Gardening Books for Winter Reading and Gifting – 2 of 4

Get Started Gardening!

As more of us live in urban environments, and kids grow up surrounded by buildings, gardening knowledge is no longer passed down with the generations. Instead, many folks have to turn to books (or blogs like mine) to learn the tricks of the trade.

Oregano glows in the morning light.

I admit, electronic books are ok for fiction, but when it comes to plant care or gardening I want a real printed book with pages that I can mark, text that is easy to refer back to, and plenty of pictures to stimulate my imagination and show me what a things should look like when done or grown. Steps along the way are nice too. With this in mind, here are three books to help you learn gardening from the ground up.

I mentioned this last week – you can purchase these books from your local independent bookseller like Antigone Books or Mostly Books both in Tucson (on Small Biz Saturday!). If you don’t live in Tucson, check out this site for independent booksellers near you – You could also buy these books online from the publisher (on Cyber Monday) links provided – just click on the image of the book.

Practical Organic Gardening by Mark Highland (Cool Springs Press) is billed as a no-nonsense guide to growing naturally. The basic tips are fine and can get you started. Problem is, it’s written for “back East” and in some cases it ignores our issue of low humidity and searing summers. It would be a good companion volume to my book Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening because together they can get you growing here. That said, the chapter on integrated pest management is very fine, as is the discussion on companion planting.

The Budget-Wise Gardener by Kerry Ann Mendez (St. Lynn’s Press) shares tips for saving money while indulging in America’s number one hobby – gardening! This book is great for the beginning gardener, because it shares those tips we used to share back when there were monthly plant club meetings (back when we rode dinosaurs to school). The tips Kerry shares are good for snowy climes and our hotter regions too.








DIY Hydroponic Gardens by Tyler Baras (Cool Spring Press) opened my eyes to the fact that there are ten (10!) different kinds of hydroponics. Tyler helps you decide which is right for you, and gets you started inexpensively (for the most part).  I have a seat-of-the-pants aquaponic system I cobbled together – and this book showed me how to improve it for higher vegetable yield an less evaporation. The trouble shooting chapter is invaluable!




Want to learn more about gardening? Look for my free lectures at your local Pima County Library branch, Tucson Festival of Books and other venues. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including Southwest Fruit and Vegetable Gardening (Cool Springs Press, $23).
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