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The Vegetable Gardener's Bible

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,445 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Smith’s legendary high-yield gardening method emphasizes wide rows, organic methods, raised beds, and deep soil. Succeed with fussy plants, try new and unusual varieties, and learn how to innovatively extend your growing season. With thorough profiles of hundreds of popular varieties, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible provides expert information and an inspiring roadmap for g ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 352 pages
Published December 2nd 2009 by Storey Publishing, LLC (first published February 15th 2000)
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Nov 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: New Gardeners
Shelves: non-fiction
I did not read everything in this book, but it is a fantastic book for getting a start on a garden.
Karen GoatKeeper
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2015
The big problem reading a gardening DIY book is adapting it to your own garden. This book is about gardening in Vermont. It snows in Vermont. The soils are different in Vermont.
Making allowances for that there is a lot to learn in this book. It is primarily for the serious gardener who wants to have lots of vegetables.
The ideas of wide raised beds with or without edgings is interesting. Mixing plants instead of rows is interesting. The downsides of tilling is thought provoking. The section on so
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my total go-to book for quick referencing issues that crop up in my garden. I have lots of gardening books, but when it comes to needing the info, this book delivers all the answers. Highly recommend for the beginner and seasoned gardener alike!
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So much valuable information! A must-have for vegetable gardeners.
One of my favorite gardening books. Well organized with useful sections on things like composting. Sections have nice tables with things like companion plants, good insects and bad insects. There are nice pictures of bugs and plant diseases. There is also a plant by plant section with a nice table containing both sowing and growing information. A great reference and one I will buy (unlike the dozens of other gardening books I've read).
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this knowing almost nothing about gardening. This book covers a variety of topics, including planning the garden, making beds, starting seeds, plant nutrition, plant diseases, and composting. There's a big reference towards the end about vegetables and herbs. I wish all of it were a little better structured, and there were still some gaps for me as a newcomer, but overall it seems like a good overview and reference.
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful and informative. Lots of photos which I find helpful.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great overview of gardening basics.
Michael Siliski
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good gardening book for beginners. Even though we aren't creating nearly the scale garden as he's talking about, the guidance is useful.
* How to think about the soil, organisms, nutrients, etc. as the environment for plants
* Planning and executing a vegetable garden layout
* Good as a reference manual for nutrients, veggies, etc.
Vannessa Anderson
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
The Vegetable Gardner’s Bible is one of the best gardening books I’ve read.

What I learned

―wide deep raised beds make the best gardens
―roots need space to grow
―raised beds equals less compacted soil
―leaves make better mulch
Tom Hespos
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So when I first started my vegetable garden at my new place in 2009, I did it in accordance with what I remembered from gardening as a kid. The results were pretty middle-of-the-road. My mom got me this book, so I started taking it on the train with me after I planted this year.

Not only did it teach me some things I should be doing along the way, but it challenged many beliefs I had and taught me the right way. By way of example, here are some long-held beliefs that I'll be shedding thanks to th
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I have a backyard that's too small to play in but too big to lay vacant. With the prices of everything going up, combined with fond memories of my grandmother, I thought I might start a vegetable garden. After reading Edward Smith's The Vegetable Gardener's Bible I decided that I maybe don't have the best spot after all. I'll certainly check it out in the spring but if I decide to plant anything this year it'll probably just be a few berry bushes in the front garden.

That was the great thing a
Zack Stackurski
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're thinking of starting your own garden, go out and buy a copy of this book first!

When we purchased our first home I knew I wanted a garden... and remembered my Dad always referenced his "Crocket's Victory Garden" book when I was growing up. I couldn't find a copy of that... but this was made by the same publisher and is a fantastic resource for any vegetable gardener. The first section of the book deals in the details of things like creating garden beds and making your own compost using
Kathleen Callum
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-and-soil
I grew up in Vermont, so I may be partial to gardening author Edward C Smith. Buy "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible" if you only have room for one how-to manual. You'll find you'll rely on this manual even if you own more than a score. The photos, graphics and clear text are practical and fun for novices and experienced gardeners alike. Smith's mantra for wide rows, organic methods, raised beds, and deep soil radically increased my own garden yield. Coping with slugs, northern climes, or crop rota ...more
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all vegebale gardeners
This is a good guide for new and experienced gardeners alike. I especially like the section in the back that dedicates a couple of pages or more to specific information about each vegetable, including planting and growing needs, pests and diseases, and lots more. Just be aware that Ed Smith lives somewhere in the mid-west and he writes from that perspective. So if you are gardening in another part of the country, you might not have great luck with a given vegetable variety he talks about, or you ...more
Apr 07, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardening
It seems like all the gardening books I find are along the "how to grow more with less space/work/etc." path. It starts feeling like an odd pitch. I didn't pay much attention to the author's "WORD" system (nor does it seem to be an overwhelming theme in the book), but was happy to find a vegetable book with a basic reference section in the back where I can look up something I'm not used to growing (leeks, anyone?) and get the basics on how and when to plant it, good and bad companion plantings, ...more
Ellen Bell
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a must-have in any serious vegetable gardener's reference collection. It covers all the basics (in plenty of detail) about siting your garden, preparing your soil, choosing what to grow and where to grow it within your garden space. It has an excellent table on companion planting, covering each vegetable's garden "friends" and "enemies." And it has a comprehensive section in the end on each individual type of vegetable plant and herb, covering specifics down to optimal germination t ...more
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good basic organic gardening book. Most of the information was stuff I've learned elsewhere, but he does delve a bit deeper into some particulars like organic fertilizers/pest control (with recipes). I especially appreciated his section on the particulars on specific vegetables and herbs. It was thorough with instructions from sowing to storing, companions, nutrition, good varieties, etc., etc. I took a lot of notes. If you're wanting to get into a more organic way of gardening I would de ...more
Rift Vegan
Jan 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
My first gardening book, so I'm not sure how to rate it. Lots of pretty photos, and the "Vegetables A to Z" seems adequate.

It says "Organic Methods" on the front cover... but eh:

* He recommends fish emulsion or fish-and-seaweed liquid fertilizer for many of the plants. Seeing how fishing is such a major environmental disaster, I'm not sure how "organic" that is.

* He also recommends Neem Oil as a pesticide. Technically, it's organic (a vegetable oil made from an evergreen tree), but it's still
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gardeners
This is a great practical garden guide! Beautiful pictures, concise text, and clear descriptions/instructions. Very useful information about composting and garden pests. The reason I only gave it 4 stars: the vegetable section covers the same 30 or so standard garden crops that all gardening books address. These were discussed well, but I'd like to hear what Ed has to say about some of the lesser grown vegetables and herbs that are becoming more common in backyard gardens. Perhaps he does this i ...more
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the one book I refer to year after year when planning out my veggie garden. It has a very easy to follow format, with suggestions on how to get the most out of your garden. The most helpful tool is the crop specific vegetable guide in the back which tells you everything from what type soil works best to varieties that are most popular. I recommend this to all my friends who have an interest in gardening!
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Very informative with lots and lots of PICTURES!!! The first half covers everything you'd ever want to know about successful gardening (and then some)... The second half is a reference with 2-3 pages devoted to specific vegetables. I read most of it after getting it from the library and went ahead and ordered it from Amazon. I can tell it will be a good reference book to have on hand.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardening
I did not read this book from cover to cover. I read the beginning part of planning the garden and things like that. The beginning was not so impressive I feel like it is a bit repetitive. What is awesome about this book are the parts on pest control and specifics in veggies and herbs with tips on how to grow and harvest them.
As an all around book I think this gets the job done very well and it is easy to read.
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardening
I checked out several books on vegetable gardening from the library recently -- "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible" is the only one I wanted to buy a copy of for myself. This book is a great gardening reference -- especially the crop by crop listing for each vegetable, which includes instructions on how to sow, good varieties and even the right time for picking. The book felt really accessible for a beginning gardener, as opposed to some of the other books I looked through at the library.
Most of the book talks about setting up your garden location, tools, plant selection, ect. It has an excellent section on bugs both good and bad with pictures and tricks of the trade. There is also a couple pages (no pictures) of diseases and solutions. The last section of the book covers specific veggies and herbs. This is my favorite section it's has nice pictures and easy to read information including simple sowing and growing lists for each plant.
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sustainable
I read this book cover to cover during a few snowy afternoons this winter. Although it's kind of a reference book, it was quite readable as well as informative. It's written by a gardener up in the Northeast Kingdom in VT, so it gives you great tips on how to grow vegetables even if you have a short growing season. (He is very inspiring!) Great pictures and step-by-step instructions for building raised beds and growing organic vegetables.
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Technically, this is more of a reference book, so I may not ever "finish" reading it.

Great detail, good introductions and descriptions of botany (but specific to vegetables) concepts.

Although, if you did everything this guy recommended, you'd be out thousands of dollars and be spending 60 hours a week in your garden...not that that's necessarily a bad thing!

I guess we'll see in August how good his recommendations really are

Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very helpful for when to plant what,and what to plant next to which plant.

It has the WORD method which seemed good to me as a beginning gardener.

Tons of photos and instructions.

Worthy of retention.

10/25/2011 update - This book has proved to be so much more than it seemed when I first bought it. The part on compost for the raised beds doubled my harvest the next year. This author makes gardening nearly fool proof.
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great resource. I'm a hobby gardener who's been learning as I go. I learned a lot of technical things that I wasn't aware of. Also, this past growing season I tried a few of the methods from this book and found that I had a lot of success with them. However - the close growing beds he recommends seemed to have encouraged blossom-end rot in my tomatoes. Everthing else did very well.
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this. He had some great information about gardening techniques and the last half of the book is alphabetical reference info for all the different types of vegetables you may want to grow. As a new gardener, I found it approachable and still carrying good depth. I can't wait to plant my beds this spring!
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Edward C. Smith tends a garden of over 1,500 square feet filled with raspberries, blueberries, flowers, herbs, and nearly 100 varieties of vegetables, including some heirlooms, in his home state of Vermont.
More about Edward C. Smith...

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