Book Review and Giveaway: Gardening Complete


The title of the new gardening book Gardening Complete: How to Best Grow Vegetables, Flowers, and Other Outdoor Plants says it all. This is a one-stop, complete guide to all things gardening. The book offers a practical approach to regular or routine gardening chores and questions, and is written by an all-star team of Cool Springs Press gardening authors. That team includes our own Dr. Jacqueline Soule. Read on to learn more, including how you can win a copy!

*This review contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.

gardening complete book back cover author names
The Cool Springs Press authors who contributed to Gardening Complete

At Southwest Gardening Blog, we advocate for more information on the unique problems we face growing in the Southwest, such as water conservation, gardening in heat and seasonal gardening. And this book delivers; Jacqueline’s involvement guarantees the experiences of desert gardeners have a place in the guide.

Here are a few highlights from my review of the book, which I approached both as an experienced gardener and with the knowledge and needs of new gardeners in mind:

  • The book covers gardening basics, but also includes tips for more experienced gardeners (such as in Jacqueline’s chapter on propagation).
  • I like the chapter choices in general; the book has sections on basic botany, soil, pruning, and pest and disease control, for example. Chapters also address topics like edibles, or container and vertical gardening.
  • One of my favorite chapters is “Gardening by Seasons,” written by George Weigel. He includes charts of plants with colorful foliage and a season-by-season list of tips, ideas and planning to help ensure garden color and interest throughout the year.
  • Another highlight of the book is a chapter on Waterwise Gardening, which is near and dear to me and most of us growing in the Southwest.
  • The book also covers basics of gardening such as pest control and composting in just the right amount of detail.
gardening complete book inside pages
This is a handy go-to gardening guide.

Gardening Complete shows why I can’t ever stop buying gardening books. Sure, you can get good gardening information online (like here, right?), but sometimes it’s actually faster to pull out a favorite, go-to book. For example, Gardening Complete includes a heat zone map and tables listing when and how to harvest common vegetables and herbs. Instead of looking up information on when to harvest carrots and then seeking information on kohlrabi, the information for both is right on the same page.

Local garden books are best for choosing native plants for your region or getting precise sowing or pruning dates. But the authors of this book made a conscious decision to include essential gardening skills and information for all U.S. gardening regions.

The book is a hefty 350-plus pages. It is an excellent addition to the library of any beginning gardener who is serious about learning more, and is a helpful collection of information for intermediate gardeners. In fact, this book is the closest thing to a Master Gardner manual I’ve seen in terms of general gardening information, concepts and terms. I would recommend Gardening Complete as a comprehensive source on your bookshelf or as a gift to a friend or relative who frequently asks you gardening questions.

Enter our giveaway to win a copy of Gardening Complete.

Gardening Complete is available from Cool Springs Press (Quarto Publishing Group) and on Amazon. Plus, Jacqueline worked with her publisher to get two free copies of the book for readers of our blog. Here’s how to enter:

Just leave a comment on this post by August 20 using a valid email address; that’s how we’ll contact the winner. After commenting, be sure to check our blog posts for helpful tips for Southwest gardeners. You also can subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media.

Any visitor to Southwest Gardening Blog who lives in the continental U.S. is eligible. We’ll randomly draw winners from among those who comment. Each winner will receive one copy of Gardening Complete from the publisher. We’ll contact the winners for shipping information and announce the winners on this blog by August 24. No purchase necessary.

The Gardening Complete Book Giveaway is sponsored by Southwest Gardening, LLC, of Ft. Worth, Texas, and Cool Springs Press of Minneapolis, Minn. All opinions expressed in this review are those of Teresa Odle, who received a review copy of the book courtesy of the publisher.



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  • Jean Koenig

    I’d love a book such as this to help me navigate the very tricky world of desert gardening…! Lost so many plants in May and June, I’m still in mourning.

  • Toribio (Tory) Gloriani

    I garden but before I plant anything I try to get all info on what I will plant, either from the internet or from books. I love having my garden books on hand all the time because my senior brain sometimes needs to be refreshed, reminded, or made aware of what I need done in my garden. It will be like manna from heaven if I get this book.

  • Deb Mathenia

    I obviously need help. I grew gardens in the OH and MI arenas, with success. In MO, I am struggling and have faced failure. My health does not allow me to outside as much as I want, but there has to be a way to achieve this. I would appreciate winning this book,

  • Janice

    I’d love to get a copy of the book. I’m always on the look out for a great gardening book.

    Thanks for all the fun give away contests.

  • Christie

    I live in Texas. The weather can change hourly, but mostly during summer it is hot and dry. This book would help me in my search for plants that can thrive in a hot dry environment.

  • Christie

    I live in Texas. The weather can change hourly, but mostly during summer it is hot and dry. This book would help me in my search for plants that can thrive in a hot dry environment.

  • Pat Runcie

    Love the info on water-wise plants. It reached 114 here in Temple and lots of my plants “cooked”. Did keep the herbs.

  • Lisa

    Im a new resident to the desert southwest. I love to garden but this is all new to us compared to Minnesota. This book would be very helpful.