Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Favorite Gardening Books

If you are plotting and planning your 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 by Elliot Coleman - Inspiration on extending the garden season from a Maine grower. My review

The 12 Month Gardener by Jeff Ashton - Coleman's book inspires to action but 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 by 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 by Stella Otta - Tips on all the small fruits.

Small-Scale Grain Raising by Gene Logsdon - My husband likes to read any and all of Logsdon books. Ed says that he likes the way Logsdon thinks.

Lasagna Gardening by 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 by Barbara Kingsolver - Not a gardening manual but sheer inspiration. I read it one August when faced with buckets of tomatoes and it was the perfect shot-in-the-arm to bolster my energy.

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!


  1. You have some really good books there Gina. I have some of them. I really like the Root Cellaring book. Barbara Kingsolver's book has been pretty highly recommended by a couple of my friends as well,but I've yet to get it. Sounds like a good read for winter. Love your blog btw. !

  2. I will check into that first book you mentioned.

    I have read the lasagna gardening book - we learned alot and followed the basics this year. Though we used no peat.

    It worked great the weeds were few and easy to deal with and the plants grew very well.

  3. I am going to book mark this post! I love to read things that will help me with the practical. So, thanks for sharing this list. A book that I picked up a few months back with my Swagbucks was, The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre by Carleen Madigan. I am really impressed with this book because it has all the nuts and bolts for everything from vegegetable, herbs, nut trees, fruit trees, bee keeping, growing grains, chickens, sheep, cows, pigs and more - and she explains what is best for certain areas, gives, details in the 'hows' and recipes to boot. For a family with high apspirations, such as mine, and little to no experience, this is a great manual.

    Thanks for sharing your favorites. Have a beautiful day!

  4. HI Gina. I found my way to you via The Deliberate Agrarian. I'm looking forward to browsing your site. I read Barbara Kingsolvers book after Christmas and it was inspiring. Made me want to pull up roots here in Phoenix and move to the country. Thanks for blogging. I plan to check in often.

  5. Thanks for all the suggestions! So far I've been disappointed with everything I've checked out of the library without knowing what I was getting.

  6. Came over from Merchant Ships, don't know how I missed the link to your blog on Amy's.

    I love your blog!

  7. All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Raised beds, organic intensive gardening, soil-less mix that is made once then replaced in about 10 years. Simply replenish ongoing with your own great compost which eliminates purchased fertilizer. The friendly reading book explains step by step. The online support forum expands on the book and many other gardening topics. I've had great success with it so I became a certified instructor in the method. Thank you, Gina

  8. I "dream" but that's about all at this time of year. It is so very cold the last couple weeks.
    Found a little time to knit. Finished a scarf for my granddaughter. It has a pattern so I have to keep track of each row. Had three relaxing days but now back to normal. Trees are still's still Christmas at our house.


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