Ruppenthal was looking for a book like this. He couldn’t find one, so he wrote this one as a result.
It’s not strictly a how-to book, though there is some of that as he shares his own experiences. It’s an introduction to a number of topics and ideas, which makes it a great starting point for further research or experimentation.
Fresh Food from Small Spaces is easy to read. Chapters are short in size, but long on ideas. If you’ve been gardening a while, many of these ideas won’t be new, but I always enjoy reading someone else’s spin because it can spur the imagination to modify or improve an old idea.
Ruppenthal recommends a number of helpful resources throughout the book. Chapter 12 near the end shares a basic overview of preparedness. He believes an important reason to grow our own food is because of possible forthcoming energy shortages due to high costs and limited resources. I believe it’s necessary to grow our own food for other reasons, but the main one is that you’ll have food. period.
He encourages readers to grow food on the roof, in the garage, or on the patio. Grow sprouts on top of the refrigerator. Grow mushrooms in a closet. Pull out a shrub in your yard and plant a berry bush. Grow anywhere it doesn’t seem possible to grow food. Raise chickens, keep bees, and make your own yogurt. Use your imagination.
Ruppenthal discusses basics such as good soil, fertilizers and seed starting. He also covers the best containers for growing vegetables. This includes info on self-watering containers. The Earthbox gets a good recommendation, but he also gives tips on making your own self-watering containers.
Though he’s not a proponent of hydroponics due to the energy used for lighting and pumps, he doesn’t seem to recognize that self-watering containers are a method of passive hydroponics.
Rather than using a great deal of artificial lighting, Ruppenthal recommends maximizing available light, including ways to reflect light. He’s not opposed to using lighting altogether, for which I’m glad. Getting adequate light to plants, especially indoors, is always a challenge.
Ruppenthal is a big proponent of sprouting your own grains, beans, and other seeds, and he suggests how to use sprouts. In a section on making yogurt and other fermented foods, he includes a few recipes. There’s also a chapter on raising mushrooms, something at which I’ve been unsuccessful.
Fresh Food from Small Spaces is a book I highly recommend for your survival library. Even if you live in the country and have plenty of garden space, you’ll discover ideas you may not have thought of for growing indoors and in containers.
Get Fresh Food from Small Spaces by clicking on its title wherever you see it llinked in this post. Order from the page that appears, where it’s featured. It would make a great gift for someone who’s in an urban area or who is new to gardening.