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Get Growing!

Posted about 4 weeks ago by Lisa Crisman
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Spring is here, bulbs are popping, trees are budding and the birds are busy! Working with seeds and plants is a great way to relieve stress and to focus on a project that can have multiple rewards. You might be adding green to your indoor windowsill, creating a colorful entry to your living space or trying to grow your own fruits and vegetables. Richmond Public Library’s collection includes many great titles for gardeners of all skill levels, whether your garden is a single pot, a strip along a sidewalk, raised beds or an open, garden plot. The items listed below are a sample of what is available @ your library. Just a phone call or “click” and you can pick up at curbside. “Get growing” in a space of your own.


For urban gardeners, space is an issue. It’s possible to grow in containers of many shapes and sizes, on a windowsill, porch or patio. If you have a bit of ground you can interplant many varieties based on season, habitat and the mature size of the plant.

  • Small-space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots by Andrea Bellamy. (Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2014)
  • The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers by Edward C. Smith. (North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2011)
  • Gardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big and Small Spaces by Tara Nolan. (Beverly, MA: Cool Springs Press, 2020)
  • How to Window Box: small space plants to grow indoors or out by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit. (New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2018)
  • Designing and Planting Small Gardens by Peter McHoy. (London: Anness Publishing Ltd., 2014)

From general to specific, gardening books cover alot of ground. An overall organic approach may be your goal. Or maybe a small garden, outside your back door, where you can grow a variety of vegetables is your project. Do you have a “hellstrip” where nothing will grow? Indoor plants getting too crowded? Try one of the many ways to make room for more plants.

  • Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: the Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener; newly revised and updated. Edited by Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara W. Ellis and Ellen Phillips with Deborah L. Martin. (Rodale Press, 2017)
  • Practical Organic Gardening: the No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Naturally by Mark Highland, “the Organic Mechanic.” (Minneapolis: Cool Springs Press, 2017)
  • The Kitchen Garden: a Month-by-Month guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables by Alan Buckingham. (New York: DK Publishing, 2019)
  • Hellstrip Gardening: Create a Paradise Between the Sidewalk and the Curb by Evelyn J. Hadden. (Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2014)
  • Plant Parenting: Easy Ways to Make More Houseplants, Vegetables and Flowers by Leslie F. Halleck. (Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2019)

A month-by-month planner, a focus on herbs, fruit trees for home gardens and supporting pollinators. Plus a guide for starting your own farm to market enterprise!

  • A Way to Garden: a Hands-on Primer for Every Season by Margaret Roach. (Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2019)
  • Grow Your Own Herbs: the 40 Best Culinary Varieties for Home Gardens by Susan Belsinger and Arthur O. Tucker. (Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2019)
  • Grow a Little Fruit Tree: Simple Pruning Techniques for Small-Space, Easy-Harvest Fruit Trees by Ann Ralph. (North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2014)
  • The Urban Farmer: Growing Food for Profit on Lease and Borrowed Land by Curtis Stone. (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2016)
  • 100 Plants to Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Thrive by The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conversation. (North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2016.

Books full of essays on gardening are almost as plentiful as garden guides. Here are a few recent titles. Since 1945 the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has published a series of handbooks that focus on one specific gardening topic. Check out the two below if you are interested in bringing plants native to our region into your landscape.


Looking for ways to get your kids into the garden? Try one of these great titles. If your teen needs inspiration for a community service project, check out Growing a Life.

  • The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 ways to get KIDS outside, DIRTY, and having FUN by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher of Life Lab. (Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2012)
  • Growing a Life : Teen Gardeners Harvest Food, Health, and Joy by Illène Pevec. (New York: New Village Press, 2016)
  • Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Greening Up Spaces by Megan Kopp. (New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2017)
  • The Nitty-Gritty Gardening Book: Fun Projects for All Seasons by Kari Cornell. (Minneapolis: Millbrook Press, 2015)
  • Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play, and Enjoy Your Garden by Renata Fossen Brown. (Beverley, MA: Quarry Books, 2014)

Picture books on spring and gardens are plentiful. Here is a small sample of the many titles available for the littlest gardeners, @ your library.

  • If You Plant a Seed with words and pictures by Kadir Nelson. (New York: Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins, 2015)
  • One Little Lot: the 1-2-3s of an Urban Garden by Diane C. Mullen; illustrated by Oriol Vidal. (Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Press, 2020) Inspired by the Soo Line Community Garden in Minneapolis, MN.
  • Plant a Little Seed by Bonnie Christensen. (New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2012)
  • Garden Day! by Candice Ransom; illustrated by Erika Meza. (New York: Random House, 2019)
  • Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld; illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012)

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