Green Thumb This Spring: 6 Gardening Resources

Before you ever “hit the dirt” this gardening season, you can go online for tips, inspiration, and how-to advice to help you make the most your of time outdoors. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a complete newbie, there is always room to grow (pun intended), so check out these gardening- and outdoors-related websites to green up that thumb of yours in no time!

GardenWeb

If you’re new to the gardening scene, your very best bet is the iVillage GardenWeb. This site full of forums, photo galleries, and advice from experts is the place to begin. This is where you can figure out the basics – like which gardening zone you’re in, how to prepare a new garden plot, and how to grow pretty much anything, indoors our out. Peruse the “Ask the Experts” area for a compilation of the most frequently asked questions on the site, and you’ll learn more than any textbook could ever teach you. Visit the “Blogs” section to find postings compiled from favorite garden bloggers around the Web.

Dave’s Garden

This (self-proclaimed) hands-down favorite site of gardeners worldwide, DavesGarden is filled with how-to articles, videos, and photos. The site’s most popular feature is its “Plant Files,” which is the largest-known plant database in the world, with photos of over 180,000 different plants. Over 100,000 helpful comments by users assist you with plant identification, botanical names, and growing information – like height, hardiness, and planting specs. The “Bug Files” help you figure out what’s eating your plants, or which bugs could be beneficial to your garden.

Cyndi’s Catalog

If you’re unsure about buying seeds and plants from your local big-box home improvement store, visit Cindy’s Catalog of Garden Catalogs to find … catalogs … from every major mail-order seed company in the U.S. and Canada. The site features over 2,000 resources for seeds, plants, bulbs, and more, and breaks everything down into the most common categories under which you would be likely to search. The site also has a ratings system that helps you find the best quality, service, price and selection.

Yardiac

If you’re “slightly crazed about lawn, garden, and outdoor décor” Yardiac is for you. Powered by Garden.com, the site is helping lovers of all things green create outdoor living spaces that are beautiful and inviting. This is the go-to e-commerce spot for everything from the perfect patio furniture to quirky garden gnomes. Got grubs? Shoppers can also find a remedy for anything that ails their lawn or garden, plus stylish attire to wear while killing critters.

KidsGardening

If you’re a parent or educator, go to KidsGardening for great project ideas and educational information to share at home or in the classroom. The “families” area of the site offers quick, easy gardening ideas for tots, plus more difficult ones for older kids. The “teachers’ room” gives educators insight on how to engage kids through science, with a slew of articles on everything from beneficial insects to plant identification. There is also information on grants available to schools and communities. The “store” area helps you find everything you need for successful gardening with kids. The site is sponsored by the National Gardening Association.

Cooperative Extension System Offices

Perhaps the best gardening and yard care resource in the U.S. is the Cooperative Extension System, a nationwide educational network of offices in each state, staffed by experts, that can give you research-backed information on gardening (and many other topics). Each office is tied to a state university, and through federal funding brings special programs and assistance to the communities it serves. Most extension offices have a gardening hotline, and offer low-cost soil testing and pest/disease identification. This is also where you can go to take the curriculum required to become a certified Master Gardener, a program that allows you to become a gardening expert, and give back to your community.