Online references answer your garden questions

Want to learn more about gardening? Head to your computer.

Dean Fosdick/AP
Changing: To do garden research, it's no longer a matter of how many books are on your shelves. More and more, it can depend on how many bookmarks you have in your computer.

Garden research today isn't so much a matter of stacking reference books around your desk as it is bookmarking favorite websites in your computer.

Hundreds of educational institutions, government agencies, commercial garden centers, and other organizations have compiled indexes or lists of flora and fauna, plant diseases and insects, landscaping and planting tips, specific to certain areas.

Many are available without charge, and can be the basis of your cyber-library.

Some sizeable examples:
-Internet Public Library:  An array of articles and fact sheets about gardening.

- Rutgers University:  An extensive plant database.

- National Garden Bureau: Many gardening groups and organizations.

- Bio-Integral Resource Center:  A collection of non-toxic or least-toxic management solutions for garden pests.

- USDA Home Gardening Guide: . Includes such things as plant hardiness zones and research findings.

- Cooperative Extension System: . A list of state and provincial Master Gardener coordinators, along with questions and answers about many garden-related topics.

- USDA Plants National Database: State-by-state listings of plants by scientific, common and family names, plus some 40,000 plant images.

Also, do a Google search if you don't see the answer to your plant problem or garden question. The more specific your inquiry, the better.

(Editor's note: We invite you to visit the main page of the Monitor’s gardening site , where you can find many articles, essays, and blog posts on various garden topics.)

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