I’ve bought many books on gardening and even read some of them, but these three books are the ones that I actually use.
- The New Victory Garden; Bob Thomson; Little, Brown & Co.; 1987 — All about growing vegetables and the source of many of my gardening practices; unfortunately it’s out of print.
- The BackYard Berry Book: A hands-on guide to growing berries, brambles, and vine fruit in the home garden; Stella Otto; Ottographics; 1995 — Just like the title says.
- Landscaping: A Five-Year Plan; Theodore James, Jr.; Burford Books; 1998 — This contains plenty of information on trees, shrubs, and perennials with common sense and a plan you can actually accomplish.
I also like these two books.
- The Truth About Garden Remedies: What Works, What Doesn’t & Why; Jeff Gillman; Timber Press; 2006 — This is a fun exploration of a lot of myths (or not) about gardening.
- The Truth About Organic Gardening: Benefits, Drawbacks, and the Bottom Line; Jeff Gillman; Timber Press; 2008 — Explains the early origins of organic gardening and covers organic and synthetic materials, outlining the benefits and drawbacks of each; a good place to look for solutions to problems and decide what’s best for you.
- Epic Tomatoes: How to Select & Grow the Best Varieties of All Time; Craig LeHoullier; Storey Publishing; 2014 — The author spent decades growing hybrid and heirloom tomatoes and developing new varieties, and he tells you about everything from starting seeds to canning the resulting harvest and saving seeds for next year.
The following are my favorite seed and plant mail-order companies; I have ordered from most of them many times.
- Pinetree Garden Seeds is my go-to source of vegetable, herb, and flower seeds.
- Park Seed is a good source for seeds but not live plants.
- Miller Nurseries is where I ordered most of my fruit trees and shrubs, but they’ve since been bought by Stark Bros., with whom I have no experience, so I can no longer recommend them.
- Van Engelen is where I buy flower bulbs.
- Victory Seeds is a source of heirloom and other open-pollinated seeds that I first used in 2017 (to buy dwarf tomato seeds) and will probably use again.
If possible, I buy live plants locally rather than online.
This website for the back yard orchardist is where I learned about such things as pruning.