In addition to books, there are many other ways to learn about gardening.
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Knowledge is a gardener’s best tool. With knowledge and good resources that cover all aspects of your yard and garden, you can troubleshoot problems and come up with great solutions. Luckily we live in the information age. Thanks to the Internet, TV, radio, and books, we have more access to more free information than ever before, but with so many resources available, how do you recognize the best gardening authorities and the most reliable sources of information?
No matter how long you’ve been gardening, sooner or later you’re going to run into a problem that you can’t figure out alone. Where do you turn for help? Here are some great sources of gardening information — beyond traditional books and TV shows — that can help to turn a potentially disastrous problem into a successful solution.
Web Sites — We live in the Internet age and information is just one google search away. Its important to find Web sites that offer accurate, accessible information. For example, the National Gardening Association (NGA) Web site features articles, pest and weed libraries, plant finders, calculators, how-to projects, regional gardening information, and more. Developed with decades of gardening experience, its a one-stop location for a wealth of gardening information.
Online Forums — Online forums, such as Dave's Garden, are another great source of information. At Dave’s Garden you can “meet” gardeners with similar interests and problems and chat with them about their experiences. Of course, many users of online forums are amateurs, and their suggestions may be very personal and site specific, but these sites offer a good way to network, find links to other information sources, and build a community of gardeners.
Blogs — Other gardeners are a great source of gardening-specific information. If your neighbor isn’t a gardener, try finding one on the Internet and reading their blog. Try googling for gardening blogs in your region. Read through a few to see which you like best. Some offer more than just gardening how-tos. For example, The Garden Rant features gardening information as well as political and social commentary about gardening, health, social issues, the environment, and more. It’s a fun read and informative.
Video — People have less time than ever before to sit and read information. Perhaps that’s why Internet videos have become so popular. Plus, gardening is such a hands-on, show-me hobby that seeing something is often the best way to understand it. Look for videos on your favorite gardening Web sites or Youtube.com. Be sure to check out Charlie Nardozzi's how-to videos at the NGA Web site. The best are usually short, to the point, and have good production quality so you can really see what’s happening.
In Person — Yes, people still talk to each other to get information! In this age of iPods, iPhones, and near-universal computer access, it’s sometimes hard to believe this, but the best information still comes from real, live people. Seek out a family member, friend, or neighbor who’s particularly good at gardening for help with your problem. Organizations, such as your state's Master Gardener Program, can also help , as can local garden clubs, and employees of garden centers. Master Gardeners are trained professionals who volunteer to help other gardeners.
So, don’t be shy if you have a gardening problem. Reach out and find help, either in-person or via the Internet. Throughout history, one thing has always remained true: Gardeners are a friendly bunch, and enjoy helping out a fellow plant lover in distress.