6 Gardening Books I Own Plus 3 More I Want to Own {and Why}

6 Gardening Books I Own plus 3 More I Want to Own

There are many, many gardening books out there. I am kind of a bibliophile (book junkie). I love collecting books, especially gardening, homeschooling, parenting, marriage, and, and, and…you get the point. Today I want to share the gardening books on my bookshelf. And remember, I am an Amazon affiliate so these are affiliate links.

1. Small-Plot, High-Yield Gardening by Sal Gilbertie

What I love about this book: It walks you through the whole process, from planning to planting to tending. This is the book that sold me on trying raised beds, for which I am grateful. This book includes plans that are very helpful for visualizing how much space you need to feed yourself (and/or a family).

2. The Backyard Homestead edited by Carleen Madigan

What I love about this book: The book covers a wide range of topics from succession planting, grains, veggies, fruits, animals, and even canning and cooking. The statistics on how much you can grow in X amount of space are incredible. The book is a good overview to help any beginner. I would recommend it as a jumping off point if you want something more visual than #1 (there are more pictures).

3. Herbs in the Kitchen by Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger

What I love about this book: I was given this book for my birthday last year. I love that each herb has its own in depth section on growing and using it. There are also recipes for each herb, which I find tremendously helpful since I seem to forget why I grew something when it comes time to harvest it.

4. Putting Food By by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan

What I love about this book: The recipes. This books is a GREAT resource for canning your harvest. Also covers curing, drying, root cellaring, and pickling.

5. How to Store Your Garden Produce: The Key to Self-Sufficiency by Piers Warren

What I love about this book: It is compact and has some photos. It is a quick reference that I pull out when I just need to know how I can preserve something. (Mine has a different cover, it seems to have been updated since I bought my copy in 2011)

6. The Ever-Blooming Flower Garden: A Blueprint for Continuous Color by Lee Schneller

What I love about this book: This book taught me to look at gardening as a continuous cycle. I long to be a flower gardener, but I seem to be able to only focus on one form of gardening at the moment and flowers won’t feed our family sadly. I’m hoping that as our kids get older and I have more hands available, we can have a pretty flower garden, too. I just love this book, it is one that I originally checked out from my library and then just HAD to buy it.

So those are the books currently on my bookshelves. Let’s get to a few that I would like to add…soon…

Now, if I were to list all the gardening books that I would love to add to our bookshelves, we would be here all day. So I decided to just share my top three in the post and add an Amazon widget with a collection of great gardening books that I would also eventually love to get my hands on.

1. Herb Gardening from the Ground Up by Sal Gilbertie

Why: I have yet to get herb gardening down and this is something I would really, really, really like to conquer soon. Personally, growing our own herbs could potentially save us as much money as growing food. We use them a lot.

2. Vertical Vegetables and Fruit: Creative Gardening Techniques for Growing Up in Small Spaces by Rhonda Massingham Hart

Why: We only have so much ground space to work with. I would love to utilize our one acre to the best of our abilities, so up we go!

3. Landscaping with Fruit by Lee Reich

Why: We spend so much on fruit (and we don’t even buy organic, gasp!), it would be nice to grow some of that ourselves. We are trying, we have a peach, cherry, and an apple tree (3 of the 6 trees we planted made it). I also like buying blueberry bushes. We have yet to have one grow leaves. Ahem.

So there you go! Do you have a favorite gardening book? Please share it in the comments below.

4 Books That Made a Reader Out of My Son

4 books that made our son love reading fiction

Well, that is a slightly misleading title, I suppose. Allow me to tell you a little story:

Once upon a time, a new homeschooling mama found herself gobbling up Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophies. This mama loved to read so the idea of a curriculum based on literature sounded just heavenly, so she dove on in. She learned, unfortunately not quickly, two things. One: this mama doesn’t particularly like to read out loud. Two: classic literature bored both her and her children. The end…well, not exactly, keep reading…

Let me pause here and say this, I agree with most of what Charlotte Mason has to say about education. Her ideas of dictation, narration, memorization, and quality literature are spot-on. I just think they will look different in each family. And the idea of using living books (vs. textbooks) to learn is great…in theory. I’ll explain a little more below.

You see, I was torn by this idea of twaddle (a CM buzzword). I grew up on twaddle, I was one voracious reader of twaddle. For those of you not in the know, twaddle is the CM word for books that are trivial, silly, or meaningless. Series books are generally considered twaddle among CM followers. They equivalate twaddle to Twinkies. You know, instead of real food.

I will spare you the details of my wrestling with this and just tell you my conclusion:

Some people enjoy literature like Shakespeare and poetry, we don’t. The only living book we see that has supreme value for everyone is THE living book, the Bible. Someday my kids will probably be required to read some Shakespeare and poetry, but I don’t see the point in boring them with it now. All it did was make them dread school. Not exactly what I’m trying to accomplish here.

This is what made me finally give up this expectation:

I realized my son did not see value in fiction. He has no interest in reading about something that could have happened or quaint stories that told you about an animal without using to-the-point facts. It is either true or not. He LOVES non-fiction books, in fact, they are THE reason he actually wanted to learn to read well. And some of his favorite books were not “living books.”

My oldest daughter, she loves historical fiction. She loves stories and non-fiction books bore her for the most part. My point? God made your child unique, respect that and find what works for each child. I have three very different personalities and learning styles I’m working with right now. It is a challenge (oh is it!), but an individualized education is a big part of why we homeschool.

Back to my son. See, I wasn’t ready to give up on the whole “reading books for enjoyment” thing. I wanted him to like reading fiction. Hey, I’m not perfect either…

One day at the library, I found a book that finally sparked an interest in reading for him. This is it:

This book made a reader out of my son

1. Pirate Penguin and Ninja Chicken – Troublems with Frenemies by Ray Friesen :: So totally silly. Complete twaddle. And he LOVED it. He read it and reread it. He read most of it out loud to me as he went. He laughed out loud as he read (music to my ears!). He told his friends about it. In fact, he took it to church to read specific parts to a specific friend. He loved it so much that after he read it forty times from the library, my sister got it for him for Christmas and he read it again. The boy loves his Pirate Penguin and Ninja Chicken. And so does his mama.

To round our our list, here are some of the other books he really enjoyed or still enjoys.

2. Adventures in Odyssey’s Imagination Station – The Voyage with the Vikings :: We have only read the first book in this series because our library didn’t have more. I won books 5 and 6 from a blog around Christmas time, I need to order the rest so we can keep going. He actually brought this to me to read to him (it is an easy read, but he liked to listen to the story) each day and asked questions about some of the historical facts around it. This was before we found #1 and it was the first fiction book he engaged in.

3. Lego Ninjago books – He seriously loves Legos, especially the Ninjago series. There are quite a few of these available.

4. Bird and Squirrel on the Run by James Burks :: This was our most recent find. He is enjoying this, too. It is pretty funny.

So there you have it, four books that made a fiction reader out of my son. Only one of these is not a graphic novel type book, if you have a disinterested reader, you might try something new. You never know what will spark their interest.

What books does your boy like to read?

5 Books for Creative Types

It’s no secret around here that I love going to the library. It is a weekly trek for us. We have a library in town, but it is rather limited in selection sadly (though understandably, we’re a pretty small town). Blessedly, we are near to one of the best library systems in the country. I’ve mentioned the Hamilton county library system here before (you can even see a photo of my favorite branch in that post). We drive almost 30 minutes to utilize this library system. It is the best resource in our homeschool, well worth the $25 a year (I have to pay for my card since I don’t live in Hamilton county). Really, what other curriculum can you pay $25 for and get thousands of books that you don’t have to store?!

Since I love books and am always on the lookout for new books, I figured there is probably a few others in my boat. In a new regular feature here, I’m going to share five books that I’ve recently checked out and/or bought. I usually preview books through the library before purchasing them on Amazon.

Also, just to be clear, my Amazon links are affiliate links. It costs you nothing, but I get a little (and I do mean little) kickback. If this bothers you, just open a new tab/window and search for them on the Amazon manually.

Handmade to Sell: Hello Craft’s Guide to Owning, Running, and Growing Your Crafty Biz :: This was in the new non-fiction section. I love reading about running a crafty business (possibly more than actually running one, ahem). Section titles that caught my eye include The Handmade Movement, Owning Your Awesome, Owning Your Own Store, and Dealing with “the F Word”. This book seems to run in the same vein as Kari Chapin’s books, even the illustrations and layout feel familiar.

The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success:: I’ve waited MONTHS for this one. I found it on Amazon in one of those “new for you” or other recommendations page and placed a hold on it immediately. Apparently, I’m not the only one this title appeals to, as I had to wait about 4 months for one of the few copies to become available. So far, I’m loving it. Jennifer Lee helps you marry your left brain (analytical) with your right brain (creative) and shows you how they can both benefit your business.

Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media-For Budding Artists of All Ages (Lab Series):: This book is great. You can turn this into an homeschool art curriculum easily. There are 52 units (projects) that cover drawing, painting, printmaking, paper and mixed media. I’m pretty sure I will be buying this book. I’m wanting to compare it to this one to see if it would be a better fit for us: Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun (Lab Series).

Sew Fabulous Fabric:: This caught my eye in the crafting books section. I got it to see if it might be a good fit for my oldest. It is a good fit for someone beginning to sew with a machine, but she’s not quite there yet. There were a couple projects that I thought I might try my hand at, Washday Blues and Floral Delights.

Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World :: I’m loving all the ways artists are using their gifts to help others. More on that soon.

Be sure to check out my Good Reads section for more book ideas and also interesting blog posts from around the blogosphere.

5 Books I Just Checked Out From My Library


I love books. I love free books. I love my library. I use the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. There are about 40 branches to this library system, it’s just awesome. We regularly have 50-100 items checked out, currently we have 72 of their items in our family’s possession. Here are five of the ones I picked up for me:

1.  Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson – I heard about this one when it came out and was interested but never got around to reading it.

2.  A Little House Traveler by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I was standing in an aisle talking to my son when I glanced over and saw this book. I’m teaching a co-op class on Little House on the Prairie and this looked like an interesting addition to my resources.

3.  The Quarter Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for a Year by Spring Warren – I’ve been on hold for this one for a while now. I love books on homesteading and people’s experiences doing it. This will be the first to read since it will likely not be renewable.

4.  The Joy of Hobby Farming by Michael and Audrey Levatino – This one was sitting on the endcap of an aisle, just waiting for me to grab it.

5.  What Your Pediatrician Doesn’t Know Can Hurt Your Child: A More Natural Approach to Parenting by Susan Markel, MD with Linda F. Palmer – Natural parenting interests me greatly. A quote from the back of the book:

“In an age of “modern medicine,” where there’s a pill for every malady and a name for every human condition, we need to make sure we don’t lose the ability to take care of ourselves and our families. Some aspects of contemporary medicine have done more harm than good, and while it can be daunting to even think about doubting the advice of a medical professional or any expert, ultimately you are the one in control.”

Apparently, Dr. Markel is a proponent of attachment parenting with an impressive little resume in her bio. I’m looking forward to reading her book. This was another one that was sitting in the “New” section, waiting for moi.

So that’s what is on my reading table, what about you?