Juliet Kemp appeals to those who may feel powerless to meet their own subsistence needs through lack of growing space. With the emphasis on reuse of materials; organic or 'try to live with it' pest control; and observing your space before planning or doing, permaculture is firmly at the heart of this practical guide.
After a practical and enlightening introduction - including permaculture principles as relevant to growing in containers and planning to maximise your space - the book is laid out month by month. It doesn't matter when you pick up the book and start your journey of container gardening - as Kemp says, "wherever you are in the year, open the book to that chapter, and it'll tell you what you should be doing". Each month's section details tasks to be done; how to plan ahead for the next season (e.g. making leafmould in November for the spring after next!); and which fruit and veg to be sowing, growing and eating.
There are recipes, photos and anecdotes from Kemp's experience growing food on her small balcony in London; Kemp is warm and self-effacing. Each month has its own herb, with growing tips and culinary and medicinal uses for each. Kemp's advice is resourceful and practical, and she always suggests free, or at least the cheapest, options for everything she introduces: including making your own very simple self-watering containers, labelling plants, enhancing your compost, and building a cold frame.
Throughout, the advice is directed specifically at growing in pots, allowing for the nuances of gardening in this way as opposed to directly in to the ground - including the differences between a space which gets rained on and one which is covered; orientation to the sun; and whether your space is at ground level or on a balcony.
The last section of the book looks at getting involved with growing in your community - allotments, guerrilla gardens and beyond - with suggestions on how to bring permaculture and food growing to a wider audience.
As uncertainty rises about whether those outside the property ladder will ever get to own their own home, this book gives power and opportunity back to generations who are becoming more aware of the need (and indeed pleasures!) of growing food, and yet find themselves in rented homes with concrete yards. As Kemp says, there is another further benefit to gardening in pots, "You can set up a garden with the security that, if you move, your garden can come with you, avoiding the fear that you'll lose all your hard work if you move at the wrong time of year." There's no excuse not to get started!