Written by Tim Tylor
Gardening resources abound on the internet, but how many times have you tried looking something up and were faced with dozens of contradictory opinions and pieces of advice? While this hobby is no doubt fantastic, it can be daunting to get started with exactly because of such reasons. In these times, you may want to go back to a more traditional approach and equip yourself with a couple of good old print books that will give you a definitive guide on your new path. If you’re up for some book shopping, here are the top 6 books on gardening that will be helpful.
How to pick the right gardening book?
Before we begin, there are a few things you should consider in order to pick the right book for you.
- Consider your goal – No matter what aspect of gardening you are interested in, whether you are looking to create a small organic vegetable garden or a magical backyard filled with flowers, you can rest assured there is a book that tackles exactly that. Reading general guides will not hurt either, but be sure to check what topics a book covers so that you get access to exactly what you need.
- Make sure it has high-quality illustrations – Sometimes, a photo speaks more than any number of words could. Most gardening books will feature coloured illustrations or photographs, but be sure to check whether they are to your liking before purchasing a book. Some people find certain illustrations difficult to make out.
- Mind your location – Some aspects of gardening will be highly location-specific so picking up a book that details USA hardiness zones may not be very useful if you are, say, from Australia. This doesn’t mean that you immediately have to rule out books, but be sure to check just how much use you will get out of them, should they go into specifics.
Best gardening books to buy
1. Vegetable Gardening for Beginners: A Simple Guide to Growing Vegetables at Home by Jill McSheehy
Creating a self-sufficient household is exemplary. But it does not happen overnight. The first step to healthy, fresh, home-grown produce on your table is getting acquainted with the basics of vegetable gardening. If you are just getting started, this handy guide by Jill McSheehy is a great introduction to this hobby. With coloured illustrations and easy-to-follow guides, you can start building your vegetable garden on solid foundations that will define your success. Besides the steps to getting started, picking the right spot, and creating the optimal environment for your future crops, the book also gives specific information about growing a good variety of vegetables. This book is an empowering first step for any beginner.
2. Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener
Today, there is a constantly growing concern for organic goods. When we can no longer trust supermarkets, starting our own organic garden at home is what many people decide to do. If you want to get it right, consulting Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening will make your job easier. This 700+ page encyclopedia has been on the scene for half a century but has managed to stay relevant and the latest, revised version is a go-to resource for any organic gardener today. While it may not go too much into detail, it covers any topic you might think of. Always have it at hand and check the index when in doubt!
3. The Well-Tempered Garden: Wisdom and Advice from a Legendary Gardener by Christopher Lloyd
Another classic that has undoubtedly stood the test of time, the Well-Tempered Gardenby renowned English gardener Christopher Lloyd is a notable work of the previous century that most professionals still highly recommend to everyone who is to get into gardening. Not only an incredibly knowledgeable source for learning, but also an entertaining read, this book will be something you keep referring back to even after you have finished reading it. While browsing, you may find several editions of this classic—be sure to look for the illustrated edition if you prefer a bit of visual help!
4. Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway
The next amazing resource you may want to put into your cart is Toby Hemenway’s Gaia’s Garden. Focusing on the notion of permaculture, it will teach you how to create a sustainable garden in the image of natural ecosystems. Topics such as companion planting, eco-conscious water use, leveraging helpful critters, and even adapting permaculture to city environments will be covered. All in all, it’s not for nothing that this book has sold over 250,000 copies worldwide and continues to be a gardeners’ favourite.
5. Garden Pests, Diseases and Good Bugs: The Ultimate Illustrated Guide for Australian Gardeners by Denis Crawford
The Southern Hemisphere often poses unique challenges to gardeners. While the majority of critters you will find in your garden are friendly inhabitants who are a necessary part of your garden ecosystem, some of them can easily destroy the fruit of your hard work. Efficient pest control is paramount and it’s not something you want to procrastinate on. Having some basic knowledge, and, of course, a handy guide you can always consult when you suspect something is going on, will help you act on time and save your garden before the pests or diseases wreak considerable havoc. The good news is, this guide has hundreds of full-colour photos that will make identifying issues a breeze.
6. How Not to Kill Your Houseplant: Survival Tips for the Horticulturally Challenged by Veronica Peerless
The past couple of years and particularly the one characterized by worldwide lockdowns initiated a whole new movement of indoor jungles. Gardening is not only for those who have a large outdoor space. One can get close to plants and nature even in their own apartment, which is how houseplants swiftly took over the living spaces of nature-famished city-dwellers. With such a huge presence today, those wanting to get into this hobby may find that the internet has an overwhelming amount of often contradictory information. Turning to a solid guide, such as How Not to Kill Your Houseplant, may therefore be a safer approach. Being one of the top sellers in the gardening category on Amazon, there is no doubt that for beginners, this book is worth its weight in gold!
A solid guide you can always refer back to whenever you hit a roadblock in your gardening journey is invaluable. Pick the right book for you and leverage the knowledge of experienced professionals!
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