Garden books offer a bounty of ideas, for whatever your skill or space

Gardening was one of the first hobbies people adopted during the pandemic. Now, many of those gardeners are ready to up their game. At the same time, people new to gardening are looking for guidance and inspiration.

Five recent books offer practical advice and plenty of encouragement for creating the backyard, patio, or windowsill of your dreams. No matter what kind of space you have, there’s a way to bring the bounty of plants into your life.  

Whether it’s growing microgreens on a table or sowing wildflower seeds in a field, gardening brings people back to the rhythms of the seasons and the feel of dirt in their hands. 

Why We Wrote This

Watching a seedling break through the soil, or harvesting our own produce, can bring joy and pride. Gardening, in whatever space we have, nurtures our families and ourselves.

More people are discovering the joys of growing things in small and large ways – from pots on the windowsill to overturning a section of lawn to make room for native plants and pollinators. Easing the boundaries between indoors and outdoors by tending to plants was one of the first hobbies people cultivated over long months at home during the pandemic. If, after a couple of successful seasons, you are ready to up your game, here is a selection of new titles to inspire, encourage, and even entertain as you get ready to dig in the dirt and watch your garden grow.

Small spaces are no problem

Being a successful gardener doesn’t require a large, sunny backyard, as apartment dweller Amy Pennington proves in Tiny Space Gardening: Growing Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs in Small Outdoor Spaces. Pennington, who gardens with pots in a 75-square-foot space in Seattle, urges urbanites to foster an intimate connection to growing things: “To be a successful container gardener, you need to think like a plant,” she writes.

Why We Wrote This

Watching a seedling break through the soil, or harvesting our own produce, can bring joy and pride. Gardening, in whatever space we have, nurtures our families and ourselves.

For starters, think about nourishing their roots, and choose containers accordingly. Porous clay pots have a lovely rustic look, but plastic pots are lighter to move around and hold moisture longer. Or use a bag of potting soil as your “container.” Since you are a tiny space gardener, your gardening tools can be diminutive, too, such as forks (instead of rakes), spoons (instead of trowels), and measuring cups (instead of shovels) to mix and move soil.

Pennington is an advocate for using your space for “experiments and experience,” and encourages growers to pick their battles: If you can’t get fussy tomatoes to grow, check out the heirloom offerings at the farmers market. Lettuces, herbs, and edible flowers bring quick and easy rewards. Pennington also includes a few recipes and windowsill projects, such as a microgreens garden. 

Back to the land

If you have ever fantasized about trading in city life for foraging for your own food, Tamar Haspel, who writes a food-policy column for The Washington Post, has done it for you in her hilarious memoir To Boldly Grow: Finding Joy, Adventure, and Dinner in Your Own Backyard.

Haspel and her husband, Kevin, pulled up their New York City roots during the financial crisis of 2008 and bought a “very shack-like” house on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The memoir centers on Haspel’s challenge to expand their urban rooftop gardening skills: eating at least one thing every day for a year that they obtain first hand. In other words, food they either grew, fished, hunted, or gathered. 

https://www.csmonitor.com/Books/2022/0502/Joy-in-the-garden-Books-to-inspire-beauty-and-self-reliance