Finally, a gardening book that doesn't assume you have acres of land and a barn full of expensive equipment--or that you have the money to go out and buy them.
For three years I've been limited to a small balcony, after having lived my life with a large garden. Instead of going through gardening withdrawals, I decided to fill some containers with soil and see what I could grow. I've learned a lot through trial and error, but I've also been on the lookout for a good gardening book that could give me some encouragement and some fresh ideas. "Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces" is that book.
I found Patricia Lanza's book to be extremely practical and down-to-earth. Even if you don't use her "lasagna" method to create your garden, you can still benefit from her advice about maximizing any small space you have to work with. The basic idea is if you don't have room to grow out, then grow up! And she's not just talking about flowers. She shows how easy it is to grow satisfying crops of just about any vegetable or fruit in tiny plots of land and containers. And she shows how to do it without spending any money. This book is peppered with ideas about how to use things we might consider to be trash as decorative containers, plant supports, and garden tools.
I was especially impressed with the section on pests and disease. Not only does she explain organic remedies for pest and disease problems, she spends time describing simple, natural ways to prevent pests and diseases from even becoming a problem, including a list of plants that attract beneficial insects (so you don't have to spend money to buy eggs or larvae from a catalog).
Perhaps what I am most grateful for in this book is its fearlessness. If the only space you have is a few containers on a balcony, Patricia Lanza doesn't tell you to buy some nice impatiens from the nursery--she tells you to grow an apple tree! If you've been discouraged by the typical container gardening book--you know, the kind that tells you to go out and buy a ridiculously expensive decorative pot and fill it with flashy annuals from the nursery--then give this book a try. Hopefully it will give you the courage to grow a satisfying garden--flowers, vegetables, and even fruits--with whatever space you have to work with, even just a few pots on a balcony, like I have.