Here are five good gardening books to get you through the season:
■ You need to be familiar with hammers and nails for most of the ideas in The Vegetable Gardener's Book of Building Projects (Storey, $18.95). This DIY compendium delivers great step-by-step instructions and graphics, from the simple to the advanced. Projects include outdoor furniture, compost bins and birdhouses.
■ What's Wrong with My Plant? (And How Do I Fix it?) by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth (Timber Press, $24.95) came out in late 2009, when the only thing wrong with many plants was that they still were underground. This book bases its tutelage on progressive drawings that will help puzzled gardeners diagnose the troubles. Another plus: Suggested remedies are organic.
■ One Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot Square by Lolo Houbein (The Experiment, $18.95) enchants on many levels. Veggie gardeners (especially rookies) will benefit from Houbein's knowledge. This single line could sustain us for life: "Never garden in a mood of wanting to control everything." The book is filled with such lines.
■ Leafing through Big Plans, Small Gardens by Andy Sturgeon (Mitchell Beazley, $24.99) our first reflex was to wonder what he charges and whether we could afford him. We're confident the book is cheaper. This nifty guide offers knockout ideas incorporating designs for any small space in a yard.
■ Vertical gardening is all the rage but hardly a new development, plantwise — enter Armitage's Vines and Climbers by veteran writer Allan M. Armitage (Timber Press, $29.95). That said, there are choices beyond clematis and pole beans, and this photo-packed primer delivers the pros and cons for 100-plus plants to help gardeners and gardens reach new heights.