25 Best Gardening Books for the Urban Gardener | SHIFTING ROOTS

25 Best Gardening Books for the Urban Gardener

Urban gardeners face some special challenges, the biggest of which is lack of space.  These 25 gardening books cover all the bases to build the beginner urban gardener’s confidence.  I’ve assembled a collection that covers general gardening knowledge, companion planting, composting, small space gardening, and so much more.

Also, I couldn’t resist adding a few just for my Canadian readers.  When you’re done, check out my list of 25 best gardening books for prairie gardeners, or anyone in USDA hardiness zones 2 or 3.

General Gardening Knowledge

How to Create a New Vegetable Garden

by Charles Dowding

A great place to start and figure out the ins and outs of vegetable gardening.

The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible

by Edward C. Smith

Enough said.

Plan the Perfect Garden

Get your free Garden Planner and worksheets and start creating the garden of your dreams.

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Companion Planting

Get these two books by Louise Riotte and you’ll be an expert on companion planting by the time you’re finished.

Roses Love Garlic

by Louise Riotte

Carrots Love Tomatoes

by Louis Riotte

RELATED: 6 Truths New Gardeners Need to Know

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Square Foot, Vertical, and Container Gardening

All New Square Foot Gardening

by Mel Bartholomew

This book is arguably considered the bible of square foot gardening.

Vertical Gardening

Learn how to grow up, not out and grow beautiful produce in small spaces.  The book image is copyrighted, so click on the Vertical Gardening link to check it out.

Container Gardening: 250 Design Ideas & Step-by-Step Techniques

from the editors and contributors of Fine Gardening

The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible

by Edward C. Smith

Because you know that part of your garden is going to be in pots on your patio.

Raised Bed Revolution: Build It, Plant It, Garden Anywhere!

by Tara Nolan

Trelises, Planters, & Raised Beds

Get some out-of-the-box ideas for all your container gardening. (I could not resist that pun.)

Curious about how much your urban garden could produce in a year?  Check out my results! When you’re done, see how my friends turned an unused side yard into a successful urban garden.

Unique Urban Gardens

The Urban Farmer

by Curtis Stone

While this idea may be a bit of a stretch for most of you reading this post, I think the idea of using unused backyards for vegetable gardening is a fabulous one.  While I don’t personally want to make a business out of it like Stone suggests, I would like an extra yard or two to grow my pumpkins and squash.

Groundbreaking Food Gardens

by Niki Jabbour

Groundbreaking gardens is not your average gardening book.  Explore unusual gardens that will have you re-thinking how you want to landscape next year.  There’s a different kind of garden for every kind of gardening.

Nature’s Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

by Samuel Thayer

Lots of cities have edible wild plants growing by neighbouring lakes, rivers, or park areas.  Now you can be the one to point out (and eat!) the wild strawberries.


Composting for a New Generation

This book won’t be available until later in 2018, but I can’t wait until it is!  I try my best to compost, but I know I could be doing more.

Chemical-Free Gardening

For those of you who avoid chemicals.

Attracting Beneficial Bugs

Gardening, Naturally

While this book is intended for Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, there’s lots of information that can be applied to other regions.

Organic Gardening: The Natural No-dig Way

by Charles Dowding

For all of you wanting to try lasagna gardening.

Year Round Urban Gardening

by Eliot Coleman

Because the harvest can be way longer than 3 months.

Week by Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook

I can’t wait to read my copy of this book!  I think it would be so handy to have everything laid out week by week, especially when things get really busy in late summer.

Indoor Kitchen Gardening

by Elizabeth Millard

Apartment dwellers rejoice!  This one is for you.

Books About Canning

There are so many amazing canning books out there, its hard to narrow it down!  Here are two good choices to get you started.

Better Homes and Gardens Complete Canning Guide

The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes

Just for Canadian Urban Gardeners

Container Gardening for Canada

Guide to Canadian Vegetable Gardening

Growing Food in a Short Season

There you have it!  25 books to get you through the cold of January while you dream about your garden.  Need a resource for buying plants?  I’ve compiled a list of 20+ seed and gardening companies, plus links to the complete list of all garden/seed companies in both Canada and the US.

Growing vegetables in a small space is no easy feat. . . or is it? Here are 25 books covering all aspects of urban gardening that you need to read. General vegetable gardening knowledge, organic and chemical free gardening, vertical gardening, square foot gardening, canning, composting and so much more! #urbangardening #gardeningbooks #gardening #smallspacegarden #apartmentgarden #smallspaces



Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Grow roots with us



Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!