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Posted on Sun, Nov 14, 2010 : 10:10 a.m.

Kitchen gardeners can find many resources online

By Jim and Janice Leach

Datura in Raspberries.jpg

Janice Leach | Contributor

The tradition of gardeners turning to other gardeners for inspiration or advice is probably as old as the practice of cultivation. Most gardeners love sharing information and ideas.

I have had great conversations over the fence and walking through the neighborhood about the triumphs and tragedies, on a smallish scale, in our flower beds and back yard plots. Even when the ground freezes and weather drives us inside, the gardening discussion continues on the web.

While exploring the Internet, I’ve met gardeners from around the world and from Ann Arbor. Those contacts have had an impact on my gardening. I was encouraged to try growing potatoes this summer. I was reminded that there is more than one way to kill a weed — and many of them don’t involve messing with chemicals. I have been dazzled by the beauty gardeners create with flowers and vegetables. For a moment at least, I have contemplated challenges of gardens that grow year round and opened my mind to the idea that somewhere there are home gardens containing mangoes or lemons or papayas — even if my own gardening experience makes that seem like an impossibility.

In the spirit of sharing, here are a few of the gardeners, scattered around the map or here in Ann Arbor, that I turn to for ideas, information, recipes or a chuckle.

This Garden is Illegal
: Based in Cleveland, the author has created a fun site that includes annual Tomato Tastings of heirloom varieties and a "What kind of flower are you?" quiz.

Garden Faerie: I came across her garden blog online, read her posts at and now here on She’s generous with her gardening knowledge and posts lovely pictures.

Eat Close to Home: An Ann Arbor area blog focusing on two of my favorite topics, gardening and eating, with an emphasis on local foods.

Project Grow: A fantastic Ann Arbor nonprofit organization that provides gardening workshops and classes as well as community garden spaces.

Cold Climate Gardening: The fitting tagline for this site is “Hardy Plants for Hardy Souls.” The site includes lots of resources about gardening in our climate and a sizeable directory of others doing the same.

Home Grown Evolution: This site is run by couple of pro-biking DYI-ers in L.A. who garden, brew, raise chickens and experiment with self-sufficiency. They’ve written an inspiring and resourceful book, The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City.

Kitchen Gardeners International: A site that encourages kitchen gardeners around the world with forums, recipes and groups. Includes a map directory feature showing members around the world.

Blotanical: Started by a garden blogger in Australia, this is cool site that provides a worldwide directory of garden blogs. I like the map feature which allows you to zoom in on the garden bloggers in a particular area (that’s where I first read Garden Faerie’s blog!).

No where can you meet more gardeners than on the Internet. Where do you look for gardening ideas, information, encouragement, or recipes?

Janice and Jim Leach garden a backyard plot in downtown Ann Arbor and tend the website 20 Minute Garden.