After being asked repeatedly where I learned what I’ve learned in the past few years, I’ve taken the time to collect a few of the most reliable gardening resources I regularly find useful, and categorized them below.
Hopefully this page will grow as I encounter more resources worthy of passing on.
Think you have a great reference? Let me know, and I’ll check it out!
08/10/11 I’ve put this page up unfinished, with the hope that even in its present state it can be of use to someone.
|Websites:||General||Tomato||Pepper||Forums||Organic / Sustainable Farming|
|Books:||General||Organic / Sustainable Farming||Herbs|
General Gardening Websites
The online version of the tried and true The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a ridiculous amount of information readily accessible.
Even better, most of that information is intuitively laid out, and free.
Your local extension office of the USDA is an absolute treasure trove of information. That being said, mine is poorly organized and features a plethora of dead links. So your mileage may vary.
Thinking of joining a CSA? Want fresher produce? LocalHarvest is a site that lets you search for local growers, CSAs, and farmer’s markets in your area.
Got too many veggies this year? Don’t let it go to waste! Go to AmpleHarvest to find a local food bank where you can donate it. Remember: No Food Left Behind
Tatiana’s TOMATObase is the resource for heirloom tomatoes. Community driven, it’s always growing and if you’re new to all this, they also sell heirloom seeds!
thechileman and UK Chile-Head are the two best information repositories for chiles. They also each have a database if you’re trying to identify a pepper.
I know many people would say not including Fatalli.net in a list of chile sites would be blasphemous, so I’ll link to it, but I consider his site more of an “informative store”, and less of a resource in and of itself.
Sometimes you just need to talk to another person and get an answer for that really odd specific question, or perhaps just a little support when Mother Nature throws you a curveball. That’s when you want to turn to a forum.
Gardenweb, Daves Garden, and Reddit – Gardening are all amazing communities with even more amazing people. If it wasn’t for the folks over on the Gardenweb hot pepper forum, I probably never would’ve gotten my chile collection off the ground. Dave’s Garden has their Garden Watchdog, where they have reviews of over 7000 different gardening companies. And r/gardening is the place to find a tomato that looks like a butt.
General Gardening Books
Covering a great deal more than just vegetables, Ortho’s Complete Guide to Sucessful Gardening is a great start to a gardening library. It’s a lot like that old platte river saying: “a mile wide, but six inches deep”. Still, I open it up at least twice a week to look for one thing or another.
Appreciably better than Ortho’s Guide is the Sunset Northeastern Garden Book. Based on the sunset climate zones instead of USDA hardiness zones, it’s incredibly more accurate than many others. It also contains a practical gardening dictionary and plant encyclopedia.
Organic / Sustainable Farming Books
I’m painting this category with a broad brush. Anything “green”, or “eco-friendly” will be here. This includes what I consider the definitive companion planting guide: Carrots Love Tomatoes. A simple encyclopedia-style layout gives this book an ease of use that not many have. Not essential to own, but an absolute must read during the design/planning stage of your garden.
My copy of Seed to Seed has already paid for itself several times over. The sheer volume of information relating to the pollination, processing & harvesting, and seed starting is amazing when you realize the book is under 250 pages. If this book was spiral bound, it would be perfect. As it is, I still use it every fall.