(Not all favorites, just what I found on a quick raid to the Chicago Public Library.
Note: Also look for books on vegetable growing in general to answer basic questions.)
Container Gardening for Kids by Ellen Talmage. Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., New York: 1996.
Hard cover, 80 pages. Very generalized instructions on how to grow flowers, houseplants and some vegetables. Lots of pictures and lots of funky ideas on containers and plantings.
Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers by Edward C. Smith. Storey Publishing, 2006.
Paperbound, 254 pages. Enthusiastic account of using self-watering containers. Offers lots of information on individual vegetables and on organic growing including composting, soil mixes, etc.
Gardening in Containers by Alvin Horton, ed. Ortho Books: 1984.
Paperbound, 96 pages. Useful basic information. Sections on container growing of flowers, trees and shrubs and specialty plants as well as vegetables and fruits. Also a section on making your own containers to fit your location.
Movable Harvests: The Simplicity & Bounty of Container Gardens by Chuck Crandall & Barbara Crandall. Chapters Publishing Ltd., Shelburne, VT: 1995
Paperbound, 128 pp. Covers vegetable crops by name and season, containers, soil mixes, fertilizing, watering, training (trellises, thinning, etc.), harvesting. Includes some mention of herbs and fruits in containers. Brief suggestions for seed sowing, pest control, wind and frost protection, growing indoors and under lights.
The Bountiful Container: A Container Garden of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers by Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey.Workman Publishing, NY: 2002.
Paperbound, 432 pages. Excellent, informative book. Very practical advice on what to grow and how to grow it and what you might find not worth the effort. Includes tips, tricks, a few recipes and some intriguing suggestions for “theme gardens” in containers. Individual vegetables are described by approximate plant size, harvest season, light requirements, suggested soil depth.
The Edible Container Garden: Growing Fresh Food in Small Spaces by Michael Guerra. Fireside (Simon & Schuster), NYC, NY: 2000
Paperbound, 159 pp. Covers the basics—choosing containers, soil mixes, & fertilizers, how to water, how to select plants. (I enjoyed the bit on home composting with worms in a small space.) Especially good with lists: vegetables, herbs, fruits by named varieties with recommended container depth, time from planting to harvesting, etc. Also strong on the aesthetics of how to plant and place your containers.
(You’ll find lots more with any simple search. These were a quick pick-up.)
University sites include: (1) Cornell University--for exhaustive information on the Cornell soilless mix, try
http://counties.cce.cornell.edu/chemung/publications/container-growing-amending-soil.pdf; for a list of vegetables suitable for containers along with seed sources and ratings, try http://vegvariety.cce.cornell.edu/ and (2) University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service: a local source of “solutions” to home and garden problems, try www.uiuc.edu and look up things like “yard and garden” or “food and nutrition.”
The Federal Government site starts with usda.gov/gardening and you are on your own. But the National Agricultural Library is worth a look at lincolnnal.usda.
Dot com sites can be fun. Try (1) www.gradenlist.com for Cyndi’s list of vegetable and speciality seed catalogs or (2) www.gardenforever.com for information on gardening for those of us who have or are developing physical challenges due to aging and other traumas or (3) www.gardenweb.com/forums if you want to read and write about specific gardening interests.