The rain has returned to Portland and the leaves are beginning to change colors. The daylight is getting shorter and I've noticed that my daughter is wanting to go to bed earlier than she did last month. Fall is here and our bodies naturally want to focus inward, beginning our version of winter hibernation.
During this time of year, I bring my love for gardening indoors through books. I've been reading some amazing books lately on plant medicine (which I'll write about this winter) but today I have five gardening books that I want to tell you about. They're listed below in no particular order.
What's so special about these books? They are fantastic resource for any climate and they are the books I turn to often and/or frequently recommend to my friends and clients.
1 - Landscaping with Herbs: Beautify Your Yard and Garden with Easy-Care Herbs
by Nancy Ondra
What I love about this book: It's a small-ish book that's jam-packed with an amazing amount of useful information about each herb, including: Latin name, plant type, what it looks like, how to choose the right plant, where to plant it, how to grow it, how to use it, and what to plant it with. It's seriously everything a gardener needs to know to grow, care for, and use the plants. Plus, it has eight great herb garden designs that you can plant in your own yard.
2 - Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting For Successful Gardening
by Louise Riotte
What I love about this book: This dense book is your key to companion planting. What's companion planting, you ask? Companion planting is when you plant certain plants close together to enhance the other's growth or help protect certain plants from pests. One example is planting onions near carrots to repel the carrot fly. I often think of using companion planting in vegetable gardens but as Riotte details a huge variety of plants such as wild plants (many are medicinal), herbs, grasses and grains, and trees and shrubs. She even goes into detail about soil improvement, pest control, and poisonous plants. And to top it off, her companion plant-focused garden plans at the end of the book will help get you started planning your own garden.
3 - The Urban Farm Handbook: City-Slicker Resources for Growing, Raising, Sourcing, Trading, and Preparing What You Eat
by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols
What I love about this book: This is more than a gardening book, it's an all-out lifestyle changing book. The authors are city-dwellers who realized they needed to reshape their lifestyle. The first chapter, "How It All Began" will steal your heart and make you examine your lifestyle choices. From there, the journey begins by creating a new way of life for yourself through their lessons, recipes, and stories. It's a lifestyle that flows with the seasons, gets your hand dirty, involves community, and incorporates new skills.
4 - Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
by Toby Hemenway
What I love about this book: This book was written by my instructor and well-known permaculturist. If you're at all interested in a garden that is designed to give back to itself and you, this book is for you. A quick summary of permaculture is "a set of tools for designing landscapes that are modeled after nature, yet include humans". Gaia's Garden covers a wide range of home gardening techniques, like designing your outdoor space, soil improvement, slope and water movement, plant guilds, and much more.
5 - Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Resource for Every Gardener
What I love about this book: This massive A to Z guide will answer most any question you have about plants and gardening, just look up the plant or topic alphabetically and you'll be on your way. For example, the 16 pages devoted to fruit trees covers topics such as unusual fruits, selecting and planting fruit trees, fertilizing and pruning fruit trees, pollination, fruit tree insects and diseases, and much more. Yes, all this info can be found online but I always like to have excellent resources on my bookshelf. This encyclopedia goes into enough detail on each subject to be a useful resource for any home gardener.
I love to hear from you! Which gardening books end up stacked on your coffee table?