Here are my all-time favorite gardening books, in no particular order. I am going to put a brief description of the book, why I like it, and how it has benefited me!
I’m going to take it as a sign of experience that I have so many of the old editions! I have linked to the most recent editions.
The New Seed Starters Handbook, by Nancy Bubel
I have the old 1988 edition, that actually being about how long I’ve had it! I just picked it up a couple of weeks ago to research making my own potting soil again. I bought some of the supplies, but was humorously short on actual soil to use on our new property. Weird problem.
Over the years, I have referred to it SO many times to refine my knowledge of starting seeds.
Rodale’s Garden Problem Solver: Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs, by Jeff Ball
Again, I have a 1988 edition. This link above is to the 1995 edition. I have also noticed that they have broken the book up into a series of books, so you might want to check those out. Possibly they have more information? Or maybe they just have more photos.
I have used my edition to pretty easily problem solve quite a variety of plant issues over the years, even with the very limited black and white photos and sketches in it. So, if there are more photos, it might be more useful.
However, I find that whether it be garden problems or health issues there can be such a wide range of stages of the problems to photograph, plus photos can be misleading, that reading the thorough text description is very useful. And it is about all I had in the 1988 edition and it helped in nearly every case I used it for.
The Truth About Organic Gardening, by Jeff Gillman
I’m all for being careful about what types of substances I use in my garden. I have some very personal reasons for this that I may have to write about in a future email to my subscribers. However, there is a lot of hype and distorted information about what “chemicals” are and what happens when we use them.
Jeff Gillman not only gives a very objective evaluation of many popular substances, but the book leaves you prepared to make better informed decisions.
New Garden Book (Better Homes and Gardens)
This is a basic and thorough how-to garden reference. Of course, it cannot cover all climates, but that’s what I’m here for. (Feel free to email me with specific questions and I would be happy to try to address them based on my 30+ years of gardening experience in Southwest Idaho)
What it can do is be a handy place to look up whatever it is that is new to you or you need to double-check.
And I think it IS much handier than the internet for a couple of reasons.
1) I don’t have to sift through hordes of articles, many of which are by companies selling products or people who know less than they think they do
2) It is easier to take outdoors
3) It is easier to go back and forth between pages and sections
4) It has wonderful charts that are larger than can be displayed well on most computer screens
I have used this book for brainstorming and basic review many times.
The Undaunted Garden: Planting for Weather-Resilient Beauty, by Lauren Springer
This book is pure joy, but I have to warn you that someone may have to sedate you or tie you up after you read it. It is that inspiring. And, amazingly, this is the exact edition that I have.
The sub-title says it is about weather-resistent gardening, but that is not the main reason I enjoyed it so much. It was like having a chat with a gardener who was just as passionate about plants as I was! Plus, it gave me SO many good ideas for my high desert garden, since she is dealing with a similar climate.
If the cold, gray winter months make your soul chafe, reading this book is the walk through garden beauty that you need.
All About Weeds, by Edwin Rollin Spencer
This book was originally published in 1940 and I have the 1968 edition, but you know what? Weeds are pretty much the same.
You may recall that I started a series on My Backyard Weeds a few years ago. This book, even with only sketches was a more thorough and more descriptive resource than many newer ones with photos. Maybe I will do another post just about the books I have on weeds, but this one is one of the best.
Carrots Love Tomatoes, by Louise Riotte
This is the 1998 edition annnnddd, I have the 1975 edition!
I do take a lot of this kind of information with a grain of salt, but there are some plants that do affect other plants, whether it be by chemicals in the soil or problems they repel or enhance. This book is a good place to start when trying to figure this out. From there you can proceed to how things are actually happening in your own garden.
How Plants Work, by Linda Chalker-Scott
I have had this book since it was published in 2015. I read through it within the week. It is probably time to read it again.
In some ways plants and gardening are simple. God has designed seeds so that they sprout in the right conditions and it isn’t usually too difficult to figure out what those are. However, if you really want to be in tune with your garden, you will very much enjoy this deeper level of knowledge. It will also make you a better garden problem solver.
Pruning Made Easy, by Lewis Hill
This book was published in 1997, though I only bought my copy about 4 years ago. The author was born in 1924, so, he’s been pruning for a while.
I already have so many things underlined and dog eared in this book. The how-to diagrams are wonderfully clear. I have recommended this book since the first day I used it.
40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead, by David Toht
This is my newest gardening book, purchased specifically to get ideas for my new raised beds at our new home. It is a best seller on Amazon and I can see why.
My beds are a version of what is in the book, with the expert upgrades by my hard-working husband. I am very happy with them. I have many photos and videos to give a more thorough presentation of them in the future.
That is the only project I have implemented so far, but I have read the whole book because it was fun to dream and plan.
What are you reading??
I’d love to hear what your favorite gardening books are or what new delights you have recently discovered.