Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces
Gayla Trail
Clarkson Potter, paperback, copyright 2010, 207 pages, $19.95

It’s a romantic notion to think that we could all move to the country and start a farm. The fact is, the majority of people live in cities out of necessity, and few of us have space for a huge garden. But Gayla Trail thinks that fact shouldn’t stop us, and that most people have a little bit of space, whether it’s a yard, a balcony or a fire escape, in which to grow great grub.

Trail’s book is an excellent primer for anyone looking to get started on their own organic garden. Concepts and directions are presented in a straight-forward, down to earth manner that is welcoming to even the most alternative of personalities – and which will speak more to hipster than horticultural society matron. In fact there are a few passages that were even a bit shocking to me, such as the chapter where Trail discusses companion planting and uses the analogy of sticking “Jesus-loving uncle Bill next to your abortion doctor sister-in-law” at a wedding. Funny stuff, but it might offend anyone picking this up without being familiar with Trail’s style of writing.

Grow Great Grub touches on all the basics of gardening in small spaces, from how to build boxes or plant potatoes in garbage bins to creating great compost. A small section on community gardens and guerrilla gardens offers more alternatives to those with no space of their own, and Torontonians will recognize photos of some of the garden spaces included in the book from various spots around the city, particularly Queen West and Parkdale.

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