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Getting Local Garden Information
4/17/2012  •  Comment
By HannahW

Plant Hardiness Zone Map

I learn  a lot from garden books written by authors from different parts of the country, but sometimes I have to figure out how to adapt that information for my region. For example, the excellent book on growing garlic by someone in the hot dry Southwest gives mulching and planting dates about a month ahead of mine and doesn’t say anything about how to cope with overly wet summers.

It’s really helpful to have good local info. If you know experienced gardeners in your neighborhood you’re all set. If not, here are some sources to try:

Cooperative Extensions operate out of land-grant universities throughout the country, providing no-fee expert information on gardening,animal husbandry, wildlife, environmental stewardship and much more.  Most counties have their own offices.  Click here to find yours. Some counties, including my own, are understaffed due to funding cuts.  One neighboring county office is willing to give me advice, the other is unable to provide services outside its mandated territory. 

Regional organic farmers and gardeners associations in most states provide local informational publications, facilitate connections with other growers in your area, and in some cases, have model farms / gardens which you can tour.  See the Organic Farming Association website for a list of these organizations by state. contains several regional discussion groups.  I’ve posted questions in more general forums, specifying my area and asking for advice from others in similar climate zones.  I usually get a helpful response.

People at any of these places can point you to garden books written by local authors.  I highly recommend Eliot Coleman and Shep Ogden to New England gardeners. If you live elsewhere I don’t know your regional authors, but some of these local folks will.

Tags: local garden information, gardening zones, cooperative extension, county extension, growing regions, organic gardening