10 Best Gardening Books for Beginners

So you finally have the time and space to garden! Now that you’re beginning to garden, you’re going to find yourself asking a lot of questions.

A beautiful flower garden. Photo Credit: Dorian Wallender at Flickr.

Where do you start? What kind of garden do you want? What should you plant and when should you plant? Where exactly should you plant it? What gardening tools do you need?

Researching the answers to these questions and many others – some you probably don’t even know you have – can be difficult. Fortunately, here are ten of the top gardening books for beginners to help you learn how to have the garden of your dreams.

1) The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, 2nd Edition by Edward C. Smith

This is one of the classic gardening books. Photo Credit: Amazon.com.

Full of great pictures and even better advice, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible (2nd ed.)  is a great resource for anyone looking to start a vegetable garden. It offers smart and useful ideas on compost, seed starting, nutrients, and many other elements of raising your own vegetables, as well as giving some great ideas for garden layouts. This is an excellent book to pick up for gardeners of all skill levels who want to create high-yield vegetable garden.

2) The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook: Make the Most of Your Growing Season by Jennifer and Ron Kujawski

The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook” is a useful resource that comes in a spiral bound book, meaning you can have it open as you prepare or even as you garden, making it a handy reference. The handbook provides weekly to-do lists for every week of the year. The info is easy to adapt to whatever climate you live in. This book is a great way to reduce the stress of vegetable gardening and help keep you organized.

3) Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett. L. Markham

Mini Farming provides you a guide on how to grow a high-yield garden on an area as small as a quarter acre.  The book provides a lot of great ideas and how-to guides to help you save money (or even earn it!) and time for creating your miniature farm. It’s easy to understand and offers a list of additional resources if you want to get even deeper into a particular aspect of gardening. This is a wonderful guide for gardeners new and experienced alike.

4) All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space by Mel Bartholomew

An excellent resource for anyone looking to start doing some urban gardening, this bestseller is a must have guide to being a successful square foot gardener all on your own. This updated version of the urban gardening guide discusses vertical gardening extensively. It also provides a great guide for getting your kids involved in your gardening, allowing you to create a new family outdoors activity that can also save you money.  Get this book for yourself, friends, or family who are looking to try out urban gardening.

5) Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space by Derek Fell

Vertical gardening is a good choice for any beginning gardener, as it allows them to use available space smartly and try out new ideas without becoming overwhelming, and this book is an amazing beginning gardener’s guide to vertical gardening.  This book is an excellent resource, with plenty of pictures of great flowers, vegetables, and supports (both commercially available and DIY) that work best for vertical gardening. The author also explains when you should choose certain seeds over others, being fair to both hybrids and heirlooms, something you may find difficult to find in recent online guides. Pick up this book to find expert advice on how to create the best vertical garden.

6) Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden by Deborah L. Martin

If you’re looking to start an organic garden for healthier, cheaper food, this book is a must-have. Basic Organic Gardening provides smart tips and how-to guides on topics ranging from building your garden to how often you should water your plants. It’s a very easy to read book, making it one of the best guides for beginning gardeners. This book is an excellent purchase for any budding organic gardener. Its advice is sure to help you keep your garden healthy throughout any season of the year.

7) Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs by Tammi Hartung

Herb gardens have been growing in popularity. They’re a great way to add some fresh zest to your cooking without spending too much while providing an attractive addition to your yard or even kitchen. This guide provides the how-to of growing a diverse and thriving herb garden at your own home. The advice inside covers seed selection, planting, maintenance, care, harvesting, and even drying. It doesn’t cover every herb you may want to plant, but it does cover many of 100 of the most popular ones and is a great beginner’s guide to herb gardening.

8) Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Techniques to Help You Get Started by Katie Elzer-Peters

This book provides step-by-step guides and photos for every part of starting a garden, from building to harvesting. It covers not only vegetable gardening, but also perennials, shrubs, and flowers. This is a very easy to use book and makes for a great guide, whether you have a green thumb or a “black thumb” (you seem to miraculously kill every plant you touch). This book is a great guide for beginning gardeners and even an excellent reference for experienced ones. Buy this book here.

9) Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte

When it comes to starting a garden, it can be hard to decide how to arrange your plants for the best results. This book is here to help you out! Some plants help others out, either by repelling pests or by enriching the nearby soil so their neighbors thrive. Other are a detriment to each other if kept next to one another. This book will explain the hows and whys of these green, leafy relationships so you can get the best results from your gardening.

10) Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail

Grow Great Grub” is a wonderful guide for organic urban gardeners. Learn how to grow delicious organic food right on your patio, balcony, window box, or fire escape. The author is an expert in the field and it shows, with clear, smart instructions and ideas. It’s a wonderful guide that will help out anyone looking to grow organic food in tight urban gardens.

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