Recommended Gardening Resources

This guide contains a wealth of knowledge to help you begin your journey into gardening or expand what you already know. Included are touching memoirs from experts, advice on preserving your bounty, links to encourage and inspire creativity in the garden, seasonal recipes, and retailers for everything from seeds to compost bins.

Gardening Websites
  • American Community Garden Association:
    No yard? No problem! The ACGA deeply believes that by sharing a garden, you bind your life with those in your community and improves people’s lives. Search an interactive map of community gardens across the nation and find information about how you can start or join a community garden in your area.
  • Backyard Gardener:
    All types of gardening are discussed at this website—water, rock, edible, floral, trees, organic, and more. It contains the world’s largest plant encyclopedia. Everything you need to know for a successful vegetable garden is on this site!
  • Companion Planting:
    All you ever need to know about companion planting (the idea that placing certain plants close together can naturally control pests and increase yield) on one website! It includes a comprehensive list of vegetables, their friends and foes.
  • National Center for Home Food Preservation:
    The National Center for Home Food Preservation brings you the USDA’s complete guide to home canning. This resource will answer all of your questions on canning, freezing, drying, pickling and other methods of preserving the bounty from your backyard garden!
  • National Gardening Association:
    This website houses a large library or projects, videos, and guides to plant care. The site includes a map to help you figure out your hardiness zone, which will equip you with knowledge about what you can and cannot grow in your climate. Subscribe to their email list and receive regional reports containing gardening tips, techniques, news, and events.
  • Pick Your Own:
    Find local farms that are open to the public for harvesting edibles such as apples, strawberries, pumpkins, peaches and more. Included are detailed guides on various types of food preservation.
  • Plangarden:
    Recycle the graph paper! This website provides tools to virtually "sketch" your garden layout, using helpful resources such as a "Know When to Plant" guide. Includes graphics of dozens of vegetables to create a visual reference for what your garden will look like; harvest estimators; search functions to help you find other gardeners in your area; a journal/log to help you keep track of all of your plants and harvests; and more! Free 45-day trial!
  • Square Foot Gardening:
    Mel Bartholomew invented square foot gardening—the ultimate in urban, organic gardening techniques! This method will teach you how to maximize your edibles, flowers, and herbs using small raised beds.
Gardening Books
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
    Follow one family’s yearlong challenge to eat only food that they grew themselves or purchased locally. This book conveys an important message about the environmental impact of consuming food that isn’t local or farmed by sustainable practices. This memoir will certainly get you thinking about what you eat and where it comes from.
  • Basic Composting: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started by Erich Ebeling
    Easy to follow and straightforward, this book lays out the basic mechanics of composting and goes over a variety of bins and methods, as well as how to successfully compost with worms. Included are step-by-step instructions for building larger structures to contain your compost pile.
  • Botanica's Organic Gardening: The Healthy Way to Live and Grow by Judyth McLeond
    If you buy one gardening book, let it be this one! More than 600 pages packed with information on 2,000-plus plants, the history of organic gardening, an in-depth look at composting, natural pest methods, and more, this is THE organic gardening book.
  • Complete Seasons Cookbook by Joanne Weir and Chuck Williams
    This is the perfect cookbook for gardeners or those who frequent farmers markets and wish to eat as much seasonal produce as possible. Inside is a guide, broken down by seasons, to more than 200 healthy, fresh recipes. If you like this, check out Weir’s four separate cookbooks (aptly titled Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter) for more recipes.
  • Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community by Heather C. Flores
    Beyond backyard gardening, this book explores the importance of being involved in your community and taking control of your own food and water supply. It will definitely stretch you in more earth-friendly ways, such as creating a grey water system, guerilla gardening, brewing compost tea, permaculture, organizing seed exchanges in your community, and environmental activism just to name a few. This book might well persuade you to tear up your green lawn and grow more food in its place!
  • Gardening Basics for Dummies by Steven A Frowine
    The name says it all, but for a gardener just starting out, this is an easy book to help you get started. The book covers everything from container gardening, to demystifying common terms, compost building, garden design, and much more.
  • It's a Long Road to a Tomato: Tales of an Organic Farmer Who Quit the Big City for the (Not So) Simple Life by Keith Stewart
    Ever wonder why organic food is often more expensive than conventional food? Want to know what exactly happens on such a farm? This is the book for you! Keith Stewart guides us through the ins and outs of the conventional farm turned organic that he and his wife bought in upstate New York. Everything from stories about his beloved farm dogs, to the hardships of trying to raise free-range chickens, to discussions about how farms are certified organic in the US is discussed in his collection of well-written stories and essays. Much wisdom, heart, and hard work shines through this memoir.
  • Second Nature: A Gardener's Education by Michael Pollan
    The author of best-sellers The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food takes us on an entertaining exploration of how history, rationale, religion, and culture influence our gardening practices. Mixing history, theory, and philosophy, this book is an interesting look at environmental ethics and the blending of culture with nature.
  • You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail
    The essential DIY garden book! Mixing traditional methods with the unconventional, creative with the common, this is a hip, inspirational must-have for the urban (and modern day) gardener of any skill level. Also check out for creative ideas, helpful forums and much more!
Garden Supply Retailers
  • Burpee Seeds ( is one of the most well-known and respected names in seeds. Burpee offers a wide variety of heirloom and award-winning seeds available through their website or catalog. They have a huge selection of perennial and annual flowers, herbs, bulbs, and seeds.
  • Clean Air Gardening ( sells environmentally friendly gardening tools and supplies. This site has every tool a gardener could ever want, including vegan-friendly gardening gloves, electric and push lawn mowers, organic lawn care items and special gift items for any occasion.
  • The Jung Seed Company ( has offered seeds, bulbs, fruit bushes and trees, herbs, and even roses for more than 100 years. Their quality and affordability make them one of the most popular seed companies in the United States.
  • Real Goods ( sells thousands of green-living products for indoors and outdoors, such as composting supplies, renewable energy modules (like wind, solar, and hydro), books about sustainable living choices, rain barrels, and more.
  • Seeds of Change ( is a retailer known its certified organic products and promotion of sustainable agriculture. Their Website is chocked full of articles about everything you could ever want to know about organic gardening.
Editor's Note: If you have a gardening resource to share that isn't listed here, please leave a comment to the right side of this article to share your recommendations with other SparkPeople members!