Salads: My Constant Reference Library

My salad reference library. For some reason Food for Free was missing (presumed foraging) when I lined them up for their photograph this morning

During the 52 Week Salad Challenge I've built up a small reference library which I've found very useful for both my salad growing and writing my salad related posts. Some I had already and others I've been pleased to buy in order to plug gaps. Here's a brief summary to whet your appetite:
  • A Taste of the Unexpected - Marc Diacono - good sections on microgreens and daylilies
  • Food for Free - Richard Mabey - a foraging classic which has stood the test of time
  • Homegrown Revolution - James Wong - has lots of ideas for unusual salad ingredients and how to grow them. Suttons have a seed and plant range tie-in
  • Salad Leaves for All Seasons - Charles Dowding - the book mentioned spontaneously as a good ‘un by most salad challengers . See also my interview with him.
  • The Edible Balcony - Alex Mitchell - not just for balconies (or salad), but any small space. With plenty of ideas, information and DIY projects
  • The Organic Salad Garden - Joy Larkcom - an absolute classic. A comprehensive guide to cut and come again leaves and a good introduction to sprouting seeds
  • The Thrifty Forager - Alys Fowler - food for free, mainly from our cities and with recipes
  • The Year Round Vegetable Gardener - Niki Jabbour - sensible advice from this award winning Canadian author. Good section on climate and its impact on growing salads
Salad Challenge regular Carl Legge kindly wrote a review of Four Season Harvest by Elliot Coleman. Whilst this book hails from the US, it's very useful elsewhere. Alys Fowler also mentioned this book at a talk I went to earlier in the year.

Do you have anything else to add to the list? It'd be great to hear what your favourites are :)

Update: Carl has been in touch to say he reviewed The Thrifty Forager for Permaculture Magazine last year.

Disclosure: I received copies of A Taste of the Unexpected and James Wong's Homegrown Revolution for honest review purposes. The rest I've either had for years, or were bought this year with hard-earned cash!


  1. Pleased to see you have Niki Jabbour's book 'Year Round Vegetable Gardener' on your list. I was struggling a few years back with extending my harvest season being guided by instinct and referring to Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest when I met the author and discovered she was writing this book. Hallelujah, I thought. It is now my go to and reference book, easy to read, written in a very honest and inspiring voice.

    Great list VP. Think I need to order a few of those you mention.

  2. Hi Bren - Niki's been one of my best discoveries this year and she featured in one of our gardening magazines last month :)

    She's also been a great supporter of the 52 week salad challenge :)

  3. Geeze, will you stop talking about me! :) Just kidding.. Thanks so much for the literary love guys, it means a lot to me.. I was thrilled to meet Bren and then include her in The Year Round Vegetable Gardener and now Veg Plotting has contributed to my next book!! How lucky am I?

  4. Hi Niki - you're welcome! Thanks for Following Veg Plotting :)

  5. Our bookshelves contain several books in common - much loved and well thumbed. I was not aware of the Canadian and American titles so will have to look into them. Another book with ideas for those growing in small spaces is Penelope Bennett's 'Window Box Allotment'.A new expanded and illustrated edition of this book came out this year which I hope to blog about soon.I thought of you when I read her observations on edible seed sprouting :)

  6. Hi Anna - I look forward to reading your review and perhaps adding to my library :)

  7. Really like the look of the edible balcony. My parents have an allotment but they also have a cute balcony! They downsized their garden and I really feel they should take advantage of their balcony a lot more. If it was mine it would be rammed with all sorts of pots and things hanging off it!! Great post :)

  8. digtheoutside - it's a good book, full of ideas :)

  9. Cool! I think I'll buy it for them for Christmas :)


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