Book Review and Giveaway: The Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects

It’s the time of year (at least in Minnesota anyway) when the gardeners are all in limbo. The cold crops can go into the ground but nothing else until May 15th! What do we do while we wait? We need something to make the time go by faster- something that has to do with gardening so we can be outside and at least pretend we are tending to our garden. Most of us have the soil prepped, containers, etc. lugged out, washed off and ready to go. What else can we do that has to do with gardening? Ah-ha! Let’s build something!

The Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects would definitely make a good Father’s Day present! Women that can swing a hammer will appreciate it’s simplicity but really it was the men in my life who, when found this book laying on their respective countertops, instantly picked it up and began thumbing through it. My dad said he wanted to build something over the weekend and decided to make the potting bench on page 58. He emailed me later in the day and said this:

This project was easy as pie.  It took about 1/2 hour to build the frame, and another 1/2 hour for the rest of it.  I substituted 1×6″ deck boards for the 2×6″ they called for and it still came out pretty good.  The instructions called for about 100 screws, but I bought a small box that had 80 in it, and I used EXACTLY 80.

Here are his photos of his potting bench:

The frame


He used old boards from part of the deck he just dismantled. I think you can see that it turned out pretty good and you don’t even necessarily have to use all new materials!

There are some easy projects in the book and some that are more advanced. There are a lot of things in the book like the T-Pea Tower, Compost Bin, Raised Beds and Sifter are projects of things  that we already have and so we wouldn’t need to make them. But there are still plenty of things in the book that we don’t have yet (there are 39 projects included) like the A-Frame Bean and Pea Support, Window Box Planter, Welcoming Arbor and SOLAR DRYER!! Also, there is a even a blueprint for a Flower Press- something I have wanted for a very long time now! I’m sure this book could keep us busy for several years. It is well worth the price.

All of the projects have great photos and illustrations that accompany each description. It’s a very well thought out book and is not at all confusing. The phrase “Simple and easy to use” comes to mind when flipping through the book. I think my dad’s example of what he made in an hour shows how easy the book is to use. Granted he does have some power tool knowledge but is by no means a professional carpenter.

My son had his own project going on this weekend. He wanted a gate for his garden like we have on our garden (yes, he has his own garden). Luckily on pages 78 and 81 there are plans for a garden gate and gate latch. We used the plan for the gate latch since we had to make him a dude-sized gate.

Here’s the back of the gate:

And the front:

We already have some Adirondack chairs but they are plastic. I’d rather have some wood ones to go with the rest of the hand-made things we have around the yard. Maybe my husband will put some together using the plans in the book. They sure would make a nice Mother’s Day present!

Storey Publishing gave me a copy of this book to giveaway. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below sharing with us whether or not you have ever built anything for your yard or garden.

I will pick one winner at random next Sunday night, April 25th so the deadline will be April 25th at 5pm CST. Good luck! Contest is open to US residents only, sorry!

UPDATE: Congrats to the winner- Angela!


  1. Posted April 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    I have never built anything for my yard or garden, but I have been bugging my father so we could start building stuff together. I just want to feel some tools in my hand other than just a hammer and screwdriver.

  2. Posted April 19, 2010 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I’m fairly certain I spy power tools in the last picture. 🙂

  3. Posted April 19, 2010 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Used by my 3 year-old with daddy’s assistance!

  4. chiquita
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Still debating if I can do something with my shady bed with poor soil…but I put together trellis-like supports for a bed of tomatoes and cucumbers using bamboo when we lived in the Chicago burbs.
    Tomatoes and cucumbers, incidentally, can survive Chicago winters. I just let the last few drop to the ground and rot at the end of the season (out of sheer laziness, initially 😛 ), and I couldn’t believe it when they sprouted back out the following spring. Had bumper crops for the 3yrs we lived there. Didn’t even fertilize or anything. Great stuff.

  5. Angela
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    I have never built anything, but now I have two kids, my daughter is 3 and my son is 1. I just want them to start appreciating the simple things in life.

  6. Posted August 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Why users still make use of to read news papers when in
    this technological world all is presented on net?