How To Grow Food: A step-by-step guide to growing all kinds of fruits, vegetables, herbs, salads and more


A comprehensive, no-nonsense guide to kitchen gardening on any scale.

How to Grow Food is a complete illustrated guide to the hundreds of plants that are easy to grow in the home garden. The author emphasizes gardening techniques that can be applied to any size of garden, from a window box to a side yard to the biggest backyard.

This practical book features a comprehensive directory of recommended plants to suit all growing conditions in all ...

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A comprehensive, no-nonsense guide to kitchen gardening on any scale.

How to Grow Food is a complete illustrated guide to the hundreds of plants that are easy to grow in the home garden. The author emphasizes gardening techniques that can be applied to any size of garden, from a window box to a side yard to the biggest backyard.

This practical book features a comprehensive directory of recommended plants to suit all growing conditions in all regions. Thorough instructions and a month-by-month calendar of tasks describe how to cultivate more than 125 crops, from traditional choices to more unusual varieties. Gardeners can choose from roots and tubers; leafy crops; seed and fruit crops; grains; peppers and chilies; stem and flower crops; tree fruits; soft, bush and cane fruits; tender fruits; nuts; herbs; and edible flowers.

How to Grow Food's clear instructions and reliable advice includes the use of organic and biodynamic gardening methods. Some of the topics covered are:

  • Types of gardens and choosing the best site
  • Designing, preparing and planting a productive garden
  • Maximizing the use of space, such as vertical planting and fruit cages
  • Harvesting, storing and preserving
  • Training and pruning plants for maximum yield
  • Tools, pests, weeds and growing from seed
  • Helpful dos and don'ts
  • Plant ratings related to variety, value, maintenance and season
  • The author's special selection of star plants
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Despite the beautiful, possibly intimidating, photographs of delicately germinating peas, richly-colored plums, and general bucolic abundance, this book offers thorough, practical, and accessible instruction even for those whose crops will be limited to a few hopeful pots on the stoop. While clearly intended for folks with a little land, enough time, and steady patience, Gianfrancesco makes growing real food seem plausible and appealing. Climate ranges, "value for money," and degrees of difficulty in maintenance, harvesting, and storage are all clearly charted. Advice for where to put what in the garden and what to do with the goods once you’re back in the kitchen are also crystal clear. City dwellers will be heartened by the range of what’s possible for them, too: lettuces, Swiss chard, beats, and cucumbers—at least according to this advice—can easily accompany the basil and rosemary already growing on the fire escape. Illus. (Feb.)
Victoria Times-Colonist - Helen Chesnut
Thorough is the word to describe this user-friendly guide... How to Grow Food combines eminent practicality with great visual appeal.
Chicago Botanic Garden - Adele Kleine
Richard Gianfrancesco, plant scientist, has written a complete book on growing food. With a scientific attention to facts, he has produced a book that covers every aspect of growing fruits and vegetables. The book has four parts: site selection, a growing directory, core information on basic techniques of growing, and preserving your crop. The growing directory, the main portion of the book, rates each beautifully photographed plant on its monetary value, maintenance, and freeze/store capability. A summary of sowing details, and the author's crop ratings are accessible in easy form. The book includes, with appetizing pictures, recipes for chutney, pickles, plum jam, and tarragon and orange jelly.
Inc. National Garden Clubs
This practical, highly recommended guide to growing food is impressive: the author has ably taken on the task of detailing how, where, and what to grow in a garden. As a plant scientist, Richard Gianfrancesco speaks with authority on the culture of a broad range of crops, sorting out those that grow well together under similar soil conditions and in rotation. He advises on choosing the best site, be it on a large plot, in a container, or under cover. The text contains steps on designing the food garden, starting with selecting the right location, placement of permanent structures and vegetable beds, as well as other utilitarian crops. A directory of food crops — vegetables and fruit plus nuts, with information on their selection contains descriptions of popular crops, which includes the best types, their garden placement, care, harvest, and storage.
American Reference Books Annual 2012 - Shannon Graff Hysell
Filled with rich illustrations and photographs, this book will appeal to a wide range of gardeners, making this a useful book for all types of public libraries.
Booklist Spotlight
Gianfrancesco's easy-to-understand-and-follow guide provides clearly delineated, step-by-step, fully detailed and remarkably informative instructions for growing an exciting spectrum of edible plants.
Washington Gardener - Erica H. Smith
This is a gorgeous book, full of photos and drawings both pretty and useful, and Gianfrancesco packs in a lot of textual information as well.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554078066
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/6/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,373,371
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Gianfrancesco is a plant scientist and gardening book author. He has coordinated hundreds of garden plant tests and trials, which have been published internationally.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

About this book

Part One
Where To Grow

Types of gardens
Choosing the best site
Designing your food garden
Growing undercover

Part Two
Growing Directory

Vegetable and Salad Crops

Root Crops

Sweet potato
Jerusalem artichoke

Leafy Crops

Brussels sprouts

Chinese cabbage and Pak choi
New Zealand spinach and Swiss chard
Chicory and endive

Seed and Fruit Crops

Pole beans
Bush beans
Fava beans
Snow peas and Snap peas
Squash and Pumpkin
Sweet pepper

Stem and Flower Crops

Florence fennel
Salad onion
Globe artichoke and Cardoon
Sprouting seeds

Edible flowers


Dill and Fennel
Marjoram and Oregano

Fruit Crops

Tree Fruit

Plum,Gage and Damson
Sweet cherry
Acid cherry
Peach, Nectarine and Apricot

Soft Fruits

Blackberry and hybrid berries
Black currant
Red and White currants


Tender Fruit

Passion fruit
Cape gooseberry
Citrus fruit


Hazelnut and Filbert

Part Three
How To Grow

Tools and equipment
Growing from seed
Buying plants
Pruning and training fruit trees
Growing in containers
Watering in the garden
Organic gardening
All about soil
Making compost
Dealing with weeds
Pests and diseases

Part Four
Preserving Your Crop

Preserving Equipment


Sowing summary
Crop selection summary
Hardiness zones

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