Seed to Table by Luay Ghafari, another review

A cookbook plus a gardening book.  Bonus!  Luay Ghafari, blogger at Urban Farm and Kitchen, created Seed to Table: A Seasonal Guide to Organically Growing, Cooking, and Preserving Food at Home (Kitchen Garden, Urban Gardening) to help us all find a balance.

About the book:

“Luay makes growing your own food, even if just a small amount, into an achievable endeavor.”—Niki Irving of Flourish Flower Farm, flower farmer, florist, author of Growing Flowers

#1 Best Seller in Organic Gardening

Learn to garden in any space with Seed to Table, grow and cook nutrient-dense foods to take your gardening and cooking to the next level!

Gardening, cooking, and eating done right! Seed to Table focuses on how to feed your family with nutritious foods from your own outdoor, home and/or kitchen garden. Whether you live in a city or in the country, this book gives you tools on effective growing techniques, seed starting methods, and garden maintenance.

Organic gardening for every individual style! Have fun while you create your own gardening system whether it be for a container garden or a kitchen garden. Try out big and small garden ideas to stock up your fridge with delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs to grow your self-sufficiency. Maximize your minimal or large space with impactful practices that are perfect for anyone on a sustainability and self-sufficiency journey.

Inside Seed to Table, you’ll find:

  • A full and in-depth guide on preserving foods while cultivating homegrown foods
  • Easy and delicious vegetable-forward recipes and preservation techniques to feed your whole family
  • Effective urban gardening tools to create a garden in a patio garden, rooftop space, or any space

If you’re looking for books on urban gardening or gardening in any space, add this book to your collection! If you liked Plants-Only KitchenHolistic Homesteading, or Raised-Bed Gardening for Beginners, then you’ll love Seed to Table.

About the author:

Luay Ghafari is a writer, urban gardener, garden to table educator, consultant, recipe developer, and founder of Urban Farm and Kitchen, a seasonal garden-to-table food blog and gardening resource. His mission is to guide and help anyone on a gardening and food-growing journey. With over a decade of intensive urban growing experience, he uses tried-and-true science-based techniques to grow abundant, healthy, and thriving gardens for himself and his clients. He is passionate about the garden-to-table movement and vegetable-forward seasonal recipes. He also teaches a garden-to-table Master Class for beginner and intermediate gardeners. He has been featured in publications like Medium, Food52, and Toronto Life Magazine as well as in documentaries and is active on social media, where he shares gardening tips and seasonal recipes. Luay is based in Toronto, Canada.

What I thought…

Ghafari writes from his experiences and to expand from his blog.  (QR codes abound throughout the book that lead to more in-depth information on his website.)

He appropriately starts the Garden-to-Table conversation by focusing on tomatoes.  There is absolutely nothing better than a warm tomato from one’s own garden, right?

This is a somewhat basic and practical book.  Be aware it does not have the homestead or  survivalist slant or one that promotes complete self-sufficiency.  “Take one look at your fridge and pantry and you’ll know right away that growing 100% of your food is probably not a realistic goal” (25).

He wisely leads the new gardener  to ask these questions when planning:

  1. Do you have to grow it?  Think of the amount of space you have and what it can yield.
  2. Will it thrive?
  3. Will it save you money?
  4. Do you even like it?
  5. Can you preserve it?
  6. How versatile is it?

I totally agree with this evaluation before you even order seeds, especially the preserving part.

Along with being a practical resource, it’s also a pretty basic guide.  Seasonal sections, or crop guides,  include detailed  descriptions and tips on growing.  There’s at least two pages per vegetable variety that outlines spaces that are suitable like containers or balconies.  Finally, there’s a list of his favorite varieties and recipes.

I honestly skimmed the crop guide section but I did make notes of his preferred varieties.  Chapter 3, “Garden-to-Table Recipes & Preservation Techniques” was my favorite.   He breaks this chapter into herby libations, snacks & dips, salads, pestos & sauces, larger dishes, side dishes, condiments, and preservation.  There’s not an enormous amount of recipes (around 4-5 each) but I was impressed.  Again, they’re practical and obtainable.

Chapters 4- 8 involve garden basics like planning, techniques, soil fundamentals, planting guides, seed starting, maintenance and “seasonal extension and winterization.”  Good information but nothing revolutionary.  It was a good refresher for me and I did pick up a few tips.

Let’s revisit the recipes.  I thought they were good for using up garden produce.  I loved the “Pestos & Sauces” section.  I know pesto can be made of most herbs but I loved his combos like peas with pistachios for spring, basil and walnut for summer, and kale and almonds for fall.  Ghafari also includes a roasted tomato sauce recipe.  Trust me, this is the absolute best way to get all the flavor out of your home grown tomatoes.  I’ve been doing this for years.  It’s also great to throw in herbs and peppers to the mix.

The herb blends and mixes are good recipes, too.

Is this the most earthshattering cookbook (or gardening book) I’ve read? No.  But, it’s a good starting point if you want to focus on your own garden-to-table experiences.


I’m linking up with January’s Foodies Read.

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