Fresh from the Garden

An Organic Guide to Growing Vegetables, Berries, and Herbs in Cold Climates


John Whitman

Garden Writers of America Media Award Gold Winner for Best Book Writing


Grow your own vegetables, berries, and herbs with the fourth book in the best-selling cold climate gardening series

A concise guide, with nutrition information tables and hundreds of color photographs, Fresh from the Garden will help you extend the growing season to produce the best vegetables, berries, and herbs. It includes more than 150 edible plants and provides a wealth of information for determining the best varieties, harvesting techniques, and uses for your bounty—especially for cold climate gardeners. 


"In Fresh from the Garden, John Whitman folds together the joy of gardening and a love of cooking with wit and wisdom. Addressing the challenges and rewards of our cold climate, he shares his vast experience, deep knowledge, and passion for nature’s bounty. This is a monumental work—inspiring, instructive, timeless."—Beth Dooley, author of In Winter’s Kitchen: Growing Roots and Breaking Bread in the Northern Heartland

Fresh is simply best. To get the tastiest, most nutritious produce, you have to grow your own, and in a cold climate this presents unique challenges. Fresh from the Garden will help you extend the growing season to produce the best vegetables, berries, and herbs, right in your own backyard. The guide includes more than 150 edible plants and helps you decide which varieties to choose; where and how to plant, tend, and harvest them; and what to do with your bounty. Fresh from the Garden is a clear, concise guide, with nutrition information tables and hundreds of helpful color photographs.

Drawing on more than fifty years of gardening—and nearly as many years writing on the subject—John Whitman describes various methods of planting to make the most of different sites, whether in containers, raised beds, or on level ground, and takes into consideration the abbreviated growing season and longer summer days. He discusses the merits of starting from seed indoors or outdoors, the making and uses of compost, and measures for keeping a garden healthy, from mulching and fertilizing to crop rotation and winter protection.

Included in his wealth of knowledge is a generous listing of more than 1,700 varieties of vegetables, berries, and herbs, from the best known to the highly unusual, including hybrid and heirloom varieties. He covers the specifics of cultivation, nutritional values, storage techniques, and culinary usage. Dedicated to organic practices, for the health of gardener and garden alike, the information and advice in Fresh from the Garden will enrich the experience of cold climate gardeners.


Garden Writers of America Media Award Gold Winner for Best Book Writing

All of John Whitman's gardening knowledge comes from hands-on experience acquired as a professional grower and an avid backyard vegetable gardener for more than fifty years. His book Starting from Scratch: A Guide to Indoor Gardening was a main selection of the Organic Gardening Book Club. He wrote the vegetable section of the Better Homes and Gardens New Garden Book and was the sole author of the Better Homes and Gardens New Houseplants Book. Whitman is the creator and coauthor of the other three volumes in the cold climate gardening series: Growing Perennials in Cold Climates, Growing Shrubs and Small Trees in Cold Climates, and Growing Roses in Cold Climates.

In Fresh from the Garden, John Whitman folds together the joy of gardening and a love of cooking with wit and wisdom. Addressing the challenges and rewards of our cold climate, he shares his vast experience, deep knowledge, and passion for nature’s bounty. This is a monumental work—inspiring, instructive, timeless.

Beth Dooley, author of In Winter’s Kitchen: Growing Roots and Breaking Bread in the Northern Heartland

The extensive individual plant profiles...are in-depth and extremely helpful.

Library Journal

An excellent resource for home gardeners at any level, especially beginners, offering a thorough introduction to the basics of organic gardening.


A marvelous book. While Fresh From the Garden is invaluable for gardeners in cold areas, the basic information is relevant anywhere.

Rhobin’s Garden

Whitman’s almost encyclopedic seed-to-table approach in “Fresh from the Garden” covers every aspect of the growing enterprise.

Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener

Whitman is full of such practical advice, offered in straightforward prose. This handy book is much like having a master gardener at your elbow, whispering words of wisdom.

Midwest Home

Will provide you with a single, encyclopedic source of detailed, time-tested, organic gardening advice that will help you raise your best produce yet.

The American Gardener

After decades of gardening, Whitman is still discovering new horticultural frontiers.

Columbus Dispatch

This book is an invaluable resource not just for gardeners who live in the North, but for any gardener who wants to extend both ends of the growing season.

Country Gardens

It really is quite an achievement, with a refreshing candor that you don’t often find in reference books.

Cold Climate Gardening

It’s the perfect gift for the fanatical vegetable grower in your life.

Portland Press Herald

Whitman offers comprehensive information on everything from amending the soil when you start a garden to how to grow edamame organically in Minnesota. It’s the kind of book your new gardener will return to again and again as experience and love of gardening grows.

My Northern Garden



Part I. The Basics of Growing Vegetables, Berries, and Herbs

1. Where to Plant
Tips on Choosing a Garden Site
Types of Gardens

2. Planting Seed in the Garden
Buying Seed
Planting Seed
When to Plant
Mail Order Sources

3. Starting Vegetables From Seed Indoors (Transplanting)
About Seed Starting Indoors
Step-by-Step Guide to Planting Seeds Indoors
Buying Potted Plants

4. Caring for Vegetables, Berries, and Herbs
Winter Protection
Extending the Growing Season

5. Propagation

6. Solving Growing Problems
Basic Tips That Help Reduce the Use of Pesticides
Using Organic Chemicals
Crop Rotation
Physiological Problems

7. Harvesting and Culinary Uses
Culinary Uses

8. Tools, Materials, and Gardening Aids

Part II. Vegetables, Berries, and Herbs

Individual Listings

Amaranth (see Greens)
Artichoke, globe (see Unique Plants)
Artichoke, Jerusalem (see Sunchoke under Unique Plants)
Arugula (see Greens)
Asparagus bean (see Yardlong bean under Unique Plants)
Asparagus pea (see Unique Plants)
Aubergine (see Eggplant)
Aztec Red Spinach (see Lamb’s Quarters under Greens)
Batavian endive (see Endive under Greens)
Beet (beetroot)
Belgian endive (see Unique Plants)
Bitter melon (see Gourds under Unique Plants)
Blackberry (see Raspberry)
Black-eyed pea (see Cowpea under Unique Plants)
Black salsify (see Salsify under Unique Plants)
Bok Choi (see Chinese cabbage)
Borage (see Herbs)
Borecole (see Kale)
Boysenberry (see Raspberry)
Broad bean
Broccoflower (see Cauliflower)
Broccoli raab or rabe (see Greens)
Broccolini (see Chinese broccoli under Greens)
Brokali (see Chinese broccoli under Greens)
Brussels sprouts
Burdock (see Unique Plants)
Bush bean (see Bean)
Cantaloupe (see Muskmelon)
Cape gooseberry (see Ground cherry under Unique Plants)
Capers (see Nasturtium for substitute)
Caraway (see Herbs)
Cardoon (see Unique Plants)
Catgrass (see Greens)
Cat mint (see Catnip under Herbs)
Catnip (see Herbs)
Celeriac (see Celery)
Celery, bulb (see Celery)
Celery, stem (see Celery)
Celery cabbage (see Chinese cabbage)
Celery root (see Celery)
Celtuce (see Lettuce)
Ceylon spinach (see Malabar spinach under Greens)
Chamomile (see Herbs)
Chard (see Swiss Chard)
Chervil (see Herbs)
Chickpea (see Unique Plants)
Chicory, Belgian endive (see Belgian endive under Unique Plants)
Chicory, Italian dandelion (see Italian dandelion under Greens)
Chicory, Radicchio (see Radicchio under Unique Plants)
Chicory, Witloof (see Belgian endive under Unique Plants)
Chinese broccoli (see Greens)
Chinese cabbage (see Greens)
Chinese flowering cabbage (see Chinese cabbage under Greens)
Chinese kale (see Chinese broccoli under Greens)
Chinese mustard (see Greens)
Chinese spinach (see Amaranth under Greens)
Chives (see Herbs)
Choi (choy) sum (see Chinese cabbage under Greens)
Chrysanthemum (see Greens)
Chop suey greens (see Chrysanthemum under Greens)
Cilantro (see Greens)
Claytonia (see Miner’s lettuce under Greens)
Cloudberry (see Raspberry)
Collards (see Greens)
Comfrey (see Herbs)
Coriander (see Cilantro under Greens)
Cornichon (see Cucumber)
Corn salad (see Greens)
Courgette (see Summer squash)
Cowpea (see Unique Plants)
Crab beet (see Swiss chard)
Cress, garden (see Garden cress under Greens)
Cress, upland (see Garden cress under Greens)
Culantro (see Cilantro under Greens)
Curly cress (see Garden cress under Greens)
Currant (see Unique Plants)
Dandelion (see Greens)
Daylily (see Unique Plants)
Dewberry (see Raspberry)
Dill (see Herbs)
Dry bean (see Bean)
Earth apple (see Potato)
Edamame (see Soybean under Unique Plants)
Edible chrysanthemum (see Chrysanthemum under Greens)
Egyptian onion (see Onion)
Elephant garlic (see Leek)
Elderberry (see Unique Plants)
Endive (see Endive under Greens)
Escarole (see Endive under Greens)
Fava bean (see Broad bean)
Fennel, bulb (see Florence fennel)
Fennel, sweet (see Herbs)
Fern (see Ostrich fern)
Fetticus (see Corn salad under Greens)
Fiddleheads (see Ostrich Fern under Unique Plants)
Filet bean (see Bean)
Finocchio (see Florence fennel)
Florence fennel
Flowers (see Herbs)
French bean (see Bean)
French endive (see Belgian endive under Unique Plants)
French tarragon (see Tarragon under Herbs)
Gai Choy (see Chinese mustard under Greens)
Gai Lan (Kai-lan) (see Chinese broccoli under Greens)
Garbanzo bean (see Chickpea under Unique Plants)
Garden cress (see Garden cress under Greens)
Garden huckleberry (see Unique Plants)
Garden rocket (see Arugula under Greens)
Garland chrysanthemum (see Chrysanthemum under Greens)
German chamomile (see Chamomile under Herbs)
Gherkin (see Cucumber)
Girasole (see Sunchoke under Unique Plants)
Globe Artichoke (see Artichoke under Unique Plants)
Gooseberry (see Unique Plants)
Goosefoot (see Lamb’s quarters under Greens)
Gourds (see Unique Plants)
Green bean (see Bean)
Ground cherry (see Unique Plants)
Ground nut (see Peanut)
Ground nut (see Potato)
Hamburg parsley (see Parsley)
Hanover salad (see Kale)
Haricot vert (see Bean)
Honeydew melon (see Muskmelon)
Horseradish (see Herbs)
Husk tomato (see Tomatillo under Unique Plants)
Indian cress (see Nasturtium)
Indian potato (see Ground nut under Potato)
Italian dandelion (see Greens)
Japanese basil (see Perilla under Herbs)
Japanese horseradish (see Herbs)
Japanese parsley (see Mitsuba under Greens)
Jerusalem artichoke (see Sunchoke under Unique Plants)
Johnny-jump-up (see Violet under Herbs)
Kai-lan (see Chinese broccoli under Greens)
Kidney bean (see Bean)
Komatsuna (see Mustard spinach under Greens)
Lamb’s lettuce (see Corn salad under Greens)
Lamb’s quarters (see Greens)
Lambs’ tongues (see Corn salad under Greens)
Lavender (see Herbs)
Leaf beet (see Swiss chard)
Leaf fennel (see Fennel under Herbs)
Lemon balm (see Herbs)
Lemongrass (see Herbs)
Lemon verbena (see Herbs)
Lima bean (see Bean)
Loganberry (see Raspberry)
Lovage (see Herbs)
Luffa (see Gourds under Unique Plants)
Mâche (see Corn salad under Greens)
Magentaspreen (see Lamb’s Quarters under Greens)
Malabar spinach (see Greens)
Mallow (see Malva under Greens)
Malva (see Greens)
Mangold (see Swiss chard)
Marigold (see Herbs)
Marjoram (see Herbs)
Marrow squash (see Squash, Summer)
Mesclun (see Greens)
Mexican cilantro (see Cilantro under Greens)
Mibuna (see Greens)
Microgreens (see Greens)
Milkweed (see Greens)
Miner’s lettuce (see Greens)
Mint (see Herbs)
Minutina (see Greens)
Mitsuba (see Greens)
Mizuna (see Greens)
Mountain spinach (see Orach under Greens)
Multiflora bean (see Bean)
Mustard (see Greens)
Mustard spinach (see Greens)
Nettle (see Greens)
New Zealand spinach (see Greens)
Oats (see Cat grass under Greens)
Orach (see Greens)
Oregano (see Herbs)
Oregon lima bean (see Bean)
Ostrich fern (see Unique Plants)
Pak-choi (see Chinese cabbage)
Pansy (see Violet under Herbs)
Peanut (see Unique Plants)
Peppergrass (see Garden cress under Greens)
Perilla (see Herbs)
Perpetual beet (see Swiss chard)
Perpetual spinach (see Swiss chard)
Pe-tsai (see Chinese cabbage)
Pigweed (see Lamb’s quarters)
Plantain (see Greens)
Pole bean (see Bean)
Potato (Irish or white)
Potato onion (see Onion)
Purslane (see Greens)
Quinoa (see Lamb’s Quarters under Greens)
Radicchio (see Unique Plants)
Ramps (see Onion)
Rape (see Chinese cabbage and ‘Hanover Salad’ under Kale)
Rapini (see Broccoli raab under Greens)
Rocket (see Arugula under Greens)
Rocket salad (see Arugula under Greens)
Roquette (see Arugula under Greens)
Rosemary (see Herbs)
Russian comfrey (see Comfrey under Herbs)
Sage (see Herbs)
Salad burnet (see Herbs)
Salad chervil (see Chervil under Herbs)
Salsify (see Unique plants)
Savory (see Herbs)
Savoy cabbage (see Cabbage)
Scallion (see Onion)
Scarlet runner bean (see Bean)
Scorzonera (see Salsify under Unique Plants)
Seakale beet (see Swiss chard)
Shell bean (see Bean)
Shiso (see Perilla under Herbs)
Shungiku (see Chrysanthemum under Greens)
Silver beet (see Swiss chard)
Snap bean (see Bean)
Sorrel (see Greens)
Southern pea (see Cowpea under Unique Plants)
Soybean (see Unique Plants)
Spinach beet (see Swiss chard)
Spinach chard (see Swiss chard)
Spinach dock (see Sorrel under Greens)
Spinach mustard (see Mustard spinach under Greens)
Squash, Summer
Squash, Winter
Stem lettuce (see Lettuce)
Stevia (see Herbs)
Stinging nettle (see Nettle under Greens)
Strawberry tomato (see Ground cherry)
String bean (see Bean)
Summer savory (see Savory under Herbs)
Summer spinach (see Swiss chard)
Sunchoke (see Unique Plants)
Sunflower (see Unique Plants)
Sunroot (see Sunchoke under Unique Plants)
Swede (see Rutabaga)
Sweet fennel (see Fennel under Herbs)
Sweet marjoram (see Marjoram under Herbs)
Sweet potato
Swiss chard
Tampala (see Amaranth under Greens)
Tarragon (see Herbs)
Tayberry (see Raspberry)
Thyme (see Herbs)
Tomatillo (see Unique Plants)
Tummelberry (see Raspberry)
Turnip rooted parsley (see Parsley)
Tyfon Holland greens (see Greens)
Unique Plants
Upland cress (see Garden cress under Greens)
Vegetable marrow (see Squash, Summer)
Violet (see Herbs)
Wasabi (see Horseradish and Japanese horseradish under Herbs)
Watercress (see Greens)
Wax bean (see Bean)
Welsh onion (see Onion)
Wheatgrass (see Greens)
Wineberry (see Raspberry)
Winter melon (see Gourds under Unique Plants)
Winter savory (see Savory under Herbs)
Wonderberry (see Garden huckleberry under Unique Plants)
Yardlong bean (see Unique Plants)
Zucchini (see Squash, summer)