20 Best Beginner Gardening Books

one woman reading a book at an outdoor desk with plants and gardening tools while another woman works with pots beginner gardening books

Gardening seems simple enough. Put the seeds in the ground, water them, and they grow. But when you actually start doing it you realize there’s so much more to it! So to flatten the learning curve a bit, I’ve curated these 20 best beginner gardening books.

When I started gardening I pulled together what I knew about growing plants from watching my mom’s garden as a kid, my favorite gardening YouTube channels, and a few gardening blogs. But having a foundational gardening book when you’re starting out as a beginner is really helpful.

I remember learning to cook and working my way through Julia Child’s French cookbook, and I still remember all the basics of cooking I learned from her. I learned so much more than I would have just by grabbing a bunch of unrelated recipes from the internet. It’s the same for gardening I think. Reading one of the beginner gardening books and having it to refer back to frequently is so helpful. When you’re learning gardening 101, a book is super helpful.

So here it is. The top 20 beginner gardening books I could find.

(Just an FYI, this blog contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase anything I recommend through a link on this page.)

image of two women at gardening table while one pots plants and one reads a book with text 20 best beginner gardening books

What is the best gardening book for beginners?

Best Vegetable Gardening Books for Beginners

Top Pick: The First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables

Roots and Refuge on YouTube is one of my favorite gardening channels, and when Jessica Sowards released her new gardening book I grabbed a copy ASAP. Not only is it gorgeous to look through and see all the beautiful photos of her garden, but it also is packed with advice and tips that beginner gardeners need to know. This could be the only beginner gardening book you buy, and you’ll have all you need to have a thriving garden.

Runner Up: The Old Farmer’s Almanac Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook

The Farmer’s Almanac has been around for literally hundreds of years. So of course this book had to make the list. It’s packed with info beginner gardening books must have, but gardeners of all skill levels will find this book useful. The only reason this is the runner-up is I personally prefer Jess’s style in our top pick, which focuses on aesthetics and simplicity while this book is just loaded with info.

Best Organic Gardening Books for Beginners

Top Pick: Organic Gardening: The Natural No-dig Way

Another YouTube fav, Charles Dowding is the go-to source for no-dig gardening so I had to include this book on the list of best organic beginner gardening books. His videos are so chill but full of gardening tips, and so is this book! Reviewers say this book is perfect for beginners and will prepare you to start an organic no-dig garden. Definitely one to add to your library of beginner gardening books.

Runner Up: 101 Organic Gardening Hacks: Eco-friendly Solutions to Improve Any Garden

I feel like half of my knowledge about gardening come from gardening hacks I’ve seen sprinkled around Pinterest, Facebook groups, and what I heard randomly growing up. This book is a gem because they rounded up all those little bits of info into one resource. People ranging from beginners to gardeners who have been at it for a decade found this book useful! A great choice for experts or as one of your beginner gardening books.

Best Flower Gardening Books for Beginners

Top Pick: In Bloom: Growing, Harvesting, and Arranging Homegrown Flowers All Year Round

Yeah, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but have you seen this cover? It’s gorgeous. The inside is just a beautiful with tons of helpful information including planting schedules and layout designs. I think this one will be going into my Amazon cart ASAP.

Based on the reviews, I would get this physical book and not just the eBook because some of the charts seem hard to read on Kindle.

Runner Up: Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location: Featuring More Than 3,000 Plants

Everything but the seeds and dirt are in this tome. It is a great resource to add to your library of beginner gardening books. The reason it isn’t the top pick for me is there is just sooo much info that might overwhelm a newbie.

Best Books on Hydroponics for Beginners

Top Pick: DIY Hydroponic Gardens: How to Design and Build an Inexpensive System for Growing Plants in Water

I am really interested in getting into hydroponics so that I can grow indoors year-round. I get so much joy from the garden, but living in a northern climate, the winter can be tough. This book looks like a great choice for beginners and belongs on the list of best beginner gardening books because it shows you step-by-step how to start, it’s thorough.

Runner Up: Hydroponics and Greenhouse Gardening: 3-in-1 Gardening Book to Grow Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruit All-Year-Round

While most reviews were glowing for this book, there was one negative that stood out to me, and that’s the photos. If you are a visual learner, this one might not be best for you since the photos are black and white instead of full color. If reading text works just fine for you then this might be a great choice though!

Best Greenhouse Gardening for Beginners Book

Top Pick: Greenhouse Gardening: How to Build a Greenhouse and Grow Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit All Year-Round

The basics. A few reviews said this book wasn’t very long, and they thought that was a negative, but I think for beginners that is a positive! Short and sweet with just the essentials to start greenhouse gardening. No getting overwhelmed or sidetracked is an important feature of beginner gardening books.

Runner Up: The Greenhouse Gardener’s Manual

I love pictures, and this book is full of pictures to help newbie greenhouse gardeners dip their toes in the water. Ideally you will read this before purchasing or building your greenhouse so that you can use the knowledge you learn here, but there should be plenty of great info even if you already crossed that off the to-do list.

Best Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners Book

Top Pick: Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden

If you want to start a raised bed garden, then this is the only book you really need. You’ll learn everything from how to build you raised beds to what to grow. I love how they included 30 full profiles on easy-to-grow plants for beginners with everything you need to grow and harvest a crop from raised beds. If you’re just picking one of these beginner gardening books, and you plan to start a raised bed garden, then go with this one.

Runner Up: Raised Bed Revolution: Build It, Fill It, Plant It … Garden Anywhere!

This book focuses more on how to build your raised garden beds with lots of different design ideas, including vertical gardening. The photos look beautiful, and I really want to create like every single design I see. Especially the chicken coop raised beds one day.

Best Beginners Guide to Growing Herbs Book

Top Pick: Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use

Rosemary Gladstar is one the go-to experts on herbs, and all of my herbalist friends recommended this book as the book to get for herbs. It’s helpful because it isn’t just about growing herbs, but also how to harvest and use the herbs. If you have any interest in herbalism, start here.

Runner Up: Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs

Rosemary Gladstar actually wrote the forward for this book. So with her seal of approval it’s got to be good! The biggest benefit of this book over the top pick above is the amount of herbs contained inside, making it on of the better beginner gardening books. With over 100 herbs, you’ll likely find all you need here.

Best Permaculture Beginner’s Guide Book

Top Pick: Practical Permaculture: for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth

Plenty of diagrams and pictures in this beginner permaculture book to help you get the hang of it! Reviewers said it is easy to read and understand, important for any of the beginner gardening books. So even if you’re brand new to permaculture, this should work well for you.

Runner Up: Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

If you want a deep dive into permaculture, then this one is a must-read. This is an extensive read, and not something for casual browsing. So even though it is suitable for beginners, it is also probably best for someone thoroughly committed to learning about permaculture.

Best Month by Month Gardening Book for Beginenrs

Top Pick: Veg in One Bed: How to Grow an Abundance of Food in One Raised Bed, Month by Month

For most beginners, you start with just a small garden which makes this book perfect for beginners. The entire book is based off what you can grow, how, and when in just a single raised garden bed. Genius. The downside is this is based off on specific climate, but it says it can be adapted for others too.

Runner Up: Pennsylvania Month-by-Month Gardening: What to Do Each Month to Have A Beautiful Garden All Year

I added this month-by-month gardening book for Pennsylvania here because that’s my state, but if you click the link you’ll be able to find your state. This series has them all! This looks like a super useful book to have around. A huge part of learning to garden is learning to garden in your area. All zones are a bit different, and having a key to gardening in your state is super helpful.

Best Container Gardening Books for Beginners

Top Pick: How to Grow Your Own Food: An Illustrated Beginner’s Guide to Container Gardening

The illustrations in this book are both gorgeous and practical. The information on each page is enough to get you started a beginner, but not become overwhelmed. Perfect for just getting your container garden started.

Runner Up: Container Gardening For Beginners: A Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs, and Edible Flowers

This book is very similar to out top choice, and really either one looks amazing for beginner gardeners. So go with whichever one just speaks to you based on style and look.

What are the best books to learn gardening?

The best gardening book for you is the one that calls to you. There are a million and one ways to garden with just as many plants to choose from. So go with your gut and what gets you excited about getting your hands dirty in the garden, whatever that garden looks like.

Any of these 20 beginner gardening books will help you get started on your journey. So enjoy!

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