Basic Gardening Book Recommendation?

Hello, everyone. I apologize if this has been covered already.

Can anyone recommend a really good book on basic veggie gardening? I'm a beginner gardener and would really like to have reference material on hand. I'm growing basic stuff like kale, tomatoes, herbs, scallions, squash. I need to know when to plant, diagnose common problems, etc. Pictures included would be nice but the reference info is most important. I live in VT, northeastern US, and am doing raised bed/container gardening for now.

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Do not overlook your county extension office as a resource. Typically they will have some free publications (typically fact sheets or small booklets) with info relevant to the climate of your State.

That never even occurred to me. Thank you, Tatorman!

Also, your picture made me grin.

Your gardening neighbors are also a great resource and most gardeners love to talk about their gardens. I would guess that most of them would be more then happy to advise you. There is also your local independent garden center where you will probably find knowledgeable people to answer any question you may have. Also check out your Master Gardner program in your area.

I can't really recommend a book since I garden in a very different climate then yours, so you might find a climate specific book about gardening in Vermont in your local library. For generic books on gardening, see if your library has any older Rodale books on general gardening.

Good luck


My neighbors aren't that friendly. Maybe in time they'll be willing to give me a chance. But I have been talking gardens with friends several towns over. Thank you for the reply and may your garden prosper : )

lathechuck's picture

The Garden Primer, by Barbara Damrosch, covers all the bases: vegetables, flowers, fruits, berries, etc.
The "University of Maryland Master Gardener Handbook" is great for me, since the UoM is a mile away, and you can probably find something similar from UVM's Master Gardener training program. It's not specifically organic gardening, though, so it has stuff about chemical fertilizers and pesticides. There's a training program that costs $400, plus $75 for the book, but maybe you can just get the book (from Penn State, they say, without giving the title!).

Thank you, lathechuck! So far I'm not using pesticides but I am using fertilizer from the farm store. The soil here is very sandy, rocky, and poor. Composting is generally not a good idea because it draws bears to the yard and other unwelcome critters too. But I'm thinking of putting some things like eggshells/coffee grounds into the garden soil (not likely to draw animal attention) and letting it sit over the winter. It will take a while to build up the small amounts of chem fertilizers for now.

mountainmoma's picture

How to grow more vegetables.... by John Jeavons and Carol Deepe's The Resilient Gardener ( and later add her the Tao of Vegetable gardening )

mountainmoma, I will check these out, thank you!

kma's picture

HI Chris,

I'm just north of you in the big city. A very Vermonty book is Ron Krupp's Woodchuck Guide. Sorry for the amazon link but you can probably get this at your local bookstore in VT.

I'm also happy to talk VT gardening anytime!

kma, sorry for the very late reply, I haven't checked in here in a while. Thank you for the recommendation...I am going to check out that book! One good thing about amazon is it usually lets you preview the book.

My first attempt at gardening is going well. I started harvesting small amounts of zucchini and squash. I've been harvesting lettuce and kale a few leaves at a time instead of the whole head. It's a wonderful feeling to just go out in the backyard and pull something for lunch. How's your garden doing? Did you get very droopy tomato plants this past month?