Links and Resources
Be judicious in where you hunt around online for gardening information. Not all you’ll find is accurate or applicable to gardening in central Pennsylvania. Here are some links to sites I’ve found interesting and reliable. Have fun checking them out… but please come back when you’re done!
Other Local Sites
- Franklin County Master Gardeners blog. http://franklincountymgs.blogspot.com. Solid and timely information on a variety of fronts from the Penn State Master Gardeners in Franklin County.
- Punk Rock Gardens. http://punkrockgardens.com. Learn alongside Laura (Mathews) as she deciphers the many “challenges” of gardening in central Pa. – while giving voice to other locals doing the same thing.
- Veggie Gardening Tips. http://www.veggiegardeningtips.com. Don’t attempt to grow vegetables without seeing how Lower Paxton’s Kenny Point does it. Download his ebook and save yourself years of trial-and-error.
- Rambling Manure Blog. http://www.highlandgardens.org/blog. This one takes you inside the mind and gardening exploits of Erica Shaffer, the manager and resident plant geek at Highland Gardens.
- Penn State Trial Gardens. http://www.trialgardenspsu.com. Penn State runs a wonderful testing ground where you can see new (and proposed) annual-flower and vegetable varieties growing each summer. It’s in Lancaster County. This site lets you search ratings.
- Pa. Native Plant Guides. http://www.manada.org/nativeplantguides.html. What plants are native to central Pennsylvania? See the lists here, sorted by sun, shade, wet, dry, etc.
- “Diagnosing Plant Problems.” http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-714/426-714.html. Excellent rundown from Virginia Tech on how to figure out what’s wrong with your plants.
- Plant Diagnostics: University of Maryland. http://plantdiagnostics.bugwood.org. Superb site that helps you nail down plant problems by walking you through questions and pictures. Then it tells you what to do about it.
- Bug fact sheets. http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets. Find out all you need to know (and maybe more) from Penn State’s bug experts.
- Bug Guide.net. http://bugguide.net/node/view/15740. Pictures galore to help you ID garden pests… plus folks willing to talk bugs anytime.
- USDA’s bug pages. http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/insectsimages.new.htm. Still stuck? Even more bug photos from the U.S. Agricultural Research Service.
- Penn State’s Woody Ornamental Pest Guide. http://woodypestguide.cas.psu.edu/default.htm. Lists landscape plants with the most likely bugs and diseases that attack them, plus what to do if trouble strikes. Also helpful at buying time to see which plants have the longest potential-trouble lists.
- Cornell’s Pest Management Guide. http://ipmguidelines.org. Similar to Penn State’s pest guide, this one is from Cornell University.
- Pennsylvania IPM Pest Problem Solver. http://paipm.cas.psu.edu/1445.htm. “Soft” and enviro-friendly ways to deal with pests. IPM stands for “integrated pest management.”
- Penn State’s Plant Disease Clinic. http://www.ppath.cas.psu.edu/Plant_Disease_Clinic.htm. Tells how you can send off suspected diseased samples to Penn State for free diagnosis (Pa. home gardeners only).
- Fungus in the landscape? http://www.messiah.edu/Oakes/fungi_on_wood. Pictures and information from Messiah College on various fungi that grows on mulch and other dead/decaying wood.
- Penn State’s Fruit Production for the Home Gardener. http://ssfruit.cas.psu.edu. Reliable details on how to grow blueberries, strawberries, grapes, apples and other fruits popular with home gardeners.
- Penn State’s Tree Fruit Production Guide. http://tfpg.cas.psu.edu. Everything you’ll need to know to grow fruit trees in Pennsylvania.
- National Gardening Association. http://www.garden.org/home. Wide-ranging site but very strong in veggie-growing info. Hit the “Food Garden Guide” in the left menu.
- Penn State on fruit disease. http://fpath.cas.psu.edu/factsite.html. Whether it’s your grapes rotting or scab attacking your apples, Penn State likely has a fact sheet.
- Penn State on vegetable disease. http://www.ppath.cas.psu.edu/EXTENSION/VEGDIS/Identification.html. Help zeroing in on diseases attacking your veggies.
- Cornell’s Vegetable MD. http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu. Cornell University’s site to help gardeners zero in on veggie diseases.
- Penn State Turf Management. http://turf.psu.edu/outreach. Mainstream, research-based home-lawn pointers from Penn State’s venerable program.
- Ohio State turfgrass care. http://ohioline.osu.edu/l187/index.html. Good jumping point to fact sheets on lawn weeds, lawn bugs and lawn disease.
- National Turfgrass Evaluation Program. http://www.ntep.org. Data from states all around the country on top-performing grass-seed varieties.
- Weed identification. http://njaes.rutgers.edu/weeds/default.asp Can’t figure out what those weeds are that are invading your lawn? This site from Rutgers University shows you pictures and helps you zero in on just about every weed you’re likely to encounter in the yard.
Other Helpful Stuff
- Plant Village. https://www.plantvillage.com. Excellent site that fields individual gardening questions and provides answers. Got a question? This is the place.
- Penn State soil testing. http://www.aasl.psu.edu/SSFT.HTM. Details on how to get your soil tested through Penn State’s testing lab. It’s the service I use.
- Mulch calculator. http://www.garden.org/calculators. Type in the dimensions, and this handy tool spits out how much mulch to order. Ditto with fertilizer, lime and sulfur.
- Weather data. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=ctp. This section of the National Weather Service gives you any kind of weather data you might want… monthly averages, rainfall totals, minimum and maximum temps, etc.
- Climate reports. http://www.weather.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=ctp. Daily climate reports from the National Weather Service office in State College.
- Ohio State WebGarden. http://webgarden.osu.edu. The Holy Grail of great gardening info here… scroll down to PlantFacts for searchable tips on just about any issue, select Images for plant pictures or hit Videos for more than 200 clips.
- Garden Watchdog. http://davesgarden.com/products/gwd. A service of Dave’s Garden, this is like the Consumer Reports of mail-order seed and garden companies. See feedback from others before you deal with an unfamiliar company.
- Dave’s Garden. http://davesgarden.com. Huge online community of fellow gardeners, offering all sorts of helpful information, such as forums, plant ratings, blogs, seed trading, garden book reviews and much more.
- Where can I find a plant? http://plantinfo.umn.edu. The University of Minnesota offers a detailed search tool that lets you plug in a plant you’re trying to find, then spits out vendors and growers that carry it.
- Pennsylvania Gold Medal Plants. http://www.goldmedalplants.org. See descriptions of plants that have won Gold Medal awards through this program of the Pa. Horticultural Society that encourages greater use of worthy but under-used woody plants.
- Poisonous plants. http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/poison/index.html. University of Pennsylvania’s database on plants that are poisonous to both humans and animals. Searchable and loaded with details on exactly what’s toxic. The best site for checking out plants that are poisonous to pets is the ASPCA’s site at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants.
- Tree Selector. http://urbanext.illinois.edu/treeselector. Very nice tool from University of Illinois that lays out tree choices by every situation you can imagine.
- Tree ID. http://www.arborday.org. The National Arbor Day Foundation has a tool that walks you through identifying various trees. Also help getting the right tree in the right place, pruning correctly, recognizing hazard trees and more.
- Missouri Botanical Garden’s Plant Finder. http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Alpha.asp. Facts, stats and pictures on just about any plant you might be researching… along with ratings on each by gardeners who have grown them.
- Missouri Botanical Garden’s Plant Search. http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Search.asp. A companion to the above, this tool lets you type in characteristics on your plant wish list, then the site tells you plants that match those parameters.
- Morton Arboretum Plant Clinic. http://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/plant-clinic. Help with plant troubles but much more, i.e. plant-care tips, answers to questions, tree/shrub of the month, etc.
- Green gardening. http://www.iconservepa.org. Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources site that offers tips on environmentally friendly yard care, recycling, native plants and more.
- Native Plant Finder. http://www.mtcubacenter.org/plant-finder. Delaware’s Mt. Cuba Center public garden has a listing of native plants along with detailed descriptions and photos of each.
- Houseplant care. http://www.plant-care.com. Huge and reliable database offering details on caring for houseplants.
- The Garden Professors. https://sharepoint.cahnrs.wsu.edu/blogs/urbanhort/default.aspx. Like your gardening info to be fact-based? Four university horticulture profs joined forces on this blog that tackles timely garden topics and sets the record straight.
- Joe Gardener. http://www.joegardener.com. Joe Lamp’l’s site. You might’ve seen Joe on the DIY network, the Today Show, PBS and more. More than anyone else, Joe’s take on gardening is nearly identical to mine. Check out his podcasts.
- Garden Rant. http://www.gardenrant.com. No holds barred here in this usually irreverent but entertainingly honest blog co-written by four avid gardeners and friends.