10 books like The Heirloom Gardener

By John Forti,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Heirloom Gardener. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Epic Tomatoes

By Craig LeHoullier,

Book cover of Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time

There’s one thing most gardeners agree on: you simply can’t beat the taste of a homegrown tomato. Supermarket tomatoes have been bred to withstand shipping and stacking, so they look like perfect, red globes, but unfortunately, many have lost their old-fashioned flavor along the way. Author Craig LeHoullier is a tomato connoisseur who tells you how to grow over 200 varieties, from planting to harvesting and saving their seeds for another season. The photos in this beautifully illustrated book will make your mouth water—just like the tomatoes he recommends.

Epic Tomatoes

By Craig LeHoullier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Epic Tomatoes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book contains everything a tomato-growing enthusiast needs to know about growing over 200 varieties of tomatoes - how to sow seeds, plant, cultivate, and collect seeds. It also offers a comprehensive guide to pests and diseases of tomatoes. No other book offers such a detailed look at the specifics of growing tomatoes, from the point of view of a true expert, with beautiful photographs and tomato profiles throughout.


Heirloom Vegetable Gardening

By William Woys Weaver,

Book cover of Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener's Guide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History

Have you ever wished you could grow those nutritious, meaty peas and beans your granddaddy used to grow? Some had cool names, like Rattlesnake Beans, Big Red Ripper, or Blue Podded Shelling. They were probably heirloom varieties, plants that have been around for 50 years or more. While heirlooms are harder to find than they used to be, and nurseries and garden centers don’t often sell them as young plants, you can still grow these varieties from seeds (tip: look for them online or search for “seed swaps” in your area). Weaver is an organic gardener and food historian who discusses the old-timey veggies our forebears ate and where their seeds came from. You’ll want to plant your own kitchen garden with many of the varieties he covers.

Heirloom Vegetable Gardening

By William Woys Weaver,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heirloom Vegetable Gardening as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This book is sure to be a modern classic and is one of the most important books on gardening in the current century."
—Jere Gettle, founder, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Heirloom Vegetable Gardening has always been a book for gardeners and cooks interested in unique flavors, colors, and history in their produce. This updated edition has been improved throughout with growing zones, advice, and new plant entries. Line art has been replaced with lush, full-color photography. Yet at the core, this book delivers on the same promise it made two decades ago: It’s a comprehensive guide based on meticulous first-person…


Passalong Plants

By Steve Bender, Felder Rushing,

Book cover of Passalong Plants

As a Southern gardener, I’ve learned a lot from Passalong Plants by co-authors Steve Bender, the self-described “grumpy gardener” columnist for Southern Living magazine, and Felder Rushing, from Mississippi, who is an eleventh-generation gardener, writer, author, and broadcaster on MPB Think Radio. As the title suggests, their book is about plants that have been passed along from one gardener to another, sometimes over a neighboring fence. Many are now living heirlooms you can’t find at retail. Instead of focusing only on seeds, Bender and Rushing discuss plant swaps, dividing and sharing perennials, and growing more plants from cuttings. Their style is chatty and informal but also informative.

Passalong Plants

By Steve Bender, Felder Rushing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Passalong Plants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Passalongs are plants that have survived in gardens for decades by being handed from one person to another. These botanical heirlooms, such as flowering almond, blackberry lily, and night-blooming cereus, usually can't be found in neighborhood garden centers; about the only way to obtain a passalong plant is to beg a cutting from the fortunate gardener who has one. In this lively and sometimes irreverent book (don't miss the chapter on yard art), Steve Bender and Felder Rushing describe 117 such plants, giving particulars on hardiness, size, uses in the garden, and horticultural requirements. They present this information in the…


Seed to Seed

By Suzanne Ashworth, David Cavagnaro (photographer),

Book cover of Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners

This is a guide to saving and growing 160 different vegetables, and you must know how to harvest, save, and store their seeds if you want to plant some of the harder-to-find varieties. Co-author Kent Whealy was one of the founders of Iowa-based Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit organization and seed bank that has a collection of over 20,000 varieties of heirloom flower, vegetable, fruit, berry, grain, and herb seeds. He and his former wife, Diane Ott Whealy, are credited with sparking the heirloom seed movement in the 1970s. 

Seed to Seed

By Suzanne Ashworth, David Cavagnaro (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seed to Seed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seed to Seed is a complete seed-saving guide that describes specific techniques for saving the seeds of 160 different vegetables. This book contains detailed information about each vegetable, including its botanical classification, flower structure and means of pollination, required population size, isolation distance, techniques for caging or hand-pollination, and also the proper methods for harvesting, drying, cleaning, and storing the seeds.Seed to Seed is widely acknowledged as the best guide available for home gardeners to learn effective ways to produce and store seeds on a small scale. The author has grown seed crops of every vegetable featured in the book,…


In the Garden

By Emma Giuliani,

Book cover of In the Garden

The lift-the-flap format is often aimed at the board book crowd, but not in this beautiful book. Information under its flaps acts more like visual sidebars, uncovering secrets such as what’s inside a garden shed or what the inside of an onion looks like. The book shows us the passage of seasons and the activities of a gardening sister and her little brother at different times of the year, such as planting, composting, and raking. Children and adults will both like this one.

In the Garden

By Emma Giuliani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marvelous wonders await in this extraordinary garden book. From season to season, children follow the life of a garden as each page reveals new treasures hiding under lift-up flaps. Peek inside the curious tulip bulb and discover the peas inside a peapod. Watch a ladybug help with pesky aphids and search for ripe strawberries under the leaves. Rich in detail, Emma Giuliani's bright, immersive illustrations and flaps in fantastic shapes, sizes, and colors carry the reader into the enchanted world of gardening. Discovering different facets of the garden-fauna, flora, and the work necessary to help it grow and thrive-will delight…


Back Garden Seed Saving

By Sue Stickland,

Book cover of Back Garden Seed Saving: Keeping Our Vegetable Heritage Alive

I worked with Sue in the 1980s and came to appreciate her dedication to organic gardening and understanding plants. We then lost touch and it was a great pleasure to come across this book 15 years ago. Although it's over 30 years old, nature does not change and she gives beautiful clear descriptions of how to go about saving seeds from all different types of vegetables. It's neither straightforward nor is it difficult, and you are in good hands with Sue who will help you to succeed in this vital task, more valuable now than ever before. We all need the seeds of health!

Back Garden Seed Saving

By Sue Stickland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Back Garden Seed Saving as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The latest strains of tomato may look perfect, but they often have thick skins and tasteless flesh. Dwarf peas may be the easiest to grow commercially, but many gardeners still grow attractive six-foot types that taste "like peas used to taste." Whatever the benefits of modern hybrids, old varieties still have much to offer, and they are becoming hard to find.
Seed saving is a surprisingly simple and hugely satisfying way to propogate your favorite varieties. In this book you will find easy-to-follow, crop by crop guidelines to help you save your own seed.
Relevant to the beginner as well…


Practical Self-Sufficiency

By Dick Strawbridge, James Strawbridge,

Book cover of Practical Self-Sufficiency: The Complete Guide to Sustainable Living Today

This is a very comprehensive book by engineer and TV presenter Dick Strawbridge and his son James. Not only does it cover the usual themes of food production but is also littered with many practical engineering projects that can help you lead a self-reliant life - such as methods for producing your own electricity, water. The many excellent photos help guide you through the projects in detail.

Practical Self-Sufficiency

By Dick Strawbridge, James Strawbridge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Practical Self-Sufficiency as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Embrace off-grid green living with this all-encompassing guide to self-sufficiency alongside Dick Strawbridge and his son James.

Introducing Practical Self-Sufficiency, your new go-to survival guide offering step-by-step instructions on all things environment-friendly, jam-packed with tips and tricks for off-grid living to anyone looking to embrace a life of sustainability. So what are you waiting for?

Dive straight in to discover:

-Detailed step-by-step guide covering diverse aspects of off-grid living
-Featuring fully-illustrated step-by-step projecte visually demonstrating how to achieve key aspects of sustainable living from start to finish.
-Encyclopaedic knowledge on a range of eco-friendly tasks such as brewing beer and…


The Regenerative Garden

By Stephanie Rose,

Book cover of The Regenerative Garden: 80 Practical Projects for Creating a Self-Sustaining Garden Ecosystem

Stephanie has taught me so much about gardening that I didn't even know I needed to know. Her beautiful lessons about permaculture, a word that I didn't understand what it meant until Stephanie took the time to teach me! This is a must-need book in your gardening library.

She has created a beautiful garden of her own where she time-tests all her teachings. The climate in Vancouver Canada makes this a great environment. Stephanie and I became friends years ago when she started her blog and she has promoted my work on several occasions.

I trust her judgment and know she knows her subject and then some!

The Regenerative Garden

By Stephanie Rose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Regenerative Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover how to work with nature, instead of against it, by employing permaculture techniques to create a garden that is not just more beautiful and productive, but also more resilient.

While the word permaculture might sound intimidating, the principals behind it are not. The main goal of permaculture is to turn your space into a functioning ecosystem that’s less reliant on external resources and better able to sustain itself through many seasons of growth and change as it resists pests, diseases, and climate extremes. Whatever the size of your space, from a tiny patio garden to a big backyard, and…


The Findhorn Garden

By The Findhorn Community,

Book cover of The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation

Any reading on nature spirits has to include a book or two from the Findhorn community or Dorothy Maclean - one of its founders and plant spirit communicator. I recommend this one as it contains not only insights from many plant devas and landscape devas, but a broad overview of the formation of the Findhorn Community itself - which occurred in direct communication and cocreation with the plant devas themselves. A fascinating and eye-opening read. 

The Findhorn Garden

By The Findhorn Community,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Findhorn Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Members of the Scottish agricultural community present the history and philosophy of their extraordinary gardens


How to Help a Pumpkin Grow

By Ashley Wolff,

Book cover of How to Help a Pumpkin Grow

What I loved most about Ashley Wolff’s How to Help a Pumpkin Grow was her color! This luscious book is filled with gorgeous, intense full-spectrum color! Wolff’s wet on wet washes flow seamlessly into each other as a base layer. I am guessing, there may be some smooth pastel added to enhance the color in places. Wolff’s adept painting skill brings out details with multi-colored painted line work on top of the washes. 

Unusual touches like the addition of saturated royal blue to highlight the black coat of the dog and crow feathers add an interesting pop of color. The great asset of acrylic gouache is that it can be both transparent or opaque, enabling Wolff to add light line work on top of dark washes.

Gorgeous work, Ashley Wolff!

How to Help a Pumpkin Grow

By Ashley Wolff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Help a Pumpkin Grow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What does it take to help a pumpkin grow? Find out in this warm, rhyming tale of gardening and unexpected friendship.

Dog is planting a garden, doing all he can to help his pumpkins grow: protecting them from snow, weeding and watering their patch, and keeping them safe from barnyard creatures who might eat the sprouts! But are Crow, Rabbit, Duck, and Goat really out to destroy the garden? Or are they be new friends hoping to pitch in and help the pumpkins thrive?


5 book lists we think you will like!

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