Veggie Gardener's Handbook, and it's not a three-step guide to gardening for the very first time. No, it's much more than that. Here's a list of some of the things that inspired us from this book. But first, let's tell you what this book is not. It's not an introduction to soil, sun, and water. It's not a guide to zones, hardiness, and vegetable rotation. It's not a hold-your-hand handbook to all things practical. And that's fine; there are plenty of books out there that will do all of that well. In fact, most of that is on the internet anyway for free. (We will, though, cover some books that are great for these topics a little later.) No, this book is pure inspiration, which is not to imply that it skimps on practical and thoughtful knowledge as well. This book deals in big picture inspiration. Why do we garden at all? Why do we garden to eat, and how do we create gardens - whether they encompass just one pot of herbs or cover acres of monastery land? Jennifer begins her book with the famous quote from Dostoevsky: Beauty will save the world, and she carries that theme through the entire book. She starts off defining the potager - the kitchen garden, taken from a French word that means "soup of broth with vegetables." This has grown to mean a kitchen garden grown to nourish the home, the table, and the soul. She gives a wealth of fascinating historical detail about gardens, their purposes and functions in England and France from the early Middle Ages to today. Then she moves on to the design of kitchen gardens in monasteries and in some amazing American potagers today, located in diverse places such as Texas, Maryland, and Vermont. She also gives plans, plots, and plant lists for gardens she designed for restaurants in the Midwest. Here just a few of the things we learned from this book. • How some of the stylistic differences in English and French cooking evolved out of their landscape design and where they put their kitchen gardens. • How monasteries and medieval gardeners laid out their gardens with respect to their kitchens. • Where the word paradise comes from and how it relates to the garden. • What an espaliered fruit tree is and why it's perfect for tiny city gardens (oh and how we would love these in our garden now!) • Why and where cold frames and glass cloches are used in the garden. • Ideas for designing a garden that looks just as beautiful in the winter as the summer. Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook, $23.07 at Amazon Related: Gardening Questions for Jennifer: How Can I Plant a Variety of Herbs and Vegetables in a Container Garden? and Gardening Questions for Jennifer: Little Light and No Outdoor Space - What Can I Grow?