These books are my choices for the best gardening books – the books I find myself reading and referencing again and again. Learning from other gardeners’ experiences is a valuable tool in becoming a better gardener.
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With so many gardening books being written, it’s difficult to know which ones to read. My choices for the best gardening books must meet the following criteria:
- Contain correct information; time-tested garden wisdom.
- Be concise, well-written, and easy to understand.
- Make me think, “Hey, I can do this!”, not “I’m going to need a degree in botany to understand what they are talking about.”
Best Gardening Books
All New Square Foot Gardening,
by Mel Bartholomew, was the first gardening book I ever bought. I remember reading it cover to cover, and then reading it again. It gave me hope that I could garden. Square foot gardening simplifies the process of how to begin gardening.
I followed all the instructions when I started my own garden and was gardening in no time. I’ve loaned my copy out countless times and encouraged others to read this book.
Plant Partners: Science-Based Companion Planting Strategies for the Vegetable Garden by Jessica Walliser is a science-based approach to companion planting.
What I love about this book is the specifics of how plants interact with each other. This guide suggests specific plant combinations that improve soil health and increase biodiversity, resulting in real and measurable impacts in the garden.
More of the best gardening books
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, by Edward C. Smith, is another book you can read from cover to cover. There is a lot of wisdom between these pages. ‘Comprehensive gardening book’ is a good way to describe this book. The format makes it easy to understand.
It’s simple to pick up this book and read about growing a specific fruit or vegetable. His writing style is easy to understand with step-by-step directions and plenty of pictures.
Vegetables Love Flowers: Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty, by Lisa Mason Ziegler, is a newcomer to my favorite books, but it definitely earned its place. It is full of beautiful pictures and easy to understand.
The individual flower growing guides are sussinct, but packed with helpful information.
The book includes tips and planting schedules for companion planting and attracting bees and pollinators. She addresses all areas of gardening with an emphasis on getting and maintaining healthy soil.
Rodale’s Garden Answers: Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs is an excellent guide for everyday questions about gardening. It’s simple to go to the question you have regarding vegetables, fruits, or herbs using the index in the back.
This book is a good resource for troubleshooting gardening problems. Includes tips for needed changes so the same issue doesn’t happen again. Plenty of illustrations including images of seeds, seedlings, and transplants for plant identification. Very helpful resource book.
Bonus selection, “How to Grow Your Own Food”
How to Grow Your Own Food: A Beginner’s Guide to Container Gardening, by Angela Judd (that’s me!). This book teaches you exactly what you need to know and do to get started gardening.
The book has easy-to-read chapters detailing the why and how of gardening in containers.
There are specific growing guides for 50 different vegetables, herbs, fruit, and edible flowers. There are also detailed care instructions and beautiful illustrations of each plant.
Would you like books that are specific to gardening in the Southwest and Arizona?
Check out my picks for the 5 best Arizona gardening books.
What are your choices for best gardening books? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to know.
Thursday 20th of December 2018
The Square Foot Gardening Foundation has just released the "All New Square Foot Gardening 3rd Edition". Some new things in it with great photos and illustrations to get growing!
Happy Gardening! Laura Bartholomew
Tuesday 1st of January 2019
I preordered my copy and got it the day the new book came out! Thank you for a wonderful book. Mel's legacy lives on!
Friday 22nd of June 2018
It's definitely worth taking a look at a few Aussie permaculture books too. A lot of similar climate applications. One a I can definitely recommend is Linda Woodrow's The Permaculture Home Garden.
Friday 22nd of June 2018
Alexis, Thanks for commenting. I follow several Australian gardeners on Instagram and other than being at opposite times of year, I do see the similarities. Thanks for the reference, I'll definitely check it out.