Historic Landreth Seed catalog
Historic Landreth Seed catalog

There is some very fine reading to be had in the seed catalogs that are piling up on the coffee table.  The catalogs always prompt deep, philosophical questioning like whether “tolerant to zone 3” might possibly mean “it will do just fine in zone 5”

But there are some other books that have captured our interest this winter while we’re waiting for the ground to thaw. Below are a few of our favorites. Hopefully they’ll keep your fingers busy until they can actually dig in the dirt:

If winter has left you temporarily insane and you’ve forgotton about the pleasures of the garden, then a good place for you to start reigniting your passion is with  Diane Ackerman’s Cultivating Delight.  She ruminates on her passion for gardening while recuperating from an accident.  I especially love the plant inventory she includes as an addendum, and it has inspired us to commit to doing the same for the Beekman flower gardens this year.

We do our best to appreciate each season to its fullest on the farm, but even we will admit that after the first awe-inspiring cascades of snow and ice, we have to look harder to appreciate the wonders of the winter terrain.  If you have ever spent an entire weekend watching Animal Planet or occasionally become addicted to YouTube videos featuring cute animals doing funny things, you will be as enthralled as we were with Bernd Heinrich’s Winter World:  the ingenuity of animal survival.  It gave us much more insight into our efforts to identify the various animal tracks that dart across the fields of the farm.

If you are one of the three or four people left on Earth who have not read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, put this on the very top of your winter reading list.  It will put all of the toil, sweat and tears of the growing season to come into complete perspective.

As one of the upcoming monthly prizes in our Garden Party celebration, HarperCollins will be giving away a complete set of books that no foodie, gardener or outdoorsy-type’s book shelf should be without.

Until then, share some of your favorite winter gardening reads below. Our night table pile is getting a little slim.

by Dr. Brent

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