The vegetable gardener’s bible

Published On: June 11, 20150 Comments on The vegetable gardener’s bibleTags: , , Last Updated: February 13, 20245.2 min read

The impulse to grow your own vegetables is stronger than ever. You can no longer trust the data stated on the label, especially on imported vegetables. Many big manufacturers have organic certificates for vegetables but in fact they are still using chemicals and pesticides when growing their vegetables. Food in supermarkets is good to look at, but the taste is awful. When all that is taken into account many people think that they should grow a few vegetables of their own. This book will answer all their vegetable gardening questions and prepare them for all challenges in gardening.

The vegetable gardeners bible

Everything you loved about the first edition of The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is still here: friendly, accessible language; full-color photography; comprehensive vegetable specific information in the A-to-Z section; ahead-of-its-time commitment to organic methods; and much more.

Now, Ed Smith is back with a 10th Anniversary Edition for the next generation of vegetable gardeners. New to this edition is coverage of 15 additional vegetables, including an expanded section on salad greens and more European and Asian vegetables. Readers will also find growing information on more fruits and herbs, new cultivar photographs in many vegetable entries, and a much-requested section on extending the season into the winter months. No matter how cold the climate, growers can bring herbs indoors and keep hardy greens alive in cold frames or hoop houses.

This book is invaluable resource for home food gardeners! Ed Smith’s W-O-R-D system has helped countless gardeners grow an abundance of vegetables and herbs. And those tomatoes and zucchini and basil and cucumbers have nourished countless families, neighbors and friends with delicious, fresh produce. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is essential reading for locavores in every corner of North America!

For more than 30 years Edward C. Smith and his wife, Sylvia, have lived off the grid in Vermont, in a house they built on land they cleared by hand. Together, they grow more than 100 varieties of vegetables, fruits, and herbs in their 2,000 square feet of gardens and containers.


For more than a decade, this bestselling title has helped countless gardeners produce bountiful harvests of organic vegetables. No vegetables are healthier, fresher, less expensive, or more local than the ones you grow in your own back yard. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible will show you how. In every small town, there is a vegetable garden that people go out of the way to walk past. Smith is the guy who grew that garden. In this updated, tenth-anniversary edition of his book, Smith, caretaker of a 1500 sq. ft. garden containing almost 100 varieties of vegetables, clearly explains everything novice and experienced gardeners need to know to grow vegetables and herbs using his system of wide, deep, raised beds. He gives detailed instructions on siting, preparing, and planning a vegetable garden, then goes on to cover choosing plant varieties, starting seed, and growing plants. Smith discusses compost creation, companion planting, crop rotation, succession planting, and ecologically friendly methods of dealing with plant diseases and pests.

Ed’s system is based on W-O-R-D: Wide rows, Organic methods, Raised beds, Deep soil. With deep, raised beds, vegetable roots have more room to grow and expand. In traditional narrow-row beds, over half the soil is compacted into walkways while a garden with wide, deep, raised beds, plants get to use most of the soil. In Ed’s plan, growing space gets about three-quarters of the garden plot and only about a quarter is used for the walkway. Ed teaches you how to create raised beds both in a larger garden or in separate planked beds. One of the most important–and most often overlooked–aspects of successful vegetable gardening is crop rotation. Leaving a crop in the same place for years can deplete nutrients in that area and makes the crop more likely to be attacked by insects. Rotate at least every two years and your vegetables will be healthier and bug-free. There’s also a good section on insect and blight control.

Raised beds

There are few simple reasons why every gardener should read this book:

1. It starts from the very beginning stages of choosing a spot, planning a garden and includes clear and logical arguments why the method of wide raised beds is best.

2. The language is friendly, practical and to the point. You feel like you are getting a private gardening lesson from an expert who really wants you to love it.

3. There are diagrams and photos, but not so many that you feel like it could be half the size and half the price. It’s got a New Englander’s practicality to the photo selection and each one has a purpose.

4. It includes very clear instructions and suggestions for EVERY step, from reading seed catalogs to building the raised beds to starting seeds to various methods for weeding or preventing pests.

5. The section on each vegetable is not cursory or an afterthought. The author includes a detailed standard table of all the variables (sun, soil temp, ph, etc.) but also narrative specific to each one. When a vegetable is simple, it is given a page. More complicated vegetables, like asparagus, are given more including photos to illustrate specific techniques. It’s not one size fits all!

6. The author provides a diagram for his full kitchen garden as well as a sample “beginner” garden. Sometimes you just want to someone to say “Here, do this.” And have the option to adjust a bit but not have to figure it all out yourself. The rest of the book can be used to tweak that design or adjust in later years, but he provides a solid starting point.

The Vegetable gardener’s bible is the BEST book for new gardeners.  It’s easy to read and filled with useful information, from gardening techniques to tools to pests to specific crop information.  Maybe the most enjoyable part of the book is all the wonderful pictures.  There is, literally, pictures or drawings on each page, which is amazing for those of us needing visual cues! This book definitely deserves a spot on the bookshelf for any person delving into the world of vegetable gardening!

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