It is important for a gardener to know how to get local gardening advice. Almost any advice is helpful but information regarding a specific area is necessary for the healthiest gardens. Climate zones and soil conditions dictate which plant varieties will thrive and which will die. It is important to match the plants to the soil type and zone or the gardener may have a barren garden in two weeks.
1. Local Extension Agent Program
Your local extension agent will have a wealth of advice for avid gardeners. Because of their education, they have agricultural advice that is area specific. They can provide local gardeners with information about plants that grow well as well as area pests and diseases.
Local extension websites have tons of advice for residents wishing to install gardens. If the information that you need is not on the website, agents will take your call and answer your specific questions. Even if they don’t know the answer off-hand, they will find out and call you back. All of this is free as extensions are part of the US government’s Department of Agriculture. In some counties, they will site visit to help, or you can bring in a plant sample.
2. Master Gardener Program
The master gardener program is a national extension program. The goal is to educate gardening enthusiasts so that they are capable of answering local agricultural questions for the general public. This program is staffed solely by volunteers.
There are nearly 100,000 master gardeners volunteering for the many extensions in the United States. As a whole, they volunteer about five million hours helping to answer questions about local flora and fauna. These master gardeners are also trained to be able to give advice regarding pests, diseases and proper control of them both.
3. Consult the Local Garden Nursery
Most local garden nurseries have at least one horticulturist on site, if not more. They are not only extremely well-educated and knowledgeable but they also love to talk plants.
They are the “go to” person at the nursery when you need advice. They can help you to select the proper plants for your gardening space and many will even test your soil free of charge. Upon the soil results, they will advise what additives are necessary to get your garden area in tiptop shape.
Some nurseries offer gardening classes at no charge. They instruct about plants that grow well in the area. That will give the gardener an idea of what will thrive in their garden. They also hit on soil maintenance, pest and disease identification and control.
4. Local Gardening Community Programs
If your area has a community garden, there is tons of information you can learn. Community gardens are tended by volunteers for the beautification of the town. Volunteering to help will put you in contact with other avid gardeners. You will be able to learn from their experiences and they can learn from yours. It is a win-win situation for all including the community. Also, look to see if your community has community garden where you volunteer in exchange for a portion of the harvest.
5. Local Garden Clubs
Local garden clubs usually have monthly meetings. Naturally, they talk plants and pests and soil but they also have social affairs. This is not only a great way to learn more about gardening but to make friends with those that share your interests.
Oftentimes, garden clubs have monthly guest speakers. These are usually educated people from the local extension, nursery or even from the nearest botanical garden. This is a great way to learn more about the plants that will grow well in your area.
It may take a little effort on your behalf to get good local gardening advice but the time will be worth it. With the proper advice, your garden will be the toast of the town.
Want to learn more about finding local gardening advice?
For more information, check out these sites:
Look up your closest local Extension Agency
Find a local Master Gardeners Program
Cindy Tesler says
I agree that consulting your local garden nursery when you need plant advice is an awesome route. You also mention how most local nurseries have at least one horticulturist on site. I think that it’s a great idea for people to ask around and see where other people have bought their plants from, and if they would recommend that company.
Burt Silver says
I have been trying to start a garden in my yard for a while now, and it isn’t working very well. I want to be able to provide my family with home grown vegetables and herbs, so I am trying to find out how to get better at growing. I never thought about going to the local nursery and asking them for advice. Maybe I just need a pro to tell me some of the things I am doing wrong.
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