- Author: Kathleen Craig
Field Guide to Urban Gardening
By Kevin Espiritu of Epic Gardening
Espiritu, K (2019) Field Guide to Urban Gardening , Cool Springs Press
ISBN 978-0-7603-6396-6 $27.99
When preparing for our UCCE Master Gardener presentation, I decided to purchase this book as a resource. I did research and was looking for a publication that lived up to UCCE standards, namely, scientifically defensible advice, sound gardening principles and good gardening practices. I believe that this book meets those standards.
Well illustrated, this 224-page resource covers basics about horticulture such as the importance of soil, light, water, air nutrients, and the environment. It covers the most important consideration of “knowing what to plant, then where and when to plant it”. There is a wealth of information on watering, fertilizing, and placement of containers, and even gives how-to information on making your own self-watering containers.
The author gets creative with ways to construct raised beds and discusses the different kinds of materials. He prefers the metal raised beds which we have just installed in our own yard but gives many examples of beds that you can make or build at a lower cost.
Vertical planting is also covered, with fun examples of using unusual materials such as a repurposed hanging shoe rack, or rain gutters attached to a fence to grow strawberries. For those with no outside space, he gives directions about growing herbs indoors in mason jars, and even how to grow microgreens. Additionally, he includes a section on how to create rooftop gardens and a thorough section on growing food hydroponically.
Lastly, there is a section to address garden problems, including organically combatting common pests and diseases by recommending best practices of soil and water management, and proper using integrated pest management.
I found the illustrations and explanations to be top-notch and easy to understand. My experience with the container and raised bed gardening and my ability to give sound gardening advice have been improved with the use of this book. Although it is named “Urban Gardening” the book covers gardening basics for the beginning gardener whether urban, suburban, or rural. For more information, the author, Kevin Espiritu has the following online resources: