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Top 10 Gardening Websites for Your Online Tool Shed

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Gardening online is one of the best tools a gardener has. We now have access to current research, new plant introductions and wonderful photographs to help us identify all kinds of disgusting plant pests and disease problems.

You come to About.com's Gardening site for good advice and plant talk. I'd like to pass along a list of 10 other information packed garden related web sites that I've found very useful for my garden.

1. The Plants Database at Dave's Garden.com

Dave's site is a gardener friendly destination. The plant database is billed as the largest in the world, "...with 86,188 entries, 58,365 images and 33,503 comments." You can search by name or plant characteristics or just browse through the pictures. Searches are limited if you are not a registered member, but membership is free.

2. Fine Gardening Magazine's Guide to Pronouncing Botanical Latin

Now this is fun. If you've ever wondered how to pronounce some of those tongue twisters, like maybe agastache foeniculum, you can hear it here. Fine Gardening always includes a phonetic list of the plants mentioned in their magazine, but nothing beats hearing it pronounced.

3. Cyndi's Catalog of Garden Catalogs

Contacts and critiques of more than 2,000 catalogs from around the world. Is there a better service that could be provided to an avid gardener?

4. Cooperative Extension System

Every state has a Cooperative Extension System. Regional offices offer location specific advice on a broad array of topics, including gardening. Most have gardening hotlines and offer informational fact sheets, soil testing and pest identification for free or a nominal cost. Often the help is provided by Master Gardeners who are trained to assist the agriculture agents with home gardener's needs. You might even want to check out the requirements for becoming a Master Gardener yourself.

5. Insect Identification Laboratory, Dept. of Entomology, VA Tech

You may have to do some digging around , but this content rich site provides excellent insect images, including household pests and those that attack ornamentals and edibles. It also goes into control measures and pesticide info. Much of the information is broken down by type of problem, such as Insects that feed on leaves or bore into wood.

6. Vegetable MD Online

There is nothing like a picture when you are trying to identify what's wrong with your plants. Unlike ornamentals that all seem to share the same fungal disease problems, vegetables can exhibit an abundance of symptoms. That's why Cornell's Vegetable MD Online is so popular. There's a photo gallery for identifying the problem, fact sheets for solving it and IPM links to keep it from happening again.

7. Extoxnet - Pesticide Information Profiles

Extoxnet (EXtension TOXicology NETwork) is the joint venture of a handful of land-grant universities across the U.S. They provide Pesticide Information Profiles (PIPs) which give specific information on a pesticide's health and environmental effects. Be sure to follow label instructions when using any pesticide.

8. The U.S. National Arboretum - Invasive Plants

Whether its' kudzu, garlic mustard or purple loosetrife, the best way to deal with an invasive plant is to keep it out of your garden. Here the experts give you tips on dealing with enthusiastic unwelcome garden guests. There are links to each state's Invasive Plant Council, with lists and photos of plants to be on the lookout for.

9. Cornell University Poisonous Plants Informational Database

A lot of misinformation about which plants are poisonous has found its way into "common knowledge". Here you can search for information on particular plants, like your Christmas Poinsettia, or find out what plants to avoid to keep you, your kids, your pets and even your livestock safe.

10. About.com Gardening Forum

OK, I'm a bit biased. But the forum is how I first found this site, long before I applied to be a Guide. What is so great about this forum is how knowledgeable the participants are and the wide geographic distribution of their experience. Everywhere from Singapore to Alaska. I have never seen a question go unanswered. And if you're the type who likes to chat with other gardeners (and you're constantly censored by other forums for it) you'll also find some good conversation here.
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