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Where to find help growing a garden in YOUR neck of the woods

Sheryl McGlochlin - Thursday, February 16, 2012

I certainly don't claim to know all the answers since there is MUCH to learn when it comes to growing a garden.  I do think, however, I am very wise in one way.  I have learned to surround myself with LOTS ofmentors who all know much more than I do about gardening.  I listen and learn from all of them!  I encourage you to do the same. Regardless of where you live, here is a list of my favorite resources to tap into.

  • Purchase my FAVORITE Gardening Book.  Do a google search on the title. Read and study it especially during the winter months when you have a little more time inside, then start to apply the basic principles taught in this book.  Basic Principles and Practical Gardening Methods, Successful Home Gardening, by E. Gordon Wells, Jr.  Cost:  approx. $20 w/ shipping
  • Extension Services – Every state has a specific University, which handles their own Extension Service.  They have a wealth of knowledge and information for you and your own set of needs for gardening.  In Utah where I live, it is USU Extension Service.  To find the Extension service in your area, google: Extension Service for ______________ (insert your state in the blank).  Study their website, go to their classes and workshops, etc. 
  • Local Seniors – A HUGE local resource!  Since I own and manage a large community garden in Utah, we work closely with many seniors all over the Salt Lake valley.  They are generally too tired to offer any labor but instead they offer something much more valuable than labor…. they are generous in offering their land, water, knowledge and experience!  They become valuable consultants and partners with us.   We have plenty of garden members who are willing to do the labor IF they know what to do and how to do it!  Bottom line:  I think everyone should adopt at least 10 seniors who have a background in farming or gardening!  They will become some of your BEST friends and resources!  My community garden group (which harvested enough food to feed 300 families in 2011) would not be nearly as successful without the partnership of my seniors.
  • Local Nurseries - Visit several in your area.  Every time you walk into a nursery, make a point to learn something new.  It may be a garden tool, seed, plant, fertilizer, container, etc.  Ask questions.  Learn which employees know a lot and are willing to share their knowledge with you.  Get to know these employees by name!  Bring them cookies or a treat, if necessary, in exchange for their knowledge, resources and experience!  I've done that before. 
  • Seed Websites: Get acquainted with all of the great websites I have listed above.  Not only do they sell seeds but a lot of other gardening supplies.  They are a great online resource as well.  Ask for their "800" phone number and call them, if you like.
  • Adult Community Education Classes – Look for gardening classes through your local adult community education program.  That's how many of my garden group members found me.  Do a google search for:  Adult Community Education Program in your area.
  • Master Gardeners: Tap into a wealth of information from these skilled and talented people!  Find them by doing a google search "Master Gardeners" in your area.  Get to know them and ask questions.

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