Hey, Gardeners, It’s Planting Time

Here you’ll find everything you need to start your garden, whether you’re growing vegetables, flowers, herbs, or a combination of plants.  Here you can obtain seeds, gardening tools, containers, soil, information…  Everything but a green thumb.

However, if you take advantage of the informational resources linked to below, you’ll eventually develop the green thumb, too.  Check out the books and magazines on gardening and horticulture, as well as the instructional videos and the list of the best gardening websites.  Everything you need to know to get your garden growing is covered here.

My Empire of Dirt by Manny Howard is a book that details how one man sought to feed his family using an urban plot of land -- get the book from Barnes & Noble

How one man sought to feed himself and his family on an 800-sq.-ft. urban lot

When you think about it, T. S. Eliot had April all wrong — it’s not the cruelest month; it’s the month of possibility, when the soil is warming and seeds are beginning to stir.  It’s the month of renewed potential.  And you can take advantage of it by getting your garden started now.  Then you can enjoy the fruits of your labor all summer long and into the fall (and during the winter if you do some canning or preserving).  Plus your friends and neighbors will enjoy it, too, especially if you plant zucchini (which you can never eat all of).

Anyway, Eliot wasn’t much of a gardener.

And it just so happens that April is National Gardening Month.  So with all that springtime momentum going for you, it’s time to get started.

First, you need something to plant, and for that Generic Seeds has you covered.


Generic Seeds carries a wide variety of seeds — all non-GMO (genetically modified organism) — for low prices.  They have vegetable seeds, herbs, and flowers.  They carry heirloom and open-pollinated seeds.  (Open pollination is the natural, uncontrolled way that some plants reproduce, as opposed to cross-pollination that produces hybrids.  Open pollination can produce varied plants that adapt to local conditions.  These plants also produce seed that can be saved and used from one generation to the next.)   All of their products are guaranteed.  Many start at only $1.39 for a packet that contains more seeds than you’ll usually find in commercial seed packets, and they offer free shipping on orders over $20.


Click to get Golden Bantam Open Pollinated Corn Seed from Generic Seeds

Click to get Golden Bantam Open Pollinated Corn Seed from Generic Seeds

To the right is an example of one of their open-pollination varieties of corn — the Golden Bantam, which produces kernels that are tender, milky, and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.


Click here, or on the banner below to explore their site…


Generic Seeds- Garden Seeds Starting at $1.39



Generic Seeds carries over 30 varieties of tomato seeds.

Click to explore tomato varieties at Generic Seeds

Click to explore tomato varieties at Generic Seeds







More than 35 varieties of peppers….










6 varieties of carrots






And more beans than you can shake an aerator at…

Bush beans and pole beans

Bush beans and pole beans







Cimmaron Romaine Heirloom Lettuce Seeds

Cimmaron Romaine Heirloom Lettuce Seeds

Check out their collection of valuable heirloom seeds:







Flower seeds from Generic Seeds

And of course they have many varieties of flower seeds as well, along with seeds to grow an entire herb garden, including a culinary herb kit




And to get those seeds started, you can take advantage of all their growing supplies, including domed sprouting trays

Jiffy-Dome sprouting tray from Generic Seeds

Jiffy-Dome sprouting tray from Generic Seeds









And if you need something to actually put the seeds in to start them — i.e., dirt — or you’re going to be doing some indoor gardening, you can find potting soil here and here.


Scotts Organic Seed Start Potting Mix










Garden Tools

To work that soil, cultivate, weed, prune, and so forth, you’ll need tools.  There are a number of fine companies that make good gardening tools.  One thing to look for is the use of forged stainless steel, and in that regard you can’t do any better than Corona Tools — an industry leader, setting the standard for tools for both professional and home gardeners for  over 80 years.  You can find an excellent selection of Corona Tools from Wayfair and Buy.com for good prices, including an extendable-handle cultivator that telescopes to improve your reach and comfort (see a video review of this Corona cultivator below).


You’ll probably need a shovel to get started.  Sears carries an excellent, all-purpose Craftsman long-handle, round-point shovel with a fiberglass handle that is inexpensive and rugged:

Craftsman Long-handle Round-point shovel

Craftsman round-point shovel with fiberglass handle




Click to see the Super Shovel at Gardener's Supply Co.

You should also consider this tough, multi-purpose shovel from Gardener’s Supply Company — the Super Shovel (pictured at right) has teeth to slice through roots, sod, and compacted soil, a forged high-carbon steel blade and reinforced fiberglass handle.  Check the customer reviews for this outstanding gardening shovel:








Maybe you’re working with clay, however, so you might want to start with a mattock.  Here’s a rugged Sears Craftsman mattock with a 5-pound head — heavy enough to get the job done:  Craftsman 5-lb pick mattock







For further tilling the soil, try a spading fork, and when it comes time to start planting, you can use this versatile Corona Planting MattockCorona Planting Mattock










Click to see the Mantis Electric Mini-Tiller/Cultivator from Sears

Of course, you just might want a power rototiller:











To move dirt and stuff around, a wheelbarrow is indispensable — or better yet, a garden cart (easier to lift, dumps easily, etc.):

Lifetime yard cart

Lifetime Yard Cart


For that, get a Lifetime Yard Cart.  It holds 10 cubic feet of soil or whatever you need to haul around — up to 650 pounds in weight.  It’s got side pockets to hold tools, as well as cup holders.  (You can’t beat a wheelbarrow with cup holders!)  It will convert to a towable trailer and the bed lifts and tilts forward easily to dump loads.  Made in the USA.







Here are general links to the best sources of garden tools, equipment, accessories, and products on the Web:

In addition to the list of companies above, you should also spend some time browsing through the gardening section of Green and More for environmentally-friendly garden products, including composters, rain barrels, and greenhouses. If you really want to get more environmentally-friendly with your gardening — and your lifestyle in general — Green and More has what it takes.

Note:  Save 5% on any order at GreenandMore.com using coupon code GIVEGREEN. Enter code at checkout. 

Even before you’ve gotten your gardening tools and seeds, you’ll want to be composting your organic leftovers to help fertilize and enrich your soil.  Rather than turning your compost by hand, take a look at this convenient Compost Tumbler from Gardener’s Supply Company:

Dual Batch Compost Tumbler from Gardener's Supply













Gardener's Supply Company

Information for developing your green thumb — planting, seed starting, how to grow specific types of plants, and more

Speaking of having what it takes, I mentioned that you would be able to find here things that would help you develop a green thumb.  There’s no need to be intimidated when it comes to starting a garden.  There’s a ton of free info on the web, and there are magazines and books that can help you get started, solve problems, inspire you, give you new ideas, and answer your questions.

For example, if you can grow plants in Colorado’s harsh conditions, you can grow them just about anywhere.  Accordingly, you should check out this series of gardening videos offered by the Daily Camera, Boulder, Colorado’s local newspaper.  Carol O’Meara, a horticulturalist and agricultural extension agent at Colorado State University, tells you pretty much everything you need to know to get your garden started, including how to plant peas, spinach, lettuce, rhubarb, and horseradish.  Click here to see the series.  Below is an example of the videos.  This one shows how to start seeds…


Carol mentions what to shop for to create your garden — tools, seeds, equipment, etc. — and you can actually find all that stuff through the links in this post.  Why go out and drive all over town when you can get everything online, delivered to your door?

Here’s an article on seed starting from the Mother Earth News website.  Mother Earth News is one of the premier sources of information on organic gardening, traditional skills, green living, self-sufficiency, alternative energy, home businesses, and related topics.  Just about any gardener can find something useful in this publication.










 List of the Best Websites On Gardening

On the web, in addition to the National Gardening Association, one of the best places for regularly-updated info on gardening is Marie Iannotti’s page at About.com: Gardening.  She has put together many how-to articles. 

Another site worthy of exploration is WebGarden, created by Ohio State University.  They have a searchable database of plant photos, over 200 videos explaining many aspects of gardening, and 800 questions on gardening answered in their FAQ section. 

You can get many of your personal questions answered by going to the Helpful Gardener Gardening Forum (a Business Week “Best of the Web” winner). 

And finally, check Dave’s Garden for a vast array of articles, videos, and 253 forums on gardening.


Informative and Inspiring Gardening Magazines

In addition to Mother Earth News, there are several other excellent magazines on gardening that will inspire you and help with everything from planting to canning your produce.  Click on the images to below to check them out and subscribe — often for a good discount:

Organic Gardening magazine cover

Organic Gardening -- the grandaddy of organic gardening publications

Horticulture Magazine cover

For serious gardeners who want to get better












Country Gardens offers comprehensive info on a wide variety of gardening topics


Excellent photos and the info will have you saving each issue











 Best Books on Gardening  (tried-and-true gardening classics)

And then there are the books.  There are almost as many books on gardening as there are cookbooks, but you only need three to get started.  Each is a classic.  Here they are (click the images):

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew details how anyone can learn to garden in their backyard










Better Homes and Gardens New Garden Book covers all the basics you need to know from a trusted source on gardening








Sunset National Garden Book







Those three will get you started with all of the basics and more.  If you live in the west, you should get Sunset’s Western Garden Book instead of the National Garden Book.  It’s the go-to guide for western gardeners, from beginners to experts.

Finally, here’s a video of Manny Howard, who undertook a project to feed himself and his family for a month on what he could produce from a small plot of land in the middle of Brooklyn.  He didn’t know much about gardening but he’d heard about the localization movement and decided to delve into it.  He taught himself the basics, learned through trial and error, and things were looking pretty good.  Then the tornado hit.  That wasn’t the end, though…  He wrote a book about his experience.  Gardeners, and anyone who attempts to push the envelope, should find it fascinating (that’s the book’s cover at the top of this post).

Best of luck with your own empire of dirt, large or small.


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