If you are plotting and planning your 2011 garden like I am, you may be looking for some good garden reading. (And if you hate gardening, choose some other topic to read about. I'm a great believer in the benefit of reading to learn something new and winter is the perfect time to pick up a book.)
I've been reading gardening books since I was a teen and systematically checked out about every gardening book in our library. There is a few books I refer to often and others that I'll probably never read again, yet in some way impacted my garden.
If I had to give up all the gardening books on my shelf and only save one, right now it would be Steve Solomon's Gardening When It Counts. I wrote about this book before, but there is so much in this one book that I keep referring back to it.
But if I had to recommend one book for a beginning gardener, I would choose The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Ed Smith. This book is a complete garden manual with many color photos which make it more readable and intensely practical.
After my top two favorites, the rest of the list is in no particular order. Just favorite books on various topics.
Four Season Gardening - Elliot Coleman - Inspiration on extending the garden season from a Maine grower. review
The 12 Month Gardener - Jeff Ashton - Coleman's book inspires to action, this book gives practical tools, plans and tips to make it happen. The author assumes you don't want to spend a ton of money or time!
Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel - How to store food without canning or freezing.
Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots - Sharon Lovejoy - Loved this book with it's focus on enjoying gardening with children. The simple explanations would be helpful for any new gardener.
The Backyard Berry Book - Stella Otta - Tips on all the small fruits.
Small-Scale Grain Raising - Gene Logsdon - My husband likes to read any and all of Logsdon books. He says that he likes the way this guy thinks.
Lasagna Gardening - Patricia Lanza - Painless soil building and instant (almost) beds. I'm not sure I agree with using lots of peat but she does have some great ideas and lots of good plant lists.
Animal Vegetable Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver - Not a gardening manual but I'd encourage any gardener to read this book for the sheer inspiration. I read it one August when faced with buckets of tomatoes and it was the perfect "shot-in-the-arm" to preserve!
I'm sure I've missed lots of good books. I haven't nearly read all the gardening books out there - so if you have a favorite, please share!