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  • Taunton's Complete Guide to Growing Vegetables and Herbs

From planning and planting to harvesting, this is the most comprehensive and authoritative guide to growing your own vegetables and herbs. That’s good news for gardeners everywhere, as the “eat local” movement continues to gain momentum across the country. What to grow? Where to plant it? How to get the most from your garden? It’s all in here. First-rate gardening pros share their expertise on designing a garden of any size, as well as fundamentals about soil, irrigation, pest control, crop rotation, and more. With detailed advice on growing 85 crops, plus sidebars on how to make a garden as attractive as it is productive, readers will delight in finding all the information they’ll ever need on vegetable gardening in one place.

About the Author
Editor Ruth Lively is a former editor of Fine Gardening and Kitchen Gardener. She brings decades of experience and expertise in growing vegetables to the task of organizing and presenting the very best information on the subject.

Additional Information
About No
Issue Number No
Cover 138
Publication Year 2011
Photos 300
Drawings 60
Isbn 978-1-60085-336-4
Author From the publishers of Fine Gardening and Kitchen Gardener
Dimensions 8 1/2 x 10 7/8
Pages 304
Format Paperback


Part i
The Basics of Vegetable Gardening

Chapter 1
Designing Your Garden

Chapter 2
Structures and Hardscape

Chapter 3
Garden Fundamentals

Chapter 4
Planning and Planting

Chapter 5
The Healthy Garden

Part ii
A Gallery of Vegetables & Herbs

appendix i
Keeping Your Harvest Fresh

appendix ii
Drying Herbs

Metric Equivalency Chart
USDA Hardiness Zone Map



I don't remember much about my first garden.

When I was five, my mother let me have a corner of my own in the family garden, and I got to pick out my own seeds--radishes and marigolds. When I planted my first all-on-my-own garden 20 years later, radishes were again my first crop. I still remember the thrill of pulling up the bright red balls, rinsing off the clinging soil, and delighting in their peppery crunch.

What is it that so excites us about vegetable gardening? Maybe it's the basic act of nourishing ourselves. Growing food, after all, is perhaps the one activity that truly justifies itself. That elemental thrill of growing and eating our own vegetables is common to us all, and it never wanes.

Gardening isn't only sustaining, it's compelling. It gets into your blood. And food gardening is growing--pun intended. Challenging economic times have more and more people wanting to grow their own vegetables to save on their food bill, as well as to have more control over what they put in their mouths.

Kitchen Gardener magazine, published from 1996 to 2001, was entirely dedicated to edible gardening. Now for the first time, we've collected that valuable information and condensed it into a single volume. This book contains all you need to know to grow a bountiful and beautiful vegetable garden, from design and layout to hardscape and structures to fundamentals like soil improvement, watering, and fertilizing to managing pests and problems. And of course there are the crops themselves: the whole range of vegetables and herbs that are good to grow and eat. The expert information in these pages comes from scores of first-rate gardeners from all over the continental United States and southern Canada. Whether you're a first-timer looking for a lot of guidance or a veteran gardener wanting to learn some new techniques, you'll find a lot of useful material in this book.

As I write this, I sit looking at my own garden, which lies just beyond our patio. It's not huge--a fenced area about 32 ft. square. Beds line the fence on three sides, with a space in the middle of one side for a garden bench. In the center are six raised beds. Altogether I have 325 sq. ft. of beds. There are dwarf apple trees espaliered against the fence, and one corner holds rhubarb. The paths are grass. There are two gates, one with an arbor over it with climbing roses and a clematis, the other just a basic gate that's convenient to the compost piles in one direction and the tool shed in the other. The patio holds another bench, some chairs, a small table under an umbrella for alfresco dining, a grill, and a fireplace. A plum and a cherry tree grow nearby.

I've been gardening this plot for nearly 20 years. It started very small. We moved into the house in May and by June I'd dug up some ground and planted tomatoes and herbs. The next year I doubled the size of the garden, and in year three I doubled it again. The fourth year I built the raised beds. In year five, we replaced the flimsy wire fencing with a real fence. Then came the refinements--the arbor, a bench, various structures for climbers. This year, I'll make a new cold frame before chilly weather arrives in fall, to replace the one that's falling apart.

Vegetables can't get any fresher than those picked right outside the kitchen door. My garden sits as close to the kitchen as possible and smack dab in my center of vision from the house. When it's too cold or too hot or too rainy or I'm too tired to work in the garden, I can sit indoors and observe my little agricultural enterprise.

I have never used pesticides in this garden, and yet I've never had many insect problems. Aphids attack my plum tree and roses, but ladybugs come to the rescue. Pretty soon the plum tree is crawling with aphid larvae, chomping away on aphids. I let the cilantro go to flower so these beneficial insects have some nectar to feed on when they've polished off the aphids.

While there's definitely a low season, there's scarcely a time when I can't harvest something. I pick kale well into winter, and I dig leeks from fall through spring. And my cold frame keeps fall salad greens going well into December. From the season's earliest harvest (chives and mache) to the last (kale and leeks), the garden is a joy.

I tell you all this to emphasize the points made in the pages that follow--that gardening is fun, not tedious, especially if you start small and add on as interest and knowledge increase; that your garden can easily look great, not just utilitarian; that using sustainable techniques really does work; and that even a small garden can make a big difference in your life and in your diet.

Gardening is a lesson in humility and in patience. Mixed in with the triumphs will be the occasional disaster. When that happens, just focus on what is doing great and ignore what is doing terribly. There's always next year.

-- Ruth Lively

Taunton's Complete Guide to Growing Vegetables and Herbs

  • by From the publishers of Fine Gardening and Kitchen Gardener
  • Paperback
  • Product Code: TP-FGN74071327
Availability: Out Of Stock
Today's Price: $19.96
List Price: $24.95
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