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21 Best Vegetable Gardening Books for Beginners (2024)

If you are new to gardening and looking for a book to learn how, you probably already know that there are so many gardening books out there.

Finding one that is worth spending your money on may feel like a daunting task. Not to worry; I did the work for you and made a list of the best gardening books.

A photo of three vegetable gardening books with a shovel, plants, and seeds around it.

Gardening is life-changing and exciting and I want everyone to feel like they can start their own vegetable garden. While there is a lot of information out there, finding the perfect book to get you started doesn’t have to be so overwhelming.

Why Should You Trust This List?

All of these books have been carefully curated from the thousands of gardening books out there. I personally selected them because they have clear and concise writing, beautiful photos or graphics, a wealth of topical knowledge, and they make gardening accessible for all. 

I’ve read and skimmed a lot of gardening books that made gardening feel overwhelming, bored me, or were simply unhelpful. It took a lot of mediocre books to find this list of the best books on vegetable gardening. 

The inside of a gardening book. The book has a photo of a dog in a raised bed with a dog house underneath.

The Best Books on Vegetable Gardening

If you’re looking for some great books on vegetable gardening and feeling overwhelmed with all of the options, you aren’t alone. Finding a great book shouldn’t be your biggest hurdle in starting a garden!

Here is a list of the best books on gardening to equip you to grow your own food and have a blast doing it. I’ve read a lot of gardening books and gathered a lot of opinions from others to choose this assortment of books so that you can get started without reading hundreds of book reviews.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links, I will earn a small commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure here.

Best Vegetable Gardening Books: Quick Guide

If you aren’t keen on looking through all twenty-one of the books I recommend, here are my top three recommendations for beginners:

  1. Gardening for Everyone by Julia Watkins
  2. Organic Gardening the Natural No-Dig Way by Charles Dowding
  3. All New Square Foot Gardening (3rd Edition) by Mel Bartholomew

If you want to jump ahead to the categories that interest you, click on the link below:

  1. Best Gardening Books for Beginners
  2. Best Books on Regenerative and Organic Gardening
  3. Best Book on Permaculture
  4. Best Books for Year-Round Gardening
  5. The Best Comprehensive Guide to Gardening
  6. Best Books for Maximizing Small Growing Spaces
  7. The Best Book about Raised Bed Gardening
  8. The Best Book on Growing Herbs
a garden book open in a garden. The page it is open to has text on one side and a photo of a flower garden on the other.

Best Gardening Books for Beginners

Gardening for Everyone by Julia Watkins

Julia Watkins’ book on gardening is one of my favorite gardening books ever. It is packed with absolutely beautiful photography, practical information, and fun yet useful projects for your garden. With the simple guides in the book, you can learn to brew compost tea, make your own seed tape, bake lilac scones, and more.

I like this book for beginner gardeners because it makes everything feel simple. A lot of gardening books made me feel overwhelmed and bombarded with information when I was first learning about gardening. This book feels simple while still offering loads of information. If you want a book that makes gardening fun, this book is a delightful and helpful resource for learning to garden.

Organic Gardening the Natural No-Dig Way by Charles Dowding

This is one of my favorite books – and my favorite authors – for learning to garden. Charles Dowding is a well-known gardener from the UK who specializes in the no-dig method. His books are packed with years of experience and experimenting to find the best growing methods. 

Dowding’s writing is clear and concise, which educates readers thoroughly without confusing or causing overwhelm. This is a book I return to over and over again because it covers so many areas of gardening in such a thorough manner. I would recommend this book for new and seasoned gardeners alike.

The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith

This book covers just about everything one needs to start and maintain a garden. It covers the basics as well as Smith’s signature gardening method for high yield harvest, “W-O-R-D: Wide rows, organic methods, raised beds, deep soil.” 

Smith has years of experience and has developed fine-tuned methods for growing not just a good garden, but the best garden you possibly can. This book is a classic, much-loved gardening book that comes highly recommended. As you begin your gardening journey, this is definitely one to keep on the bookshelf to return to throughout the season.

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners: A Simple Guide to Growing Vegetables at Home by Jill McSheehy

This book is one of the most straightforward books on starting a garden that I’ve found. Many books cover the process of choosing your vegetables and growing them, but few focus on the process of getting started as much as this one. 

McSheehy writes a very accessible book for those who have never gardened with a glossary of common gardening terms and a “know before you grow” section. You’ll learn all about planning, building, and planting a vegetable garden in this beautifully illustrated guide to growing your own vegetables.

Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening by Matt Mattus

Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening is a comprehensive guide for gardeners of all skill levels who want to create a thriving vegetable garden.

This book focuses on all of the common garden vegetables and how to grow them. I like the nitty-gritty approach Mattus takes; rather than a big-picture view of gardening, you will learn exactly how to grow each of the vegetables featured in this book. It also offers many rare and unique varieties to grow, including a lot of perennials!

Organic Gardening for Everyone by CaliKim

This book is an ideal place to begin for someone who has never gardened before. Full of gorgeous photos and a quick yet informative read, this is a great place to learn all of the basics of starting and maintaining a garden. 

What sets Organic Gardening for Everyone apart is CaliKim’s accessible writing style and her focus on making gardening available to everyone, regardless of their experience level or the size of their garden. You’ll learn everything from how to prep a garden for planting to the proper and ideal methods of watering your plants. This is a great book for learning all of the basics before you dive into your first garden.

Best Books on Regenerative and Organic Gardening

These books cover topics that help with no-spray pest control and biological gardening. You can learn more about regenerative and biological gardening here.

Soil Science for Successful Vegetable Gardening by Bruce Mccord

This book is the perfect beginners guide to nurturing healthy soil for your vegetable garden. Building soil health is a critical and often overlooked aspect of gardening, so this book touches on an important topic. It provides a thorough introduction to the science of soil and explains how to assess and amend soil to create optimal growing conditions for vegetables.

With clear and concise explanations, the book covers topics such as soil structure, pH levels, and nutrient availability. McCord also provides practical advice on composting, cover cropping, and other techniques for improving soil health.

If you are ready to dive into building soil health for the most productive and resilient garden possible, this book is a fantastic place to start.

Companion Planting for Beginners by Brian Lowell

Companion Planting for Beginners is a beginner-friendly guide that explains the benefits of planting compatible crops together for better yields, pest control, and soil health. 

The book covers a wide range of topics, from understanding the basic principles of companion planting to selecting the right plant combinations for your garden. 

Lowell also thoroughly covers how to manage pests and disease in an organic way, including how to attract beneficial bugs to your garden. This book covers a lot of topics that aren’t commonly found in vegetable garden books, making it a highly useful resource to have on hand.

Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control by Jessica Walliser

This book is important for anyone who wants a regenerative, organic garden. Attracting beneficial bugs is a key component of having a healthy no-spray garden that is not overrun by pests. 

This book covers all of the important tiny critters you need in your garden and what to grow to attract them. It is a comprehensive guide on organic, no-spray pest control that is a must-read for anyone who is avoiding pesticides of all varieties.

Growing Perennial Foods by Acadia Tucker and Krishna Chavda

Perennials are an invaluable part of a garden. They produce earlier than most annuals, build long-term soil health, save money, and generally require less work. 

While edible plants that are perennial are rare, this book offers 34 different varieties and expert advice on how to grow them. 

I particularly love all of the recipes in the book and the section of frequently asked questions. This book isn’t filled with fluff; it gets straight to the point and is a fun and inspiring read.

Best Book on Permaculture

Creating Your Permaculture Heaven by Nydia Needham

Creating Your Permaculture Heaven is a practical and inspiring guide for anyone interested in creating a sustainable and self-sufficient garden using permaculture principles. 

The book covers a wide range of topics, including soil health, water management, companion planting, and natural pest control. 

Needham also provides practical advice on designing and implementing a permaculture garden, as well as tips on selecting the best plants for your climate and soil. If you’re interested in implementing permaculture in your garden, this is the perfect book to learn all of the basics.

Best Books for Year-Round Gardening

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening by Peter Burke

This book covers everything you’ll ever need to know about growing nutrient-dense microgreens indoors. It’s a simple take on indoor gardening that requires no lights, little space, and no elaborate hydroponics equipment. 

This book is a wonderful resource for dipping your toes in the water of growing your own food or having homegrown greens all throughout the year. The book simplifies the process with step-by-step instructions, tips, and recipes to use those microgreens.

Four-Season Food Gardening by Misilla dela Llana

This unique book teaches readers all about how to grow food all year round, even in cold climates.

The book is split into chapters based on the four seasons and walks readers through what to plant during that time with gardening tips and information based on that season. 

I love the approach this author takes by fully equipping you for each season of growing.

There is also a chapter on season extenders, which is very helpful for anyone in a cold climate who wants to grow more food. This is a great book for any gardeners, but especially those who want to grow food year-round. If you want to make the most of your garden with season extenders and unique, cold-hardy plants, you’ll want to read this book. 

Year-Round Gardening by Niki Jabbour

Another well-loved classic, this book is a great resource for those who want to grow their own vegetables year-round. 

It dives into timing, intensive planting, and winter gardening to equip you to grow the most food possible. 

What I find the most useful in the book, however, is the directory on vegetables and herbs. Many books have a directory, but Jabbour’s is very thorough yet concise. Each vegetable feature offers information on when to grow them, how to grow them, harvesting tips, and variety suggestions. This book is a great place to start if you want to extend your growing season. 

Backyard Harvest by Jo Whittingham

This colorful, fun book is a delightful, inspiring read. The information in it is quick and to-the-point so the photos and fun ideas can shine.

My favorite part of this book is how it goes month-by-month with tips, to-dos, and more. Lots of gardening books are laid out this way, but few make it as un-daunting as Whittingham does.

This book also mixes in some fun harvest content that other gardening books don’t, such as how to make a fruit cordial or how to dry fruits and vegetables. This book is the perfect one for a new gardener who needs to see the big picture of gardening by looking at the growing season in months.

Best Comprehensive Guide to Gardening

The Complete Gardener’s Guide, by DK 

This book is aptly named, at well over 400 pages which cover everything from installing a deck to growing shallots. This is the kind of book you keep on hand as a reference guide to have as a resource all throughout the gardening process. 

Chock-full of information that is well-organized and simply laid out, this is a great book to have as a gardening encyclopedia. 

In it, you’ll learn all about garden design, planting annuals, perennials, trees, and scrubs, and you’ll find a huge vegetable directory with information on every vegetable you may want to grow.

Best Books for Maximizing Small Growing Spaces

All New Square Foot Gardening (3rd Edition) by Mel Bartholomew

The Square Foot Gardening method is a tested and revolutionary approach to gardening that is low-waste and high-yield. 

Bartholomew challenges many traditional gardening practices, such as narrow rows, heavy fertilizing, and soil choices. The method works by physically delineating your garden space into a 1 foot by 1 foot grid and growing plants within the squares to maximize space. 

Batholomew gives the exact amounts of each vegetable that should be grown in a square foot (i.e. one broccoli plant or 16 beets) and helps readers understand intensive succession gardening. If you have limited space or like a lot of structure in your gardening, this book is perfect for you.

Field Guide to Urban Gardening by Kevin Espiritu

This book is ideal for anyone who is gardening in a smaller space. It has great tips and project ideas for a balcony or patio garden as well as information on how to maximize small garden spaces. 

The book is split into chapters on every aspect of small-space gardening: container gardening, raised beds, indoor gardening, vertical gardening, growing on balconies and rooftops, and hydroponics. 

Espiritu uses a lot of creativity in making small spaces work with unique ideas like two-liter bottle gardens and hanging shoe-rack gardens. If you have limited space to garden and love DIY projects around the yard (or balcony!), this is your book.

Grow Bag Gardening by Kevin Espiritu

This book will teach you everything you need to know about gardening in grow bags. A grow bag is like a cloth pot. You can fill them with soil and use them for well-draining container gardening. Grow bags are perfect for gardening in a small space as they are portable, compact, and they store well in the off-season.

Espiritu takes years of experience gardening in grow bags and outlines his knowledge in an easily digestible yet highly informative book. The book has everything from DIY projects to nitty gritty information such as how to set up automatic watering. 

If you are growing on a balcony or want to expand your garden with containers, you’ll love this book.

Best Book about Raised Bed Gardening

Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan

This book is fantastic for getting into raised bed gardening. Many gardeners are turning to raised beds as a way to avoid weeds, have control over their garden soil, and add visual appeal to their garden. This book is the perfect place to learn about growing in raised beds. 

It offers detailed plans for a wide variety of different raised beds so you can get to building straight from the book. It even has unique raised bed ideas like rooftop beds over a dog house or chicken run! 

This book covers everything you would possibly need to know to build a raised bed, fill it, and grow a thriving garden in it. It has a lot of inspiration for raised bed gardens and the practical knowledge for making one happen. 

Best Book on Growing Herbs

The Cook’s Herb Garden by Jeff Cox and Marie Pierre Moine

This book has everything you could possibly need to grow your own herbs! From a well-organized catalog of herbs to grow to recipes for using and preserving herbs, this book has it all. 

The photos are beautiful and helpful and the text will teach you how to plant herbs, the proper soil to grow them in, how to harvest and store them, and more.

If  you want to get into gardening with herbs or simply want to grow fresh herbs alongside your vegetables, I can’t recommend this book enough. 

Learn More About Gardening

 How to Plan Your Vegetable Garden

15 Easy-to-Grow Flowers for Beginners

9 Tips for New Gardeners

a pinterest image. A photo of three vegetable gardening books with the text "best books on vegetable gardening"

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