A little while ago I wrote about my decision to learn a lot more about organic gardening/farming practices – after basically ‘winging it’ in the garden for quite a few years. Of course, a big part of the educational process involves reading.
While there is certainly plenty of great gardening information online, it just doesn’t compare to having a good book or two to read and refer to when needed (books are also much more mobile that most computers – haha). The first place I decided to look for gardening books was Amazon – and as it turns out, I decided it was the ONLY place I needed to look, after racking up an $80 bill.
One of those books was ‘The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible’ by Edward Smith. It looked to be one of the more popular gardening titles, and certainly had a solid list of positive reviews as well. The fact that the author was a proponent of ‘organic methods’ sealed the deal for me. As it turns out, while I’ve been very impressed with all the books I bought, ‘The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible’ is a clear winner! It has all the features I was hoping for, and then some.
I am a very visual person and always love a good ‘picture book’. Unfortunately, it often seems as though the books with great photos in them are either very expensive, or simply short on valuable information. Smith’s book, in my opinion, is very reasonably priced, is loaded with many great (and helpful) photos, and contains a weath of excellent information.
I can definitely see why they referred to this book as a gardening ‘bible’. While you certainly can set out to read it cover to cover (I am in the process of doing so), it’s also the type of book that’s great for pulling off the shelf and spending a short time with – absorbing one or two chapters (or even pages), before heading out to the garden.
The information in the book is divided into three main sections, and presented within these sections in a very logical, straightforward manner. The first section, aptly named “Seed to Harvest”, covers everything you need to know about planning/building/growing a bountiful garden. Part II, called “The Healthy Garden”, discusses methods for maximizing plant health/vigor and fending off diseases and pests. The last section of the book, “Vegetables and Herbs, A-Z”, offers detailed profiles for most of the well-known veggies/herbs that people grow in their gardens.
I love the fact that Smith has created this separate section for the plant profiles, since it makes it so much easier to quickly get the information needed for a given vegetable or herb. No need to wade through the whole book, picking up bits and pieces of information. Each of these profiles features “sowing”, “growing”, and “harvesting & storing” subsections, along with the incredibly useful “sow and grow” quick reference summary. This tab provides you with all the information you need to get started (eg germination/growing temps, planting depth, pH, moisture requirements, bad/good companions, light requirements etc) – again, ensuring that you don’t need to wade through paragraphs of info to find what you are looking for.
Over the years I have purchased my fair share of books that have simply ended up collecting dust on my bookshelves, or packed away in a box somewhere. I have no doubt that ‘The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible’ will not suffer the same fate. Even if, for some strange reason, I decided to give up gardening altogether, I’m confident that this guide will retain its place in my main bookshelf or perhaps find its way to a coffee table collection, where it can be enjoyed by others for years to come.
If you are looking for a very comprehensive guide for growing your own vegetables and herbs, I highly recommend The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible. It definitely gets two green thumbs-up from me!
[tags]vegetable gardening, herb gardening, vegetables, herbs, gardening books, raised beds, organic, edward smith, companion planting, crop rotation, natural pest control, compost, composting[/tags]