`Growing Stuff: An Alternative Guide to Gardening' came about in a slightly unusual way - it was a collaborative book project based largely on contributions from bloggers and amateur writers (I know, because I'm one of them!). Most of the contributions are project-based; there are instructions for growing carrots in wellies and building your own mini polytunnel, among other things.
At the beginning of the book there are some basic gardening instructions for those who haven't taken the plunge before, and the ethos of the book is that anyone can garden, anywhere, and have fun doing it. Each project is well illustrated with photos.
The book is divided into sections - Getting Started, Fruit & Veg, Herbs & Flowers, Wildlife & Practical Projects, Curiosities & Other Things and Resources. There's a Contents page and a decent Index to help you find your way around. And scattered throughout the book are ideas and recipes for using the things you grow.
If you are a new gardener, or you don't have much space, then you should find Growing Stuff helpful to get you started. It encourages you to make use of things that you already have - so you won't be shelling out money on a lot of gardening equipment that you might not use or have no room to store.
Although the blurb proclaims `for beginners and enthusiasts alike', I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who has been growing edible plants for a while. There's nothing new here except the approach to putting the book together. Likewise, I think the subtitle of `an alternative guide to gardening' is a bit of a stretch. There is a small section on green gardening, but recycling in the garden, seed swapping, growing veg in unusual containers and making space for wildlife are all becoming increasingly mainstream.
From my point of view, the book lacks cohesion. It's a bit like a scrapbook of projects that someone has put together to go back to at a later date. If you want to treat plants as projects then this may well be the book for you; if you want to treat your outdoor space as a whole garden then I would recommend either 'The Edible Container Garden' or 'Urban Eden' instead.