7 Urban Gardening Books So You Can Get Your Hands Dirty Making Your Small Space Blossom

The enthusiasm for urban gardening has reached fever pitch, and if you're looking into urban gardening books, I'll bet you're pretty curious about it, too. Not since the victory gardens of the 1940s has there been so much impetus to grow your own food, regardless of your stage in life or the size of your yard. Legions of bloggers, podcasters — even the First Lady with her White House vegetable plot — have turned gardening into the ultimate DIY triumph.

Even if urban homesteading is not your thing, cultivating a small, workable garden is all kinds of satisfying. Whether you have a backyard, a balcony, or just a west-facing windowsill, you can transform any sunshine-y spot into a prolific, gorgeous plot. So, if you don’t know where to start, these books are a good place. Go ahead and get your hands dirty.

And when you're ready, pick up these 12 urban gardening tools to get your small space party started.

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For The Newbie

You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail, $2, Amazon

Trail’s popular 2005 book, based on her even more popular eponymous blog, is the perfect book for gardening first-timers. Trail’s advice is delivered in both practical (“Plan, plant and grow”) and placid (“follow your heart!”) measures, making her a shoo-in for first-timer’s gardening bestie.

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For The Urban Homesteader

All New Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space by Mel Bartholomew, $15, Amazon

Whether you have five or 50 square feet to spare, Bartholomew’s step-by-step guide to building, cultivating, and harvesting a small-space vegetable garden has been a staple on the bookshelves of hobby gardeners since its original release in 1982.

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For The Lover Of Pretty Things

Small Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs by Fern Richardson, $16, Amazon

With gorgeous photographs and chapters with titles like “Small and Sassy” andThe Secret Garden,” I’d pick up this book even if I never intended to plant a thing. Richardson’s book also takes into account a very important consideration — your budget may be as small as your space. She’ll help you grow a spectacular garden despite either of those things.

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For The Herbalist

Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More Than 100 Herbs by Tammi Hartung, $16, Amazon

Herbs are about the easiest thing there are to grow — all you really need is a plan, a few sunny square feet and a cat that’s too fat to jump on the counter and eat all of your seedlings. Hartung’s book is a great starting point for herb growers as it offers plans for a variety of herb mixes, including medicinal, cooking, and tea gardens.

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For The Even-Smaller Space Gardener

Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting and Sprouting by R.J. Ruppenthal, $19, Amazon

Can’t spare any square feet? No excuse now — R.J. Ruppenthal has found a way to take advantage of every spare square inch. Self-sustained containers of micro-greens, sprouts, and mushrooms are the stars of this book, but if you have just a little more space, Ruppenthal will help you fill it.

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For The Design Snob

Tabletop Gardens: 40 Stylish Plantscapes for Counters and Shelves, Desktops and Windowsills by Rosemary McCreary, $17, Amazon

Just because they’re practical doesn’t mean they have to be ugly. From edible herb baskets to trained-ivy window frames, Rosemary McCreary helps you cultivate your small-space green thumb without compromising your aesthetic.

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For The Civic-Minded Gardener

Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook by LaManda Joy, $19, Amazon

If you’re ready to expand your garden beyond the boundaries of your balcony, consider starting a community garden. A fabulous way to reclaim unused urban space, shared gardens give you the opportunity to meet your neighbors, grow more food, and engage your community, and Joy’s book shows you how to do it all.

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