Mom sent me this book when I first bought the house here in Tiny Town, actually she sent me a few gardening books, which I deeply appreciate! As I’d decided not to garden in a big way last year, but to get a feel for my land, and start building up to the garden this spring, I didn’t do much other than look through the books for guidance on that. This year, finally, I can go back through them and really dig into the meat of the matter, having had not only my hands in the dirt, but having talked with local gardeners and nurseries.
Texas Fruit & Vegetable Gardening by Greg Grant is a nice glossy paperback with loads of color photos and some interesting infographics. If you are a beginner gardener, there will be a lot of fantastic information in here, from how to set up a garden bed, to how to save seed, and how to start a compost pile. The encyclopedic entries on various fruits and veg, which offer broad guidance on when to plant, where, and special instructions, make an easy if superficial reference.
At the very beginning, the author points out that learning how to garden in your locale can’t be taught from a book. He is not wrong. The book seems mostly aimed at the East Texas gardener, where it is wetter than my North Texas location, and warmer, too. Texas is a vast state, and growing conditions can vary wildly from side to side and top to bottom. Because of this, the book will likely be only vaguely useful, unless you are located east of, and between, Dallas and Houston. The author does include guidance for other parts of the state, but again, this is broad and shouldn’t be relied on for your area.
At the end of the book are extensive infographics on things like estimated frost dates in various cities. My book is a 2012 edition, so these may have shifted. I recommend looking up your area with the Agricultural Extension and seeing what the weather trends have been in recent years. And being prepared to cover in case of an unseasonable frost, at least in my area.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of useful information, and it’s handy to have. I do look up a lot online, but these days search results are increasingly unreliable, driven by SEO bots, and AI chat-written blogs are notoriously and hilariously wrong. Having a reference book, or three, can save you wading through pages of search results looking for a real person.
Finally, the book ends up with some family recipes. This was unexpected, and I was happy to see it. I’ll have to try some of them!