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Having a garden is a great step towards self-sufficiency. For beginners, it’s important to take time to learn and practice your gardening skills. Check out this huge list of resources for beginning gardeners (and brown thumbs like me who need to up their gardening game).
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2020: We have been living at our off-grid property since December 2017 and this is our second year actually getting to garden in our own soil. The posts and topics included in this round-up have been updated. Many of our favorite posts here actually helped me become less of a brown thumb and more of a productive gardener! I hope these posts help you too.
One of our big goals in developing our off-grid property isn’t simply to build a home from scratch, but to build productive, sustainable gardens, orchards, and food forests. We want to be able to grow and preserve our own food to reduce reliance on commercially produced food and create better food security and nutrition for our family. But I used to have one problem…
I was a total brown thumb.
We’ve had gardens in the past, but nothing to write home about. We gardened in a conventional way, we didn’t research a lot unless there was a problem, and you can bet money we’d never even heard about things like “permaculture” or “Back to Eden” gardening.
In fact, the last time we attempted a garden was the summer I gave birth to our son (who turns seven this year…geez). Suffice to say our garden lacked drainage or anything resembling a thoughtful, sustainable design.
While we were building our cordwood home, we took the time to hone some growing skills in a container garden. It went better than the last attempts, but I needed all the help I could get. That’s where this list comes in.
Consider this list your go-to resource for gardening tips and advice. I used most of these posts to learn new tips and techniques to help me not kill my plants. Online courses and books have been wonderful references for me and I am happy to say that I am a much more confident gardener. With the uncertain times we face, it feels good to know we have some measure of food security right here on our homestead.
Feel free to bookmark this post or pin it to Pinterest and come back whenever you need to reference something.
Best of luck with your garden!
Gardening Resources for Beginners, Aspiring Homesteaders, and Brown Thumbs
Quick Navigation Guide
Permaculture, Back to Eden, and Planning
Recommended Online Courses:
Online Gardening School with Rick Stone
I took his Beginners course a few years back and it was awesome! Super affordable, highly knowledgable and engaging. He has loads of courses there, including several great free courses for beginners. He presents information in an informative and approachable way that leaves you feeling empowered to make better gardening choices. The Gardening Academy is his comprehensive class package that will be opening for enrollment. Head over to check it out!
Garden and Seed Starting Planners
Complete Seed Starting Printable (for Zones 3-10)
Seed Starting Planner (for ANY Zone!)
Downloadable Seed Starting and Planting Calendar (with template!)
4 Garden Planning Basics from MrAnimal Farm
Gardening for Beginners
These posts contain some great basic knowledge for those just starting out with gardening, or for those needing a bit of a refresher. Learn about everything from how to get started with a simple backyard veggie garden to learning the real cost of raising a garden.
Garden Projects You Can Do For Cheap or Free
“Get Your Garden Started! Vegetable Gardening for the Beginning-est Beginner” by Pam Farley
Real Cost of Raising a Garden from Melissa K. Norris – Melissa’s book “The Made From Scratch Life“also has some great garden planners and charts that are completely worth checking out. Head over to Amazon to get it now.
Gardening 101 from Hillsborough Homesteading
Setting Up a Veggie Garden in the Backyard from 104 Homestead
Seed Starting for Beginners from You Should Grow
Garden Resources from Piwakawaka Valley
Building Garden Beds from Growing Wild Roots
Home Garden Ideas from Common Sense Homestead
Start Composting in 30 Seconds for Less Than $3
Make a Worm Composter for Less than Five Bucks
Propagating Raspberries from Suckers
How to Grow an Endless Supply of Basil from ONE Plant
While we were building our cordwood house, containers were basically the only way we could grow fresh food at home. We lived in a condo while we built, so there was no yard. Only a deck. And with heavy machinery rumbling around our property, it would have been foolish to try to garden in the ground out there. Not only that, our soil needed some serious amending.
Check out these great container gardening ideas that helped us grow our own food even when we were short on space.
FREE Container Gardening Ideas For Beginners
How We Built a Thriving Container Garden for FREE (using this permaculture inspired technique)
Container Vegetable Gardening from Walkerland
5 Best Container Vegetables for Beginning Gardeners
How to Grow in Grow Bags from Northern Homestead
Growing Greens in Containers from Homestead Dreamer
The Best Vegetables to Grow in Pots from Imperfectly Happy Homesteading
Easy to Grow Vegetables for the Frustrated Gardener from Imperfectly Happy Homesteading
Natural Gardening Techniques
These techniques are becoming the bread and butter of our homestead. Last year’s garden featured two small hugelkultur beds and a more traditional raised bed made from logs we found on our property. That raised bed will be converted into another hugelkultur bed this year.
Check out these great posts to help you plan and create your garden more naturally this year:
The Gardening Notebook from Schneider Peeps
Easy Ways to Start Your Spring Garden
Hugelkultur Garden Beds from Homestead In The Holler
Create an Edible Landscape from Tenth Acre Farm (while you’re at it, go grab her latest book The Suburban Micro-farm over at Amazon…you’ll thank me later)
Beginner’s Guide to Back To Eden Gardening from A Modern Homestead
Why We Use Raised Beds for Our Annual Gardening from North Country Farmer
Cold Frame Gardening from Homestead Dreamer
Want to build a homestead of your own someday? Learn all about our off-grid cordwood homestead project here and sign up to get access to all of our free homestead creator’s guides in our Resource Library!
Be sure to join us on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram for more homesteading goodies that don’t necessarily make it to the blog. Thanks for reading!
Kris M. says
This is a wonderful list! Thank you for compiling it all together in one place for us to browse.
Thanks. You’re welcome!
Thanks for the great gardening tips! 🙂 I had a question though I was hoping you would please help
me with… Can you plant un-popped popcorn kernels?
Awesome resource for new gardeners. Lots of different types of gardening to get into as well. Personally I like container gardening. Thanks for sharing!