Websites of +5 gardening
October 21, 2011 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Good gardening websites? Looking for organized information and not like, meandering contentless blog posts.

I am looking for gardening sites with the following information:

- Ability to look up a general type of fruit or vegetable, and see a comparison of the different varieties and some information about their specific growing needs. Bonus points if there is a rating/review-like section where people can post their experience and advice with particular varieties.

I really don't want a messageboard format; it's too painful and disorganized if I'm just trying to decide what to grow. If I later need info about something I'm already growing I can search for it and read threads myself, but I really want something organized for now.

- Information about pruning and collecting and storing seed for different plants. For example, you prune a tomato plant a lot differently than a rose, but I don't know much about anything else.

I don't care if flowers and decorative things are included on the sites, but I'm focusing on primarily fruits and vegetables so something focused only on decorative stuff won't help me.

- Scientific articles or tips or experiments are a plus, too, i.e. "this growing method results in this because this" as opposed to "popsicle sticks make cute identification tags!"

- I am extremely interested in anything about selective breeding or developing new hybrids, even though that'd be some days in the future. (Past that, I've always been curious how you keep plants from pollen-ing all over each other, amirite)

What I really DON'T want is blogs with posts that are mostly some pictures and "today and went out in my garden and life was so beautiful and awesome" and nothing else, which unfortunately is the bulk of what I seem to be finding. (Not to knock those in any objective way, but they are very much not my thing. I need DATA, DATA, DATA!)
posted by Nattie to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Dave's Garden does a pretty good job of what you're looking for, especially in their PlantGuide sections (example). Between that, the local extension office, university, and occasional checks with the USDA (especially the US National Arboretum), I can usually cobble together all the data I need about particular plants. I have to say, though, that some of the most useful information I've found comes from the collective wisdom of the folks who have been in the area longer than I, so I usually end up checking the gardenweb forums for the straight dope on what grows and what doesn't in my zone or even my county. I usually end up there via Google searches, though, and not through the front door.

For pruning and the like, the various societies tend to have the best information, so check to see if there's a local chapter of $FOO plant club in your area.

In a nutshell - go super local for your zone/geography, since it'd be colossal effort to assemble something that would be thorough and useful on a national level.
posted by jquinby at 4:09 PM on October 21, 2011

Your county extension might be able to help you. Also see your state's land grant university. Where are you located? I have more recommendations specific to the Pacific Northwest.
posted by librarina at 4:35 PM on October 21, 2011 is the Amazon & Apartment Therapy of gardening websites combined into one. They have a lot of different varieties for sale and extensive(!) reviews. They also provide basic growing info and tips as well as more detailed videos and searchable articles and garden tours. You can ask an expert and They are trying to sell you stuff but its not obnoxious and the info is very good.

I spent a good chunk of last winter in their site. Plotting.
posted by fshgrl at 5:43 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Gardeners World is a nice site.
You will also appreciate Growing info cards from Garden Organic.
posted by leigh1 at 3:34 AM on October 22, 2011

Response by poster: You guys are great, thank you! I have a bunch of ideas now!

librarina, I'm in Los Angeles. I volunteered at the LA County Arboretum for a bit so I do know the stuff around here, but as best I can tell there's not a really easy website for the sort of stuff I'm looking for. I have people I could contact with really specific questions about growing things, especially locally, but I'm at the stage before that, basically; if I went directly to anyone right now there wouldn't really be any questions formed, haha, or they'd be so broad as to take up an inordinate amount of time. Thank you for the offer, though!
posted by Nattie at 11:44 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

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