Gardening Books Buyer’s Guide
Why Buy a Gardening Book?
Gardening books teach the reader how to sow, grow, care for, and care for plants that can be grown in an outdoor or indoor garden, window box, pot, or planter. In many cases, gardening books will also help you identify and use different plants. They often come with handy photos, reference tables, and charts to help with this.
Gardening books are also handy starting points for the beginner or novice gardener who needs more guidance. Even if you are an experienced gardener, you can still benefit from the right gardening book. You may have experience growing vegetables but have never grown flowers, or you may have only grown plants in backyard gardens and never in an indoor terrarium or window box. Regardless of your skill level, it’s still possible to benefit from a good, well-written gardening book.
What should you look for in a garden book?
- Plant type: What type of plant or plants would you like to grow? No matter the type of plant, there should be a gardening book to have you covered. You can find guides for growing plants native to specific regions, such as the tropics. Some books are dedicated to specific flowers or plants, such as roses or orchids.
- garden type: Plants have different requirements depending on whether you want to grow them indoors or outdoors, in the ground or in a separate container. Luckily, there are books devoted to most, if not all, of these diverse environments. For example, even if you live in a small apartment in a big city, you don’t feel like there aren’t any gardening books you can use.
- Experience level: Some are more general, but there are also books aimed at gardeners of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned professionals. There are even gardening books specifically designed for young children who want to grow their vegetables or flowers at home.
Should you buy a gardening book in physical form or as an e-book?
If you rely more on images, reference tables, charts, or graphs in the book, a physical book may be a better choice for you, since the images in the book appear much larger in an actual book than they will on a screen. Screens can also mess up the formatting of charts and graphs, making them harder to read as well. However, you may not have a reliable place to prop up a full-size book in your yard, and a smaller electronic device is much easier to carry and consult when needed. Searching for keywords in e-books also tends to be quicker, and tablets and smartphones often have covers to protect them from dirt and water; Paper books enjoy no such protection.
Our tips for the best gardening books
Best for veggies
Advantages: This book covers growing more than 30 different types of vegetables with clear, easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and accompanied by full-color photos. The book covers not only the vegetables themselves, but also the best soil and soil for each plant, how to protect yourself from pests, other plants useful or harmful to growing vegetables, how to harvest your vegetables, and much more. It also describes how to grow this vegetable if you want to grow it in a non-traditional garden bed, such as pots or window sill boxes. There are handy reference tables and charts that you can refer to at any time.
Disadvantages: This is only available in paperback.
bottom line: If you are struggling to grow healthy vegetables in your home garden, this book is an excellent resource on how to grow more than 30 types of vegetables, no matter what climate you live in or where you plan to plant them.
Best for flowers
Advantages: This book covers 400 different types of flowers and not just annuals and perennials that you grow from seed. There are tips for flowers growing from bulbs or on vines or shrubs, with details on bloom time, flower size, ideal planting environment, hardiness zones, pest control and more. There’s even a section entirely dedicated to garden design if you’re looking for garden design ideas and want to know which flowers go best together. And as a bonus, this book is available in hardcover, paperback, or as an e-book so you can enjoy it in your preferred format.
Disadvantages: The flowers in the book are listed alphabetically by their scientific names rather than common ones, so this can make reading a little more difficult if you are unfamiliar with scientific names.
bottom line: This gardening book serves as a grow guide for a truly impressive range of different flowers. With tips and tricks for literally hundreds of other flowers, this book is an invaluable resource for the beginner or seasoned gardener.
Best for herbs
Advantages: If you’re looking to grow your herbs at home for culinary purposes, this is the gardening book for you. It includes 120 different types of herbs commonly used in cooking. Not only will it teach you the best way to plant and grow your herbs, but there are instructions on how to harvest them properly, how best to store them (whether drying or freezing), and even some cooking tips. There are flavor and partner charts showing which flavors and dishes the herbs are best paired with, and more than 30 topical recipes are included. These include salads, condiments, marinades, pesto, flavored butter, and even hot and cold beverages.
Disadvantages: Some buyers found that the layout of this book was not ideal or that it was a little confusing that the herbs are not listed in alphabetical order.
bottom line: Growing, harvesting, and storing your herbs at home can be a great way to save some money at the grocery store and get fresher-tasting herbs to boot. This handy book of cooking herbs not only makes this particular task easier, but also provides helpful insights into how to most effectively use these herbs in your cooking or in teas.
Best for kids
Advantages: If your child enjoys helping you in your garden or has expressed an interest in growing their plants, you can’t go wrong buying them this book as a helpful guide. Written specifically for children aged 5 to 12, it is a kid-friendly starting point to learn how to grow and care for plants. It covers vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers alike and how to grow them indoors and outdoors. Step-by-step instructions make it easy to follow, along with handy lists that tell you what items you need to grow each plant, how long it takes to grow, and a star rating system that indicates their level of difficulty.
Disadvantages: While there is a lot of helpful information in this book, some younger children may find the large chunks of information harder to digest or pay attention to. If your child is on the younger side of the 5-12 age group, they will need some extra guidance from you to participate.
bottom line: Gardening can be a fun hobby even for young children, teaching them nurturing, communication, teamwork and organizational skills, as well as patience and discipline. This book was created especially for young children and teenagers, so it offers your child a fun, accessible and easy-to-understand way to start growing their plants.
Best for beginners
Advantages: Written for beginners in gardening, this book is easily accessible and easy to understand. All of the instructions are clear and laid out step-by-step making them easy to follow, as are the full-color pictures, and it covers many of the most common questions brand new gardeners have when they first start out. It’s also great for growing vegetables in containers and greenhouses, not just traditional outdoor garden beds. Better yet, you can purchase this book as an e-book or as a physical copy, including a spiral version for easier page turning.
Disadvantages: If you are already an intermediate to experienced gardener, you will probably be familiar with most of the information in this book. Keep in mind that this book only covers how to grow vegetables.
bottom line: If you’ve never created your own garden before, it can be overwhelming figuring out where to start, what items you need, and which plants are the best choices. Luckily, this vegetable gardening book was written specifically for beginners and can help you find solutions to these problems and others.
A good gardening book can be a great asset to any gardener in any setting. No matter what type of garden space you have available or what type of plants you want to grow, there is bound to be a useful written guide to help you cultivate the healthiest plants and keep them alive and thriving.