Backyard Gardening 101

Growing your own food used to be common–the only way you had enough food to eat, in fact. However, that was long ago in the U.S. Covid-19 has made every trip to the grocery store a potential risk, and ordering grocery delivery a hit-and-miss exercise of what is currently in stock and someone else’s quality control selection.

Local food has never been so important. Local farms are meeting high demand for fresh food in ways we feel safe accessing: farm stands, virtual farmers markets, and supplying food pantries and prepared meal options. You can find more information on what farms offer in SEMAP’s 2020 Local Food Guide.

To gain ultimate control over how they get their food, many people are beginning to grow their own. New gardens are being dug, old forgotten gardens are being uncovered and prepared, and last year’s gardens have been renewed for this year’s crop.

SEMAP serves everyone involved in agriculture in Southeastern Massachusetts, from the largest of our commercial farms to our backyard gardeners growing food for themselves and family. This page lists many resources for the Backyard Gardener, and will be updated and expanded over time. If you have suggestions for anything that should be on this page, please get in touch.


Articles to Reference
The gardening movement is an integral part of U.S. history, and has transformed alongside social and political change throughout the centuries. In addition to basic information about gardening, these articles frame the COVID-19 gardening boom in a historical context so you can understand the form gardening takes today, and how we might garden in the future.

Forbes: Everything to Know About Starting Your Own COVID-19 Victory Garden

WHYY: Can Coronavirus ‘Victory Gardens’ quell post-pandemic hunger? 

Earth Island: Why the COVID Gardening Boom is About More than Food Building Your Own Vegetable Garden at Home


Books to Read
This list is just a start! There are more gardening books than you could read in a lifetime. But these will help get you started as a new gardener, or up your game as a seasoned home grower.

Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening, 2nd Edition

Alan Buckingham’s The Kitchen Garden: A Month by Month Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables

Lisa Daniels’ Grow Your Own Organic Food

Zakary Davidson’s Raised Bed Gardening

Carol Klein & Fiona Gilsenan’s Grow Your Own Vegetables

Brett Markham’s mini farming series:

Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on a ¼ Acre

Maximizing Your Mini Farm

The Mini Farming Guide to Vegetable Growing: Self-sufficiency from Asparagus to Zucchini

Jill McSheehy’s Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Forrest McDowell & Tricia Clark-McDowell’s Grow Your Own Food Made Easy: Nutritious Organic Produce from Your Own Garden, A Step-by-Step Guide

Tom Moggach’s Urban Kitchen Gardener: Grow and Cook Your Own Food in the City

Huw Richards’ Grow Food For Free

Dion Rosser’s Homesteading: A Comprehensive Homestead Guide to Self-Sufficiency, Raising Backyard Chickens, and Mini Farming, Including Gardening Tips and Best Practices for Growing Your Own Food

John Jeavons’s How to Grow More Vegetables, Ninth Edition (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land with Less Water Than You Can Imagine


Websites to Follow

The Old Farmers Almanac

The Almanac is so much more than a gardening guide. It has weather and folklore, guides and plans, ideas for gardening with kids, weed and pest management, information about specific crops, and so much more!

Urban Farmer

A one-stop resource for seeds, equipment, garden plans, gardening guides, fertilizing, pest management, companion planting, and so much more!

Gardening Know How: Edible Gardens

A fabulous information hub on individual crop, seed-to-harvest instructions, care, trouble-shooting, and more.

England’s Royal Horticultural Society

This incredible source of information and resources will get you going and keep you going with everything you need to know for your garden.

Grow Your Own Magazine

This print magazine has a resourceful website. Learn how to grow particular popular crops and read informative articles online.

Attainable Sustainable

This popular website has resources on vegetable and herb gardening, growing fruit, indoor and small space gardens.

Southeastern Massachusetts vegetable/fruit gardening and homesteading

Facebook group of individuals and families in Southeastern MA sharing gardening tips and advice.

The Grown in Middleboro/Lakeville Initiative

Facebook group of Middleboro/Lakeville area residents connecting consumers with local agricultural producers.


YouTube Channels to Watch


Where to Buy Seeds & Plants

Under the Sun Farmstand in Dighton

Physical Locations

Peckham’s Greenhouse – Little Compton, RI

Cluck & Trowel Farm – Little Compton, RI

Klein’s Greenhouse – New Bedford, MA

Under the Sun Farm – Dighton, MA

Leo’s Greenhouse – Tiverton, RI

Ivory Silo Farm – Westport, MA

Check your local farmstand for seedlings for sale!

Online Locations

Due to high demand many seed companies are back-ordered or have a significant amount of products out of stock. Visit the websites to see what each company has and what estimated ship times are. 

High Mowing Seeds

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Burpee Seed Company

Eden Brothers

Gurney’s Seed & Nursery

Hudson Valley Seed Company

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Jung Seed

Seed Savers Exchange

Seeds of Change

Select Seeds

Sow True Seed

Stark Bro’s

Sustainable Seed Co.

Territorial Seed Co.


Where to Buy Materials & Equipment

Big/Chain Stores (also sell seeds and plants):

Gardener’s Supply

Home Depot


Ace Hardware

Tractor Supply Company

United Ag and Turf



Local/Independent Stores

Country Hardware – Acushnet, MA

Bridgewater Farm Supply – Bridgewater, MA

Norfolk Power Equipment – Carver, MA

Marvin Grain and Supply – Dartmouth, MA

Franklin Agway – Franklin, MA

Organic Gem – New Bedford, MA

Munroe Feed and Supply – Rehoboth, MA

Sunny Nook Farm – Rochester, MA

Bay State Pet and Garden Supply – Taunton, MA

Ventura Grain – Taunton

Hay Ray’s Farm and Feed – Westport, MA

Visit our Service Providers and Farm Suppliers page for more garden/agriculture retailers and service providers.


Regardless of whatever stories and events are in the headlines, it’s always a good idea to supplement your family’s food supply with home-grown vegetables, herbs, and more. Thinking of starting your own backyard garden, or already have one at home in Massachusetts? From bulbs to raised beds, we’d love to see it! Post a picture on social media and tag us @semaponline on all platforms. Happy planting!

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