Gardening has tremendous health benefits. It is therapeutic, good exercise, productive, and relaxing all at once. Also, growing a vegetable garden is an excellent way to bring nutritious, fresh veggies to your family table.
Knowing, where your food came from, is added benefit of home vegetable gardening. You may also save money by buying less from the grocery store. And if you have a family, vegetable gardening is a fun way to get the entire family out in the fresh air and sunshine. However, what if you are a beginner and don’t know where to begin? In these best vegetable gardening books for beginners, you will find inspiration to jump-start your gardening experience.
In this article, you discover the top vegetable gardening books for beginners that every gardener needs to add to his or her bookshelf. Whether you are a gardener or experienced, there are chances that you are still looking for a bit of advice, inspiration, and guidance during your gardening journey. Each vegetable gardening book for beginners covers a broad range of topics to expand your knowledge and skills.
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Best Vegetable Gardening Books for Beginners
1- All New Square Foot Gardening, 3rd Edition, Fully Updated: MORE Projects – NEW Solutions – GROW Vegetables Anywhere
Unlike many gardening books, Mel Bartholomew’s book, All New Square Foot Gardening, will teach you how to get high-yield results with less space and less work.
It is effective to plan square by square instead of doing tons of rows, and it gives ideas on plant spacing. Also, you can quickly enter all your plantings into a spreadsheet so you can keep track of what you planted and make sure you are rotating crops.
Try to find a version tailored to your particular zone. Some versions go into organic production and use companion plants to deter pests instead of sprays or just letting them eat all your plants.
Overall, All New Square Foot Gardening will get you passionate about gardening.
2- The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live
One thing that most gardeners struggle with is getting through the winter season. Luckily, in her book The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, Niki Jabbour addresses this obstacle.
She shows how to adapt to all different growing seasons, such as spring, summer, fall, and winter so that you and your family will have fresh vegetables to eat even throughout the colder months.
The book includes practical timelines, informational charts, and various instructional diagrams for your perusal. It is perfect for those struggling with timing their sowing and harvesting seasons.
Nikki Jabbour also has several blog posts on Savvy Gardener. And she veggie gardens year-round in Canada ~Zone 5 which may be less relevant, depending on your zone/climate.
The Year Round Vegetable Gardener talks a lot about soil, season extenders, crop rotation, has a few garden plans for inspiration.
In this book, Nikki Jabbour goes into detail about all her favorite vegetables to grow and advises on when to plant them relative to your first and last frost dates.
3- Square Foot Gardening High-Value Veggies: Homegrown Produce Ranked by Value (All New Square Foot Gardening
Mel Bartholomew’s book on Square Foot Gardening has many sound concepts and is suitable for beginners to read.
She covers a lot of things from planning – growing – processing vegetables, and small-scale livestock!
The book is also loaded with pruning and propagating techniques and plans for different sizes of yards.
In his book, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, the best-selling author Edward C. Smith shares how to grow healthy, great-tasting vegetables systematically and effectively.
This book is very well organized, explains the do’s and don’ts clearly, and has an extensive section with specific information about each vegetable with great images too. And it is excellent for both beginners and more seasoned gardeners.
In this book, Edward C. Smith will teach you four fundamental principles—wide beds, organic methods, raised beds, and deep soil and how you can translate these key principles into a successful gardening system.
The book also does a great job providing in-depth explanations of all the gardening concepts, theories, and techniques you will need for a successful, vibrant, thriving vegetable garden.
Another challenge that beginner to gardening faces is companion planting. Fortunately, this book will teach you which crops you should plant together and which ones you should spread wide apart for gardening success.
Learning proper planting schemes has numerous benefits, including improved pest management, flavor intensification, and pollinator attraction.
6- Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden
This book is a practical guide for raised bed vegetable gardening and an excellent option for those who don’t have a yard or want something a bit more compact.
The author, Tammy Wylie, will take you through all the necessary steps, including constructing a planting box, mixing soil, and choosing the right plants for a healthy and high-yield garden.
Additionally, the book will provide you 30 essential vegetable and herb profiles to help you know more about their specific needs throughout the growing season.
This book is great for beginner gardeners without prior knowledge of gardening terms. In this book, Charlie Nardozzi shares helpful information to help you grow a healthy and flourishing garden.
Charlie Nardozzi is a senior horticulturist and spokesperson for the National Gardening Association, so he knows what he is talking about.
8- How to Grow More Vegetables, Ninth Edition: (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land with Less Water Than You Can Imagine
This book is an excellent resource that describes a whole system for maximizing small growing spaces. It can feel like a lot if you think about implementing the entire system; however, if you read it to understand some basic gardening principles, it is a great book to have.
However, this book may not apply to home gardeners as is advertised. It is not too technical or hard to understand, but not many people with small gardens can dig 24-36″ into their beds every couple of years.
Besides, the method of creating beds illustrated in the book might not work in small spaces, raised beds, or areas where you can’t produce a bunch of compost or a small garden.
The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest contains lots of helpful information specific to the Pacific Northwest region. If you are a new gardener in the Pacific Northwest region, this book is perfect for you.
You find some excellent tips on gardening in the Pacific Northwest region, along with some favorite variety that does well in the Pacific Northwest area.
The book takes out much of the guesswork by providing you detailed instructions on what to plan, plant, and harvest for every month of the year. It also is easy to navigate.
However, this book may not be for you if you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest region. Instead, find a book that is specific to your region or zone.
In this book, Charles Dowding shares his life-long experience, successes, failures, and valuable information for making gardening easier, less time-consuming, better planned for all.
This book will also help you save money. You will learn a budget way of gardening, not wasting money on other non-necessary stuff such as chemicals and no need to dig.
Overall, you will find in this book beneficial advice and easy-to-follow steps of better gardening, suggestions on the most popular veg growing.
Complementary Books to Best Vegetable Gardening Books for Beginners
This book is a truly excellent introduction to soil ecology that every serious gardener should be familiar with. It includes all the essential elements and how to cultivate, support and popularize soil biology by making it accessible to everyone.
The book will help you grow your garden into a wonderfully healthy model of nutrient-dense plant life, including some vegetables and flowers.
However, this book is more targeted to experienced gardeners because it assumes that you have been practicing gardening.
Let It Rot!: The Gardener’s Guide to Composting is an excellent book for the basics of composting. It is an excellent book if you want to get up to speed on thermophilic composting. It concisely grouped and presented the different methods of deploying compost systems and how to structure a pile with carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and moisture.
If you are new to composting, this book will be perfect for you. The book focuses on people using more “traditional” composting heaps or bins that sit directly on the ground with no bottom.
Contrary to other best vegetable gardening books for beginners, this book contains a section dedicated to different types of compost bins and the pros and cons of each and a complete instruction for you to follow.
This book is a must-have for any gardener and will help you investigate any issue you may have in your garden. It is relatively easy to follow and enjoyable to read. It contains helpful colored photos to make it easy to identify pests or diseases.
Most gardeners’ issue is protecting friends such as toads, garden spiders, tree frogs, bees, bats, butterflies, and the fantastic helpful earthworms. This book will help you protect friendly worm.
If you are an organic gardener and are not interested in chemicals, this is also the book for you. This book starts with information about healthy soil. It also discusses composting and how to cover crops to get healthy soil.
In this book, Kevin Espiritu shares helpful information that goes beyond just urban gardening in a small space. He will take you step-by-step through every process, no matter what urban setting you have. The author also has a podcast and a YouTube channel where he consistently shares tips, ideas and advice.
The chapters are color-coded and well organized, and there are plenty of great pictures to guide you. This book still contains excellent tips on using raised beds, creating good soil conditions, handy cheat sheets for plant spacing, and tips for protecting seedlings which are helpful no matter where you plant.
The coolest part about having this book at hand is that it also contains helpful information about outdoor gardening. If you want to grow some more fragile plants or even try hydroponic and indoor planting this book will be a good resource.
This book lays out what to begin with as a beginner, how to do it, what to expect, and how to continue once you have got the garden up and running. It is about growing vegetables, fruit, goats, chickens, and even honey.
The pages at the beginning showing how much you could grow on different sized lots was highly useful. Every chapter gave loads of information on every diverse topic for starting homesteading.
The book will give you information on caring for animals and for butchering and preserving them, including milking, egg gathering, cheese making, and housing animals.
It will provide you sufficient information about all of the topics to try homesteading.
Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway describes the pattern mindset and systems thinking with examples that also give so many good tips and directly practical advice.
Hemenway also discusses the idea of “ecological gardening.” First, he explains how nature works, then how your garden can mimic it.
Why mimic nature? Because you can significantly reduce the need for fertilizers, pesticides, tilling, weeding, and watering and transform your yard into a potential source of fruit, veggies, medicinals, crafts, wildlife habitat, and income, according to the author, Toby Hemenway.
Furthermore, the book clearly and concisely explains the different roles of a plant within a plant community, such as fixing nitrogen, attracting beneficial insects, producing mulch, repelling harmful insects, and accumulating deep-down nutrients. Hemenway also suggests multiple species for each function and conveniently laid out in charts.
Overall, if you are interested in gardening or organic food, this book is for you.
What Do You Need to Start a Vegetable Garden From Scratch
Choosing a good location for your garden is key. Your location will impact your plants’ growth. Whether you live in an urban or rural area also influences your plants’ growth. You can learn your hardiness zone to help you discover which plants grow easily in your geographic area.
Rural areas typically have broad, open spaces and more sunlight exposure for the plants. At the same time, urban areas can be limited and lacking in natural light.
Here are a few suggestions for choosing a good location for your vegetarians garden:
- Sunny and bright spot – When you are beginning your first vegetable garden, take time and watch the sun move across your yard. Even if a few vegetables, such as mostly the leafy ones will tolerate some shade, most vegetables require 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
- Consider the nearest source of water – You can use a garden hose, a drip irrigation system, or sprinklers to water your plants; however, you don’t want to have to hand-carry large amounts of water a long way.
- A location that drains well and doesn’t stay wet – Moist soil means wet roots, which can turn into rotted roots if you have rocky soil; remove the rocks because they will interfere with root growth and make for weaker plants.
- Stable and not windy location – Avoid places that receive strong winds that could knock over your young plants or prevent pollinators from doing their job.
- Choose a location with nutrient-rich soil – Your soil feeds your plants. If you have thin, nutrient-poor soil, you will have poor, unhealthy plants.
One of the most common mistakes that beginners make is planting too much too soon. Begin small, and only grow what you know you and your family will consume.
As a beginner, it might be a good idea to start small and slowly and expand. Starting with a small vegetable garden will help focus and care for your plants.
Whatever the size of your garden, make sure that you can easily reach the center of the row or bed without stepping on the soil. For example, every four feet or so have paths that allow you to access your plants to weed and harvest.
Additionally, consider how many vegetables you and your family will need in general to prevent food wastage in the future too.
Choose The Right Vegetables
Starting your vegetable garden with the most suitable plants will help you grow a healthy and prosperous garden. As a beginner, start by choosing easy vegetables that are also fruitful. Below is a list of ten easy vegetables to grow. However, it would also be wise to do further research to determine what plants grow best in your area.
Five ideas for choosing suitable vegetables:
- Grow what you and your family like to consume. If no one likes green beans, don’t bother planting them. However, if your kids love carrots, put more effort into growing a big crop of carrots.
- Consider the availability of veggies at your local grocery store – Maybe you want to grow tomatillos instead of cabbage or carrots, which are readily available. Certain vegetables are so far superior when homegrown and less expensive than grocery.
- Be ready to take care of your plants during the growing season – Are you going on a summer vacation? Remember that tomatoes and zucchinis are growing strongest in the middle of summer.
- Use high-quality seeds – Seed packets are less expensive than individual plants, but if seeds don’t germinate, you will waste your money and time. Spending a few extra cents spent in spring during that year’s seeds will pay off in higher yields at harvest time.
Top 10 Vegetables That Are Easy to Care for
- Green beans
- Chard, Spinach, or Kale
Different Types of Gardens
There are several types of gardening; in this article, let’s focus on vegetable gardens. They are three main types of gardens: raised beds, container gardens, or vertical gardens.
Raised-bed gardening is a method of gardening in which the soil is enclosed in three-to-four-foot-wide containment units habitually made of wood, rock, or concrete and can be of any length or shape.
Raised beds are boxes built out of any durable, toxin-free material, usually untreated lumber, where you can place your plants. They are also set up slightly higher off the ground and more manageable to water and care for the plants. These are excellent because you can control the soil you use.
Container gardens are usually smaller pots, planters, or baskets that you can place almost anywhere.
They have the convenience and compactness of a raised bed; however, you also have more freedom to adjust them.
With vertical gardens, you grow your plants on a vertically suspended panel such as a wall. Hydroponics are great examples of vertical gardens.
Even though vertical gardens can cost quite a bit more than traditional gardens, they are an excellent option for brightening small indoor and outdoor urban spaces.
See also: How to Lower Manganese Levels In Soil
These 16 best vegetable gardening books for beginners will take you from beginner to experienced gardener and help you start and grow a flourishing garden.
Remember gardening is joyful never ending journey, so you need to learn and experience new techniques continuously.