When I first started out gardening, I was lucky enough to have parents (especially my mother) who were experienced with growing their own food. My father did much of the construction of the garden, including raised beds and a watering system, and my mother was responsible for the planting and tending of the garden. Of course, they did much more than what I’m describing here, but this description is just to give a general idea of the kind of knowledge base they each had. It was fantastic because I could just ask them questions about what to grow, how to grow it, and where to grow it, as well as have them help me solve gardening issues like a leaky spigot or broken trellis. Still, there was a lot more for me to explore in the world of gardening, farming, and horticulture. I started collecting resources, both in-person and online. Here’re are my favorites:
One of the best places to get plant advice is from the experts themselves! My top three nurseries are as follows:
- Flower World in Woodinville, WA
- Brothers Greenhouses in Port Orchard, WA
- Sunnycrest Nursery in Key Center, WA
There are plenty of other nurseries out there, so I recommend looking local and family-owned (or at least not a chain like large home improvement stores). The knowledge and care that comes from these smaller businesses are invaluable as a gardener, and as fewer and fewer people are taught the basics of growing their own food, the knowledge from these experts becomes more and more indispensable.
While gardening and farming are often considered old-age heritage skills, the age of technology provides a wide array of places to learn. Here are some of my favorites:
The websites above are great places to get started when learning about gardening, and they often have answers to my many questions!
I’m going to admit that I don’t often rely on printed materials for my research into gardening. Websites and real people are what I generally prefer, but I do have a few recommendations that I’ve either read or heavily looked into enough to recommend them:
- The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible (book)
- Backyard Homestead (book)
- Better Homes & Gardens (magazine)
- Mother Earth News (magazine, print version of website with other articles in it, including topics like homesteading, sustainability, and the natural world)
- Farm & Ranch Living (magazine)
As a graduate student with a job, it can be difficult to find time for research. So, when I found some amazing gardening YouTubers, I was ecstatic! Here are my ultimate favorites:
- MIgardener (note: Some of the information is Michigan-specific, but they do talk about how to apply their practices across the US.)
- suburban homestead (note: This person has amazing cinematography, writes their own music, and is extremely knowledgeable about plants. I cannot recommend their channel enough.)
- Epic Gardening (note: The thumbnails and titles are clickbait-y, but the information in the videos is still fantastic.)
- Roots and Refuge Farm (note: This is a homesteading channel with great tips and tricks, but some of the information does discuss difficult topics such as animal death, crop destruction, and financial woes. While these are a tiny percentage of their videos, if this is something that is difficult to watch, I recommend avoiding this channel.)
I hope you’ve found this a helpful collection of resources! As always, the world is full of places and ways to learn. Sometimes, the best teacher is experimentation. Coming up with gardening ideas and testing out new ways of growing something helps further the knowledge of horticulture. Have fun learning!