From editor Ruth Lively comes this compilation of food garden wisdom. Collected from Kitchen Gardener magazine and condensed into this book is an answer to the complaint that food gardens are boring, or plain. The layout plans and construction ideas will give you a garden that is anything but boring- it will be gorgeous!

Who Will Benefit From Buying This Book?

Taunton’s Complete Guide to Growing Vegetables and Herbs (Fine Gardening) is good for all levels of gardening experience, but is especially useful for those who wish to start a new vegetable garden space or improve the one they have. After seeing the pictures of what is possible and the easy to follow directions, improvements in your own garden will be wanted.

Because of the large amount and extensively detailed attention given to building a vegetable garden, I would classify this book primarily as one of design. It has wonderful tips and an excellent gallery of plants to grow and harvest, but the design portion of the book makes a truly beautiful and productive garden a real possibility. I think more people would want to grow their food if they had the type of layouts presented with the ideas for fences, pathways, and accessories that are possible. And not just in the dreaming and planning, because this book has plans,illustrations, and all the details on how to construct them. That alone is worth the price of the book.

Why Should You Put It On Your Garden Bookshelf?

A great deal of solid garden information on how to grow your garden is given, as well, and will prove a valuable source that is revisited year after year. Advice on mulch, building soil, repelling pests… all is included in an easy to access format.

This is the one book you will want when including a garden of herbs and vegetables in your landscape plan, especially one that will be beautiful enough for the front yard. With guidance from this book and the inspiring well chosen photos, no one will complain that your food garden is less than gorgeous, but more importantly, you will have the sage guidance needed to produce bumper crops of great food for your table.

I loved the construction projects on how to make your own tuteur, and the elegant bamboo trellis; the directions on how to keep a garden journal and the many hints and tips on getting the best harvest results. Not just one, but a bevy of ideas for making your own cold frame, ranging from the rudimentary to the classic. It even has a table of metric equivalents, along with the usual hardiness map. Many books will claim to be “must-haves”, but this really fills that bill in my opinion. This is the one book I want on my garden book shelf for making the best of my vegetable and herb growing spaces, and growing the food crops I really hope to enjoy eating. Broccoli Raab, anyone?


  • Growing and sowing info for 85 crops
  • Site selection and Garden size advice
  • Garden pest information and solutions
  • Soil, sun and shade, watering requirements
  • Garden construction: tepees, tuteur, raised beds, trellis
  • Design plans and details
  • Real Garden Advice from Expert Gardeners