The Little Book That Could

It’s been a month since my new book, “Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces” hit stores and a whole heck of a lot has happened during that time. I won’t go over everything — I just want to mention a few highlights for longevity.

The first big news is that the book has gone into two reprints since launching! It is available in all major bookstores within the US and Canada and lots of small bookstores including garden centres, art stores and comic book stores that I really admire and respect, and has also been picked up by major retailers including Crate and Barrel and Anthropologie. Anthropologie, guys! I actually jumped up and down and squeed a little when I heard the news and I am usually so cautious about these sorts of things… I never do that.

Even more thrilling, I recently found out that it is the current #1 selling gardening book in Canada! “Grow Great Grub” is the little book that could!

Several bloggers wrote glowing reviews of the book. Thank you so much. I have to tell you that one of the scariest things about making a book is releasing it into the world. I can’t speak for anyone else but I am scared and nervous when I sit down to write the first words. I get REALLY scared the week I am due to hand in the manuscript. I get INSANELY scared the week it is due on store shelves. Only I know what I went through in the process of making the book. I know what I originally wrote but had to cut for length, what the publisher wanted to change, or how that one picture is not the better one that I really wanted to use but couldn’t. Only I know the book that I set out to make and whether or not this book is THAT book. Those experiences are such a big part of how I feel about it that it is difficult, almost impossible, to separate myself and have an opinion or judgment about the final product as it is. But all that matters once it goes out there is whether you, the reader, can read it, want to read it, and whether or not you find it useful.


I wrote an article on growing exciting and out of the ordinary cool season greens for a brand new garden magazine called “Garden Making.” Remember that over-ambitious bloody dock plant I wrote about last year? It’s in there along with a few other greens that made my top 5 list last year. Pretty exciting that a new gardening magazine is giving it a go when so many others are folding. I really respect founder Beckie Fox for taking the risk and going about it in a fair and conscientious manner to boot. I’ll be at their booth this coming Saturday, March 20 at Canada Blooms signing copies of “Grow Great Grub” between 10:30 and noon. Come out and say hi if you’re there.

I was on the Steven and Chris show a few weeks back taping a segment on growing vegetables in pots and in the ground. Everyone in the studio audience received a copy of the book courtesy of Clarkson Potter. I also brought remaining seeds and buttons from the launch party to giveaway. The best part was chatting with famous Canadian sex educator Sue Johanson in the green room! Unfortunately, I was too shy to ask for a photo.

And then there was this: About mid-Feb there was an article in O Magazine. I knew it was coming but I understood it to be an article about growing herbs. I was as shocked as anyone to discover they’d also written a little bit about my background and even mentioned my grandmother’s balcony potatoes. I didn’t think being featured in O Magazine would be a big deal on a personal level, and was surprised by my trembling hands and tearing eyes while I read the article out on the street minutes after purchasing a copy of the magazine at a newsstand. What took over in that moment was my child self, a little girl who never imagined that people like Scylla and I could be featured in such a mainstream and widely circulated publication.

I’m kind of proud of us.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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61 thoughts on “The Little Book That Could

  1. And why not? It’s a fantastic book that I’ve read through twice and am giving it out to all my gardening friends for their bdays this year. Well-deserved congratulations!

  2. I have the book and *love it*. Am picking up another copy for Mother’s Day and seriously considering a 3rd copy for our local NPR stations “gardening panel”. maybe they’ll get the hint and invite you down! ;)

    Thanks for all the great ideas.

  3. What an accomplishment to be #1 gardening book in Canada!! Yes, we are all so proud of you & I look forward to the new growing season that is just starting. Kudos!

  4. Gayla – I am so happy for you. You have inspired me so much and it is wonderful to see such good things happening for you!

  5. de-lurking to say you *SHOULD* be proud!!! What an amazing accomplishment, and what a great feeling to have your hard work recognized far and wide.

    Keep inspiring us!

  6. I requested a copy through my library. They didn’t have it since it’s so new, so they bought a copy! I’m reading it now and am totally in love. I’m a really new gardener. I tried carrots last year and they did really well, and we had yummy carrots. So this year, I am expanding, but the whole I can grow all the yumminess in container idea is awesome.

    I started my seeds in toilet paper roll :)

  7. It probably won’t do much to add my congratulations to the lot of them. I hope to be half as well-received as you are when (I’m not even going to say “if,” because it’s going to happen) I get a book out there. Congrats. You’re an inspiration.

  8. OK so I dont know you at all, but your site is what started my obsession of gardening, and I am SO SO proud and happy for you. I hoped that your book would do well, and now that it has, you can go on to write THE EXACT book you had hoped for some day.

  9. Aw, this is just so great. To put it simply, I love how you put yourself and your emotions out there… you really humanize whatever you write about. Must be why I keep frequenting your site and seeking out your books. GGG has been super helpful this planning/planting season — keep up the excellent work.

  10. Awsome news, congratulations! I am mid-way through my library copy and will be purchasing a copy for myself next time I’m in a bookstore. It’s a fantastic book.

  11. I have your book, my best friend just got your book, another gardening friend of mine has your book, we all love it! Keep up all the great work, you are amazing, thank you for sharing your knowledge with the world.

  12. Yay you! I got a copy of the book in my swag bag from TECHmunch Austin and I can’t wait to read it! It looks just as fabulous in person as it does online.

  13. Gayla,
    Congratulations! I bought the book last week and it is beautiful. I find myself picking it up every half hour or so and nibbling on it (uh, in a metaphorical sense). It’s delicious! So here’s to your continued success, you gardening super-hero, you!

  14. Congrats on the new book! I’ve been checking out this site for a while now and I’m so happy that I did. You are always fun to read and I loved your first book. My husband & I are getting the ground ready for my garden right now. Here in Central Calif our spring/summer is much different than yours. So we should be planting my little seedlings soon! Take care and keep up the good work!

  15. Good for you!
    It’s a wonderful book and you did such a fantastic job. It’s great when people who deserve success get it :-)

  16. I love that you are Canadian (or at least live in Canada since I dont really know what your citizenship is lol)..I am very happy for you and you totally deserve all the accolades for all that you have achieved and all that you do! Thanks for keeping up this site too and not being too busy for us!

  17. Yay, saw it in the bookstore! I’m definitely getting it today. The sun is shining and I can’t wait to start growing grub again!

    One wee question – I understand it’s probably not up to you Gayla – why such a difference in price between US and Canada and I notice it’s a US publisher.

    Congrats on the O article. That’s huge.

  18. Suzanne: Prices are completely up to the publisher and the publishing industry. Both of my books are with US publishers.

  19. Don’t be so surprised . . your books are not only loaded with well-written useful information but are also inspiring with all the art and photos. Congratulations!! You are doing what you love and it shows!

  20. Congrats on all the success with this book. It’s wonderful that it’s doing so so well. You should be so proud. Hey you’ve inspired me!

  21. gayla!
    i am so proud of you~!
    what an inspiration you are!
    on so many levels~you are so intelligent, humble,honest, talented with the lens(your photography ALONE has inspired me in a big way), green in the thumb,REAL.

    i was SO excited to see that you were in the Oprah magazine!
    i am celebrating your success across town..making it into such a majorly mainstream piece of media is just amazing.
    i look up to you in a big big way, and all your wonderful news is making me so happy!
    it means that i~or any other person with a passion can have a dream, and can inspire others through our dreams manifested.
    keep it up gayla!!
    gardening for the people..inspiring the masses.

  22. Congratulations! You are talented and have inspired me to push my gardening to new places. Thank you.

  23. I love your book. I have grown my own food for years but I just bought your book for my daughter who is just starting her own garden far away from me.

  24. Superb!!! You SHOULD be proud – great going.

    I’ve still not laid my hands on your second book… am waiting patiently for it to make its way to me in India – most likely by May. I’m sure I’m going to just love it!

  25. Your new book is excellent and well deserves its number one status. Your realistic and economical approach to gardening is refreshing…. keep up the good work.

  26. Congratulations Gayla!! I love your book. So great to see it getting the attention it deserves. And Anthropologie!! Um, yes pretty freaking awesome!!

  27. Heartfelt congratulations Gayla!

    I bought GGG a few weeks ago. Life’s been kind of eventful lately to say the least and I haven’t gotten to it yet, but it’s sitting right here on my desk and I can’t wait to read it.

  28. I saw you on Steven and Chris and sent my husband to get your new book. I love it so much. You’ve inspired me to get growing and my little girls (ages 2 and 4) are excited to get digging with me. Thank you!

  29. I just bought a copy of your book at Coles in Simcoe Ontario today. I love it!! I have a small garden box in my (rather large) yard and my husband thinks I’m kind of batty trying to grow food in it. I was raised on a farm and grew food and preserved the harvest. Last years garden box didn’t pan out too well, I tried to crowd too much in it and we had a cold wet year that caused a plant blight to spread across the county and wiped out my garden.
    Anyway, your book has already shown my where I went wrong with composting and I will try planting in bunches rather than rows to optimize space and increase yields.
    Thanks for all of the great info and ideas!

  30. I’m embarrassed to admit I’m w-a-y behind in reading your blog posts (but I’m also w-a-y behind in writing on my own blog as well as sowing seeds). I’m going to try to catch up on at least one of these activities — I picked the most enjoyable one this rainy, chilly evening.

    I’m so happy for your well-deserved success. I can’t say anything better or truer than Ashley did a few comments above.

  31. I cannot afford to purchase much of anything right now, so as soon as I heard this book was out, I put a hold on it from our library…and I’m STILL waiting. It must be wildly popular here in Cincinnati! I hope to get the chance to read it soon!

    Your first book changed my life. I was always the person that wanted to garden, but could never quite get things going. I’ve successfully had a few container plants for the past two years, so now it’s time to try it in the Earth!

    Thanks for changing my life! Here’s hoping I get to read that new book soon!!!

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