Gardening Resources

A list of great gardening resources.
By Miranda Smith
June/July 2005
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Many resources that provide a good introduction to organic gardening.
Photo courtesy David Cavagnaro


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What Gardening Book Would You Recommend for Beginners?

Gardeners suggest gardening books for beginners.

Great Gardening Books

The many shelves of gardening books you’ll find at your local library and bookstores can yield some treasures, particularly if you’re looking for information about your region. The following books, however, will provide a good introduction to organic gardening:

The Garden Primer, by Barbara Damrosch

Straight Ahead Organic: A Step by Step Guide to Growing Great Vegetables in a Less-than-Perfect World, by Shepherd Ogden

The New Seed Starter’s Handbook, by Nancy Bubel Weedless Gardening, by Lee Reich

McGee & Stuckey’s Bountiful Container: Create Container Gardens of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers, by Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey

Regional References 

The Southern Garden Advisor, by Barbara Pleasant

North Country Gardening, by Neil Moran

Growing Vegetables in the Great Plains, by Joseph R. Thomasson

Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades: The Complete Guide to Natural Gardening, by Steve Solomon

Local Experts

Your best gardening resources are likely to live right down the street from you. People love to talk about their gardens, so if you walk by a great vegetable garden everyday but never have met the owner, be bold. Knock on the door and introduce yourself. Chances are you’ll soon be learning the best crops and varieties for your area, when to expect the last and first frosts of the season, and where to shop for seeds and supplies.

If you can’t find a gardening neighbor, look for help at a nursery or garden center. The cooperative Extension service associated with your land grant university is another source of information. Call or visit your local Extension’s Web site to learn about informational gardening programs and to find useful written material about gardening in your area.

Make your first questions specific, and be sure to explain initially that you want to garden organically. You’ll probably find good help, and you may make a gardening friend for yourself, too.

Great Gardening Web Sites

Tap into hundreds of how-to articles about gardening in MOTHER’s online Archive.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (also known as ATTRA) provides information for gardeners and farmers nationwide. This service provides numerous publications and information packets, all without charge. The Web site, serves as an information clearinghouse, too.

You’ll find many additional Web sites with links to other gardening sites, as well. Begin your search by trying the following Web sites:

www.gardening.about.com

www.heirloomtomatoes.bizland.com/links/organicgardening.html 

Container Growing

To truly start small, grow your first vegetables in containers. Fill a 5-gallon bucket or a large (at least 14-inch diameter) pot with a rich, compost-based potting soil. Plant crops such as lettuce and cherry tomatoes, both of which thrive in containers as long as you have a sunny spot to place them. Many garden plants can be grown this way; for additional ideas or to place an order for containers, check out www.containerseeds.com. Keep your pots well-watered, especially during hot, dry weather, and fertilize with liquid fertilizers such as fish emulsion, mixed as directed on the bottle, every week after the first month of planting.








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