Gardens From Garbage – Book Review

By Lisa A. Koosis

Although I consider myself an avid gardener, living in a one-bedroom apartment has sometimes hindered my hobby. My apartment complex, though landscaped nicely, doesn’t leave much room for individual tenants to care for individual gardens, and there are no outdoor windowsills for outdoor window boxes. So, that leaves indoor gardening, and consequently, I’ve become something of a houseplant aficionado.

The trouble with houseplants and indoor gardening in general, is that it tends to limit you creatively. When is the last time you’ve found a selection of houseplant seeds in your local garden center? Houseplant seeds just aren’t to be found. In fact, the only place I’ve been able to locate them is on the Internet, and then they don’t come cheap.

Then along comes a book like Gardens From Garbage. It’s not the kind of book you’re going to find stocked at your local bookstore. I’ll be honest about that. I found this book during one of my many searches for truly creative books about indoor gardening. There aren’t many. Unfortunately, most books that are billed as “creative indoor gardening” books, really just talk about creative ways to arrange houseplants. They give ideas about which houseplants to put where, offer tips for decorating flower pots, and suggest houseplants which — when you go hunting for them at the nursery — don’t, in reality, seem to exist.

Gardens From Garbage is actually billed as a children’s book, but I think it’s a must-have for indoor gardeners of all ages. The gist of the book is that many of your kitchen scraps can be turned into unique and aesthetically pleasing houseplants. From garlic to watermelon…from avocados to yams, Gardens From Garbage gives the average gardener everything he or she needs in order to successfully grow plants that you’re not going to see anywhere else.

Did you know that you can grow garlic sprouts that will smell and taste like garlic? You can even snip them and use them for cooking. Did you know that you can grow root vegetables such as carrots in a medium of pebbles and water? Now how easy is that?

I loved this book for its simplicity. Although it does cover — very briefly — general planting instructions and plant care, it doesn’t waste a lot of time going into detail about plant propagation or ideal gardening conditions. In fact, most of the gardening projects dealt with in this book are for very hardy plants. No fuss necessary.

Gardens From Garbage is also peppered (no pun intended) with bite-size pieces of the history of the vegetables and plants being discussed — where the plants come from, why they were grown, etc. The blurbs are informative, and small enough to be interesting even for children (or adults) with small attention spans.

If you’re looking for a book with detailed botanical instructions, high-gloss photos, and exact time frames and measurements, then Gardens From Garbage is not the book for you. Go to the houseplant section of your local bookstore, and there will be plenty of books that you’ll enjoy. Instead, this title is more for the hobbyist, for the creative indoor gardener.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, Gardens From Garbage is not the kind of book that you’re going to find in your local Barnes & Noble. You will more than likely have to place a special order for this title, but it is well worth it. For $6.95 (the price of a small flower pot) you will have hours of indoor gardening fun. It would also make a great gift for a youngster just finding an interest in plants. After all, what better way could there be to teach a child (or ourselves) about recycling and becoming environmentally friendly, than by growing a living thing?

Happy planting!


Lisa A. Koosis is an author on Writing.com – a site for Writers.

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