Top Five Vegetable Gardening Books for Northerners


GENEVIEVE AT Genevieve at NORTH COAST GARDENING has a great post called Five Books: Essential Reads for Gardeners where she has created a list of blog posts that recommend books on a specific gardening topic.

Genevieve – Thanks for a great post! What a wonderful idea.

Most of the posts listed are about landscape gardening. As you might expect from Suburban Hobby Farmer, my list is on vegetable gardening books. Here are my favorite five:

1. Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times by Steve Solomon

Solomon is the Jim Cramer of edible gardening. For those of you who don’t know who Cramer is, he’s the former hedge fund manager who shares Wall Street insider secrets with the average Joe investor. Solomon is like Cramer because he is a former seed company owner [Territorial Seed Company] who shares insider secrets of his business with the backyard gardener.

Solomon writes, “I was a seedman. I know the trade. I will tell you who to deal with and why so you’ll be a smarter buyer and end up with a successful garden. You’ll also spend a lot less … I’m going to educate you about this [gardening] as your grandfather should have done … I’m going to be the gardening grandfather you never had.

2. Cold-Climate Gardening: How to Extend Your Growing Season by at Least 30 Days by Lewis Hill


Northern gardeners interested in a how-to book for growing edibles in short seasons will not be disappointed in Cold-Climate Gardening. His book provides step by step, practical guidance on extending the growing season in any climate. If Hill can grow it in northern Vermont, most everyone else in the north can too by following his guidance. His system helps you garden more and better in any place where cold weather cuts short your gardening time. Readers will learn how to:

1. Protect vulnerable plantings from the cold
2. Warm up the soil earlier
3. Select species that are appropriate to your area
4. Reap two harvests on the same ground in a short growing season

3. The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses by Eliot Coleman

In the depths of winter, there may be no better book for an enthusiastic backyard gardener than one about year-round vegetable gardening, and this is the king of books on that subject.

Coleman is the master of “using deep-organic techniques and unheated greenhouses for year-round vegetable production.” He surprises the reader by showing how to grow vegetables, or at least extend the harvest season, with no external heat sources during Maine’s cold winters.  You can read more in my review at Eliot Coleman’s Handbook.

4. Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth

The subject of saving seeds from your garden is growing in popularity, much to the chagrin of seed companies. Seed to Seed has helped to fuel seed saving’s increasing popularity by providing a complete guide to saving more than 160 different varieties.  It covers what you need to know, including seed gathering, processing and storage. Ashworth donated this book to support the work of Seed Savers Exchange, a genetic preservation organization.

5. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward Smith

Ed Smith is a minister in the church of gardening. He preaches the doctrine of WORD, which stands for Wide rows, Organic methods, Raised beds, and Deep soil. Smith’s book is great for beginning gardeners because it uses easy to understand language and many photos showing plants and pests in action. His Bible may be the best how-to guide for newbie vegetable gardeners in the north.

If you think I’ve missed a book that should be in the favorite five, please let me know by commenting below. If you buy any of these books, please use the Amazon links from this post because I receive a small amount of money each time you buy, which helps me keep publishing Suburban Hobby Farmer.

Related posts:

1. Free 30-page Seed Saving Guide
2. Book Review: Eliot Coleman’s Handbook
3. Three Online Catalogs for Heirloom Seeds

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11 Responses to “Top Five Vegetable Gardening Books for Northerners”

  1. August 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Just added 2 more books to my wish list! Thanks!

  2. August 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Ok, just discovered the Five Books archive through your link to Genevieve’s post. I’m in love.

    • August 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

      Genevieve had a great idea in developing a listing like this one.

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