Well, April showers bring May flowers, and true gardeners are well ahead of me I know. As I continue to see all of the incredible beauty with spring flowers, I realize I’ve dropped the ball this year. However, it’s just so busy this month with Mother’s Day, graduations and everything else we are winding down on right now. So, my landscaping and gardening have taken a back seat. I’ve officially begun researching how to start a small food garden and a planting garden, and I am ready to fill my patio with lovely plants and flowers of all varieties. Let me point out here that I am a complete novice at this, but am ready for both me and the kids to get on board in the garden.

So, here are my 3 online resources for beginning gardeners, but if you have more please share!

Resource #1: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

USDA Zone map

In any gardening book, for beginners or otherwise, there is a map like this one that helps break down plant hardiness by geographic zone. Most beginning gardeners should pay close attention to it when starting out. I know from personal experience that I overlooked this initially, preferring to pick my plants based on what I saw in pictures or online. That was rookie mistake #1. Pay attention to the map. It will save you money in the long run, because you won’t have to buy new plants if you do it right the first time.

Resource #2: You Grow Girl


Because I enjoy first person experience and blogs in general, I also find You Grow Girl to be a very handy online resource for beginner gardeners attempting to grow food. Her clean and easy site make it a snap to navigate through various topics. Her posts cover topics from pricking organic soil to check lists and foods worth growing. Her handy resource guide of posts is a great place to get started too.

Resource #3: Online Seed Retailers

Finding a trusted online retailer for your seeds and plants is huge. Yes, big box stores offer many of the same items but the quality may be different and certainly the level of knowledge is. A reputable retailer will provide years of experience, customer service and help – yes, even online!

Have you heard of Burpee? This incredible company has been around in the seed market since 1881. That’s incredible! I also find their catalogue very impressive, as they offer vegetables, flowers, perennials, herbs and more. You can start from seeds or from plants, whichever is least overwhelming for your gardening skill level. They have organic plants and are GMO free. Even better, there are tutorial videos and tips for beginner gardeners like myself to really get growing. Since I can also usually find great deals for ordering, I find it saves me a lot of time and money to order through them.

Gardening has been on my list of frugal activities for some time now. The cost with getting one started is quickly outweighed by the practical money-saving results and quality of food. With enough planning, even beginning gardeners like me can create a small cutting garden or simple food garden. Over time, I will get even better and more organized, which means spending less in stores and saving myself anxiety over where my food comes from.

Do you have some gardening tips to share? Please post them on our Facebook page!