The Very Best Gardening Books...

11:05 AM

... or, the very best gardening books that my library has to offer, would be a more suitable name.

Fresh Food from Small Spaces - RJ Ruppenthal
 This book goes way beyond growing vegetables in the city. It was my first in depth look at urban beekeeping and chicken raising. Yes, it did convince me to adopt a duck but don't tell Calvin. The book is a great guide to gardening in small areas like apartment building balconies, cozy backyards, fire escapes and even abandoned areas that you don't own (guerilla gardening). I found some of the information only pertained to southern, warm climates so keep in mind if you're from Ontario like me you'll have to adjust.

Carrots Love Tomatoes - Louise Riotte

I'm actually still waiting to read this book but just about every one who's anyone recommends it. It goes into the relationships (beneficial and harmful) between various garden crops. This year I'll be growing the classic companion planting combination: the Three Sisters. The theory goes that if you grow corn, winter squash and pole beans together they will each benefit the others in some way. Corn provides a pole for the beans to grow up. Beans bind nitrogen into the soil. Squash provide pest control and insulation through ground cover. 

Four-Season Harvest - Eliot Coleman

Finally, a Zone-5 specific book to teach me gardening techniques specific to my cold climate. This man believes (and has easily persuaded me) that you shouldn't just plant seeds once a year and harvest them when they're ready. Rather, you should practice succession planting. This is where you plant new seed every two weeks or so and enjoy multiple harvests. Using cold frames (built up boxes with glass on top) he eats fresh produce all year round.

You Grow Girl - Gayla Trail

Probably the most visually appealing book that this subject has to offer, Gayla does a great job at plainly, and interestingly, explaining a wide range of gardening topics with no risk of losing your attention. From planning a garden, to starting one, to caring for it, reaping the benefits and then winterizing, she has it all. She also throws in a lot of her creative flair with instruction how to paint your pots, make fancy seed posts, brew up herbal tea and use old garage sale junk to make your backyard look great.

Putting Food By - Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, Beatrice Vaugman

My reaction to this book is equally 'inspired' as it is 'entertained'. The book was probably written before my parents were born and uses some hilarious language. It is the ultimate guide to preserving food. I don't plan on using the guide to canning wild game or collard greens, I will remember the tips on sauerkraut and stewed tomatoes.

Lastly, if you would like heirloom, organic seeds for this growing season I am doing group orders through Quarter Master. The packets are $3 each and I prefer pre-payment but depends how well I know you. Varieties can be found at and will be sent/ready for pick up in May.

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