Have you ever stopped to think about how far food travels before it reaches our kitchen plates? It’s estimated that most foods travel around 1,500 miles from farm to fork. Not only is this detrimental from a carbon emissions standpoint, but it also means that what we eat has far less nutrients than it did when it was picked days, weeks, or even months ago.
While this is one of the most pressing reasons that someone might decide to grow their own food, there are several other reasons why it’s a good idea to turn that empty backyard or apartment balcony into a food growing paradise. Growing your own food not only allows you to minimize the amount of pesticides and fertilizers that you use and consume, but it’s also a meaningful and enjoyable way to get outside and stay active.
We have elaborated on all of the benefits of growing your own food in this article. To help you get started, here are the 11 best gardening websites for breathtaking photos, excellent tips, helpful resources, and funny gardening stories.
1. Epic Gardening
Whether you’re just starting out or have been gardening for decades, Epic Gardening is helpful for anyone trying to “grow their green thumb.” You won’t find confusing jargon here—founder Kevin Espiritu helps to demystify gardening and make it accessible for everyone. His goal is to help 10,000,000 people around the world learn how to grow, and with website visitors in more than 100 countries, he’s well on his way to doing that!
If you want to learn how to grow your own food, keep your houseplants alive, explore new techniques (aquaponics and hydroponics), or alleviate problems pests in your backyard, this is hands-down the best place to start.
2. Cooperative Extension System
Regardless of where you are in the United States, you’ll have access to a very invaluable resource—your state’s Cooperative Extension System. You can find your specific state’s extension page through the USDA’s Land Grant Directory.
On these websites, you’ll find a plethora of gardening resources including best practices, blog posts, and pest and disease information (that’s specific to your state). This can also be a great place to network with other gardeners in your area, get some help with soil testing, or get in touch with a local expert if you have a specific question.
3. The Horticult
Authors Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit have been chronicling their interest in design and gardening in 2013, which is when The Horticult was born. What started as an urban garden has since exploded into two gardens, a book on window boxes, and clay pots available for order. If you want to take a peek into a few slices of heaven and get tips and inspiration from garden photos that are absolutely gorgeous, The Horticult is worth drooling over for an hour (or two).
4. National Gardening Association
Since 1971, the National Gardening Association has been helping people get started with gardening, and they continue to help them fine tune their skills along the way. In fact, they’ve become the largest website dedicated to gardening and now have more than a million members. With a database of plants and tools like a planting calendar and gardening calculator, all of the resources you’ll need to turn your dream garden into reality are at your fingertips.
5. Vegetable MD Online
How many of us have gone to sites like WebMD as soon as we notice that there’s something wrong? Well, now we can do the same—but for our plants! Vegetable MD Online was developed by scientists at Cornell University. You can look through their photo gallery, check out pest and disease guides, or take a look at their handy diagnostic keys to help you find out what’s wrong with your prized tomatoes or cucumbers and what you can do to help them.
6. Garden Betty
Linda Ly, the unlikely name behind Garden Betty shares all of her tips, inspiration, and thoughts about what it is to have a simple life—one in which more of us can experience the pleasure of being outside and growing something ourselves. As a self-proclaimed “city girl,” she’s managed to grow hundreds of different types of vegetables and thousands of pounds of food. From how to raise chickens to a zero-waste guide to eating all parts of a vegetable, anyone who’s trying to live more sustainably will find some excellent tips here.
7. You Grow Girl
Gayla Trail welcomes gardeners, cooks, wonders, builders and everyone in between to her website You Grow Girl. Launched more than 20 years ago in 2000, You Grow Girl takes a laid-back approach to gardening and incorporates DIY tips, humor, art, and environmental considerations. From recipes to seasonal gardening tips, you’re sure to find what you need here.
8. Tiny Farm Blog
The most recent post is a little outdated (2018) but the Tiny Farm Blog’s multi-season journal on food growing is still an extremely valuable resource for anyone looking to get their hands a little dirty. You can either take a quick peek to learn what to expect or do an in-depth dive of what an entire growing season looks like. The author’s self-taught perspective makes it very relatable for any of us who are just starting out.
You can either scroll through a whole season of posts or choose to explore specific topics like flowers, greenhouse, harvest, planning, seed starting, and tools.
9. Urban Gardens
Robin Plaskoff Horton is the Founder, Creative Designer, and Coolspotter behind Urban Gardens. Incorporating some of her experiences around the globe, she takes a holistic approach to gardening by telling the story from the ground up—from seed; to garden; to harvest; to eating; to home. The website has raked in an abundance of awards and is a great place to find answers to any questions you might have about outdoor spaces, urban lawn care, nature gifts for kids—and anything and everything in between.
10. Urban Organic Gardener
Many of us fall into the trap of thinking that we simply don’t have enough space to grow plants. Allow Urban Organic Gardener and its posts like “NYC fire escape garden” to change your mind. You’ll feel inspired after checking out author Mike Lieberman’s guides into apartment gardening, DIY projects, container gardening, and buying seeds.
11. A Way to Garden
Is there a better title for a gardening blog and then this? Author Margaret Roach is a leading garden writer and has published several books throughout the past few decades. She takes a chemical-free approach to gardening her 2.3 acre Hudson Valley, New York garden and is an inspiration to anyone looking to experiment with growing their own food. A Way to Garden is a great place to not only find traditional gardening tips, but also explore what she calls ‘horticultural woo-woo’—the spirituality aspect of gardening.
If you’ve been putting off your garden dreams for years, there’s no reason to wait any longer. With the best gardening websites available 24/7, you’re sure to find the inspiration and ideas you need to start any garden project—big or small!
Plus, we’ve only just scratched the surface of all of the amazing online resources for aspiring or advanced gardeners. We’d love to hear which gardening websites you use and love. Please share them in the comments below!