A Little Weekend Reading

Last week we spent a wonderful evening with a group of good friends, catching up over a bite to eat and a drink or two.  At the end of the night, the college buddies were grinning ear to ear, the kids were worn out, and us girls were pretty relaxed.  It's something that we just don't make the time to do often enough these days, so it really makes me appreciate it even more when we do have the opportunity to take a night off from everything else and just simply visit with friends.

During the course of a few of the conversations I had that night, I was asked about my garden plans for the year.  As I was sharing my plans, answering a few questions about what I do with the veggies after they're grown, and offering up some advice a friend who wants to start her own garden this year, this post for Grow It Forward Friday started brewing in my mind. Turns out, I have talked to a lot of people lately who are interested in gardening and heirlooms, but in the end it always seems to come down to not knowing exactly where to start.

I've mentioned before that I've learned much of what I know about gardening from hands on experience in the family garden on the farm, but I've also discovered a lot of great resources that have been incredibly helpful as I refresh those old memories and continue to learn new things, especially as my interest in heirloom varieties has grown .  So I decided to pull together a list of some of the resources that have been helpful for me.  It's by no means a comprehensive list, but it is a good place to start for those who want to take the leap.  And here in Minnesota, there is definitely still time to plan and plant a garden!
If you feel like a complete garden newbie, try starting with a good general information gardening book.  A couple of years ago I received Grow Vegetables as a Christmas gift.  It is a good example of what to look for in a general information book (and there are a lot of these to choose from).  When selecting a book, think in terms of Gardening 101: you want the basics on planning, preparing, planting, growing, maintaining, and harvesting your garden.  I especially like the really basic (i.e. easy to follow) tips on crop rotation and the "Vegetable Doctor" section in this book.  This particular book doesn't address heirloom varieties, but the basic information will give you a good base of knowledge that applies to both old and new varieties.

If you're looking for more specific gardening information, you'll have plenty to chose from as well.  These are just a few of my favorite sources that have addressed some of my more specific garden needs: 
If you find yourself stumped with what to do with your garden harvest now that you have it, or are looking for a little inspiration as to what to plant in your garden, there are tons of garden cooking and preserving resources to guide you.  Again, here is just a sampling of some of my favorites: 
So check these resources out this weekend and then start sketching out some garden plans!  And as I mentioned before, this is by no means a comprehensive list, so I've missed one of your favorite online or print garden resources, please share it in the comments!

Grow It Forward Heirloom Seed Contest

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