Thursday, February 25, 2010

Consumer sources of garden information

Consumers are mining the internet for more and more garden information. If you are online reading Front Range Food Gardener, exploring online seed catalogs and university plant information websites, you’ve helped vault the internet from fifth to second most used source for garden information in the last year.

The national Garden Trends Research Report just released by the Garden Writers Association Foundation asked “Which of the following are your sources of gardening information?” Consumers rated top sources to be friends (43%), internet (29%), magazines (22%), books (22%), retailers (19%), newspapers (13%), blogs (7%) and other (18%).

I always urge people to look at the source of the information. Anyone can throw up a website or blog so look for who is writing. Is it a credible university, nursery, plant society, government agency or similar source?

There are certainly knowledgeable amateur gardeners but critically think through their recommendations and interpretations before buying their information. You can always run your own experiment and try growing one plant their way and one “normally” to see if there is any difference.

Do check if they are writing about plants in your hardiness zone and environment. This is why Front Range Food Gardener is localized to Denver and other Front Range Colorado cities. Our climate is challenging. While experiences elsewhere can inform us, they always need to be interpreted for how well they translate to our environment and soils.

Low elevation humid climate plant growing even in the north doesn’t always copy to high and dry plant growing in Colorado. Likewise growing in acid eastern U.S. soils doesn’t mean plants will perform similarly in alkaline Colorado soils.

Check back for more garden information and share your garden experiences on this blog. Note your city location so others can interpret how well information applies to them. We can all help each other be more successful food gardeners.

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