Growing plants in patio containers? Growing crops on a farm? There are fundamental gardening basics that all new gardeners need to learn for the best success. Understanding the needs of plants — as living organisms — is essential to cultivating their health and productivity. When we provide the right amount of light, moisture, nutrients, and space, plants reward us with vigorous growth, defence against disease and pests, and fresh, nutritious flowers, fruits, and leaves.

Any discussion of seeds and gardening is sure to come with a whole vocabulary of terms and phrases that may not be familiar to new gardeners. These are really worth learning, and they reflect generations of gardening wisdom. Seasoned gardeners casually refer to "pricking out," "potting on," "hardening off," "thinning," and many others. What do these terms mean? What's the difference between open pollinated and hybrid seeds?

With an eye to answer many of these questions, we have assembled this downloadable/printable Guide to Gardening Basics. While it's hard to be comprehensive on any subject, we hope new gardeners will find this guide helpful when navigating the challenges and rewards of growing food at home. Please enjoy and share this document, and may your harvest be abundant.