The Garden Primer: Second Edition
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The Garden Primer: Second Edition

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  416 ratings  ·  57 reviews
The most comprehensive, entertaining, down-to-earth one-volume gardening reference ever, and highly praised:

"Barbara Damrosch delivers the goods."—Chicago Tribune
"Best of the crop."—House Beautiful
"Barbara Damrosch's writing has the snap of a good snowpea and the spice of an old rose."—The Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer
"Covers just about everything you could think of...more
Hardcover, 832 pages
Published February 28th 2008 by Workman Publishing Company (first published January 10th 1988)
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This is THE quintessential go-to book for gardening questions. Damrosch takes it to the next level--but only if the reader needs to go there. It works for the beginning gardener, listing plant by plant, the basics required to grow it. For the advanced gardener, she includes soil breakdowns and pH, along with pests and how to treat them. She takes the reader from beginning to end--the best basic tools, how to care for them, how to store them. There are designs in the book, tips that seem off the...more
This was a fairly good overview of everything gardening has to offer and is definitely a good place to start for some basic information. It is by no means all encompassing, but I found it lacking in part by the attempt it made at being broad.

For one thing, this book assumes you are a homeowner who can do what you wish with your yard for gardening space. It very briefly touches on container gardening and small space gardening but they are mere paragraphs with little to no information on the topi...more
Dec 13, 2013 MissingHenryMitchell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who believes he or she has a brown thumb.
Shelves: how-to
This is one of the first gardening books I ever read. It gave me an excellent gardening foundation, and from that foundation I gained the confidence to begin experimenting with plants.

Yes, it's a big, thick book. It covers (forgive me) a lot of ground. Beginning with chapters on planning your property, surveys of what plants need, and what gear gardeners require to help meet those needs, Damrosch provides clear and practical knowledge that novice gardeners can put to use immediately. From there,...more
This is the absolute bible for gardening. I had gone through a few other books before my mother sent me her copy of The Garden Primer to no real satisfaction. Most of the books I read were immensely basic to the point I felt they were possibly written for kindergarteners.
The Garden Primer is basic yet in depth to the point that you'll feel confident in what your doing when you dig your hands into the earth. Definitly a 'must read' to those looking to get into gardening.
This book is my gardening bible! It's thorough and well-written.

Region is important in gardening books. The Garden Primer is written by a New Englander and is very well-suited to my small, urban, MA garden. People always tell me I have a green thumb, and I have to respond, "I just read a lot before I started digging." What I mean is, I read this book cover to cover, and have read it many times in pieces since then. The best garden reference book I own, and a great way to get started if you're n...more
This book is not something that one would generally expect to find witty, inviting, and readable just for the sake of reading.

It was.

The author has an engaging voice, and breaks down gardening into the simplest of terms for even the most incompetent novice. (aka: me) Her descriptions of the desired texture of the soil, or what a certain kind of pest looks like are so accurate that a picture would be redundant. Her little wry comments had Steve double checking to make sure I was actually reading...more
Garrett Zecker
This book is a fantastic, all in one compendium for the modern gardener. It is full of advice on building, fostering, feeding, flora, and just about every aspect of gardening. It is great - if you are just starting out, or you have been gardening for a while, this book is really and all in one resource for you to use in the garden and in the living room. Really helpful! Would rate it more, but it is almost like rating a dictionary - a dictionary is a dictionary. I will say this, though - it beat...more
I picked this up because it is the book that my friend who I thought knew everything about gardening refers to. Surprisingly, a novice like me can understand it too. Very simple and straightforward. The introductory chapters are worth reading through if you are a newbie - about soil, garden planning, etc - but this is also the book you want on your shelf to refer to about particular plants and what they need once you get rolling. Love it.
This is a GREAT book. The version I have was printed a long time ago, I don't know if there is a newer version out there. The only thing that could be better is that she gives you places to order different catalogues, flowers, etc. and there aren't any websites. :) It has information for every type of garden: vegetable, fruit, flower, shurb, tree, wild, herb... I think I'm going to buy it I liked it so much.
Oct 11, 2007 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to start a garden of any kind
Shelves: gardening
Began using this book in 2002, and I continue to use it as my gardening bible. It has so much good information for when to plant, how to treat, when to harvest, ph level of the soil, how to prepare the soil, etc. Everything you need to know to garden, minus local info about weather, but you can find that easily online. I have a local book, but I use this much more frequently.
An necessary reference for organic gardening- answers fundamental questions, offers wisdom about what plants need, how to plan your landscape, what garden gear is essential, how to choose and purchase plants, how to harvest bountiful vegetables in your region, and how to keep indoor plants in good health. Comprehensive but well-organized, so it doesn't feel overwhelming.
Jan 18, 2009 Chris marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The previous owner of our new house kept a nice vegetable garden and I'd like to keep it going. Gretchen and I ran a little veggie growing experiment last year and it convinced me that we should that it's worth the effort (and that I needed to learn more).
An invaluable but verrryyy looooong book. I was primarily interested in the vegetable section which was very well written in a commonsense fashion. (finally someone says how often to water and why!) I think my garden will be better than ever this year!
Probably shouldn't have attempted this as a cover-to-cover. There was a lot of good information and a lot of long lists of vegetables, pests, etc. Better as a reference book than as an introduction to garden, which was more what I wanted.
Kathy Kenney
Have actually read most of this book, at least the beginner chapters about how to garden, then about vegetable garden. Seems invaluable and I would definitely like to own. I'm a beginner gardener, and this would be a wonderful reference book.
I just started a garden and this book has been invaluable. If you want to take care of a few house plants or grow food for the neighbors, I highly recommend it. But get the new one she just published this year-updated and more organic info.
Very helpful, especially for my first time gardening on my own. I'm planning on buying my own copy so I don't have to keep renewing it at the library.

Edit April 2011- I was bought this as a birthday present this year. Hooray!
I've found this book very helpful while planning and working in my garden. The advice is simple and easy to understand and organized in a way that makes looking information up easy. It's a great book for any gardener.
ONe of the best garden books I have came across. It is complete and can tell you how to grow anything organically! I loved the way it was organized. I plan on buying this for my own library and future reference.
Christa Cordova
Packed full of great advice, focused on organic gardening practices. I feel that my thumb is opposite of green, yet I'm hoping the knowledge I gained from this book will get the garden of my dreams off to a good start!
Oct 16, 2007 Meghan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: new gardeners
Shelves: gardening
When I first started gardening, I found this book very helpful. It covers all the basics of gardening with ornamentals, veggies, and herbs; is easy to read; and makes gardening feel less overwhelming and more do-able.
This is a fantastic book if you're as clueless in the garden as I am. Tips for everyone, from beginners to advanced gardeners. And the explanations are pitched just right.
Great for browsing or for finding the answers to your gardening questions, this is not one of those glossy photo books, but a practical tome. I consult it often. Suzy S
This book is really helpful. Great information on how to grow and care for individual plants in all categories such as perennials, vegetables, fruit, herbs, etc.
This was a great book for beginner and seasoned gardeners alike, especially if you're looking to garden in more sustainable ways. A wonderful read for garden nerds.
This is the best in the long series of "Introduction to Gardening" books that I have been devouring. (I think I can finally stop reading in this genre now . . .)
An informative reference for gardening novices (like me) and experts alike. Good information on vegetables, fruits, perennials, annuals and herbs. All organic methods.
this is THE book to get to learn about how to design, plan, construct, plant, and maintain a flourishing garden, in any climate in north america.
Julie Fischer
I have been a garden consultant for many years. I have reccomended this book to many novice gardeners and I also refer to it myself.
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