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What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

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What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  Luke Seubert on 3/18/2012, 10:21 am

After reading through All New Square Foot Gardening, I realized that I would like to do some additional reading to expand the breadth and depth of my gardening knowledge. While I admire and respect ANSFG, I do not want to confine myself to just this one source, for much the same reason that monocropping is a bad idea.

I have a strong bias in favor of scientifically oriented material, so I have already found The Informed Gardener series by Linda Chalker-Scott and the Jeff Gillman books.

Are there other books which folks could recommend? I understand that some of them, like the Vegetable Grower's Bible, aren't compatible with SFG methods, but still have useful information. I am especially interested in topics like pest control, composting and vermiculture, harvesting and preserving seeds, and an overview of horticultural science.
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Re: What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  quiltbea on 3/18/2012, 10:30 am

Welcome Luke. A favorite book of mine is: "The Garden Primer" by Barbara Damrosch. Its not strictly SFG but her concepts work well for it and there's lots of info on propagation and harvesting.

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Re: What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  RoOsTeR on 3/18/2012, 10:43 am

Knowledge is great Luke and there isn't anything wrong with expanding on it! Welcome to the forum.


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Re: What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  llama momma on 3/18/2012, 10:44 am

Since composting is the source of replenishing nutrients, The Complete Compost Gardening Guide" gets my vote by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin. Mel gives you the briefest explanation for composting success and I followed it and was very pleased. Composting geeks should love this other book too. It is almost 320 pages of pure compost education.

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Re: What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  jpatti on 3/18/2012, 11:20 am

My two faves besides SFG are Gaia's Garden and Four Season Harvest.

I am currently reading The Resilient Gardener, which I'm not halfway through yet, so can't say it's one of the best. However, I started it at bedtime last night and stayed up all night, so it's looking like one of the top gardening books EVER as I've never had one make me lose sleep before.

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Re: What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  Unmutual on 3/18/2012, 11:43 am

Start with your extension office( http://extension.umd.edu/ ). Everything in it has been scientifically tested, though you may have to dig around to find things(use the search function). You can also call your local extension office, that's why they're there!

One note(and I may make some people angry with this one) companion planting seems to fall apart under scientific testing. Though I do own Carrots Love Tomatoes, most, if not all of the assumptions made in the book are not provable. If you notice, I have left the companion planting book off my list.

This link will take you to their known good varieties of veggies for the home gardener in Maryland. Just make sure that it is for you(I am unsure of climates in Maryland, so there may be more than a single guide).

This is a list of the books that I have involving gardening(with a fair amount moving into permaculture. Permaculture, when dealing with the garden, relies more on observation than scientific research, but has been in practice since the 1970's. If you can get past the doom and gloom bits about ecology, the rest is a gold mine).

Handbook of Vegetative Propagation Methods for Fruit Crops and Ornamental Plants - I think the title says it all.

The Green Pharmacy - covers food that has healing properties(most of our western medicine is derived from plants).

The Encyclopedia of Herbs - All herbs, covers everything you ever wanted to know.

Seed to Seed - Seed saving and growing techniques for vegetable gardeners

Gaia's Garden - A guide to home-scale permaculture(it even mentions SFG!). Great informational book if you want to have your garden chemical free too.

Permaculture Designers Manual - very big and pricey book, but it's THE book on permaculture

Introduction to Permaculture - the smaller version of the above book

Encyclopedia of Garden Plants - great for identification

Peterson Field Guides - Insects

Peterson First(not a typo) Guides - Caterpillars

(I include the 2 insect guides because not all insects are bad, and knowing which ones are bad will save the good bugs. IMO, manual removal of pest insects is the best way to do it. I really don't like chemicals in the garden. Though if you can make a healthy garden, you can easily combat the bad bugs with enticing the good bugs to stick around, overwinter and raise large families that will ultimately help you. Some bug damage is inevitable, just do some research before you break out the insecticides).

Every single publication that I could get my hands on from my AgCenter(extension agent), purchased or printed from an online source(usually PDF, they all seem to really like PDFs, which is good, because my Nook can read them).

And last, but not least, my Master Gardeners' Handbook.

You can also go to Extension.org and take some of their webinars(or listen to archived ones).

There are still many more books that I want to add to my library, but a fair amount of them aren't cheap.

I also have subscriptions to:

Mother Earth News - great resource on urban homesteading with a lot of information
Grit - just received my first copy
Organic Gardening
The Herb Companion - just received my first copy(got a year subscription for 10$, if I also subscribed to Grit for $10 also...$20 for 1 years worth of 2 magazines seemed like a good deal to me!)

The only thing I don't like about magazines is the number of advertisements in them. But for, on average, $20/year I do seem to find at least 2 things(if not more) that are interesting in each issue.

But before you rush down to your local bookstore, I highly suggest you visit your AgCenter website and either read, or download for later reading, everything they have to offer(even for items that you don't plan on growing). For the most part, the information is free. You can also call your Extension Agent to ask questions. Or better yet, take some donuts and pay a visit to your extension office and get some already printed out material.

You'll find out soon enough that your Extension Agent(and the Master Gardeners) can be your allies in making that back yard veggie garden a bountiful place.


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Re: What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  camprn on 3/18/2012, 11:48 am

Here is a previous thread Other Gardening books. There are ome very good recommendations in this thread. Very Happy


43 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau



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Gardening Resource

Post  BackRiver_SFG on 3/18/2012, 3:51 pm


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Re: What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  plantoid on 3/18/2012, 5:50 pm

Hi Luke,

I have recently purchased a secondhand paperback book by Joy Larkcom called " Grow your own vegetables " ISNB CODE 978-0-7112-1963-2.

She is a prolific gardener who writes in the same manner & has numerous well reciceved books to her name. It is written for gardening in the British climate but would equally apply to the temperate American climate areas and Europe as well

Lots of the horse sense in Mel's book is there and a shed load more ... most of it is backed up with sound reasoning . It deals with her old fashioned gardening in well worked soil for thirty years at the same location ... she has travelled the world getting seeds and methodology for her garden ... there is also a magnificient further reading list at the back of the book , where I'm sure you will find much of what you're looking for.


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...worthwhile gardening books

Post  MuleMarm on 3/18/2012, 7:55 pm

So glad you asked about worthwhile gardening books.

Howard Garrett aka "The Dirt Doctor"... is the best Organic Gardening person around IMHO... looks at things Scientifically, too!

He's personable, and cares...


Blessings and Shalom to all on this great Forum... MuleMarm


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Re: What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  Luke Seubert on 3/20/2012, 9:46 am

My thanks to everybody who contributed to this thread. Your advice and help is most appreciated, and I have added your recommendations to my Gardening Notebook TiddlyWiki.

My apologies for not finding that other "Recommended Books" thread. When I ran my search before posting as I always do, I only searched on 'book'. I should have included a search on 'books' as well, which would have returned that thread recommended by camprn.

Anyway, many thanks to all who have helped out. And if you are curious about what a TiddlyWiki is, check out the link below. I highly, highly recommend them as a great way to organize complex information into an highly portable electronic file format. Any web browser can view a TiddlyWiki file and use its powerful features.

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One of my favorite books

Post  curio on 3/20/2012, 10:30 am

For people in the Pacific NW, there is a paperback book produced by Seattle Tilth that is packed with good information for our area and unique climate. The title is "The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide". The information works well with the SFG, and has become my second "go to book".

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Re: What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  kbb964 on 3/30/2012, 11:03 am

I have a book called " The Midwest Fruit and Vegetable Book " by James A Fizell
It has been very helpful to me. I am going to get Mel's book tonight Smile

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Re: What are some other worthwhile gardening books?

Post  GWN on 3/30/2012, 11:16 am

The books that have had the most influence on my gardening are the books by Eliot Coleman, a farmer in Maine who has managed to extend his gardening season by using hoop houses, and a variety of other methods (I live in zone 5 as well)
Barbara Kingsolver "Animal Vegetable miracle.... incredible novel.

John Jeavons How to grow more vegetables than you ever thought possible on less land that you can imagine, This book came out 4 years before Mels first book, and takes a different approach to square foot gardening and that is more self sustainability. He outlines how a family can live off a certain amount of land if planting more efficiently.

The NOrthwest Vegetarian cookbook, is all about using your crops well, in your diet, GREAT recipes and how to get rid of ALL of that zucchini.....

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