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The Greener View: Gardening Gift Books

Jeff Rugg on

Winter is just beginning, and most of us are just starting to dream about next summer's garden. To help you or the gardener on your gift list plan your summer garden, I know of a few books that you can read by the fireplace that will warm your green thumb.

Many areas of the country go through droughts from time to time. Most of our landscape can handle low water levels, but vegetable gardens need water to produce a crop.

"Gardening With Less Water" by David Bainbridge is an excellent book with information on inexpensive, low-tech methods of watering your garden using as much as a 90 percent less water for the same results. The techniques described can be used in flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, raised beds, dwarf fruit trees and containers. The book is from Storey Publishing and retails for $14.95.

Planning is the key to getting the biggest yield from your vegetable garden. Planning keeps the garden productive from spring through fall and helps you get the most from each crop. In their book "High-Yield Vegetable Gardening," authors and experienced Community Supported Agriculture farmers Colin McCrate and Brad Halm show you how you can make your food garden much more productive, no matter how big or small it is. You'll learn how to create a customized schedule that makes the most of your space and your growing season. The book is packed with all of the schedules, worksheets and record-keeping pages you need, so you can repeat your successes next year. It is also from Storey Publishing and retails for $18.95.

If you have too much shade for a vegetable garden, you may be interested in "Glorious Shade: Dazzling Plants, Design Ideas, and Proven Techniques for Your Shady Garden" by Jenny Rose Carey. The book helps you learn the shade patterns in your landscape that will determine which plants can grow in specific areas. You will be surprised at how many options are available to a shade gardener. The book is from Timber Press and retails at $24.95.

The "What's Wrong With My Houseplant?" book is part of the "What's Wrong?" series of plant books by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth. It shows you how to keep indoor plants healthy by first teaching you how to identify the problem and then teaching you how to solve it with a safe, natural solution. There are 148 plant profiles organized by type; they include visual keys for the most common problems and organic solutions that will lead to a healthy plant. The book is published by Timber Press and retails for $14.95.

"The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control" is a Rodale organic gardening book edited by Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara W. Ellis and Deborah L. Martin. This comprehensive guide should be on every gardener's bookshelf. Rodale has been a leader in organic gardening for many years. This book features symptoms and solutions for 200 popular plants including flowers, vegetables, trees, shrubs and fruits. The insect and disease encyclopedia includes a photo-identification guide and detailed descriptions for many common and not-so-common gardening problems.

If you or the gardener on your shopping list lives in one of the 20 states covered by the State-by-State Gardening publisher, then you should get a subscription to one of its magazines. From Minnesota to Louisiana to Florida to Pennsylvania, there are magazines that are written by local experts who know the climate, soil types and the best plants to grow in their area.


Email questions to Jeff Rugg at To find out more about Jeff Rugg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



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