Up Your Gardening Game This Year
This is the time of year when I pull out my gardening books and dream about the upcoming year. I like to review my skills and look at new techniques to try. This year I’m going to up my gardening game by taking the time to get more organized, grow newly discovered vegetable varieties, and foil pests.
These 15 books are some of my favorites. Try checking them out from your local library before you purchase.
There is no better way to overcome gardening obstacles than pulling out a trusted book and flipping through the pages. You are sure to find inspiration and solutions to your challenges.
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Learn Tricks to Organize Your Garden Space with these Four Titles
The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan – Put your backyard to work! Enjoy fresher, organic, better-tasting food all the time. The solution is as close as your own backyard. Grow the vegetables and fruits your family loves; keep bees; raise chickens, goats, or even a cow. The Backyard Homestead shows you how it’s done. And when the harvest is in, you’ll learn how to cook, preserve, cure, brew, or pickle the fruits of your labor.
Mini Farming by Brett Markham – Start a mini farm on a quarter acre or less, provide 85 percent of the food for a family of four and earn an income. Mini Farming describes a holistic approach to small-area farming that will show you how to produce 85 percent of an average family’s food on just a quarter acre—and earn $10,000 in cash annually while spending less than half the time that an ordinary job would require. Even if you have never been a farmer or a gardener, this book covers everything you need to know to get started: buying and saving seeds, starting seedlings, establishing raised beds, soil fertility practices, composting, dealing with pest and disease problems, crop rotation, farm planning, and much more
Backyard Farming on an Acre by Angela England – Plan and plant a successful and sustainable backyard farm, from a quarter acre to a full acre and beyond, right in your own backyard. By raising and harvesting your own fruits, vegetables, chickens, bees, milk-bearing animals, and more, you can grow locally, sustainably, and at a fraction of the cost. Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) is written by someone who has planned and run a successful small-scale farm. Angela guides you through the essentials of planning a small farm — deciding what should be grown or raised, implementing proven, sustainable techniques, and maximizing yield and harvest.
Urban Farm Projects from the editors of Urban Farm magazine. Urban Farm Projects expands the boundaries of city and suburban self-sustainability. Over 40 innovative do-it-yourself projects are stylishly presented and compiled in this entertaining and easy-to-follow user’s manual. With projects ranging from the simple (candle making and canning) to the more ambitious (raising bees to pollinate your own crops), this crafty book will appeal to the thrifty and eco-conscious alike. Whether working with a pot or a plot, a backyard or a balcony,this book is a wonderful guide to self-sufficiency and a must-have for every urban dweller looking to make the most of their limited money, space, time and stuff!
Vegetable Gardeners Bible by Edward C. Smith – The invaluable resource for home food gardeners! Ed Smith’s W-O-R-D system has helped countless gardeners grow an abundance of vegetables and herbs. And those tomatoes and zucchini and basil and cucumbers have nourished countless families, neighbors, and friends with delicious, fresh produce. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is essential reading for locavores in every corner of North America!
Vertical Gardening by Derek Fell – The biggest mistake gardeners make each season is starting out too big and then quickly realizing their large plot requires too much weeding, watering, and backbreaking labor. Vertical gardening guarantees a better outcome from the day the trowel hits the soil—by shrinking the amount of “floor” space needed and focusing on climbing plants that are less prone to insects, diseases, and animal pests.
See our post – 8 Reasons to Try Vertical Gardening – for more information
Square foot gardening by Mel Bartholomew – Rapidly increasing in popularity, square foot gardening is the most practical, foolproof way to grow a home garden. That explains why author and gardening innovator Mel Bartholomew has sold more than two million books describing how to become a successful DIY square foot gardener. Now, with the publication of All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition, the essential guide to his unique step-by-step method has become even better. Mel developed his techniques back in the early 1980s and has been teaching them throughout the world ever since. In the process, he has made improvements and refinements and continually adapted his practices to keep pace with modern times. In this new volume, Bartholomew furthers his discussion on one of the most popular gardening trends today: vertical gardening. He also explains how you can make gardening fun for kids by teaching them the square foot method. Finally, an expanded section on pest control helps you protect your precious produce.
See our post – 8 Reasons to Try Square Foot Gardening – for more ideas
Straw Bale Gardens by Joel Karstens teaches gardening in a way that isn’t only new but is thoroughly innovative and revolutionary to home gardening. It solves every impediment today’s home gardeners face: bad soil, weeds, a short growing season, watering problems, limited garden space, and even physical difficulty working at ground level. Joel’s straw bale gardens create their own growing medium and heat source so you can get an earlier start. It couldn’t be simpler or more effective: all you need is a few bales of straw, some fertilizer, and some seeds or plants, and you can create a weedless vegetable garden anywhere—even in your driveway
Pesky No More! Natural Pest and Disease Control
The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control by Fern Marshall Bradley – turn to this book as the most reliable and comprehensive guide on the garden shelf. Rodale has been the category leader in organic methods for decades, and this thoroughly updated edition features the latest science-based recommendations for battling garden problems. With all-new photos of common and recently introduced pests and plant diseases, you can quickly identify whether you’ve discovered garden friend or foe and what action, if any, you should take. See the tips and tricks page for more ideas.
Good Bug / Bad Bug by Jessica Walliser is an indispensable field guide for quickly and easily identifying the most common invasive and beneficial insects in the garden; plus the best organic advice on how to attract the good guys and manage the bad guys – without reaching for the toxic chemicals. Includes strategies for dealing with the “new bugs in town,” those worrisome strangers that are starting to show up due to climate change (and some that have just flown in from abroad). Forty-one bugs, presented in full color on laminated card stock, with concealed wire binding. Sturdy enough to take into the garden for easy reference.
Rodale Book of Composting by Grace Gershuny and Deborah L. Martin – Composting is an easy way to increase garden yields and is fast becoming a household word. Gardeners know it is the best way to feed the soil, while others look to composting as a way to dispose of grass clippings, autumn leaves, and tree trimmings. This book offers easy-to-follow instructions for making and using compost, helpful tips for apartment dwellers, suburbanites, farmers and community leaders and ecologically sound solutions to growing waste disposal problems.
We are BIG on composting at PreparednessMama! See the Composting & Soil Building page for more great ideas.
Gardening Under Cover by William Head – This is a complete guide to gardening with protective shelters that encourages both beginning and experienced gardeners to add months of gardening pleasure at small expense. With a little under-cover gardening know-how, Pacific Northwest gardeners can take advantage of our mild climate to produce flowers, herbs, and vegetables throughout the year. This book is a must if you live in cold weather climates.
Year Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour explains how to make every month a vegetable-gardening month. She provides in-depth instruction for all of her time-tested techniques, including selecting the best varieties for each season, mastering the art of succession planting, and maximizing the use of space throughout the year to increase production. She also offers complete instructions for making affordable protective structures that keep vegetables viable and delicious throughout the colder months. What could be more amazing than harvesting fresh greens in February? Jabbour’s proven, accessible methods make this dream possible for food gardeners everywhere.
Knowing exactly when to start vegetable seeds indoors, transplant them into the ground, pinch off the blossoms, and pick for peak flavor is the secret to enjoying bountiful harvests all through the season. In Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook, authors Ron and Jennifer Kujawski eliminate the guesswork with weekly to-do lists that break gardening down into easily manageable tasks. Suitable for all gardening zones, the book offers easy instructions for setting up a perfectly personalized schedule based on your last frost date. Whether you’re wondering when to plant strawberries, check for tomato hornworm, or harvest carrots, you’ll see at a glance exactly when and how to do it, for the biggest yields and the best vegetable-growing experiences ever.
Homegrown Herbs is a step-by-step primer for gardeners of every level. It includes in-depth profiles of 101 cultivars, including information on seed selection, planting, maintenance and care, harvesting, and drying, as well as uses in cooking, home pharmacy, crafting, and body care. Hartung supports these profiles with an array of herb garden designs, illustrations, and at-a-glance charts. Sensational four-color photographs by Saxon Holt bring the information to life, and an introduction by renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar highlights the importance of the book to both individuals and the planet as a whole.
What gardening books have helped you become a better gardener? Share your favorites in the comments below. Head on over to our Pinterest board Preparedness & Gardening Books for more gardening books I love and be sure and check out our other gardening boards – Sow What! and Sow It Up!
Shared with: Homestead Blog Hop –
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