I love almost any gardening book, but finding those that address the specific needs of southern California gardeners can be challenging. The majority of books are written for climates that have colder winters than ours and so don’t have appropriate seasonal advice. Here are my four favorite books for gardening in our area:
1. Sunset Western Garden Book of Edibles – This is my favorite ‘edibles’ gardening book. It has a section for veggies, herbs, fruit, nuts, and tropicals. For each veggie/fruit there is a great photo, and all the care, planting, pest info you need to know.
2. Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening– This book covers edible and ornamental plants and is organized by month. It covers the tasks that should be done that month with a summary chart that is a great quick reference for the month.
3. Sunset Western Garden Book – The must have book for serious gardeners. An encyclopedia of plants with growing tips, varieties, planting zones, etc.
4. California Master Gardener Handbook – This book is used as the textbook for Master Gardener training but is useful for all gardeners. Organized by topic such as soil, pest control, turf, citrus, etc., it can be a bit technical but is a definitive resource for all California gardeners.
If you have a gardening question not covered in the above books, you can always contact the University of California Master Gardener hotline at www.uccemg.com.