Growing a food garden at home has multiple benefits. Along with the health benefits of fresh air, sunshine, light exercise and, of course, consuming nutritious produce, growing your own food helps to reduce your carbon footprint, according to the Climate Action Business Association, and can also save you money at the grocery store. The National Gardening Association has said that for about $70 annually, a 600-square foot garden can yield as much as 300 pounds of produce.
Whether you’re considering trading in a portion of your lawn to grow your own food, or just want to grow some greens in a pot on your deck, there are a bumper crop of books to help you get started. Below are a few titles ripe for picking.
”Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden,” by Tammy Wylie
Why have a lawn when you can have a garden? Lifelong gardener Wylie shares all you need to know to get started. “Worried about space? Interested in bigger and better yields? ‘Raised-Bed Gardening for Beginners’ shows you all the amazing advantages of raised-bed gardens — and how easy creating them can be,” reads this 2019 paperback’s rear cover. “Learn to build your bed, select the right plants, and so much more. Simple guides will have even the greenest gardeners serving up freshly picked vegetables in no time.”
”Field Guide to Urban Gardening: How to Grow Plants, No Matter Where You Live,” by Kevin Espiritu
Like Wylie above, Espiritu covers raised-bed gardening, but also vertical gardening and gardening on balconies and rooftops, which could help beginning gardeners attempting to grow in tight quarters. The book also discusses hydroponics, a subject on which numerous books have been written.
”The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible,” by Ed C. Smith
Gardener Ed C. Smith is a man of his W-O-R-D. Yes, “W-O-R-D,” which stands for “Wide Rows, Organic Methods, Raised Beds, Deep Soil,” Smith’s successful methodology for high-yield gardening. “Succeed with fussy plants, try new and unusual varieties, and learn how to innovatively extend your growing season,” says Amazon. “With thorough profiles of hundreds of popular varieties, “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible” provides expert information and an inspiring roadmap for gardeners of all skill levels to enjoy abundant homegrown vegetables.”
“The Backyard Gardener: Simple, Easy, and Beautiful Gardening with Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers,” by Kelly Orzel
With the garden-to-table movement in mind, horticulturist and organic herb farmer Orzel covers topics including sustainable, organic growing, composting, soil selection, propagation techniques, seeds and much more in this 256-page how-to book published in 2017. Though one Amazon reviewer disparaged it as “not for beginners,” the book’s 4.8-star out of 5 rating would suggest plenty of others found it useful.
“The Greenhouse Gardener’s Manual,” by Roger Marshall
There are many, many primers on greenhouse gardening, but Marshall’s book comes highly recommended by reviewers from Booklist to Publisher’s Weekly to (checks notes) Home Greenhouse Magazine, the last of which said, “Anyone purchasing a greenhouse should read this book first.” Given Central Oregon’s short frost-free growing season — which started this week in Bend, according to the NGA — greenhouses can prolong your growing season considerably. This book covers greenhouse design, maintenance and more, and it contains a list of the 70 best fruits and vegetables for growing in a greenhouse environment — and a list of ornamental plants, if you’re into that sort of growing.