Winter is made for curling up with a good book. Take advantage of this time and learn some tips and tricks to help make next year a better gardening experience.
Analyze your year. Did you have a particular area that you’d like to work on like organic pest control? Do you want to learn how to grow a specific vegetable or fruit better? Would you like to try a new method? Or would you just like to know that you aren’t alone in this crazy idea of food growing?
Figure out what you want to learn about and then pick a book.
Gardening, Farming, & Food Memoirs
- The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden by William Alexander – Read how this man’s quest for a simple garden grew WAY out of proportion. It’s pretty easy to pick up why his homegrown tomatoes cost so much. Gardening does not have to be an expensive hobby, just so you know.
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver – Follow this family’s quest for a more “simple” life, one that brought them back in touch with the food chain.
- Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter – I haven’t read this one, but I think it will make it’s way on my to read list, urban farming is something that is catching on more and more. Which is awesome.
- Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-Acre Homestead by Jenna Woginrich – This is the latest book from the author, who has authored three other garden related memoirs. These include Made From Scratch, One Woman Farm, and Barnheart.
- The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball – Another on my to read list, this book follows the story of a city-girl writer who moves to a 500 acre farm with her not quite yet husband and some big goals…that they actually achieve.
- Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm by Forrest Pritchard – Farmers’ markets play a big role in the local food movement and many big family farms are turning from their “big business” ways and returning to a more local, more profitable focus. This book intersects the two.
- Born-Again Dirt: Farming to the Glory of God by Noah Sanders – I actually just purchased this book from Amazon to read. It is the very first gardening related book that I have come across that acknowledges God the Creator and digs into what the Bible has to say about farming and gardening. Looks to be a fascinating read.
Practical Gardening Books
- Pay Dirt: How to Make $10,000 a Year From Your Backyard Garden by John Tullock – This is a step by step look at how you could turn your garden into a money-maker. The book covers a range of strategies to choose from.
- The Small Budget Gardener: All the Dirt on Saving Money in Your Garden by Maureen Gilmer – Lots of advice and tips for everything from tools to propagation. There are a lot of DIY projects in the book.
- Garden Wisdom: Lessons Learned From 60 Years of Gardening by Jerry Apps – This book has a memoir feel to it, but there are practical applications and that’s why it ended up in this section.
- The Greenhouse Gardener’s Manual by Roger Marshall – Covers types of greenhouses, different ways to garden in them, and has several chapters on specialty greenhouse gardens like those growing succulents or orchids.
- The Family Kitchen Garden: How to Plant, Grow, and Cook Together by Karen Liebreich, Jutta Wagner, and Annette Wendland – This book is a great one for those considering gardening to encourage their children to eat better. The book has a month-by-month section and an A-Z of vegetables section. A very thorough guide.
- Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden by Niki Jabbour – I love and recommend another of Niki’s books called The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, this one is another great one. I LOVE seeing all the different garden plans in this book. The 73 plans cover a wide variety of gardens, including: grocery garden, vintage victory garden, slow-food garden, canner’s garden, backyard brewers, and many more. A must read for those looking for inspiration and those who think all gardens look the same.
- Backyard Farming on an Acre (More of Less) by Angela England – Starts with a why and then moves into a how. A very thorough look at how to farm on a small amount of land. I was particularly impressed with how thorough the table of contents is, making it very easy to find what you are looking for.