Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Rooftop Growing Guide - A Review

The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Vegetable Garden or Farm

As co-founder and head farmer of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn, Annie Novak knows what she's talking about in The Rooftop Growing Guide. If you have a usable rooftop, you can turn it into a garden.

The best thing about The Rooftop Growing Guide (RGG) is that it's not just for people who are growing on the roof. This book is packed with information with illustrative photographs and narrative examples. I've been gardening for 15 years and yet, there is always more to learn. This book is my newest favorite “tool” for my gardens.

Many of the principles set forth in RGG are suitable for ground gardening, raised bed gardening, container gardening, or balcony gardening as well. Novak discusses such universal general gardening topics as soil, lighting, seeds and seedlings, irrigation, compost, tools, pests, fertilizers, and greenhouses. But she gets into details that many gardening books lack. One such example is using a camera to determine the amount of light your potential garden area gets.

Of course, this is a rooftop garden guide, so there are also topics specific to rooftop endeavors, such as assessing the location, planning, legal issues, structural issues, and the micro-climate. Throughout the book, Novak features several real life rooftop gardens to show the reader what they are aspiring to achieve.

Although Annie Novak is a professional farmer, she presents the RGG in such a way as to not alienate the novice gardener. But the ideal candidate for this book would be someone who has at least some basic knowledge about gardening simply due to the volume of information presented. Counting the index, this book is 245 pages. The amount of useful information contained therein is incredible – there is not a wasted word, photograph, diagram, or sidebar. This is a how-to book that is not filled with words for the sake of words.

I highly recommend this book to any and all who tend gardens or small farms. And I recommend the book in physical form, as opposed to electronic form. The physical book itself is a joy to hold and peruse. It's a hefty over-sized paperback with colorful glossy pages. This is the kind of book that you want a physical copy. The electronic copy will suffice, but the physical copy will delight. I'm glad I have both.

I wish to thank the author and Ten Speed Press for the free advance reader copy.  

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