Find Answers to Gardening Questions with UW-Extension Publications

November 20, 2016 lawanda Newspaper Columns

The mission of the Winnebago County Master Gardener Association is this:  “To provide research based horticulture education, community service and environmental stewardship to our community in affiliation with the University of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension.” 

        The Master Gardener program was initially conceived to assist Extension agents in answering the public’s questions on home gardening and landscaping.  To become certified, Master Gardeners undergo approximately 36 hours of training.  To remain certified, a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education are required every year.  Some Master Gardeners have been gardening for 30 or more years before becoming certified, while others are relatively new to the pursuit. 

        Whether experienced or new, no Master Gardener knows everything about gardening or has all the answers to your questions.  What we do have, though, is access to science-based university research that we use to answer your questions.

        Today, much of that information is available free of charge to the general public.  There are two UW-Extension websites that offer a plethora of information and advice. 

        The first is the Learning Store, https://learningstore.uwex.edu, where 325 bulletins are listed under the Lawn and Garden category alone.  After selecting “Lawn & Garden” on the left side of the screen, you can choose among the following:  Flowers & Gardens, Fruit, Lawns & Turf, Soils, Trees & Shrubs, Urban & Community Gardens and Vegetables.  When you click on a category, at first it appears that you must pay to get the information, and indeed you may order a paper copy of the bulletins if you wish.  However, when you click on a publication title, there is an option to view the entire publication in pdf format.  You can read the information on the screen or print it on your home computer. 

        If you do not have computer access, you can see the entire list of Learning Store publications at the UW-Extension office in the James P. Coughlin Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh, across from the fairgrounds.  From that list, you can print bulletins out immediately from the computer at the counter for a small per page fee.  Extension personnel will be glad to help you!

        As an aside, along with horticultural information, the Learning Store offers hundreds of other bulletins on an extremely wide variety of interesting topics, way too many to list here.

        Another Extension website, hort.uwex.edu, holds additional horticultural information.  Drop-down menus include Fruits, Vegetables, Trees & Shrubs, Flowers, and an Other Topics category which consists of Pests, Wildlife, Community Gardens and Weeds & Invasive Plants.  When selecting a topic, it first appears that there are only a few related publications, but there are many more – be sure to click on “Previous Entries” and/or “Next Entries” at the bottom of the page to see them all.

        When using the hort website, you may find yourself back at the Learning Store site, as all the Lawn & Garden Learning Store publications are linked there.   

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