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Back to School: 5 of the Best Gardening Books

best gardening books

Fall is here and school is back in session. By now you’ve probably gotten your kids acclimated to their regular academic routine, but what about your own education?

Specifically, your gardening education. You could always read the other entries in our Gardening Guide, where we use the collective knowledge from our garden center to discuss everything from lawns, to landscaping, to birdfeeders, but you might want something a little more in-depth.

There are a wealth of great gardening books out there, enough to fill a lot more than just one blog post. Here are a few of the best:

1. Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education, by Michael Pollan

Pollan has been writing about food and the way we eat it for decades, most notably in books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

This book, his first, is a collection of essays about gardening in each season of the year. As The Guardian puts it: “Pollan writes about dirt (dirt!) and is utterly fascinating, even to a reader who has previously stated that this is the exact subject that she most dreads in garden books.”

That’s due to the fact that Pollan uses his subject matter – whether it’s dirt, weeds or roses – as an entry point to larger ruminations that touch on everything from political history to pop culture.

2. Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy

This family-friendly gardening book will help you teach your children the ins and outs of gardening while also suggesting some activities that are designed specifically for kids.

According to The Spruce, the book includes activities such as the “Pizza Patch,” in which kids plant essential pizza ingredients such as basil and tomato, and the “Moon Garden,” which consists of flowers that bloom at night.

3. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith

A vital resource for anyone who wants to grow their own food, this gardening book is based around Smith’s W-O-R-D system (wide rows, organic methods, raised beds, deep soil) and includes an A to Z guide to a host of different herbs and vegetables.

If you like this book, you may want to check out his follow-up, The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible, which looks at the different types of containers available, what types of seeds to use, pest management and harvesting techniques.

4. The Flower Gardner’s Bible by Lewis Hill and Nancy Hill

Of course, some of you might be more interested in growing flowers than fruits and veggies. If that’s the case, the Spruce recommends this book, an exhaustive guide on everything from finding the right growing site to helping your plants thrive to fighting off pests and improving soil.

5. The Education of a Gardener by Russell Page

First published nearly 60 years ago, this gardening book remains a classic. Page was one of the 20th century’s great gardeners, designing gardens for clients that included British royalty. The Education of a Gardener is his autobiography and includes a mix of his own reminiscences and hands-on gardening knowledge.

Readers will learn how to identify which plants will thrive in different settings, how to plant for the seasons and how to combine shrubs, trees and water features in this thoughtful, well-written memoir.

Are you looking for more ways to further your gardening education? Visit Mendham Garden Center at one of our three New Jersey locations. Whether you need advice about pest control or want to know which plants and flowers will do well in your backyard, we have you covered.