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The Best Gardening Books

🕚 Updated April 2023

If you're a novice gardener or want to cultivate a type of plant you've never grown before, a good gardening book can be a handy guide. Whether you want to grow flowers, fruit, vegetables, or all three, here are a few we recommend.

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  Best for Vegetables Best for Flowers Best for Herbs Best for Vertical Gardening Best for Beginners
  The Old Farmer's Almanac Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook
by Old Farmer's Almanac
Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms
by Erin Benzakein
The Cook's Herb Garden: Grow, Harvest, Cook
by Jeff Cox and Marie Pierre Moine
Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space
by Derek Fell
The First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables
by Jessica Sowards
Our SummaryWhether you're brand new to gardening or experienced, this handy book is an excellent guide for cultivating all sorts of vegetables.If you haven't had luck growing flowers in the past, this gardening book is an excellent guide to growing a wide variety of beautiful blooms.Grow your own fresh cooking herbs at home instead of buying them at the store with this handy herb gardening book.If you want to grow a garden but have minimal available space, this gardening book offers a practical solution.An easy-to-follow vegetable gardening book that's aimed specifically at novice or inexperienced gardeners.
Pros✓ Step-by-step instructions
✓ Covers different climate zones
✓ Reference tables and charts
✓ Very detailed
✓ Practical and in-depth resource
✓ Amazing layout and pictures
✓ Beginner-friendly
✓ Great for for growing cut flowers
✓ For indoor and outdoor gardens
✓ Tips for harvesting and storage
✓ 30+ recipes included
✓ Flavor and partner charts
✓ Covers both veggies and flowers
✓ Creative yet practical ideas
✓ Entertaining writing style
✓ Available in different formats
✓ Accessible and easy to understand
✓ Step-by-step instructions
✓ Answers common questions
✓ Several formatting options
Cons✗ No ebook or hardcover option✗ No paperback copies
✗ Minimal direction for spacing
✗ Not listed in alphabetical order✗ Limited color photography
✗ Difficult to read font
✗ For vegetables only
✗ Not for seasoned gardeners
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The Best Gardening Books

Plant inside of a book.

Buying Guide for Gardening Books

A gardener standing at a workbench reading a GARDENING A-Z book.

Why buy a gardening book?

Gardening books teach the reader how to seed, grow, care for, and maintain plants that can be grown in an outdoor or indoor garden, window box, pot, or planter. In many cases, gardening books will also help you to identify different plants and how to use them. They often come with handy photos, reference tables, and charts that aid in this.

Gardening books also make handy jumping-off points for novice or inexperienced gardeners who need more guidance. Even if you’re an expert gardener, you may still benefit from the right gardening book. You may be experienced with growing vegetables but have never cultivated flowers, or you’ve only grown plants in backyard gardens and never in an indoor terrarium or window box. No matter your skill level, it’s still possible to benefit from a good, well-written gardening book.

What should you look for in a gardening book?

  • Plant Type: What type of plant or plants do you want to grow? No matter what type of plant, there should be a gardening book that has you covered. You can find guides for growing plants native to specific regions, such as the tropics. Some books are dedicated to specific flowers or plants, like roses or orchids.
  • Garden Type: Plants will have different requirements depending on whether you plan to grow them indoors or outdoors, in the earth, or in a separate container. Fortunately, books are dedicated to most, if not all, of these different environments. So even if you live in a small apartment in a major city, for example, don’t feel as if there aren’t any gardening books you can use.
  • Experience Level: Some are more general, but there are also books aimed at gardeners of every experience level, from first-timers to seasoned pros. There are even gardening books made specifically for young children who want to grow their vegetables or flowers at home.

Should you buy a gardening book in physical form or as an ebook?

If you’re going to be more reliant on any pictures, reference tables, charts, or graphs in the book, a physical book may be the better choice for you since the images in the book will appear much larger in an actual book than they will on a screen. Screens may also mess with the formatting of charts and graphs and make them harder to read. That said, you may not have a reliable place to prop up a full-sized book in your garden, and a smaller electronic is much easier to bring along and consult as needed. Searching for keywords in ebooks also tends to be quicker, and tablets and smartphones often have covers that keep them safe from dirt and water; paper books are not afforded such protection.

Our Picks for the Best Gardening Books

Best for Vegetables

The Old Farmer's Almanac Vegetable Gardener's Handbook

Whether you're brand new to gardening or experienced, this handy book is an excellent guide for cultivating all sorts of vegetables.

Pros: This book covers how to grow more than 30 types of different vegetables in clear, easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions and accompanied by full-color photos. The book covers not just the vegetables but the best soil and dirt for each plant, how to protect against pests, other plants that are beneficial or detrimental to growing vegetables, how to harvest your veggies, and more. It also details how to grow these vegetables if you plan to cultivate them in a nontraditional garden bed, like pots or windowsill boxes. There are handy reference tables and charts you can refer to at any time.

Cons: This is offered only in paperback form, so if you’re a hardcover or ebook lover, you’re unfortunately out of luck.

Bottom Line: If you’ve been struggling to grow healthy vegetables in your home garden, this book is an excellent resource for cultivating more than 30 types of veggies, no matter what climate you live in or where you plan to plant them.


Best for Flowers

Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms

If you haven't had luck growing flowers in the past, this gardening book is an excellent guide to growing a wide variety of beautiful blooms.

Pros: This book is a beautiful and well-made resource for anyone interested in flower gardening. With an amazing layout and gorgeous pictures, it will inspire and delight readers. It’s beneficial for beginning flower gardeners, providing practical information on what tasks should be executed each season for maximum flower health and growth; it offers practical guides for prepping ahead and growing blooms seasonally, including more cost-effective solutions. It’s also a fantastic resource for anyone interested in growing cut flowers, with easy-to-understand and well-written content that covers everything from planting to maintenance to cutting and incorporating in floral arrangements.

Cons: No paperback copies are available, which may disappoint those who prefer softer book covers. You may also find that it could offer a bit more direction for how to properly space different flower varieties.

Bottom Line: This gardening book is a growing guide for a truly impressive array of flowers. With tips and tricks for hundreds of other blossoms, this book is an exceptional resource that will surely delight and inspire anyone interested in flower gardening.


Best for Herbs

The Cook's Herb Garden: Grow, Harvest, Cook

Grow your own fresh cooking herbs at home instead of buying them at the store with this handy herb gardening book.

Pros: If you want to grow your herbs at home for culinary purposes, this is the gardening book for you. It covers 120 different types of herbs commonly used in cooking. Not only will it teach you the best ways to plant and grow your herbs, but there are instructions on harvesting them properly, how to store them best (whether drying or freezing), and even some cooking tips. There are flavor and partner charts that guide which flavors and dishes the herbs are best paired with, and more than 30 actual recipes are included. These cover salads, seasonings, marinades, pesto, flavored butter, and even hot and cold drinks.

Cons: Some buyers found that the layout of this book wasn’t ideal or a bit confusing, namely that the herbs aren’t listed in alphabetical order.

Bottom Line: Growing, harvesting, and storing your herbs at home can be a great way to save money at the grocery store and get fresher-tasting herbs. This handy book on cooking herbs makes this particular task easier and provides helpful insights on how to use said herbs in your cooking or teas most effectively.


Best for Vertical Gardening

Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space

If you want to grow a garden but have minimal available space, this gardening book offers a practical solution.

Pros: Looking to elevate your gardening game or don’t have a lot of garden space to grow plants? Look no further than this comprehensive guide to vertical gardening. With beautiful pictures and inspiring ideas for vertical gardening, this book offers a wealth of knowledge and practical advice for making the most out of small spaces. You’ll learn creative ideas for different types of supports for plants and how to utilize them to create a stunning and productive garden. The entertaining writing style makes this book more enjoyable, and you’ll find yourself returning for inspiration and guidance. It’s available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and spiral-spined formats.

Cons: The book may disappoint with its limited use of color photographs, particularly in sections dedicated to natural supports for plants. Some readers wished for more information on using natural supports like bamboo and corn rather than relying on metal or wooden ones. Others also found the font used for captions and descriptions difficult to read or annoying.

Bottom Line: Discover the secrets to maximizing your minimal garden space with this all-encompassing guide. With creative ideas for small spaces and different types of supports for plants, this guide will leave you inspired and eager to create a beautiful and productive garden.


Best for Beginners

The First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables

An easy-to-follow vegetable gardening book that is explicitly aimed at novice or inexperienced gardeners.

Pros: This book was written with beginner gardeners in mind and is thus highly accessible and easy to understand. All the instructions are laid out clearly and step-by-step, so they’re straightforward to follow, as are the full-color pictures, and it covers many of the common questions that brand-new gardeners have when they first start. It’s great for growing vegetables in containers and greenhouses, not just traditional outdoor garden beds. Better yet, you can buy this book as an ebook or physical copy, including a spiraled version for easier page-flipping.

Cons: If you’re already an intermediate to experienced gardener, you’ll probably be familiar with most of the information in this book. Keep in mind that this book only covers how to grow vegetables.

Bottom Line: If you’ve never grown your own garden before, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to get started, what items you’ll need, and which plants are the best choice. Fortunately, this vegetable gardening book was written with beginners specifically in mind and can help you to figure out solutions to these problems and more.

Final Thoughts

A good gardening book can be a huge asset to any gardener in any environment. No matter what type of gardening space you have available or what kind of plants you aim to grow, there is bound to be a useful written guide that helps you to cultivate the healthiest possible plants and keep them alive and thriving.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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