I thought I would share a few of my favorite gardening books and give you an update on what’s growing (and what isn’t) in my garden.
Mid Season Garden Update
Gardening season is about half over for my zone 7 garden. Many of my early tomato plants have played out. It doesn’t look like I am going to have any cantaloupes this year since the rabbits keep eating my vines.
I planted my second set of cucumber seeds and my third set of squash and zucchini this week. We have a huge problem with squash vine borers, so instead of spraying, I just plant some more every month or so. This keeps me ahead of the vine borers and allows me to have squash and zucchini most of the summer (until the pickle worms show up! UGG!).
I also planted two new rows of beans this month since my others are mostly done and the rabbits ate the row I planted in early June. Okra is coming on strong and I have lots of peppers ripening. I can’t wait to roast those peppers so I’ll have some all winter.
My onions are ready to be pulled and stored. I have my dehydrator going nearly non-stop to keep up with the tomatoes and I’m freezing some too. I usually have my pressure canner going also, but for some reason, I’ve not been in a canning mood. (Just keepin’ it real, y’all!)
Planning for later
It’s time to start thinking about what to plant for my fall garden. Before long, I need to start some lettuce seeds indoors. This is the time of year I like to update my garden notebook about what varieties did well for me and which ones did not. I am also starting to think about next year’s garden. A little planning ensures I don’t plant something now that will be in the way of next spring’s early crops.
I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite gardening books. These are great to read while it is too hot to be in the garden, or you can pin this post and check them out this winter as you’re deciding what to plant for spring. Four of these make fabulous reference books and the fifth is just a fun read, but it will make you think about what you can do in a small garden plot.
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My Favorite Gardening Books
Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening is a great book for anyone wanting to start out gardening. Mr. Bartholomew shows you how much you can grow in a 4′ x 4′ foot raised bed. He has some fabulous information about setting up the raised beds, making sure you have great soil to plant in, and an easy method to put up a trellis for beans or cucumbers. His information on plant spacing is invaluable. He even has a planting schedule for when to plant certain crops.
I garden in beds, though mine aren’t really raised. I have designated beds marked off with leftover bricks from our house or rocks with 3 foot walkways between. All 10 of my beds are 4′ x 12′. So I use some of his principles, but not all of them! I do reference his book quite frequently though to tell me how far apart to space my plants.
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith contains lots of valuable gardening information. Mr. Smith discusses topics such as how to know when veggies are ripe and which insects are good vs. which ones are bad and how to (organically) get rid of the bad ones. He uses what he calls the W-O-R-D system of gardening. Wide rows, organic methods, raised beds, and deep soil. He has a section on the various crops to grow and the requirements of each in terms of light and nutrients. His favorite varieties are also listed. Since I have a southern, zone 7, garden, his varieties are not always best suited to my growing climate, but northerners will be very pleased with his suggestions. (Mr. Smith gardens in Vermont.)
The Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond is an oldie but a goodie! Published in 1983, this book describes how to use wide rows to get the most out of your garden. Mr. Raymond explains in detail, how to grow almost any crop you can think of!
This book contains lots of pictures of pests so you can identify what is munching on your vegetables if needed. I was fortunate to get my mother’s copy and the pages are falling out, but the book is still available for purchase on Amazon. He does till his garden, which I’m not a fan of doing since I’m a lazy gardener, (see my posts on using black plastic here and here) but there is still a lot of valuable information in this book.
The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour is full of great information about how to grow vegetables all year. She shares several methods for building cold frames and hoop tunnels that allow you to start growing vegetables sooner in the spring and continue to harvest later in the fall.
The book includes gardening plans and “Niki’s Picks”-her favorite varieties to grow in her Nova Scotia Garden. The pictures alone, are worth the price of the book as they will give you so many ideas of ways to extend your garden harvest.
Niki Jabbour is one of the writers of the blog Savvy Gardening.
The Quarter Acre Farm by Spring Warren is an interesting read. I wouldn’t say Ms. Warren imparts a lot of garden knowledge, but she gives you wisdom, not only about gardening, but about life.
The book describes how she turned her suburban 1/4 acre lot into a garden to feed herself for a year. She pledged to grow 75% (by weight) of the food she ate in her own backyard. Each chapter of the book tells the story of a particular project she embarked on and includes a recipe at the end.
The chapters range from one about zucchini (Tofu of the West) to her adventure raising a couple of chickens (Circus Hens). If nothing else, this is a lighthearted, humorous read and you will find yourself laughing at the many things she tried.
Your Favorite Gardening Books
Hopefully at least one of these gardening books will be new to you and can give you some fresh ideas on gardening in your area. I’d love to know what other gardening books I should read. Leave a comment with some of your favorites. And I would love it if you would pin this for others to see!