New Gardening Books for the Creative Spirit

Posted April 15, 2023 by Richetta in Book Reviews, Gardening, Themed Reading List / 0 Comments

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Before I began book blogging, my main hobby was gardening. Over the years I have evolved from a tomato-only small plot gardener to a I’ll-try-almost-any-veggie-once kitchen gardener. I’ve tried square-foot gardening and plant-what-you-want-wherever-you-want gardening. I’ve rotated veggies and I’ve also kept them in the same space and refreshed the soil. It’s a fun hobby that incorporates self-care, nutrition, science, and nature. It also includes books! One of my favorite things to do is hunt for new gardening books to add to my larger than average gardening book collection. With gardening, I believe in addition to trial & error, book-learning and elder-listening will take you a long way. 

Hot Tip: Turn on some music while you garden! The plants love it! My faves are salsa, merengue and Christian worship music. 

I plan to share a few posts featuring gardening books with mini reviews over the next few weeks. This one focuses on several new gardening books that were recently released that I read via Netgalley. Thank you to Storey Publishing for sharing digital review copies!

Beginner Recommendation

Starter Vegetable Gardens, 2nd Edition: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens by Barbara Pleasant 

Synopsis: From exactly what plants (and how many) to buy, where and when to plant them, and how to care for each vegetable throughout the season, Pleasant encourages readers to start small, grow the food they love, and expand their plant selection as their skills develop. Specially tailored plans offer choices to fit a wide range of sites and food preferences, from the Front-Yard Food Supply to the Marinara Medley, Sweet Corn & Company, and High-Value Verticals.There’s a plan and plant selection to fit every gardener’s passion. Detailed plot plans show progressive stages for how each garden can be expanded gradually over the course of three years, ensuring that beginning gardeners will experience success and satisfaction without being overwhelmed by an over-ambitious plan at the start. 

Gardener’s Thoughts: This second edition is great for a beginner gardener, but also for any level gardener looking for new ideas. I love that it gives you guides that help you take your time and scaffold your gardening plans over three years. This will help you not overdue it the first year. The variety of plans is amazing and ranges from design styles to food themes/purposes. Any gardener will find inspiration and something new to try out. 

The images, garden plan sketches and the frequent tips on growing certain foods and other gardening techniques are extremely helpful to a beginning gardener. Even an experienced gardener will find something new to try or learn. The different options for garden styles are very creative. It gives a gardener ideas on what works best for their garden. 

Intermediate/Advanced Recommendation

The Creative Vegetable Gardener: 60 Ways to Cultivate Joy, Playfulness, and Beauty along with a Bounty of Food by Kelly Smith Trimble

Synopsis: For decades, gardeners have approached vegetable gardening the same way: planting in square or rectangular beds or in straight rows, keeping vegetables separate from flowers, and definitely not mixing perennial plants with annual ones. According to these old rules, every insect must be killed, the garden must be tidy, and nothing should ever be allowed to go to seed. It’s time to break the rules! Today’s gardeners are re-envisioning the vegetable garden as a creative, playful space where the beds may be circles or spirals, beneficial insects are invited to the party, flowers for cutting grow right next to annual vegetables (which might be chosen for their curb appeal as much as their flavor), and a bit of “untidiness” simply creates a garden that more closely mimics the natural world.

Gardener’s Thoughts: This one is really fun for an intermediate or advanced gardener ready to move beyond traditional garden designs. If you are ready to try something creative, this book will give you plenty of ideas. There are also visual examples from gardeners around the United State. I love the tons of sustainable gardening tips interwoven throughout the book. My favorite theme of this book was the embracing of joy in the art of gardening. 

Family & Educator Recommendation

We Garden Together! Projects for Kids: Learn, Grow, and Connect with Nature by Jane Hirschi

Synopsis: Kids don’t need a big backyard or outdoor space to learn about gardening and how plants grow. This introductory garden book, packed with photos of 3 to 6 year olds in action, features hands-on planting and growing activities that can be done in a small yard, classroom, or community garden. Written by the staff of City Sprouts, a leading educational organization in promoting urban gardening and equitable access to nature, each activity—from Sorting Seeds to Going on a Worm Hunt to Planting a Tasty Salad—encourages kids to roll up their sleeves and learn about seeds, planting, and gardening. Step-by-step photos and on-the-page discovery prompts, presented in a lively design, make it easy and inviting for kids everywhere to become plant lovers and nature explorers. 

Gardener’s Thoughts: Perfect for families and Educators! This is a super helpful, and informative gardening book for adults who want to engage kids in gardening activities. There are lots of questions and crafts for kids to engage in and it’s a perfect Science & Environment curriculum supplement. It’s a fun, short and functional book for the family gardeners, homeschool exploration, after school gardening club and/or Science class. It supports the exploration of nature, food growing, healthy eating and the eco system. I can’t wait to try some of these crafts with my own kids in our family garden. As a mom with young kids, I plan on using the activities with them as we start gardening this spring. 

Do you garden? What new gardening books are you looking forward to?

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