Planning My Vegetable Garden – Picking Books

As I am making plans for growing my first garden at the house we have lived in for the last couple years, I need some professional advice. I have looked around at some of the gardening meetup groups in my local area and will probably be attending some of their get-togethers, but I think educating myself in a fairly comprehensive way initially will make sure that I get off to the right start.

I did a search on Amazon for “organic container gardening” and got a nice list of books to look through. I have listed the ones that got my interest below with my personal thoughts on each.

I think I found a pretty good group of books that should provide a good education that will allow me to build a pretty nice container garden.

As I read through the book descriptions and reviews for each of the books, I could see some themes emerging and have come up with some priorities for what I want to learn and what priority each topic should have.

At this point, I need to plan my structure for the planters and the logistics of soil and water. Then I need to plan out which vegetables I plan to grow and the timeframe for growing them.

I think I have picked the books I want to start with.

  1. Self-Watering Containers: The Missing Manual [Kindle Edition] by Bill Bradley (Author, Photographer)
  2. This book looks like it may give me some good insight into building the self-watering containers. It’s a quick read and I should be able to move on quickly to the meatier and complete books.

  3. Vertical Gardening and Container Gardening – Ideas for Growing Vegetables and Herbs In Small Vertical Places Outdoors and Indoors [Kindle Edition] by Joe Marshall (Author)
  4. I want to read this one to get a good idea of vertical gardens before I head into the overall planning of my container garden.

  5. Essential Vegetables Box Set (4 Books in 1 Package): Organic Gardening with Tomatoes, Potatoes, Peppers, Eggplants, Broccoli, Cabbage, and More [Kindle Edition] by R.J. Ruppenthal (Author)
  6. This book looks like it will help me to get a quick understanding of the various vegetables that I might want in my garden and what it will take to grow them.

  7. The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers [Paperback] by Edward C. Smith (Author)
  8. Being the only physical book out of my starter books (the others are all kindle books) I ordered this one right away. I probably won’t be anywhere close to being done with the other ones by the time this one arrives, but I’ll have it when I’m ready. This books seems to be the most complete out of the bunch and will most likely be my primary planning resource. The other books will mostly serve as understanding and insight into their given topics.



Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening–With information on mushroom cultivation, sowing a … ways to keep livestock, and more… [Paperback]

Sepp Holzer (Author)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $16.17
Paperback $19.77 $18.19 $19.54
My Thoughts:
After reading through several of the reviews, I can see that this book will be one that I will buy eventually, but will hold off for my initial gardening efforts. I think that a well-designed permaculture system will be quite useful knowledge to add to my collection after I have already begun. My intentions are to get started with a container garden. The permaculture systems seem to focus on using the land to gain efficiencies in gardening. Being that I don’t currently own the land I rent, I would like to focus more on pure container gardening at the start. Although, once I get going, I think this will be great to discover all that permaculture can do for a garden. As a side note, when I am ready to discover permaculture, I will be sure to order other books as well. The reviewers seem dissatisfied with the lack of details in this book about HOW to do what the author states. While it does seem to have some great mindset and philosophy in it, there are other books that should fill in the details nicely.


How to Grow a Hundred Tomato Plants From One Plant [Kindle Edition]

Karen Peebles (Author)
Kindle Purchase Price: $7.50
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
This book has no reviews and would normally not draw my attention very long, but since it is a kindle only edition and is available to be checked out for free using my Amazon Prime account, I think I will definitely be checking it out soon enough. However, in the beginning, I will be holding off since I need to focus on broader topics and a wider and more diverse set of crops. This will be an interesting book to allow me to increase my efficiencies once I get going.


Cloning Tomato Plants for Fun and Massive Profits [Kindle Edition]

Karen Peebles (Editor)
Kindle Purchase Price: $9.99
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
Here’s another book about increasing tomato production by the same author as the other similarly titled book. Again, this one has no reviews and I am skeptical about even spending my time to read it. However, it too can be checked out for free with my Prime account and so I will probably be reading it.


HOW TO MAKE A GREENHOUSE WITH SALVAGED MATERIALS [Kindle Edition]

Al Simpkins (Author)
Kindle Price: $20.00

My Thoughts:
While this book looks interesting and I will most likely be buying it, the price is a bit high for such a short book. Especially one that’s only available as a kindle edition. Being that it’s not available to be checked out for free, I think I will hold off for now.


Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Gardening [Kindle Edition]

Jenny Sanders (Author)
Kindle Purchase Price: $6.99
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
Okay, here’s a book with a good title but might just be a waste of time. It’s a kindle edition only with a mere 31 pages and again no reviews. I’m not sure how much you can really fit in to such a small “book”. It is however available to be checked out for free and so I may check it out just to see what it’s about.


The Compost Specialist: The Essential Guide to Creating and Using Garden Compost, and Using Potting and Seed Composts (Specialist Series) [Paperback]

David Squire (Author)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Paperback $9.81 $3.98 $0.01
My Thoughts:
Here’s a physical printed only book that’s available for a low price. It sounds interesting and I know that I need to learn about composting, but I’m not sure about this book as my primer. There is a single rather undetailed review. I will look for other books on composting before grabbing this one.


Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers: Using Ed’s Amazing POTS System [Paperback]

Edward C. Smith (Author)
21 new from $5.20, 46 used from $3.42

My Thoughts:
After reading quite a few reviews for this book I may check out his other book, “The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible”, first. While several of the reviewers seemed to think the overall concepts were strong, the details are lacking significantly. Smith doesn’t seem to explain in detail how to make the self-watering containers. Having some good design instruction seems quite necessary and it looks like I will need to find this elsewhere. I will probably order this book since the used price is pretty low, but it will be mostly for inspiration.


NO WORK VEGETABLE GARDENING [Kindle Edition]

Joyce Zborower (Author)
Kindle Purchase Price: $5.99
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
This book has both a disappointing description and single review. Not much to go off of. It is available for free Kindle checkout so I will probably get to it sooner than later.


Growing and Using Stevia: The Sweet Leaf from Garden to Table with 35 Recipes [Paperback]

Jeffrey Goettemoeller (Author), Karen Lucke (Author)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $8.00
Paperback $10.00 $9.49 $8.44
My Thoughts:
This book will be a great addition to my gardening efforts once I have the basics underway. I think that growing my own sweetener will make a huge difference in my cooking efforts.


Grow Raw Food: How and When to Grow Fruits and Vegetables for Your Raw Food Diet [Kindle Edition]

Danielle Miller (Author)
Kindle Purchase Price: $4.96
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
Another Kindle only formatted book with no reviews available for free checkout. The contents look promising and I would like to read this near the beginning of my efforts. Again, I do want to be careful not to waste my time on books that might be junk. Thankfully I can check it out and drop it without spending any money.


How to Build a 12’x14′ Hoop Greenhouse with Electricity for $300 [Kindle Edition]

Jesse W. Love (Author)
Kindle Purchase Price: $4.97
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
After reading the description and reviews of this simple book, I am eager to go grab it right now and start reading! Thankfully it’s available as a free checkout so I can evaluate it first, but I might just go and buy the physically printed version as a reference if this thing is as good as it sounds. I don’t even know if I need a greenhouse right away, but sure am excited to try building it!


Microgreens: A Guide To Growing Nutrient-Packed Greens [Paperback]

Eric Franks (Author), Jasmine Richardson (Author)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $7.99
Paperback $16.49 $11.81 $10.05
My Thoughts:
This book looks like it will be a good addition to my gardening efforts. I will probably get this sooner than later.


Essential Vegetables Box Set (4 Books in 1 Package): Organic Gardening with Tomatoes, Potatoes, Peppers, Eggplants, Broccoli, Cabbage, and More [Kindle Edition]

R.J. Ruppenthal (Author)
Kindle Purchase Price: $7.99
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
This will probably be one of the first books I will read. It’s available as a free kindle checkout. It seems to cover a lot of good information about gardening in general with container gardening included.


Self-Watering Containers: The Missing Manual [Kindle Edition]

Bill Bradley (Author, Photographer)
Kindle Purchase Price: $2.99
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
Another Kindle only format with no reviews available for free checkout. This one looks like it will be worth reading right away. I will put this one at the top of the stack.


Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-Reliant Living [Paperback]

Deborah Niemann (Author)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $10.99
Paperback $15.61 $14.33 $15.07
My Thoughts:
This looks like it will be a good secondary philosophy of gardening type book. I like the idea of self-sufficiency and this book fits that well from what I can see.


Any Size, Anywhere Edible Gardening: The No Yard, No Time, No Problem Way To Grow Your Own Food [Paperback]

William Moss (Author)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99
Paperback $14.95 $11.09 $11.09
My Thoughts:
Looks like a good primer on different types of gardening in small spaces. I think this will be one of my first books. Too bad it’s not available for checkout. The reviews and description seem like it will be worth it though.


Stand Up and Garden: The no-digging, no-tilling, no-stooping approach to growing vegetables and herbs [Paperback]

Mary Moss-Sprague (Author)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99
Paperback $11.53 $9.85 $6.46
My Thoughts:
Looks like a good follow up to “Any Size, Anywhere Edible Gardening”. Will probably buy shortly after a couple other basic books.


Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting [Paperback]

R.J. Ruppenthal (Author)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $14.72
Paperback $16.47 $12.00 $6.78
My Thoughts:
This book seems to be a good secondary book but will probably hold off for a little bit.


How to Easily Grow Organic Superfoods at Home Without a Garden (Backyard-Ideas.org Guides) [Kindle Edition]

Nate Lemmon (Author)
Kindle Purchase Price: $2.99
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
This will be a close secondary book. It’s available as a free kindle checkout. I think it will add to beginning gardening techniques.


Container Gardening for Health: The 12 Most Important Fruits and Vegetables for your Organic Garden [Paperback]

Barbara Barker (Author)
2 new from $147.50, 11 used from $61.95

My Thoughts:
After reading each of the (rather meager: only 6) glowing reviews for this book, it sounds like one that I really must have in my personal library. From the reviewers, the book is full of insights that come from the vast experience and expertise of the author Barbara Barker. It sounds like it has a whole lot of valuable information on the right ways to do a container garden with a lot of details that other similar books leave out. The only drawback is the price. A used copy is going to cost $61.95. So I think I will hold off until I have had a chance to go through some of the lower priced books.


Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, Third Edition [Hardcover]

Abigail R. Gehring (Editor)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $13.72
Hardcover $16.47 $12.48 $12.04
My Thoughts:
Looks like a great secondary book. Will read later than sooner.


Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space [Paperback]

Derek Fell (Author)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99
Hardcover $6.33
Paperback $16.31 $14.33 $14.11
My Thoughts:
Seems like a good book to start with.


Wheatgrass: Growing and Juicing for Better Nutrition [Kindle Edition]

Julia Winchester (Author)
Kindle Purchase Price: $2.99
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
Looks like a good secondary book on an important food item. Will definitely be getting into this one after I have things rolling.


Vertical Gardening and Container Gardening – Ideas for Growing Vegetables and Herbs In Small Vertical Places Outdoors and Indoors [Kindle Edition]

Joe Marshall (Author)
Kindle Purchase Price: $2.99
Prime Members: $0.00 (borrow for free from your Kindle)

My Thoughts:
Free Kindle checkout. Good overall reviews. One of my starter books.


The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers [Paperback]

Edward C. Smith (Author)

Formats Amazon price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $9.99
Hardcover $21.86 $14.46 $12.99
Paperback $13.57 $5.25 $5.25
My Thoughts:
This books seems to be a re-write of “Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers” but seems to get much greater praise. I think I will start with this one since it seems to go into two important aspects of planning a container garden; self-watering and choosing which plants to grow.


All New Square Foot Gardening [Paperback]

Mel Bartholomew (Author)
72 new from $7.24, 75 used from $4.38

My Thoughts:
This book gets such great reviews and a lot of them! I am planning to read a couple of the other books first and then jump right in to this one.

As I read each of these books, I’ll let you know what I learn and what I think about each. And of course I’ll come back and let you know my experiences as I try to put what each book teaches into practice.

Do you have experience with any of these books? Please let us know in the comments below.

Also, if you have any other good books and/or videos to recommend, please share in the comments below.

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