Saturday, March 24, 2012

Resources for Wisconsin Gardeners

I've noticed that some of the search engine traffic that ends up on my blog is from people looking specifically for information about gardening in Wisconsin. When I started figuring all this stuff out three years ago, I was exactly that type of Googler.

Here are some of my favorite gardening resources. These, combined with the blogs listed on the right ("The Vegetable Garden" is a Wisconsin blog), are where I get and record most of my gardening information.

  • Vegetable cultivars & planting guide for Wisconsin gardeners - This is from UW Extension. It lists types of vegetables that do well in Wisconsin weather, and page five has a wonderful chart that lists when to plant your veggies (notice that it's based on Madison dates. See the dates at the bottom for adjusted dates in your area.

  • - The website is great, particularly the discussion forums (find the link at the top right). I subscribed to the magazine for a year, but found that they sent me three issues right away, so the year subscription went very quickly. I now purchase each issue individually through the iPad app. Some stories have great supplemental photo and video content available only on the iPad.

  • Garden Planner - I started using this last winter. It helps you lay out your garden, figure out your spacing, and even print a calendar of planting/harvest dates. You can try a 30-day free trial and decide if you want to put up the $25 a year for the web-based software.

  • Square Foot Gardening - If you haven't gotten around to buying the square foot gardening book (like me), this web resource is a great summary of the concept. I found the chart on page 12 especially helpful.

  • Gardening Books - Over the last few years I've purchased a variety of garden books, and I seem to prefer the type that are presented as a novel full of useful information with a few recipes tossed in. My two favorites are Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (I reread this, or at least skim it, at least once a year) and Quarter Acre Farm.

  • Garden Journal - Just this year, I decided to keep a gardening journal to start recording the patterns in my garden. I'm also using this blog for that purpose, but I'm much more detailed in the journal. I purchased the Wisconsin Local Foods Journal based on the recommendation of a local farmer, and so far I like it. It highlights Wisconsin farmers, provides lists of what's available locally each month, and highlights a new seasonal recipe most weeks. It's not too late to pick up the 2012 journal!

  • When it's time to decide what to cook with the garden or farmer's market bounty, I turn first to From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce. This comprehensive book is produced by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. I purchased it at a Farmers Market in 2005, I believe. It was the first taste I had of information about eating local.
So gardeners (from Wisconsin or elsewhere), what are your sources of information you turn to when learning to garden?

I recommend many products in this post that are not free. I've purchased them all, and I'm not receiving incentives from anyone to write this post.


  1. One of my all-time favorites has been Rodale's Wisconsin Garden Guide. I've never bought it, but I've checked it out of the library so many times, I should. I haven't read the newer versions, but I can't imagine they've strayed from their common sense approach.

    I've been wanting to check out an electronic planner. I had heard about Mother Earth's, but not Shumway's. I'll have to do some research and pick one this year (Charlie's objections aside).

    Thanks for the great info, Liz!

  2. I googled this and couldn't find anything by that exact title. Do you have a link?