Cracking the Books, or What to do when it’s too cold to garden.

At the Skill Share ‘Feast’ival yesterday, several people asked me about good gardening books. Here’s an (entirely biased) list of my faves.

For new gardeners:
My absolute, all-time favorite gardening book. Mrs. Greenthumbs focuses on cottage-style gardening, perfect for those with small lots. She’s hilarious, smart, and plenty experienced enough to offer good info for Master Gardeners as well as newbies.
The Way We Garden Now, Katherine Whiteside
A series of pick-and-choose projects that’s a great intro to lots of different kinds of gardening. Buy it for its brilliant ideas, fabulous watercolor illustrations, and excellent (if bizarre) organic bug control remedies.
Square Foot Gardening, Mel Bartholomew
The original proponent of planting by the square foot, Bartholomew also offers a good intro to vegetable gardening. I prefer the original version to All-New Square Foot Gardening.
For more experienced gardeners:
Gaia’s Garden, Toby Hemmingway
This intro to home-scale permaculture is accessible and fascinating. Experienced gardeners can pull a ton of information about companion planting, guilds, and creating the most robust garden possible from Hemmingway’s excellent book.
For everyone:
The Backyard Homestead, from Storey Publishing.
You can’t go wrong with any book from Storey Publishing, and this one is a great intro to all kinds of homesteading skills–gardening, edible landscaping, small livestock, canning, herbs, and beer making, among others.
Excellent series of garden plans, each focusing on teaching you vegetable gardening skills. I’m a sucker for books that feature plans, and this one also sports a great reference section on alll kinds of vegetable varieties.
Specifically about edible landscaping:
Edible Landscaping, Rosalind Creasy
The new edition of this classic is brand-new this month. I haven’t seen the new version yet, but I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
Reich rates fruit on how easy it is and what it adds to the ornamental landscape. Beautiful!
So make a cup of tea (or something stronger) and curl up for some good armchair gardening!

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