Growing some of the food you eat because you’re trying to reduce your food miles, vote with your plate by eating heritage foods, or just want to eat healthier, is a lot easier than most people think.
The biggest obstacles, in my experience, are deciding what to plant and where to plant it. Here are three books I recommend to put you on the path of edible gardening, whether you have an expansive suburban yard or a small space in which to garden, you can harvest delicious herbs, fruits and vegetables that you can then turn into a meal.
1. Creating an Edible Landscape
Rosalind Creasy literally wrote the book on edible landscaping 25 years ago. The original Edible Landscaping (Sierra Club Books, 1992) popularized the idea of the edible front yard. Today, there are pale imitations of Edible Landscaping promising to help you mow less by pulling out the lawn, and grow more of the food you eat, but all you need is this new edition.
With decade's worth of research, testing and personal experience Creasy is the authority to learn from if you are looking to landscape your home with delicious herbs, fruits, berries, nuts and vegetables. An ideal book if you have a yard, deal with home owners associations and local governments who don't want traditional-looking vegetable gardens in front yards like the case in Oak Park, Michigan and Julie Bass.
Or if you just have busybody neighbors, like in the case of Adam Guerrero’s teaching garden in Tennessee.
2. Growing Food Organically in Small Urban Spaces
Grow Great Grub is Gayla Trail’s second book on gardening. Recently, Colleen posted a Q&A here on TreeHugger with Gayla about her latest book on growing herbs, but I want to recommend Grow Great Grub because it is my favorite book on food production for urbanites with limited resources and space.
The book is focused on organic food production and maximizing yields by choosing site specific plants and tackling problems, like garden pests, using organic and natural techniques. There are also numerous examples on how to repurpose items that would be thrown into landfills into container gardens, DIY projects and a couple of recipes.
This book is ideal for younger, crafty gardeners who live in dense cities and lack yards, but dream of turning a balcony, porch, or rooftop into a mini-urban farm.
3. Saving Your Seeds From the Skillet
If you’re a conscious consumer of garden seeds you have undoubtedly noticed how expensive it is to buy heirloom seeds from small and independent seed companies.
If you’re not saving seeds from your best crops, every bite you take from that home cooked meal is costing you money. You’re literally flushing money down the drain at the end of the day.
The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough will show you how to sow and save 322 types of seeds from your garden.
You’ll learn about germination, pollination and how to save seeds to preserve those wonderful tastes and scents you produce in the garden. A well-stocked seed organizer is as important as a well-stocked pantry for anyone who grows their own food.
Both Grow Great Grub and The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds were provided to me at the time of their publication by their respective publishers for free to review. The Edible Landscaping I borrowed from a library. I’ve provided links to Amazon out of convenience, but you can (and maybe should) buy them from a local bookstore. All three books are great and worthy of a spot in your garden bookcase, but I suggest pairing the seed saving book with the garden book that makes the most sense based on the size of your garden.
Any books you recommend for edible gardening?