Last Updated on April 21, 2022
Any good gardener knows that their favorite hobby isn’t a matter of luck, but a skill that’s learned over time and a craft that must be perfected.
If you’re just getting into gardening or you want to expand your knowledge, even more, a book is the perfect way to hone this skill and equip yourself with everything you need to know.
One quick look at the gardening book market and you’ll see it’s overwhelmed with so many titles and authors to choose from, as well as a subject matter for just about anything.
For those wanting to pick up a good gardening book, you could be turned off by the sheer volume of choices out there.
So, what is the best book on gardening?
The best gardening books of all time will be dependent on your personal gardening goals, whether you’re a total beginner or expert if you want to focus on organic gardening or perhaps indoor-only plants. With an idea of what you hope to achieve with your green thumb, you’ll be better equipped to find books on gardening that will suit you.
To make matters easier, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite reads, with everything from the best gardening books for beginners to those that dig a little deeper.
With our recommendations and some new knowledge on how to get your garden grow, you’ll get the results you’ve been dreaming of.
The subject of gardening is a vast one, so we’re here to narrow down the selection of books on the topic to only our favorites. This list represents the best books on gardening, exactly what they’re about, and how they can help you build your skill.
With everything from container gardens to organic growing covered, you’ll have only the greatest options out there to choose from.
Table of Contents
- Our Favorite Finds for the Best Gardening Books
- Best Gardening Book: The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith
- Runner Up: The Backyard Gardener
- Alternative: Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners by Tammy Wylie
- Alternative: The Flower Gardener’s Bible by Lewis and Nancy Hill
- Alternative: Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening by Deborah L. Martin
- FAQs of Gardening Books
- Read Your Way to a Better Garden
Our Favorite Finds for the Best Gardening Books
Best Gardening Book: The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith
- Size: 8.81 x 1.13 x 11.18 inches
- Page Count: 352 pages
- Author: Edward C. Smith
Whether you’re just starting in gardening or have been doing it for years and are looking for better results, our all-time favorite book is The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith.
This is a comprehensive guide to all things gardening and focuses on Smith’s famous method of W.O.R.D (Wide rows, Organic methods, Raised beds, Deep Soil), a high yield system that can be used in all states and regions of North American for great results.
- The way Edward C. Smith has written this book makes it easy enough for beginners to understand without boring experienced gardeners.
- According to the thousands of happy reviews, it’s one of the top gardening books for green thumbs of all levels and backgrounds.
- This book has detailed guides on how to spot potential problems with your plants.
- Edward Smith gives readers clues on what to look for in plants that can signal their need for something else, which is especially helpful for beginners and those new to certain plant species.
- Smith is famous for his WORD method of growing and this book goes into great detail about it.
- Customers have found much better results in the garden following it and the other advice in the book.
- The book is specifically targeted at North American readers which is helpful for those living in the USA but means the book won’t be as useful for those who live in the rest of the world.
- Some found that even living in hotter states of the US there was some information that they couldn’t relate to, but not all of it.
- Some readers found it harder to find the diagnostic information about issues with plants. If you’re reading The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible specifically to assist with diagnosing plant issues, you’ll have to make sure you read through every page thoroughly to get what you need.
There are loads of ways to enjoy this book which is good news, and you can get them all from Amazon. The hardcover costs just under $30, the paperback version is around $17 or you can go digital with a Kindle version and enjoy it on your e-reader for around $12, giving you lots of options.
Purchasing the book will incur a small shipping fee, but if you bundle it with other gardening favorites, Amazon will wipe the freight cost for you.
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith is our top pick for the best gardening book no matter your skill level or interest, and it guarantees results.
Runner Up: The Backyard Gardener
- Size: 6.92 x 0.52 x 9 inches
- Page Count: 256 pages
- Author: Kelly Orzel
The Backyard Gardener: Simple, Easy, and Beautiful Gardening With Vegtables, Herbs, and Flowers is a book centered on the garden to table movement and written by Kelly Orzel.
This book starts from the ground up and enables readers to eat everything they’ve grown, even if they’ve never been successful in the past.
- Kelly Orzel goes into photographic and illustrative detail in her book so it’s easy to follow. You’ll be able to see garden bed designs and various techniques that she’s used, all laid out exactly how they need to be. This makes it easier to understand rather than just following written instructions.
- Every question you’ve ever had about gardening vegetables has been answered in this book, including how to compost and what to do with seeds.
- With The Backyard Gardener, readers have been able to build their confidence and learn every aspect of gardening vegetables, and not just the growing phase.
- Kelly is an organic herb farmer and a lot of her teachings focus on organic gardening as well.
- If you’re looking for a way to get rid of chemicals and follow a more natural approach to growing vegetables and herbs, you’ll love the techniques used in The Backyard Gardener.
- This is one of the best organic gardening books on the market today.
- If you’ve purchased this hoping to find one of the best vegetable gardening books for beginners, you’ll be sorely disappointed. There were a few reviews by readers who found it went over their heads in some sections and was not intended to be for absolute beginners.
- As a vegetable gardening book, don’t be surprised to find that it doesn’t cover much else.
- For those looking for a basic rundown on gardening practices that features everything you could hope to grow, you’ll need to look elsewhere for a book that does just that.
For those budding green thumbs with a particular interest in growing herbs and vegetables, you’ll love everything about this book. You can choose either the paperback version for around $15 on Amazon, or purchase the e-reader version for your Kindle at around $11 a pop.
Kelly Orzel has crafted a great book for intermediate gardeners with The Backyard Gardener: Simple, Easy, and Beautiful Gardening With Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers.
Whichever way you read it, you’ll be guaranteed better results with your vegetables , and get to capture the garden to table trend that everyone has been buzzing about.
Alternative: Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners by Tammy Wylie
- Size: 7.3 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
- Page Count: 142 pages
- Author: Tammy Wylie
Container gardening is the latest trend for those who want to experience growing something but simply don’t have the space. Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners by Tammy Wylie is one of the best indoor gardening books to cover this topic and it makes it easy to start your own garden, even from a balcony or patio in the middle of a city.
With this book, you’ll learn everything from making the garden bed to picking fresh greens from it, and all with minimal space.
- This is one of the only books out there worth reading if you’re short on green space at home and have an interest in container gardening.
- As the book focuses on raised bed gardens, you can grow one virtually anywhere, and it covers everything from herbs to vegetables, and all plants in between.
- If you’re brand new to gardening, there’s no need to fear, as Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners is made for you.
- Customers were happy to find that the book was easy to understand and there were no confusing concepts or terminology that only experienced gardeners knew, so it’s great if you’re a newcomer.
- You’ll get a clear list of the easiest to grow vegetables and how to grow them in this book. Rather than second-guessing what will work, Tammy has labeled them all with explicit instructions, and customers found it was hard to go wrong this way.
- Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners isn’t the most advanced book, and this means there’s a much smaller page count and less information.
- If you prefer to know the why of gardening and not just how-to, you’ll probably be craving a book that goes a little deeper into the techniques used.
- According to customers, some of their questions were left unanswered in the book. To get more out of it, you may be searching online to see what the answers are, which isn’t what you hope to get when you buy an informational book like this.
There are plenty of options for reading this book and each of them available on Amazon for the best price. The Kindle version is around $8, or you can get a durable spiral-bound book for just under $20 if you plan on taking it into the garden with you and getting it dirty.
Although smaller in page count, it’s one of the more affordable options out there, especially if you want to learn specifically about raised garden beds.
Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners is a simple little book about the joys of container gardening, and as a greenhouse professional herself, Tammy Wylie can help you achieve it.
This book is ideal for those who don’t want to plant outside but better kept to beginners who only want to take in a little greenery knowledge at a time.
Alternative: The Flower Gardener’s Bible by Lewis and Nancy Hill
- Size: 8.82 x 1.13 x 11.14 inches
- Page Count: 384 pages
- Author: Lewis and Nancy Hill
There’s nothing better than a flower in bloom, and even better when they come from your own garden. Most gardeners know though, that getting flowers to this state can be a challenge, which is where a book like The Flower Gardener’s Bible comes in handy.
Written by couple Lewis and Nancy Hill, the book intends to help you create the flower garden of your dreams, and covers everything from choosing a garden site to blooming flowers to their full potential.
- Flowers are known as being difficult to grow, and no book out there explains how to do this better than The Flower Gardener’s Bible.
- Customers were thrilled to finally find a book that improved their gardening skills and ensured bloom after bloom, so it’s a must-have if you’re after pretty flowers.
- This book is loaded with information and very detailed, so if you prefer a read that explains it all, and then some, you’ll love it.
- For those who like to have all of the information to understand why things go the way they do in gardening, this book covers everything.
- Although a very detailed book, this has been written for both beginners and experts, with both groups seeming to appreciate the way everything has been laid out.
- Regardless of your gardening experience, and your experience with flowers specifically, The Flower Gardener’s Bible is an essential tool in getting them to bloom.
- This book is dedicated solely to growing flowers and it seems to be pretty heavy in content. Unless you have goals of creating a beautiful flower bed or want to get serious about this part of your gardening expertise, there are probably other general books that can do it better.
- Although a book that focuses solely on growing flowers, The Flower Gardener’s Bible is expensive. This costs more than double other books that we’ve reviewed and is for a specific niche of gardeners, so make sure it’s exactly what you want before splurging on it.
To get your hands on this book and start growing the flower garden of your dreams, head to Amazon for a range of ways to read it. For those preferring a digital copy, the Kindle version costs around $16 or you can get the hardcover copy for just over $40.
The Flower Gardener’s Bible by Lewis and Nancy Hill is the ultimate book for anyone with dreams of growing flowers.
With 400 types of flowers covered and everything from expert tips to diagnostics, you’ll be guaranteed to enjoy a beautiful array of colors and scents from your garden in no time at all.
Alternative: Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening by Deborah L. Martin
- Size: 6.44 x 0.86 x 9.11 inches
- Page Count: 336 pages
- Author: Deborah L. Martin
The organic craze doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, and now it’s possible to buy an organic version of just about anything.
If you want to apply these healthy practices to gardening but don’t know where to start, a guide like Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening by Deborah L. Martin should be your first stop.
This book covers basic gardening skills including seeds, weeds, pest control, and compost, all done organically and with love.
- This Rodale book is ideal for the very first step right through to eating and enjoying the organic goods you’ve grown.
- You can rely on it for the whole process, even if you’ve never dabbled in organic gardening before.
- Rather than being a general guide, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening goes deeper into the subject and covers almost every plant and vegetable you could hope to grow. This ensures you do it right and get your questions answered about those pesky plants you’ve had problems with.
- Although the information inside the book was helpful, some pages appeared to have printing errors, and this was found in numerous copies. When you’re paying for a book you hope not to find issues like this, so it was a let-down.
- Some of the basics were left out of this book, and customers noted that they still had questions about certain things.
- You should have some knowledge of gardening practices before putting this book to use, so keep that in mind.
If you’re ready to get started with organic gardening, Amazon has a few ways you can enjoy this book. First, there is the digital copy on Kindle for around $13, the cheaper manual paperback for just over $18, or a more durable spiral-bound book that’s great for getting dirty at around $30.
Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening by Deborah L. Martin is our favorite book on the subject of organic gardening, and a must-have for beginners.
With all aspects of gardening covered and in an easy to understand way, it’s never been easier to get your organic garden going.
FAQs of Gardening Books
Declaring just one title the best gardening book of all time is hard to do, especially when you consider the vastness of the subject matter and everything there is to learn about different types of gardening.
However, if you want to learn more about this green skill, there’s a lot to cover, so we’ve answered some commonly asked questions to get you started.
For a low maintenance vegetable garden, it’s best to stick to easy growers like carrots, tomatoes, spinach, green beans, lettuce, and radishes.
These vegetables are known for their ease of growth and they’re ideal for beginners through to expert gardeners hoping to have more of a hands-off garden.
An annual vegetable is one that grows most, if not all of the year. These include tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, some types of squash, and more.
If you’re planning a low maintenance garden that can be tended all year without much changing, choosing these annual vegetables is the best idea.
Illinois is considered the US state with the richest soil, although there have been ongoing debates from other states about their soil’s worthiness.
If you live in an area known for poor soil quality you can improve it with good gardening practices, fertilization, and soil boosters that can all help your plants to grow.
Gardening can be done anywhere, provided you understand the climate and limitations of where you live and work with the conditions and not against them.
The states that get the best results from growing a vegetable garden, though, include California, Idaho, Washington, and Florida. This is compared to New York, California, and Georgia that are considered some of the best for fruit gardening.
Read Your Way to a Better Garden
Although gardening is one of the most popular pastimes in history, it’s also a skill that must be learned to get it right.
People can be born with a natural green thumb but there’s still a lot of knowledge and skill that comes with it and equipping yourself with a good book is the best way to get it done.
With our recommendations for the best reads on gardening, you’ll increase your skill and get a greener, healthier garden, with better results every time. There’s a lot to learn in the garden, whether you’re a beginner or have been enjoying it for years, so don’t be afraid to pick up a book and let your knowledge grow.