"Grow Your Own Vegetables" (Mitchell Beazley, $19.99) by Carol Klein, with Fiona Gilsenan
It's certainly shaping up to be the year of the vegetable, with more home gardeners planting crops than have in at least a generation and a national trend toward healthful eating. This guide is the only textbook you'll need to jump on the bandwagon. The author makes a dozen cases for why readers should eat homegrown vegetables, pointing out that their supermarket counterparts have been kept in storage, irradiated, chlorinated and treated with preservatives.
"Grocery Gardening: Planting, Preparing and Preserving Fresh Food" (Cool Springs Press, $19.95) by Jean Ann Van Krevelen, with Amanda Thomsen, Robin Ripley and Teresa O'Connor
This fresh guide emphasizes gardening as a vehicle for attaining a desired result - cooking and eating. The authors used social media sites to hook up with garden and food bloggers, and turned their network into a giant brainstorming session on sustainable growing practices, preserving techniques and finally, recipes.
"All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook: Taking the Harvest to the Table" (Cool Springs Press, $19.95) by Mel Bartholomew
How can one not like a book by Mel Bartholomew, creator of the Square Foot Gardening method, author of the million-selling book and onetime host of the PBS television series of the same name? This new book takes the logical next step to help gardeners find ways to cook all that they've grown in their square-foot gardens, or any gardens for that matter. Recipes are arranged by crop, and preceded by harvesting information and instructions, storage tips and details about any inedible parts of the plant.
"Small-plot, High-yield Gardening" (Ten Speed Press, $18) by Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan
Aiming to prove that anyone can grow vegetables, regardless of property size, this book is aptly named. Several plans in different sizes are offered to support the point, along with a "crop and dollar yield" appendix to explain the actual costs of growing organic crops. A list of year-round gardening chores is provided, as well as the amount of time readers should reasonably expect to spend on each.
"The New Low-Maintenance Garden: How to Have a Beautiful, Productive Garden and the Time to Enjoy It" (Timber Press $19.95 by Valerie Easton)
If you'd like a beautiful garden but find yourself on the treadmill called life, this book just might help you understand it's doable. Maybe your work and family obligations aren't completely to blame for that overwhelmed feeling. Maybe your gardening style shares culpability, the author contends. While not a how-to guide, this book provides inspiration while steering readers away from traditional elaborate perennial borders, water-hogging and disease-prone plants, high-maintenance lawns and time-consuming plants that require deadheading, pruning and constant care.
"Armitage's Vines and Climbers: A Gardener's Guide to the Best Vertical Plants" (Timber Press, $29.95) By Allan M. Armitage
Who says your garden has to be horizontal? Certainly not Allan Armitage, renowned professor of horticulture at the University of Georgia, who has turned his affable writing style on climbing plants and their underappreciated ability to provide privacy, cover unsightly vistas and draw the eye upward. This latest guide covers 115 plants that grow vertically, profiling each with colorful descriptions and instructions for propagating. A list of plants arranged by qualities (hardiness, fragrance, etc.) helps readers select climbers appropriate for their gardens.