By Peter Burke.
196 pages. Chelsea Green Publishing. © 2015, $29.95
Book review by N.R. Mallery
Part of sustainability is taking responsibility and being accountable for our needs. While Green Energy Times focuses much attention on renewable energy, building efficiency, and energy efficiency, another very important part of sustainable living is being responsible in our choices about the food that we eat. This is important for on-going health and well-being, both for ourselves, and for the planet.
How do you do this if you live in an apartment? What if it is winter and money is tight? How about a case where you are off-grid where grow lights are not an option due to their heavy energy load? Readers of Indoor Salad Gardening may find answers to these questions are easier than expected. It is a low-tech approach that can result in an abundant harvest all year round, even without grow lights, even in the dead of winter, with 14 inches of snow on the ground.
Indoor Salad Gardening is for everyone. It starts a new gardener off with things nearly anyone can do year-round indoors, such as growing fresh lettuce and salad ingredients. This is followed by growing vegetables to cook and sprout gardening. The book is for the advanced gardener, as well, with explorations of such subjects as tips and recipes for growing mediums and how to compost the roots of plants that were harvested to produce new soil.
Author Peter Burke has had years of experience growing fresh salad greens throughout the entire year, including the winter months. He has done this with no lights, no pumps, and no greenhouse, in little more than a cupboard and a windowsill. He has shared his methods in this marvelous book. It gives great directions, amply supported with photographs, to bring farming know-how inside.
There are a number of advantages to growing vegetables in the home. They are far more nutritious than produce that has been trucked from across the country or flown in from overseas. They are fresher and taste better. They can be organically grown at very low cost. They are much better for the planet, because vegetables, even if organically grown, are usually grown and transported using fossil fuels.
Among the things I like about this book are the small investments required to get going, the approach to recycling and reusing containers and planters, the attention to organic growing, the small space requirements, and nearly no ongoing cost. A tiny bit of planning makes it possible to have one harvest come right after another, through the year.
There is a section of frequently asked questions and trouble shooting. The methods used, however, are simple enough that many people will have little need to consult them.
I recommend this book highly for everyone. The benefits of absolutely fresh, high quality, organic vegetables are well known. The amount of time, space, and money invested in having them are not obstacles. Not only does Peter Burke put great food within reach of just about everyone, he makes it an easy and enjoyable way to get great nutrition.
I am certain about this one. I recommend the book highly. I look forward to starting an indoor salad garden of my own.
N.R. Mallery is the publisher of Green Energy Times and an avid gardener.