When I first got serious about gardening, I did not know any gardeners I could turn to for advice. In those early months, I spent countless hours browsing gardening forums and reading threads that had the answers to many of my gardening questions. The Internet became my garden club, I met many gardeners who were quick to give advice, and many even shared plants and seeds from their own gardens with me.
If you find yourself in the same situation, I recommend turning to these 10 online communities of gardeners. The suggestions are in no particular order, but they cover all of the gardening topics that I am interested in and have either participated or lurked when I needed an answer from a real gardener.
1. GardenwebThe largest gardening site on the Internet has forums for every gardening topic imaginable. Whether you are looking to nerd out about houseplants or looking for local gardening advice, GardenWeb has it all.
2. PermiesDescribes itself as the “hottest permaculture site on the web,” and is a good forum if you are gardening interests fall into farming, homesteading, using organic and sustainable practices. The Permies forums even have regional forums where jobs, events, and resources are posted.
3. TomatovilleTom Wagner has introduced many great tomatoes to the home gardener. If you have grown ‘Green Zebra’, you have grown a Tom Wagner tomato. One of the places online that experienced tomato growers like Tom hangout is Tomatoville. Here you'll find answers to every question you have about growing tomatoes
4. Cacti & SucculentsWhen I became interested in cacti & succulents the cacti & succulent forum at GardenWeb was my first stop to learn about these wonderful plants. But there are several communities scattered around the Internet that are just as good. For starters, there is an active Yahoo Group for cacti & succulents and the British Cactus & Succulent Society forum.
5. TwitterTwitter is not just for broadcasting what you had for lunch. The social network is also home to many gardeners around the world. @Xitomatl and I co-founded #SeedChat. Every Wednesday evening, gardeners from across North America gather to talk about growing plants from seed from 9pm-10pm EST. On Tuesday afternoons at 2pm EST, you can participate in #TreeChat and get tips on growing and caring for trees. On Mondays at 9pm EST, there is #GardenChat that covers many gardening topics.
6. FlickrIf you are a gardener of few words but many pictures Flickr may be good place to call home. There is the general gardening photo pool along with one for container gardening to get you started.
7. Carnivorous PlantsCarnivorous plants are experiencing a bit of a resurgence in the wake of the terrarium fad these past couple of years. If your dabbling in terrariums lead to a fascination with carnivorous plants, check out the Terraforums and the International Carnivorous Plant Society forums.
8. GardenStewWhile this forum is smaller and less encompassing than the GardenWeb forums, GardenStew is a friendly community of homemakers and gardeners worth checking out.
9. Guerrilla GardeningEven landless gardeners can find a home online to discuss gardening or get ideas. The guerrilla gardening forum is the largest online community of guerrilla gardeners you will find. You can participate in the general forum or find people closer to your city to organize nighttime raids on blighted lots in your community.
10. FacebookThere are more ways to waste time on Facebook than tending to a fake farm. The social media juggernaut is actually home to a lot of gardening communities. The Flea Marketing Gardening page is a great resource for recycling and upcycling trash into garden treasures. The National Garden Club’s Facebook page is a fun read filled with gardening inspiration, polls and products you can try in your garden.
Check out my post on 10 Great Gardening Websites You Must Read for a similar listing of garden blogs. Pick your favorites from both lists and bookmark them so you can turn to them when you need help and there's nobody around to ask in person.