Container Gardening with Crops in Pots

Are you gardening in pots because of space constraints or simply because you enjoy the versatility of growing food in containers. If you need a little container gardening information, I suggest you look at Crops in Pots, by Bob Purnell. Crops in Pots l Grow food anywhere l A book review l Homestead

If you’d like to grow herbs in pots, as well as vegetables, we have a book for that!
Be sure to check out our own Herbs in the Bathtub to start growing herbs in pots wherever you live.

Crops in Pots Book Review

An old friend of mine  mentioned that she and her husband were beginning their adventures in gardening on a smaller scale as befits their smaller abode. I’ve been watching her posts on Facebook about her gardening delights as she begins this journey – perhaps I should have warned her of the addictive nature of plants. Are you, too, limited to growing the bulk of your harvests in containers? Did I say “limited”? You can grow all kinds of foods and ornamentals in pots!

Crops in Pots is Pretty

Crops In Pots, by Bob Purnell is a Reader’s Digest publication and so it had the budget for lots of great photos. Any book like this, if I’m going to enjoy it, has to cater to my shallow need for good graphics – well, this one does. It’s lovely! The pictures also serve the practical purpose of being inspiring.

Crops in Pots Basics

Crops in Pots starts out with very clear, basic growing information, so if you’re new to growing things, no worries. Even if you’re not a novice grower, cultivating in containers is a whole different way to garden and you need to make sure you’re savvy with your watering practices and fertilizing methods – pots are very unforgiving on both counts! Don’t misunderstand; container gardening isn’t difficult, it’s just different from in-ground growing.

Right off, one of the things I liked about this book is that he concentrates on giving you lots of ideas on how to grow both your ornamentals and your edibles in the same pots, in the same spaces. You don’t have to sacrifice beauty for practicality – it IS possible to grow both in the same container.

Crops in Pots Combinations

The bulk of the book is given over to pot combination ideas. That is, Purnell presents various planting ideas with a “recipe” for how to create it and its cultural requirements. Cultural requirements refer to how much water, sun, food the plant combination will need and how to maintain it in a pot.

There’s a photo to go along with each and let me tell you, some of his combinations are so cool!

  • There’s one with a yellow cherry tomato, a yellow and an orange Black Eyed Susan and curly leafed Parsley all tumbling over each other in a hanging basket – just neat-o!
  • He pairs Lettuce and Tulips, Lobelia and leaf Lettuces, Borage and Strawberries!
  • One of my favorites was a scented Geranium with white lined leaves at the base of a dwarf Lemon tree.
  • Oh, oh, and another one that was just an ornamental gourd growing up a decorative tripod in a clay pot but something about it was captivating.

I think that’s Purnell’s main point, edibles are just as decorative as a typical ornamental and we shouldn’t be afraid to pair them up! In particular, we shouldn’t let space keep us from growing our own food and doing it with style, no less. Purnell includes recipes and plant bios to help you choose what you might want to plunk in a pot.

Disguising Food Producing Plants

If container gardening is your thing or if you just want to expand your horizons (my deck is pretty boring – I’m just sayin’), this one is certainly worth a trip to the library! Or, you can buy your own used copy for pretty cheap below. Ignore that $65 price tag – just look in their used hardbacks and you’ll find some for just a few dollars. Sometimes you see whacky book prices on Amazon – just nose around until you find what you need.

If you have the space or prefer in-ground gardening with style, I similarly enjoy and endorse Angela England’s fine book Gardening Like a Ninja: A Guide to Sneaking Delicious Edibles into Your Landscape

Another good one is by Chris MacLaughlin and it’s called Vertical Vegetable Gardening: Discover the Many Benefits of Growing Your Vegetables and Fruit Up Instead of Up (A Living Free Guide). The information in this one can be applied to containers or in-ground gardening. I don’t like the cover of this book because it’s not really  indicative of all the cool stuff inside, FYI.


Speaking of books by Chris MacLaughlin, I’m drooling over this one right now. It’s it my cart and I’m just waiting until I have book money again. Groceries, smosceries – I need more books!


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2 thoughts on “Container Gardening with Crops in Pots

  1. I really need to work on the few containers I have. I tend to put one plant per container which isn’t really the best looking. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at watering potted plants, but getting better. I’ve put this on my library list. Thanks for linking up to Non Fiction Book Love.

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