The Creative Vegetable Gardener

60 Ways to Cultivate Joy, Playfulness, and Beauty along with a Bounty of Food

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Pub Date 28 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2023
Storey Publishing, Storey Publishing, LLC

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For decades, gardeners have approached vegetable gardening the same way: planting in square or rectangular beds or in straight rows, keeping vegetables separate from flowers, and definitely not mixing perennial plants with annual ones. According to these old rules, every insect must be killed, the garden must be tidy, and nothing should ever be allowed to go to seed. It’s time to break the rules! Today’s gardeners are re-envisioning the vegetable garden as a creative, playful space where the beds may be circles or spirals, beneficial insects are invited to the party, flowers for cutting grow right next to annual vegetables (which might be chosen for their curb appeal as much as their flavor), and a bit of “untidiness” simply creates a garden that more closely mimics the natural world.

With The Creative Vegetable Gardener, lifestyle editor and master gardener Kelly Smith Trimble encourages readers to widen their focus, be playful, and imagine a vegetable garden that reflects their own unique aesthetic and offers a meditative sanctuary as well as a source of fresh, homegrown food. From seed selection to garden layout and regenerative gardening practices, gardeners of all levels will find Smith Trimble's liberating advice a pathway to making the garden a place of nourishment for the soul and creative spirit, while also feeding the body.

For decades, gardeners have approached vegetable gardening the same way: planting in square or rectangular beds or in straight rows, keeping vegetables separate from flowers, and definitely not...

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ISBN 9781635865035
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Featured Reviews

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a beautiful book!

Full of beautiful pictures and helpful advice this is a great read about gardening. The author talks about her journey gardening and what we can learn from it. There's tips on selecting your plants, preparing the ground, dealing with plant problems, and loving your garden as it is. She talks a bit about land acknowledgements and how all land is stolen land and what that means for the things we grow.

It's an interesting blend of advice, pictures, and gardening information with mindfulness thrown in. Overall an interesting find!

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I absolutely love this vibrantly colourful and extremely informative book as a first time vegetable gardener this year. The book contains valuable knowledge and information on not only growing for yields, but for mental health and well-being; actively encouraging you to want to get out into your own garden and get dug in. I hadn't even thought about the usefulness of planting certain herbs alongside other crops to minimise potential bug invasions, but will be doing so next year due to the information provided within this book. Overall this book gives vital insight into the benefits not only for food production, but for the benefit of nature and wildlife habitat, alongside instance for mindfulness and wellness. 5/5 would recommend, an absolutely stunning read.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and I really enjoyed looking at all the amazing photos that inspired a beautiful garden. The photos were really inspiring, but then I loved reading the actually book. This book touches on reasons to grow your own garden, how to customize your own garden, how to care for your plants and learn to understand what your plants are telling you. This book had a lot of information and it wasn't overwhelming.

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This is one of my new favorite gardening books! As an avid gardener I read a lot of garden books but I love that this one has such a creative, playful take on it. Who says gardens need to be in straight boxes and rows? Who says you can't put veggies in a front yard flower garden? This book is packed with great photos, fun inspiration and tons of real garden information. I knew most of the info but it would be priceless for new gardeners for that alone. The photos and ideas make it priceless for those of us who are experienced gardeners but still love new inspiration. Highly recommended.

I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for review.

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I loved this book so much! It is such a bright and colorful book so it gives you energy to want to be creative. It is filled with helpful tips and guides to becoming a better vegetable gardener. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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It's a joy for eyes and there's plenty of interesting and useful hints and ideas. I loved it.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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This book was very enjoyable to read and had both factual information, as well as inspirational gardening ideas. I came away with many new ideas, and really hope to revisit this book in subsequent gardening seasons. A great pick for those new to gardening, as well as experienced gardeners. This was a handy how-to book with research to back up the content.

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I’ve had pretty good sized vegetable gardens in the past but I don’t do it often as it can be pretty intimidating thinking about designing and maintaining it.

THE CREATIVE VEGETABLE GARDENER by Kelly Smith Trimble has been an inspirational source for the garden areas I’ll be planning for next year. Gardens don’t have to be just square or rectangular plots , they can be spiral, round and just free-form. They don’t have to be strictly vegetables only, they can be mixed with flowers for cutting. They don’t have to be boring, they can be beautiful.

This book is full of colorful pictures that really make want to get my hands dirty! She has tips for the novice gardener through to the expert. I plan to refer to this book for inspiration and insight for years to come.

Thanks to NetGalley and Storey Publishing for this ebook in exchange for my honest review. 5 stars!

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I enjoyed this book, it he!ped me to realize I could garden different in my small space.if you like to garden this book is for you.

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I really enjoyed this beautiful book about the basics of making a beautiful garden. It's got loads of photos that are really helpful to see how pretty a free and natural garden can be. It has tips at many levels so will appeal to beginning garden dabblers all the way through to expert gardeners.

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Do you want to plant in circles and spirals instead of rectangular beds? Do you want to mix your flowers and vegetables? Would you like a vegetable garden in your front yard, rather than the back? Permission granted in this innovative book by Kelly Smith Trimble. I really appreciated Trimble’s fresh perspective in The Creative Vegetable Gardener. Packed with full-color photos, inspiring sidebars and lots of guidance on everything from the benefits of gardening, to garden design, botany basics and “good” vs “bad” insects, this book has something to offer all levels of gardeners.

As a novice gardener, I appreciated her guidance on rethinking the rules because I often get caught up in trying to do things in just the right way, or in thinking that I did something wrong if a plant doesn’t thrive. She encourages the reader to not just plant a garden for the benefit of food (which is a big one) but also to connect with the practice of gardening and exploring the medicinal, mental and psychological benefits that blossom when you are gardening for you. She gives suggestions on how to find your personal gardening style, how to stretch growing seasons and gives ideas for companion planting. In addition to vegetable gardening, she shows us the benefits of floral gardens and how flowers can be used, both aesthetically or for health benefits.

There is really a lot to take in here, and one read through isn’t enough. She also explains how your personal gardening style is always evolving and it’s more of a journey than a set of tasks to complete. I know I’ll be referring to this book often on my journey.

Thank you to NetGalley and Storey Publishing for the digital ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. Publication date for The Creative Vegetable Gardener is February 28, 2023.

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What a great book! I have read a lot of gardening books in my time...many of which have been too....something. This book is a gem. There is something for both novice and seasoned gardeners. Once published, I plan to purchase this book to add to my garden collection.

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This is a great gardening book for the unconventional gardener (or any gardener!). So much useful information on growing just about anything! Quite expansive, really beautiful book that I definitely want a hard copy of. I learned so much and I’m not new to gardening. It would also be a lovely gift to give.

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Grow for joy are the first words in this book, and it nicely sums up the suggested gardening method of the book. There are lots of books and magazines out there that will tell you how to plant the maximum number of veggies in a square foot, or how to build raised beds, or how to landscape beautifully. This is not regimented that way. This book is about growing the things that you want to eat in whatever type of space you have. It's less about organic pest control, and more about balancing the soil, organisms, and insects. Don't have time to weed every day? No problem, pulling weeds is meditative. A wholistic look at gardening for the earth and the body, mind, and spirit of the gardener. This is my style of gardening!

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What a treasure of a book! The Creative Vegetable Gardener is part gardener's bible and part interactive workbook for people seeking to expand the way they relate to the world around them. As Kelly put it, "Growing your own food is about expression of freedom, but it can also be about freedom of expression." The book is full of history and resources for gardeners of all skill levels–anyone could pick this book up and learn something. But the activities focused around meditation, play, and personal growth are what resonated most with me. I also really loved getting a peek into unique gardens around the country, and it's worth noting here that the photography is gorgeous! I'll be getting this one for my own shelf and giving it as a gift when it comes out!

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A thorough book about being a Vegetable Gardener, is a new look at how the garden should look like and how they should behave. Most garden books tell you to grow vegetables in single rows and space between the plants, but this book gives you permission to grow your vegetables together with flowers and other plants that not only benefit the vegetable plants but help attract good insects to the garden and help keep down pests

I like that the book talks about size, color and aspects of plants that should be grown together. How to rethink what to use as mulch and to eliminate weeds, not with insecticide but by cutting off the top of the plant and allowing the roots to become organic matter. I love the idea of using flowers and other plants to enhance the garden and I like that Trimble talks to other gardeners that have try this new approach and how it not only helps the plants they are cultivating but helps bring peace and happiness to the gardener. I like that Trimble talks about all the ways you can arrange a garden, what to use for structures. when to start growing certain plants, what parts you can eat and how to cultivate seeds. Just a lot of wonderful information for gardeners who want to do something different with their gardens. Lovely change.

What I found very interesting, is that I started to leave certain weeds up too because the bugs loved them and left the plants alone. It also seems that by using leaves in the fall for mulching the plants the soil looks better and the plants seem happier. Maybe I found this book for a reason.

The book is well illustrated and have many photos to enhance what the author is talking about, It help me a lot. For a short book there is a lot of information so go through so go slow and don't hurry the process and you won't miss anything. A worthy book for a gardeners library.

I want to thank Storey Publishing, Storey Publishing, LLC and NetGalley for an advance copy of this great gardening book.

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In the interest of full disclosure, I received an advance copy of this title in exchange for an honest review!

My experience as a gardener consists largely of helping/watching my mother garden, keeping houseplants in my series of small apartments, and dreaming of one day having a garden of my own. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that I am not excluded from the target audience of this book. This book is for gardeners in every stage; experienced gardeners looking to switch things up, all the way down to people who have never planted a start or seedling in their lives and are looking for a place to start.

Timble is a studied, well-practiced, passionate and thoughtful author, whose knowledge on the subject of gardens and gardening extends well beyond "plant this here, do that there." Their love for gardening encompasses endless aspects, ones that I myself had never considered to be elements worth incorporating. It was refreshing to see so many different aspects of gardening, so many forms and layouts and design elements through the garden spotlight segments, interwoven photos, and well-written descriptions.

This is a book that you can flip through over and over again and pull away something new every time. I found myself both wanting (and needing) to take extensive notes in order to process the depth of knowledge contained within, which is, I think, a great compliment to a book that wants to be a resource for people. It's also very easy to get lost in Trimble's excitement to share everything they've learned, which makes this a book with great re-readability, also a perfect thing to have in a resource book.

I particularly loved the first chapter, teaching you the standardized rules of gardening, and why/when to question them; the suggestions on how to bend and break the rules in ways that still lend well to your garden was a particularly thrilling part, as I myself have never thrived much in sticking to regiment or structure. Trimble's passion for the "naturalness" of nature - even in manmade natural spaces like gardens - pervades the entire text from start to finish and makes this a joy to read.

As a hopeful future green thumb, this book is not one to skip. As a seasoned wrangler of nature, this resource may make something that feels rote and numb come back to life and feel refreshing, and I would suggest you not skip out on this text, either.

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What a wonderful book! Gorgeous pictures for inspiration but the true beauty of this book is the information packed inside it. Completely new ideas on gardening, things to think about and try, completely new way of looking at growing which I found really interesting!

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If you know nothing about gardening, like me, but would like to try and have some... let's say carrots, but you don´t know where to start, then this book is exactly what you need.
Very informative, colorful, and packed with positive energy.
I want this book on my shelf in paper now!

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Such a helpful book! I will be incorporating things I have learned from this in my next science course where we will be growing veggies. Highly recommend!

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As soon as you see the first pictures of beautiful spiral vegetable gardens, veggies interplanted among flower beds and foodscapes in front yards, you’ll know this is a unique gardening book. Kelly Trimble starts her book with a frontispiece that says “Grow for Joy” and you know this isn’t the usual how-to-grow vegetables book after the amount of sun, USDA zones or how to interpret fertile bag numbers.

So many people decided to take up vegetable gardening during the pandemic — many have continued with their new hobby while others were frustrated. The others didn’t have Kelly’s sage advice “learn from what you’ve killed” or that a garden can be more than just veggies — add pollinators, perennials, or ornamentals and even edible weeds!

The book is beautifully illustrated and has “real people” gardens to salivate over. The chapters have joyous titles and there are a lot of little boxes with informative asides (like botanical drawing or yoga in the garden). I found so much that was unique in the presentation that I was “reading for joy” while planning how to “grow with joy”. 5 stars! This is both an instructive book and would make a great gift book in the spring.

Thank you to Storey Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review!

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Reading The Creative Vegetable Gardener is like sitting with an old friend in their garden and talking about the path they took to get to their lush paradise.

My parents grew up during the depression and a vegetable garden was a necessity. There was one way to garden and that was in neat, tidy rows. I carried on the tradition through many decades of my adult life. In the past decade or so I've begun to mix things up and I think the biggest takeaways I learned from this book is: there are no rules, expect the unexpected and most importantly - have fun! Beginning and experienced gardeners alike will benefit from the tips and tricks in this book.

I was given a digital copy of The Creative Vegetable Gardener by Kelly Smith Trimble in exchange for an honest review.

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This book is great! I’m just kinda starting to do gardening and have planted veggies! This book provided some good insight that I will utilize. It was also a cute book. Recommending to all my gardening friends!

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This is a gorgeous book! As a novice gardener, there is plenty for factual info for me to dig into, but this book provides so much more than that. It’s like left brain meets right brain for gardening.

I appreciated the botany lesson as much as I loved the mindfulness and yoga content. This is a gardening book that feeds your creative spirit and all your senses. The sections about real life gardeners were a nice addition. The repurposed container garden on a fence was especially inspiring.

This would be a great gift for a gardening enthusiast, anyone with an interest in art and beauty, and those who care about sustainable living.

Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review!

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I really enjoyed this book. The author shares her own gardening journey with one of the most helpful lessons being it’s ok to rethink the rules - to think outside the box. As a gardener myself I loved this so much.

The author shares tips on plant selection, how to prepare the ground and soil, troubleshooting issues and more. I like the balance of beautiful imagery, plant information and even the mindfulness component.

This really is a beautiful book and I will use it often as a reference with my own garden!

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In the "Creative Vegetable Gardener", hands on, visually stunning, ideas are given to help kick start your own plans and execution on gardening. Trimble starts us on our journey by helping us "rethink the rules" so many of us have been taught over the years and get out of the same old rut we've been stuck in.

She takes us not only through garden layouts, but covers edible flowers, leaf arrangements, how we can learn from our mistakes, and SOOOO much more! Way more amazing information is given in this beautiful book than I can even begin to cover here!

I will use SO much of what I've learned from this book and not only apply it to my own home garden but in my classroom with lessons and science and gardening projects.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I loved the author’s perspective on gardening behind the box! She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and has purposefully drawn from a variety of diverse sources. Learned so much about relaxing and truly finding joy in the act of gardening— rather than just following a prescribed path. I’m that sense, this book points to broader spiritual lessons as well as “grounded” practical ones. Kelly Smith Trimble is a philosopher as well as a wise guide to the art and science of the garden! Highly recommend!

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Loved it! Creative and diverse look at different ways to grow a versatile garden. A ton of different methods and a wealth of information!

What did I like? Every time I pick up a new garden book I feel like I absorb a bit more. This book was definitely fun! I made a huge wishlist of things to try. I want my garden to give off a fun yet beautiful vibe!

Would I recommend or buy? I would love a copy for my shelf! The book gives a ton of hints on watering and when to sow seed indoors then transplant. I also want to try the straw bale planting. Just a fun filled book with lots of great things to try!

I received a complimentary copy to read and voluntarily left this opinion. Fantastic book!

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Love this book, I just takes all the rules and must/must not do out of gardening, and turns into a fabulous zen experience. It works in a way of doing what come naturally and and by following the flow, making happy gardener and garden. There is lots of information in this book, lots to good work practices and lots of good feeling in creating a happy and productive space.

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As the author’s introduction explains, this book is about the joy of gardening, connecting with nature, AND growing food. Lots of practical tips, ideas, and outside-the-box thinking. And lots of the “woo-woo” (as Margaret Roach should say) of gardening. A delightful book that will introduce new gardeners (and remind old-timers!) to the fun, creativity, and joy of gardening. Recommended for new gardeners and experts alike. Thank to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a preview copy.

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EYE CANDY! This book such a treasure and redefines vegetable gardening. If you have hit a wall in making your garden work or you've just gotten bored with what you’ve got going on, this book will get you inspired and out of your rut. I love that all of the information is firsthand knowledge and experience from Trimble. Her unconventional approach will revitalize your garden and get your creative juices flowing to make your space and your plants work together in harmony.

Thank you, NetGalley!

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A fresh take on a gardening book with no pressure or guilt, just the notion that if it brings you joy, you should probably consider it!

Beautiful pictures, creative and playful put together in order to explain to the reader that growing in a garden need not be complicated.

Some really great pieces of advice in this and my absolute favourite is "learn from what you have killed" because it's such a down to earth, author reader connecting piece of advice. I've done this many times but to have someone just say it means that the level of perfection to be measured against is only what we bring upon on ourselves and that yes, we may try and fail and simply you must try again!

The information in this book is simply priceless and I so wish it had been my first true gardening book because there is just no pressure to be the best at a new found hobby, there's no superior experience over the reader, it's good old fashioned, plain old gardening!

With thanks to netgalley and the publishers for my free ARC in return for my honest review, I enjoyed it immensely!

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Kelly Smith Trimble’s The Creative Vegetable Gardener includes a variety of ways to break the rules of traditional gardening. Trimble encourages her readers to create a garden space that is as unique as they are. I voluntarily read this complimentary copy of this well-written, beautiful book – a book I will refer to often as I continue to master the art of gardening.

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Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A beautiful book which puts the art and fun back into gardening. There are some great photographs and fabulous tips for every gardener. Recommended.

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I really enjoyed this. It had lots of facts and information that I didn't know about and I'll definitely use it in the future.

Great book for beginners

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