Resource Materials

Books & Blogs: Getting Started

Yesterday, I announced to the “world” that I will be growing a vegetable and herb garden in my balcony. That was my way of making sure I followed through with the plan and not flaking out before even starting.

After sleeping on it, it seems more daunting than ever. I literally have zero knowledge on how to grow my own garden. Calm down, breathe. Baby steps.

As with most things for me, first step is research.

After browsing a couple sites, I started going down Amazon’s Best Sellers in Urban Gardening. There is so much information out there, which is overwhelming. Very important in finding the most suitable book for me was determining my needs:

  1. Available Space: Balcony with some sunlight
  2. What I’d like to grow: Vegetables and Herbs
  3. Knowledge: Zero
  4. Budget: Minimal, nothing too fancy
  5. Effort: Willing to put in some effort, but nothing too tedious or messy
  6. What I want to get out of this garden: Food for self-use and self-fulfillment

With these criteria set, I was able to factor out most of the books under top 20. Backyard, plot of lane… pass. Growing for significant produce… pass. Raising chickens (!!!)… pass. I narrowed it down to these two:

The Edible Balcony: Growing Fresh Produce in Small Spaces

Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces

They both seemed promising. I started going deeper, reading and comparing reviews. That’s how I found jackpot, a blog by the author of Grow Great Grub, Gayla Trail, called You Grow Girl. She has a laid-back, urban vibe and made gardening cool. I felt so inspired just from reading some of her blog posts.

The other book, The Edible Balcony, is written by Indira Naidoo, and from her website, I see that they have a garden design team that helps clients transform their space into a “productive food oasis”. Even though what they are doing is great, Gayla Trail felt more personal, closer to home.

As mentioned, there’s so much information out there, listing down blogs I’m saving for further reading:

You Grow Girl (Toronto based)

Life on the Balcony (California based)

Added local notes for people in Taiwan

I’m in Taiwan, and it takes forever, not mentioning expensive, to get books from Amazon. And unfortunately, there’s no e-book version available for Grow Great Grub. The largest bookstore in town, Eslite 誠品, does not carry it. Fortunately, I found it on 博客來,  and am looking forward to receiving it in the next few days.

I’ll also be researching for local blogs in Mandarin for more accessible advice and products relevant for Taiwan.

Could I have go about this project without buying any books?

I’d guess so. But having no experience, and feeling quite overwhelmed after looking through massive (sometimes even contradicting) information on the internet, I know I’ll benefit from sticking to a book as guide in the beginning. After I actually know what I’m doing, I might be able to experiment as I go and rely on blogs and online information.

We’ll see.


The Vege Girl Project: Day 1


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