Getting Gardening Advice for Your Part of the Country

Getting Advice

When I started gardening, back before the internet, it wasn’t easy to get gardening advice for my part of the country. I had several good garden books that covered almost everything you might want to know about gardening. However, these books were usually written with the north-eastern states in mind, like Ohio and New York. The times for the average first and last frost were way off from what I was used to, as were the timing for planting seeds, planting and pruning roses, etc.. At that time, I was living in south Georgia where it was too cold for tropical (Florida) growing advice and too warm for many plants that grew comfortably in the northern part of our state.

Since the advent of the internet, things have gotten easier. Over the years, one of the most constant, reliable sources of local gardening information has been the state Cooperative Extension Service, often known as the county agent. Every state has one. Recently, I came across the website Extension.org.  It’s a portal for access to state Extension services across the country. Though the Extension service is primarily aimed at farmers, it includes a lot of valuable information about local growing conditions.

In Georgia, we are also fortunate to have a retired Cooperative Extension Service employee, Walter Reeves, who writes a garden advice column for the Atlanta Journal, has a call-in garden talk show on the radio, and a couple of television shows on public broadcasting. All that in addition to writing books about gardening in Georgia. Recently, I’ve been consulting his gardening calendar for the times for various tasks in the yard; pruning hydrangeas, dividing iris’, and when to think about planting seeds for a fall garden. He also has advice about which varieties do well in our state. While his advice is aimed at Georgia, much of it will apply to the rest of the southeastern states (Florida, you’re on your own).

Many states will have people like Mr. Reeves whose reliable local gardening advice can be just a web search away. ( I started to say, just a Google search away, but I’m also finding Bing to be a useful tool – your mileage may vary.)

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