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LISTEN: The Growing Season in Your Apartment:C2C Talks to R. J. Ruppenthal

Author R. J. Ruppenthal explains how he got on the path that led him to write Fresh Food from Small Spaces—his sustainable growing, fermenting, and sprouting guide for urban dwellers—in this podcast from Crop to Cuisine.

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RJR: I was living in smaller homes—apartments and condos in urban areas—like a lot of people do. And somewhere along the line I got the idea that I wanted to grow a plant or two, and so I tried it in a sunny windowsill in an apartment, and, uh, wasn’t too successful at first. But I started reading up on growing vegetables, and I thought, well, that would be neat to have, you know, a few handfuls of something I could eat out of my own plants.

And then the next place that we lived had a bit of a balcony. And so I got some containers and filled them with good soil, and I started to grow some various vegetable plants on the balcony—including tomatoes, snap peas, beans, chard—and pretty soon the whole balcony was full and it was extending over into my neighbor’s area, so, uh, sort of ran out of space there.

But I realized along the way that I had sort of improvised some ways to make the most of the light that was pretty limited in that growing space, and that also there may be other possibilities for using urban spaces. And so next I got into sprouting—which is growing sprouts from seeds and eating them as salad or sandwich or stir-fry sprouts—and then fermentation, and some other things.

So I realized that people who are in my situation, having limited space, didn’t really have access to a lot of information about that. I had, you know, a whole bookshelf worth of gardening books and sustainable living guides and all this stuff, but it wasn’t really geared towards people in smaller homes. So that’s what I aimed to do with this book, was put together what I’d learned and what I could glean from other folks.


10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More..

Draft Power: The Life-Affirming Alternative to “Big Ag”

Farmers young and old are seeking new ways to shrink their carbon footprint and promote more ecologically friendly ways of getting chores done. So, what’s a modern farmer to do? For some, the centuries old approach of using draft animals—especially horses—is offering a very 21st century solution. Read More..

Top 8 Chelsea Green Books the Self-Styled Oregon Militia Should Read

The ongoing armed militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is showing no signs of ending — so, rather than send them snacks, or sex toys, we had an idea: Send them a book! Better yet, send them several Chelsea Green books. Don’t worry, we’ve picked five key titles that we think […] Read More..

A Book for the Fruit Nerd on Your Holiday Gift List

Have a fruit enthusiast on your holiday shopping list this year? Then give the gift that Booklist calls, “a thorough investigation of one wonderful fruit”—The Book of Pears by Joan Morgan.Sure cherries, plums, peaches, and other fruits have their unique qualities, but nothing quite compares to the pear’s luscious texture, richness of taste, and fragrance reminiscent […] Read More..

Unlock the Secret to the Perfect Salad with Soil Sprouts

As the weather gets colder and seasonal produce only means root vegetables, we begin to dream about fresh greens and colorful salads. Without a greenhouse or expensive equipment, it’s hard to imagine a reality in which you can have fresh and local greens every day. Luckily, Peter Burke has a method: in his book Year-Round Indoor […] Read More..
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