Texas Vegetable Gardening Books

Marissa     Book Review, Gardening         0    

While we have a rather extensive collection of gardening books (hi, my name is Marissa and I’m addicted to books), I typically only refer to these two when actually applying the knowledge in the field.

The Vegetable Book:  A Texan’s guide to gardening

Too long out of print, this book has finally been brought back to the public’s attention with a new softcover copy.  I found my first copy at Fletcher’s Books and Antiques in Salado.  It was back in the day when Fletcher’s book section was a hazard to enter – stacks of dusty tomes rose from floor to ceiling, book cases groaned under the weight of the pages and the lighting left everything to be desired.  Today, Fletcher’s is a pristine well organized shop.  Sometimes I miss the old days but I usually appreciate being able to find things now!  I’m so glad I stumbled upon Sam Cotner’s book back then.  It proved to be full of invaluable information.  And I apparently got it at a steal for only $8.  The hardbacks go for ~$200 on some sites!

The book is organized into chapters for each vegetable in alphabetical order.  There are lengthy descriptions of various aspects of each plant – how to prepare the soil, how to plant, when the harvest, etc.  He delves into common problems as well.  There is also a section at the back of unusual vegetables – those unusual to us all and those that are unusual to see growing in a Texas garden (celery for example).  The back of the book also contains some important seed staring information.

Whether you are a first time gardener or one with plenty of experience, I think you will find something useful in this book.  And now that it is available again, I would suggest purchasing it before it goes out of print!  Surprisingly, Amazon does not appear to carry the reprint.  But if you live locally, you can pick up a copy at The Natural Gardener in Southwest Austin.



Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening: The Total Guide to Growing Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs, and Other Edible Plants the Natural Way

The “dirt doctor” Howard Garrett along with Malcolm Beck, have put together a wonderful reference book.  The beginning of the book contains information about the general aspects of organic gardening – how to improve your soil health, composting, pest control, etc.  There are tables and graphs to help you figure out what conditions you have where you garden.  The rest of the book deals with the particulars of each plant.

Food bearing plants are listed in alphabetical order.  Each page contains bulleted information for quick access – things like planting dates, depths, distances; best fertilizers; and recommended varieties.  There are also common problems and solutions.   The tables of information for troubleshooting problems have saved several crops over the years!

I seriously would not garden in Texas without both of these books by my side.  Especially when used in conjunction, you really can’t go wrong!

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