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Friday Favorite: Old Gardening Books

October 18th, 2013

I’m a big fan of old gardening books, and I find myself frequently purchasing them at used book stores and for only a few dollars off Amazon. One of the reasons I like old gardening books is because they often offer more in depth information than is available in new books. There are times when I get frustrated with new books because they have to assume everyone is a beginner and there are a few chapters of the basics of gardening. It would be nice to have a disclaimer that the book is for more experienced gardeners and then give me more information about the topic at hand.
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My most recent vintage gardening books are both by Thalasa Cruso. I have read many of her books ‘Making Things Grow’ is one of my favorites. This time around I purchased To Everything There Is a Season: The Gardening Year and Making Vegetables Grow.
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I especially like the illustrations in Making Vegetables Grow. I’m considering purchasing another book just so I can cut them out and frame them.
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I’m not sure where I originally heard about Thalasa, but these two books were recommended in To Eat: A Country Life, which I read recently while traveling. I think I heard about a few others in Onward and Upward in the Garden, another vintage gardening gem.

Do you have any oldies but goodies gardening books to recommend?

10 Comments to “Friday Favorite: Old Gardening Books”
  1. Lisa on October 18, 2013 at 6:21 am

    That illustration is beautiful!

    Reply to Lisa's comment

  2. kathi Cook on October 18, 2013 at 6:25 am

    I just picked up free copies of “To Everything There is a Season” and “Onward and Upward in the Garden” at the exchange table of our Farmer’s market. One of my favorite used books is Roslind Creasy’s Cooking from the Garden. I took it out of the library, then returned it, and searched for my own used copy. I own a Kindle but nothing is better than a good old hardcover book, especially gardening books.

    Reply to kathi Cook's comment

    • Susy on October 18, 2013 at 7:16 am

      I’m with you, I like copies of real books to leaf through.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. kristin @ going country on October 18, 2013 at 7:47 am

    No books, but remember those tri-color bush beans I won in one of your giveaways a couple of years ago? Well, this year they survived rabbit attacks (unlike last year), and the purple ones are the best. Easy to find on the bush, produce when the other colors don’t, and best of all, a big hit with preschoolers. My son brought some of the purple ones in yesterday for the vegetable soup they all contribute to every Thursday and he was so excited to explain to everyone that they’re MAGIC beans, because they’re purple when you pick them, but they turn green when they’re cooked. Preschool minds blown.

    So, that’s a really long way of saying thanks, and anyone who has little kids? Grow purple green beans for cheap thrills

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on October 18, 2013 at 8:39 am

      I remember those beans, so glad your kids enjoyed them. I remember when I was a kid my mom let us each choose a few things from the seed catalogs when she was placing her order. I always chose blue potatoes, blue corn and other colorful things. One year my sister chose ground cherries. Such a fun way to get kids interested in gardening!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Jennifer Fisk on October 18, 2013 at 8:19 am

    My old time favorites are “How to have a green thumb without an aching back” by Ruth Stout and “Backyard Vegetable Gardening” by Hugh Wiberg.
    They are short, sweet and to the point.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  5. Nebraska Dave on October 18, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Susy, I don’t really have any old books but my favorite two authors are Joan Gussow and Novella Carpenter. Both are my kind of real life authors that tell of their journey through taming a patch of ground they call a garden. Ruth Stout is another favorite author with a unique method of gardening that I’m using to combat the weed problem in my big garden “Terra Nova Gardens”.

    I’ll have check your recommendations as winter reading time is coming up fast. Still no frost here and we are three days passed the average frost date.

    Have a great day in the garden books.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  6. Clare on October 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Thank you for the tip! My order is being processed. Anxcious to receive it. Rave reviews on Amazon.

    Reply to Clare's comment

  7. Marcia on October 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I don’t know if its old enough to qualify but I read through The Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond every winter. It covers everything from amending soil, to compost, to buddy crops, to putting up the harvest.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  8. Kristen on October 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    I have Down to Earth Vegetable Gardening by Dick Raymond and I consult it every year. I never thought to look for more by him. I also have a copy of Onward and Upward in the Garden that I am now inspired to get out and read. Thanks for the other great suggestions from all of you.

    Reply to Kristen's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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