Healthy Reading

April 21, 2006|By MARY BETH REGAN

Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers

By Edward C. Smith

Storey Publishing/$19.95

Every so often, you stumble across a book that makes you feel so hopeful, so enthusiastic, so invigorated that you find yourself dashing out for supplies in hopes of transforming yourself into the next great container gardener.

Images of luscious, juicy vegetables dripping from pots on your patio keep you going as you read about organic compost, plant food and the proper pH balance in your soil. And you only have to water once a week? Amazing.

That's how it is with Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers. You can't help admiring the tenacity and talent of Ed Smith and his wife, Sylvia Ferry Smith, who have transformed their Vermont property into a virtual Vegetable Garden of Eden.

Imagine the possibilities in Federal Hill, Canton and Fells Point.

Smith is best-known as the author of the best-selling The Vegetable Gardener's Bible. But somewhere in his heart, this country boy must have taken pity on city-dwellers. He has spent the past three years experimenting and figuring out how to grow vegetables not on 1-acre plots, but in patio pots.

Better yet, he's come up with a system so that each pot has a water reserve in its bottom. That way watering is automatic. He even has blue ribbons for vegetables best-suited for this pot-planting: artichokes, carrots, celery, mustard, peppers and sweet potatoes.

Move over, Whole Foods. This book, with all its hope, could plant the seeds for an urban vegetable gardening revival.

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