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At the beginning of April, garden expert Larry Sagers, a horticulture specialist for the Utah State University Extension Service at Thanksgiving Point, gave readers the basics on how to grow their vegetable gardens.

If you're still lost, or a little bit behind, thanks to the weather, there are a number of books that may help fill in the gaps. Below are some of the newest to hit bookstores.

"STARTER VEGETABLE GARDENS: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens," by Barbara Pleasant, Storey Publishing, $19.95

Newbie gardeners, fear not. Intended for three types of gardeners — new, experienced who are teaching newbies and seasoned gardeners who want to home in on the finer points of vegetable gardening — author Barbara Pleasant offers 24 different garden plans from tiny patio to large backyard-size plots.

Pleasant starts by asking gardeners to develop a plan and suggests they start small and grow year by year. She offers three different garden plans that are petite to begin with — who knew you could grow tomatoes in a bag? — but expand to double their sizes over a three-year time span.

Another chapter specifically tailors planting plans to specific climates — short, cool summers; full-season summers; and long, hot summers.

The second section of Pleasant's book focuses on basic skills and techniques. Mulching, fertilizing and stretching the seasons also come into play here.

Finally, Pleasant provides readers with information on choosing strong varieties of plants and includes a section on gardeners' lingo and a comprehensive list of sources for seeds and plants.

Diagrams, graphics and color photographs make this a very user-friendly guide. Though it would be nice if pictures also accompanied the plant variety guide, the essential step-by-step activities are well-illustrated.

"GROW YOUR OWN VEGETABLES," by Carol Klein, contributing editor Fiona Gilsenan, Mitchell Beazley/Octopus USA, $19.99

In her appropriately titled book "Grow Your Own Vegetables," author Carol Klein offers answers to the age-old question, Why would I want to grow my own vegetables?

Growing our own food is a way to retake control over what we eat, Klein says in her foreword. "When you grow your own, you know exactly where it came from, and it's as fresh as possible."

From there, Klein discusses the varying preparations and techniques needed for a successful garden. Klein focuses on maximizing space, soil types, the right plants for the right climate, pests and weeds, watering and planting.

The majority of the book, however, focuses on the specific vegetables that are divided into specific categories including the cabbage family, beans and peas, perennial vegetables, salad vegetables, heat-loving vegetables and more.

While the beginning section is helpful, most readers will probably spend most of their time in the glossary of foods, which features full-color pictures and information such as where to grow, sowing and planting, caring for crops, harvesting, storage and cooking tips, and pests.

"THE VEGETABLE GARDENER'S BOOK OF BUILDING PROJECTS: 39 Indispensable Projects to Increase the Bounty and Beauty of Your Garden," by Editors of Storey Publishing, $18.95

Think you've got your garden figured out but aren't sure how to build the essential raised bed or compost box? Maybe you need a hanging planter or a garden bench. Perhaps your garden is under way, but you'd like a picnic table or a garden swing with which to enjoy the literal fruits — and veggies — of your labor.

The editors of Storey Publishing believe that anyone can build the above items with a little help and a free weekend.

Accompanied by a recipe of materials, supplies and tools, color photographs, instructions and diagrams make these projects seem easy enough, though it's hard to believe a novice can finish a major project in one weekend.

Guides for less-ambitious started projects are also included.

However, all the projects are well-thought-out and feature incredibly detailed directions that should be helpful builders of all skill levels.

"GUIDE TO ROCKY MOUNTAIN VEGETABLE GARDENING," by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore Gough, Cool Springs Press, 320 pp., $19.95

Written by Montana horiculturists and university professors Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore Gough, the guide deals with the short-growing seasons, cool nights, droughts and poor soil found throughout the Rocky Mountain states.

This book looks at more than 40 vegetables suitable for growing in the Rocky Mountain region. The bulk of the book is an overview of these vegetables from asparagus to winter squash. The descriptions have specific tips on the planting, care and harvesting of each vegetable.

Other chapters include such tips as how to extend your garden's growing season or which space-saving techniques are best.

One chapter details the pests and diseases that can ruin your garden, outlining in chart form the ways to control or prevent them.

Another section offers information on critical watering stages.

Spread throughout the books are fun gardening facts and diagnoses for specific gardening woes.

It's the type of fact-filled book that can start you down the garden path to success.

"HOW TO GROW PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING," by Zia Allaway and Lia Leendertz, DK Publishing, 448 pp., $30

Authors Zia Allaway and Lia Leendertz say that you don't have to a green thumb to produce a beautiful garden. You just need a little information about what's required — materials, site, time commitment and aftercare. "Most plants will flourish with just a little help, and you don't need any special skills to sow seeds to create beds brimming with flowers and vegetables," they write.

This comprehensive guide covers different areas from patios and terraces to beds and borders. It explores all of the gardening basic from soil to planting to pruning. It contains hundreds of gardening projects, with step-by-step photographic details, planting designs and plans, and expected results.

"GARDEN BOUQUETS AND BEYOND: Creating Wreaths, Garlands and More in Every Garden Season," by Suzy Bales, Rodale, 224 pp., $35

The former senior editor at Better Homes and Gardens and a gardening editor at Family Circle, Suzy Bales uses her considerable skill to give an all-encompassing look at how to create floral masterpieces from your garden. With 150 stunning photographs, this book offers details on how to combine fresh flowers and foliage to create seasonal arrangements.

The instruction includes everything from when to cut to how to arrange bouquets, wreaths and garlands using flowers, leaves and vines.

Contributing: Angelyn N. Hutchinson

e-mail: jharrison@desnews.com