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Gardening resources that are available online are such a blessing. You can do your planning and comparison shopping from home, while going through your current seed inventory with your garden plans spread out around you. What a way to spend an afternoon!
We had our first killing frost last week, and while I haven’t even cleared this year’s garden from the beds, it is already time to start thinking about what we will grow next. From planning out our garden on paper, choosing our seeds, and ordering supplies there is a lot to do now for success next summer.
Here are some of my favorite gardening resources to help you plan for the upcoming growing season.
The Family Garden Plan by Melissa K Norris
I read The Family Garden Plan by Melissa K Norris cover-to-cover. Her book takes you through the entire process from selecting the best crops for where you live, to how much to plant for your family to grow a year’s worth of food. There is also a lot of gardening knowledge that is passed on like how to deal with different pests, crop rotation, and knowing when to harvest. These are the details that if you didn’t grow up gardening you wouldn’t know to ask until you are in the thick of it.
To stay on track with my garden plans, I use The Family Garden Planner and purchase a new one each year. The planner includes a full-year planner, plus charts, worksheets, checklists, and monthly tasks to keep you focused. By having a new copy of the planner each year, I’m creating my own reference guide to how things grow on our property.
Shopping for Seeds & Plants
When shopping for seeds, starter plants, and even trees, it’s important to have a few resources available to compare prices and varieties that are available. You will find way more available online than you will at most local garden centers. So do a little comparison shopping and find the perfect varieties for your garden and budget.
There are a few varieties of seeds that I struggle to find each year. Either because they are heirloom varieties, or because I shop for them too late in the season (which I am guilty of doing). Luckily, Botanical Interests usually has what I’m looking for in stock and ready to ship. On the rare occasion that they don’t, you can ask to be contacted when an item is back in stock and they will email you so you can place your order.
High Mowing Organic Seeds
Some company names tell you exactly who they are and that’s the case with High Mowing Organic Seeds. All of their seeds are 100% organic and non-GMO. Many are heirloom varieties and open-pollinated allowing you to seed save for years to come.
In addition to seeds, they carry a variety of seed-starting supplies to help you be successful in the garden.
If you’ve ever gone into a garden center, you’ve most likely seen Burpee Gardening seeds and supplies. Through their website, you can order a wide variety of seeds (more options than what is carried in the stores), garden tools, soil amendments, and even starter plants. Each year they are adding new varieties while keeping up with favorites. Don’t ignore those pop ups! They often mean sales and promo codes to save you money.
We grow more than just food on our homestead. We really like flowers too! Especially those early spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils. We get ours from Dutch Grown and have always been very pleased with the quality of the bulbs. Be aware that there are really only 2 bulb-planting seasons. Fall-planted bulbs bloom in spring. Spring-planted bulbs bloom in summer and fall. This means that you need to plan a full season or two ahead to have beautiful blooms on your property.
Stark Bros Nurseries
When we first bought fruit trees, my father-in-law recommended going with Stark Bros Nurseries. Since then we have purchased fruit trees, strawberry plants, berry bushes, and other garden plants from them. Many of their plants come bare root, so they take a little longer to start producing, but being able to start with a younger tree and prune it to size and have the exact variety we want without having to settle for what is at the local shop is worth it.
Yarden is an online nursery specializing in citrus and other edible plants. Even though I am in Zone 7a, and typically can not grow citrus outdoors, I can grow them inside and for that, I am fascinated by the varieties of citrus that are available. In addition to citrus, Yarden has tropical fruits like pineapples and bananas, but also fruits that are easier to grow in my area like pears and apples. There are lots of options available!
Nature Hills Nursery
If you are looking for trees of any variety, you’re going to want to check out Nature Hills Nursery. They carry a wide variety of shade trees and fruit trees, plus other flowering and fruiting plants. They ship based on your agricultural zone, so be mindful of your dates. Nature Hills Nursery also sells a variety of houseplants.