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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 02:59 am

There’s garden help waiting on the Web

Growing interest in home vegetable gardens from the White House to the house next door is likely to send many folks digging in the ground this spring. Chances are that when they do, sooner or later questions will come up.

“University of Illinois Extension has four excellent Web sites that can help vegetable gardeners get the most out of their work,” said Jane Scherer, U of I Extension urban programs specialist and director of Web sites.

“A good place to start is the Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide (http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/vegguide/). It has broad information on vegetable gardening, ranging from 10 steps to a successful garden, problems one might encounter, growing tips by specific vegetable, and how to exhibit vegetables.”

Another first stop should be Watch Your Garden Grow (http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/). The Web site covers vegetable gardening basics, how to plant the garden, a directory of vegetables and a glossary of terms.

“This is an ideal time to get children involved in gardening by providing a healthy outdoor activity that also is a learning experience,” said Scherer.

To help parents with this, Extension has a youngster-oriented site, My First Garden (http://urbanext.illinois.edu/firstgarden/).

“This Web site is often used by teachers who have class gardening projects,” she said. “It has user-friendly information on the basics and fundamentals of gardening, as well as guidelines for planning a garden. And to show youngsters what they have in store, a garden gallery is included.”

Finally, new and experienced gardeners alike are likely to appreciate Common Problems for Vegetable Crops (http://urbanext.illinois.edu/vegproblems/). “This Web site allows users to browse by vegetable or by problem to get answers to what is troubling their garden,” she explained.

Contact Jane Scherer at 217-244-2849.

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