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Looking for the Definitive Book on Growing Herbs

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Looking for the Definitive Book on Growing Herbs

Post  rabbithutch on 5/3/2014, 1:40 pm

I'm just old enough that I still prefer reading books to reading web pages.  There is something about having a book to read in the shade of a tree that laptops, notebooks, and iPads just don't deliver.  So, I'm asking for recommendations for books on growing herbs.  The topic has wide appeal as evidenced by the number of volumes published and web pages written.  This tends to provide a bit of clutter.  What I'd really like to have is an encyclopedic presentation about herbs that would provide common and scientific names, tell if annual or perennial (or other), provide seed germination charts showing approximate times to plant and when to expect harvest based on hardiness zones, describe tastes, tell of recommended uses including for both dried and non-dried states, make suggestions for use in cooking, provide pictures of seedlings and mature plants, describe growth habits - size, shape, etc., provide plant density guidelines, and cover companion planting and rotation recommendations with other herbs and other vegetable crops.

If you know of a book that approaches this type of information, please share the title.


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Re: Looking for the Definitive Book on Growing Herbs

Post  sanderson on 5/3/2014, 3:49 pm

Did you Search "Herb Book?"  There may be some herb books mentioned within the topics.  I have a feeling there are almost as many "Herb" books as there are "tomato" books.   Very Happy

I should mention that I also prefer hard copies. What I do is print anything I really like online, and add it to a 3-ring binder I started. I also increase the font so I can comfortably read the darn thing.

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Re: Looking for the Definitive Book on Growing Herbs

Post  rabbithutch on 5/12/2014, 5:38 pm

Just in case anyone searches this topic, I'll give a brief preliminary report on the 2 herb books I bought and continue to digest.

The Rodale book (I'll have to get the name and come back) is a good one but not as user friendly nor as comprehensive as I would have liked.  It passes over information about herbs, their historical significance, and folk uses but gives a good account of the various herbs that it addresses.  It might have provided more general background information about selecting and growing herbs.

The other book is The Encyclopedia of Herbs published by the Fog City Press and credited to Hutchison as the primary subject matter expert, although many others are credited.  This book has great background information, great visual impact, very good information about every aspect of herbs that I could imagine, plus and encyclopedic discussion of hundreds of herbs complete with pictures and all the information I could digest.  It might not be totally inclusive for every herb but it is very, very extensive.  I was a bit put off by this book because there were some glaring errors in the first pages of the introductory section with unfinished groups and duplications.  After having spent more time with the book, I attribute those problems to the printing process and some to the editing of proofs.  The information, however, is thorough and in-depth.  I lack the comprehensive knowledge to say whether or not there are errors of fact, but most of the things I've read from sources I know well and respect are affirmed in this text.  Of the two, I'd spend the money on this one.

A good source for all printed books is abebooks.com.  (I hope I have not violated any rules by writing this.  I have no interest in the site other than as a satisfied customer.  It is a place where used book dealers from all over the world list the titles they have on offer with prices.  I have bought from these dealers for years and never been disappointed.)

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