Alicia DeVore

When I started gardening many years ago, I turned to gardening books for beginners to help fill the gaps of understanding and knowledge.

Some books were over my head and very scientific.

Some books were so basic, I spent money and time on buying and reading them but felt empty afterwards and soon gave them away.

I want you to have a sense of what level of understanding you need for gardening and what books can meet those needs so that you don’t waste time, energy, and money on things that will not take you to the next level of gardening.

There are all types of books out there. Let’s narrow down the books that you will get the most out of. Follow this list to find the 23 best gardening books to read for easiest vegetables to grow.

enjoying a cup of tea with a book

Why did you start Gardening?

I started gardening many years ago because of my kids. I was homeschooling and gardening seemed like something really easy to do. I mean, lots of people can grow their own food, right?

I was wrong. That first season of gardening was filled with failure as the leaves on the veggie plants were yellowing and had no fruit. That summer, I felt like giving up.

I didn’t have a gardening friend that I could ask questions too. I was the only one out of all my buddies to even attempt a garden.

I didn’t have a class or workshop to go to watch how to sow seeds or learn about how to build up my soil. I attempted a few workshops at our local nursery where they just pressured me into buying products that I didn’t really need.

And believe it or not, the internet didn’t have a lot of information on gardening at that time. I am that old. LOL.

I felt very alone. So being a former public-school teacher with a masters in reading, I turned to gardening books for beginners to help me learn as much as possible to make those yellow leaves turn green and start producing fruit.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Books?

There are a lot of attractive gardening books but unfortunately, many are packed with beautiful photographs but lack detailed information. Others can provide information which is less useful to a beginning gardener.

Finding the right type of vegetable gardening book is what I want to help you do. I don’t want you to waste money and time.

I have wasted way too much money in the past. I now go to the library to see if the book I want to read is available. If the library has it, then I borrow it and if it becomes a favorite, I buy it to reference throughout the year.

I have come up with different categories to help you know what type of books will be useful at your level and need.

So Many Choices

With over 10,000 gardening books in stock, let’s start making the rounds of what books for you. The best gardening book should provide general information on principles that any potential grower should know or offer solutions to problems.

Some books are filled with both principles and solutions to gardening problems. Some only offer one.

For example, I bought the most amazing resource gardening book that shows me how to find what insects are good and dangerous to have in my garden.

Am I going to read this whole book from front cover to the end? No way. I only use this resourceful book when I am trying to figure out what is helping or hurting my garden. And when I need this book, I grab for it first as a needed resource after using the basic resource page from Create My Garden HERE.

pile of books ready for reading

First Top Pick

The best book about gardening is one with actionable facts and advice for the readers. The book offers useful answers to many common queries and offers suggestions for upcoming projects.

One useful example of this type of garden books is called Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia is a good book to read for both beginners and experienced growers.

It is arranged in classic encyclopedic format alphabetically for each subject. The book provides description and care directions for a range of ornamental and horticultural plants and flowers including vegetables, herbs, trees and shrubs.

Having a few books that have many subjects as needed while you garden make finding reliable answers easy. I would rather look to substantial, well-thought-out books rather than the internet to give me reliable answers.

A Way to Garden that Fits your Style

No one is the same. And that goes for the vegetable garden too. Whether you have a few plants or an acre of gardens, having resources at hand to help you with each growing season is essential.

Your garden is going to represent you. Reading how many types of gardeners plan out their gardens, come up with pest control naturally in the garden, or protect their crops in the cold will give you the information to make informed decisions to make your garden unique to you.

There is a wonderful world of learning from the passionate gardener to the new gardeners to the professional gardener. Everyone can gain more insight with the best gardening books to make their gardening endeavors a reality.

What is the most common mistake of first-time gardeners?

We all have done mistakes as first-time gardeners. And as an experienced gardener, I have different challenges that come up every season in my vegetable garden. You don’t have to be a new gardener to experience things that are hard in the garden.

But reading books that help you know what to do with things as they come up in the garden can build your confidence and give you more understanding through each season.

Vegetable Gardening Books for Beginners and How to Start a Garden

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners by Jill McSheehy

This book has been divided into two sections. The first has basic information for the beginning gardener. The second part is filled with the things that you can grow in your backyard home garden.

This section is so valuable as it breaks down the season, the facts to growing, harvesting, and even what pests to look out for. The book is easy to read with beautiful illustrations that don’t overpower the information. It also has a section on companion planting.

I use this book as a resource when planting new things in my vegetable garden. This is an cxcellent resource to always have in your at-home library for vegetable gardening.

The First-Time Gardener Growing Vegetables by Jessica Sowards

Vivid color filled pictures of Jessica’s garden makes me want to read her explanations. She gives a clear outline of what is needed in order to have a growing garden for novice gardeners.

Her style of writing makes it easy to follow and learn as a new gardener. She gives a little information on everything needed for a vegetable garden to grow. It is not too in-depth and great for the beginner gardener and use as a primer to vegetable gardening books.

Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

Want to grow more in a small space? This book will show you how to use every foot in your gardening space to gain the maximum in spacing for veggies and fruits using raised beds.

There are charts and graphs helping you to know the distance to plant with explanations of over 40 plants in raised bed gardening.

Gardening with a Plan

The Family Garden Plan by Melissa Norris

This book is filled with charts and pictures to help you plan your garden so that you can preserve and use your produce all year long. Basic gardening information is a part of this book but the main focus is to get your garden growing to preserve.

There is a companion workbook that goes along with the main book. I appreciated how clear and simple the pages were set up in the workbook. Her website is also full of great information.

Week by Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook by Jennifer & Ron Kujawski

This was one of the first books on garden planning that I bought. It is a spiral book that is a mix of information about gardening with the right plants and illustrations with charts to fill out throughout the book according to when your first and last frost dates happen.

The author gave information that was helpful for each stage of growing to have healthy plants. I had a hard time following because my growing zone was so different than what was happening in the book.

I did appreciate the clear directions and practical advice for novice gardeners using a seasonal crop guide.

Home Grown Pantry by Barbara Pleasant

This book is a unique blend of gardening tips about things that can be grown as well as how to preserve or use the things you grow in your garden. The clear directions on how to grow, harvest, and then preserve things from the garden has made this one of my favorite books.

I feel like I’m sitting with a sweet older friend who is teaching me all that she knows. The photos throughout the book and the clear outline makes this a book I go back to throughout the year.

Small Space Gardening with Vertical Gardening

What is the best book for growing vegetables in small spaces?

Vertical Vegetables and Fruit Creative Gardening Techniques for Growing Up in Small Spaces by Rhonda Massingham Hart

When you don’t have much space growing your skills with container gardening or vertical gardens is a great way to start a backyard garden. The illustrations and ideas of how to make a vertical gardening happen in small spaces is fascinating.

I often look through the book just to get more nuggets of things to try with vertical gardening in client’s gardens and in my own home.

This vertical gardening book is very well laid out and clear directions. It also has specific instructions on how to go vertical with the larger veggies and fruits that are climbing plants.

Home Grown by Marta Teegen

The basics, especially for a new gardener is crucial. This book shared the basics and then give the details of how to grow in small spaces.

Marta shares how to grow specific plants with 50 recipes to use from your homegrown garden. There are a few drawings, but the writing is easy to follow.

Using Permaculture Books

The Suburban Micro-Farm by Amy Stross

Permaculture is a really complicated topic, but Amy breaks it down so that a novice, who is not a seasoned gardener understand the importance of practical tips and organic methods in backyard gardens.

She breaks down how to grow things step by step and it feels like you have a friend right there with you as she shows pictures of her own permaculture filled backyard. Her use of companion planting, gardening skills, and practical tips to create a natural garden is invaluable.

Mini Farming Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett L. Markham

More intensive learning happens with this organic gardening book as the author goes through more complex information but uses many photos to illustrate to make the subject of improving soil, seed saving, and crop rotation more comprehensible.

This master gardener uses his organic garden to show new gardeners soil science, plant biology, and soil building to becoming a successful gardener.

Farming in Your Backyard

Living in Los Angeles in a very tiny space, I dreamed of bringing the homestead to our home using a garden bed. These two books helped me to see what was possible and what wasn’t in the city with not much space.

Backyard Homesteading- A Back-to-Basics Guide to Self- Sufficiency by David Toht

The easy illustrations are easy to follow and read. From vegetable gardening to taking care of chickens, this book has the basic information in getting started with all things homesteading.

Backyard Farming on an Arce (More or Less) by Angela England

With expert advice, Angela shares how to do the basics of homesteading & vegetable gardens. A great book for beginners who want to gather information before pursuing the homesteading lifestyle.

Organic Gardening Practices

How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons

Easy to read with drawings to support the detailed instructions for beginners to become organic gardeners. Higer level information for a beginner, yet a great base to start thinking about how to garden with sustainability in mind through composting and fertilizing the soil.

This book goes more into depth on subjects that will give the beginning gardener a bigger view of the positive impact they can have by gardening organically.

Fruit Trees in the Garden

Grow a Little Fruit Tree by Ann Ralph

This book focuses on small fruit trees and how to take care of them as an edible garden. It has detailed illustrations for many types of fruit trees and how trim and take care so that they will grow well in a backyard setting. Very well presented with lots of photos to support the information.

Landscaping with Fruit by Lee Reich

Landscaping with Fruit has clearly laid out pages showing each fruit and vital information for how to care, what to expect, varieties, growing tips, and how to harvest.

You can use this book as a reference of when you have questions, you have a great place to find the information to know how to take care of fruiting trees and plants in your garden.

Favorite All-Time Gardening Book

Groundbreaking Food Gardens with 73 Plans that Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden by Niki Jannour

Why is this my favorite gardening book? This book made me dream and plan and think about how I could create a garden full of full and beauty using garden design with detailed descriptions of what to put into gardens. Some of the designs had raised beds while others used inground designs.

The 73 plans all had different aspects of use and beauty. This book is a great reference to remember that our gardens can be themed around our lives. What a beautiful concept.

For More Experienced Gardeners

Grow Your Own Spices by Tasha Greer

Can you imagine growing your own spices like ginger, turmeric, wsasabi and cardamom? In this book you can learn how to grow 30 different spices. With great detail learn the techniques to growing, cultivating, and harvesting these 30 spices as a home gardener.

The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener– How to Grow Food in Harmony with Nature by Tammi Hartung

I picked this book up at our local used bookstore and it is a wonderful treasure of knowledge. Tammi spent years observing the natural rhythms and animal habits in the garden.

She uses this vital information to encourage bringing relationships with the wildlife around the garden for the benefit of all.

Resource Gardening Books to Use When Needed

The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook by Susan Mulvihill

This invaluable resource is the one I run too when I have insects in my garden and I don’t know if they are good or harmful.

The clear charts makes it easy to identify the insects and gives clear direction of of what to do help the garden to grow without being attacked using natural pest control.

California Gardening Rhythms by Bruce, Sharon, and Eric Asakawa

The layout of this California based book is easy to read with each season being separated. There is a lot of text, but great information with the rhythms as a focus for gardeners to do each season. Take one section at a time to get the most out of this read.

This book has regional garden guides for the state of California.

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening by Peter Burke

Don’t have a place to grow greens? That’s okay because with this book you learn how to grow nutrient-rich greens as indoor plants for year-round eating.

A Few More Best Gardening Books

Gardening for Kids by Brandy Stone

Getting your kids interested in gardening can feel daunting, but with this book, you can bring gardening activities into action and see learning take place.

The projects in this book are easy to read, easy to follow with many household items, and fun to work through. I enjoyed adding these activities to my homeschooling day with my son.

A Therapist’s Garden- Using Plants to Revitalize Your Spirit by Erik Keller

Erik brings the garden to life through the year of writing how the garden helps to heal people. Walking through his life experiences and gaining gardening knowledge through story telling is peaceful and a relaxing way to learn.

I so appreciate his perspective of bringing healing by sharing the garden with everyone around him.


Perhaps your question remains regarding best gardening books. – What to look for when buying a gardening book

What are the Benefits of Using Gardening Books?

Some benefits of using gardening books are that they can provide you with information on how to garden in a way that is sustainable and will be less likely to cause problems for your plants in the future.

They can also provide you with information on how to care for plants that you may not be familiar with, as well as how to deal with common pests and diseases.

Additionally, organic gardening books can often provide you with beautiful photographs or illustrations of plants and gardens, which can help inspire you to create your own garden.

How Can I Use Gardening Books to Meet My Gardening Needs?

When choosing a gardening book, it is important to consider what you hope to get out of it.

If you are a beginner gardener, you may want a book that provides basic information on how to garden, while more experienced gardeners may want a book that specializes in a particular type of gardening.

Additionally, organic gardening books can often be specific to the climate or region in which you live, so it is important to consider this when making your selection.

Which type of gardening book is best for you?

When choosing a gardening book, it is important to consider what you hope to get out of it. If you are a beginner gardener, you may want a book that provides basic information on how to garden, while more experienced gardeners may want a book that specializes in a particular type of gardening.

In conclusion, there are many benefits to using these resources, from learning how to garden sustainably, to getting information on how to care for unfamiliar plants.

Additionally, gardening books can often provide you with beautiful photographs or illustrations of plants and gardens, which can help inspire you to create your organic gardening.

When choosing a gardening book, it is important to consider what you hope to get out of it. By considering your needs and the type of gardening you are interested in, you can select the best vegetable gardening books.

If you need more, Alicia, the owner of Create My Garden, would love to help you make the most of your gardening space and time. See more HERE.

Check out these resources to help you learn more about gardening:

Maximize your Gardening Space

Growing IN Small Spaces

10-Minute Quick and Easy Gardening Tips

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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