This time of year the soil is frozen, the tender plants have been put to bed and are covered with snow, and the tropicals have been brought inside and are sheltered. Now is a good time to get that question answered that has bugged you for years, and a good time to learn about new gardening techniques, and new cultivars. You can buy a new book or a new magazine, or check one out from the library. You can also go to the computer.  Gardening information on the internet is growing faster than ground ivy (Creeping Charlie).  Simply typing the word “gardening” in a search engine will bring up more than 1000 sites.

          In part I on Internet Gardening will deal primarily with the web sites that I use the most. I use them and the links they provide, when I get ready to write an article or when someone has asked me a question about a particular plant, shrub, tree, insect, disease or lawn problem. I have not included many commercial sites as I prefer University based information. As Master Gardeners we are instructed to give out only research based information and usually the unbiased research comes from a University setting. 

          The web site I use the most is the “UNL Extension Catalog of Publications” (  At the end of many articles I have referred to a NebGuide or other UNL Extension publication that can be accessed from this University of Nebraska web site. On the left hand side of the page at the top is a box that says “Search Publications”. I type in this box the name of the plant, insect, disease, fruit, vegetable, tree, shrub or lawn problem I want information about. Just to the right I click “search” and the relevant NebGuides and articles by county extension educators and assistants are listed on the screen.

          Or, if you go down from the search box you will see “Publication Indexes”. You can click on one of three categories and get a list of 936 publications by number or by topic. The third category is “New Releases”. These are “new” publications and not all related to gardening.  

          On the left if you go on down further you will see “UNL EXTENSION”. Click on that and you will get the UNL Extension home page. Then click on “HOME, LAWN, AND GARDEN” ( From here if you click on “Gardens” you can access UNL Extension Horticulture, or you can click on UNL Extension Lawn and Garden publications and articles, or Extension Plant Pathology Team and Plant Disease Central for disease problems, or the Department of Entomology for bug questions. Or on the right are links to “The Nebraska Forest Service” and “The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum” for information about trees, shrubs, and plants of the Great Plains .

          Some of the articles I have accessed from the “Home, Lawn and Garden” web site ( by typing in the name of the article, the name of a plant, disease, or insect, or the name of a problem in the search box includes “The Toxicity of Common Houseplants”, “Plants Poisonous to Your Pet”, “Rabbit Resistant Perennials”, “Edible Flowers”, “Drying Flowers”, “Prevention and Control of Rabbits”, “Bluegrass lawn Calendar”, “Fescue Lawn Calendar” and “Walnut Toxicity”.

          If you find bugs and insects are a problem, type in “Plant Pests”. This will show articles such as “Grasshoppers of Nebraska”, and “Wildlife/Home Pests”. You will find 16 pages of articles.

          From the UNL Extension Horticulture web site ( if you click on Articles, Publications & Other Resources you will also get links to more resources than you probably have time to explore. Also under newsletters you can access “ HORT UPDATE” which is a seasonal newsletter for the green industry in Nebraska . This is a free e-mail newsletter written by UNL Extension staff. You can review past issues and even sign up for this free e-mail newsletter at this website. Or you can click on “Horticulture & Home Pest News” ( which is a free e-mail newsletter from Iowa State University . The articles are short and well written. I look forward to reading these two newsletters every time I see the e-mail pop up in my in-box.

          If you go to “”, check out the “Insect Visual Media Library at the Entomology Department at UNL”, “Penn State Plant Disease Facts”, “Pests & Diseases” from Ohio State University , and the “Poisonous Plant Database from Cornell University ”.

          Another way to get UNL publications is to go to Here you will find articles written by Extension staff from around the state categorized all the way from “Annuals and Bulbs” to “Houseplants”, to “Trees and Shrubs” to “Vegetables”, to “Wildlife”, to “Windbreaks”. For lawn care type in the kind of grass you have or the nature of your problem to access the information you need.

          Be sure and check out “Lawn and Garden Center at UNL” ( This web site is maintained by Sarah Browning UNL Extension Horticulture Educator for Dodge and Saunders Counties . Here you will find cultural, insect and disease information for each tree and shrub suitable for use in Nebraska . Also there are links to vegetables, fruit trees, small fruits, annual and perennial plants, houseplants, and lawn care.

          Plants and insects can be searched by common or botanical name, or browse through the entire list of about 172 trees that will grow in Nebraska, information and pictures of 40 vegetable garden plants, 450 annual and perennial plants, and 195 house plants. There is also a link to “Wildlife Control” and other links that have helpful information.

          I am afraid I may have given you too much for one time. My suggestion is to browse some of the web sites and bookmark a few you find easy to use as references.

          Next week I will have Part II of Internet Gardening where I will list some more web sites, and publications. Have a Happy New Year.

Copyright 2010