My favourite gardening books

I have a large collection of gardening books. Seriously, combined with my cooking books, they pretty much occupy the two floor to ceiling bookshelves built into the alcoves in our dining room. However, I want to breakdown the absolute essentials. These are my gardening go-to books. They are read multiple times every single year.

Monty Don has, through his writing, provided me with endless inspiration. I have most of his books but the two I recommend the most are The Ivington Diaries and the Jewel Garden. There is practical knowledge to be gained from these books, but the real treasure from reading these books is passion. Monty’s passion oozes out of the pages. If I’m feeling unmotivated, low or uninspired, a few pages provides the medicine that has me diving out the door and reaching for the soil.

Garlic is such an important crop for me to grow on the allotment. I use it in the kitchen every single week, if not every single day. I stumbled across Robin Cherry’s book Garlic, an edible biography, and it made me fall more in love with the pungent bulb. I read it for it’s passion, its story, its insightful growing advice and its recipes.

Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty transformed the way I grow vegetables. No dig has become the greatest change I’ve made on my allotment in the years of growing my own. All of Charles’ books are wonderful but the two I read every year are Organic Gardening the natural no dig way and Salad leaves for all seasons. I’ve never found gardening so easy, to plentiful and pleasurable since using Charles’ approach. Steph has provided me with endless support, encouragement and friendship. And through her writing, such as No dig Organic home and garden, she inspires me to use what I grow in the kitchen too.

Joy Larkcom is a pioneer in vegetable gardening. I wish I’d discovered her work earlier on. A few years ago, I read Grow your Own vegetables and I was amazed by the sheer amount of advice, skills and practical techniques. Highly recommended.

Finally, Back garden seed saving is a book I bought earlier this year. It has demystified seed saving. Trust me, this book will make you powerful.


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