This Innovative Gardening Site Can Teach a Novice to Grow Anything

OpenFarm is building a free, open database that will break down how to get fruits, vegetables, and plants to thrive.

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If you’re weary of spending $4 for a few organic tomatoes, growing your own garden can be a cost-effective and sustainable alternative. The National Gardening Association reports that in the past five years, there’s been a 17 percent increase in food gardening, up from 36 million households in 2008 to 42 million in 2013. Although these numbers are promising, there are still people who want to grow gardens but don’t know how.

This is where the tech project OpenFarm comes in. It’s a free, open database of gardening information that anyone can contribute to or access anytime. The project aims to be the Wikipedia of gardening and farming and offers green thumbs of all levels the knowledge they need to grow the crops or plants they’ve been longing for­.

“Ultimately we hope for OpenFarm to become the go-to place for all farming and gardening knowledge,” says OpenFarm’s California-based founder, Rory Aronson. “No matter where you are in the world, what you are trying to grow, what your preferred practices and environmental conditions are, the OpenFarm community will be able to help."

The core component of the site is the OpenFarm growing guides submitted by everyday gardeners and farmers to help paint a clear, concise picture of what a plant needs to thrive. Included are garden prerequisites (temperature, sun exposure, location, water needs), optimal time of year for sowing, growing, and harvesting, and growing guidelines for every stage of the plant’s life. Not sure when to prune your cucumbers? A contributor’s guide to cucumbers would break down how much to prune, where to cut on the plant, and what to cut off at different stages of growth.

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