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By Jim Gerland and Mark Winer

Check out our bi-weekly Net perspective. Our goal is to make these columns useful for our readers whether they be novice or pro, while still offering a fun to read column. Feel free to let us know what Internet resources you find useful in your personal, educational, or business life - it might just end up in one of our columns!


Gardening and the Internet
April 3, 1998

Last week's warm weather gave us an early opportunity to go out in our backyard and cleanup our flower beds. We really enjoy this as a great distraction from computers and technology. However, the return of cool weather this week took us back indoors so we thought we'd try and at least continue our gardening in the virtual world of the Internet. We found lots of good web sites where we could browse and order catalogs and find gardening tips ranging from dealing with garden pests to growing better tomatoes. We hope you'll find some of these sites useful if you're a veteran gardener or thinking of beginning a garden. Send us email at ig@internet-guys.com and let us know how your garden grows!

By now, if you're an avid reader of our column, you know that we almost always start our virtual quest for information on a topic at Yahoo! This time is no exception. The Yahoo! "Lawn and Garden" area (www.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Companies/Home_and_Garden/Lawn_and_Garden/) listed over 20 sections with hundreds of links to related web sites. Being the geeks that we are, we immediately went to the "software" section and looked at some of the demo software available. We really liked The Ultimate Garden Tool at Electric Mulch, Ltd. (www.hortsoft.com) but thought that $95 was a little too expensive.

Since we've been gardening for quite a while we were already familiar with two of the major players in the seeds and bulbs arena. We've never had much luck in growing plants from seeds so we headed off to the Burpee Seeds site (www.burpee.com) where we were able to order a free catalogue and submit our questions to be answered by Charlie Nardozzi, senior horticulturist at the National Gardening Association (www.garden.org). They also had some recipes to help you prepare your harvest which is probably the best thing about growing your own vegetables. Over at the Dutch Gardens site (www.dutchgardens.nl) we were able to order some of the "finest Dutch flower bulbs". We especially enjoy the perennials we have in our garden and found the Gardening Tips at the Dutch Gardens site very helpful. They even had an area telling you how to create a successful garden. In case you're wondering, perennial flowers are the one that come up every year. Annuals are the flowers that you have to buy and plant each season. We always have trouble remembering that and were unsure of some other gardening terms so we went to the Ortho web site (www.ortho.com) and found their glossary page very informative. From their home page Ortho also offered tips about defending your home from unwanted pests (no not your brother-in-law) and even tips on keeping your dogs and cats pest free. Their Rose Garden had some spectacular pictures of many different types of roses.

This year we are looking to add some plants to our garden that attract butterflies and birds. Over at the Gardener's Supply Company (www.gardeners.com) we not only found information about how to create a backyard habitat but we also found tips on landscaping, composting, decorating with flowers, and even how to water our plants. We're also toying with the idea of growing tomatoes so we surfed on over to Mr. Tomato (www.mrtomato.com) where we found the last 15 issues of the online newsletter, Juicy Bits - "your Internet gardening column". Speaking of "Internet Gardening" we found two good web sites with online newsletters, The Virtual Garden (pathfinder.com/vg/) and The Virtual Gardener (www.gardenmag.com) which billed itself as "an electronic magazine with organic roots".

Locally, Majeski Nursery & Garden Center (www.majeskinursery.com) has a web site where you can request a catalog and place online orders. They provided tips for growing perennials in wet, dry, moist, and heavy shade conditions and offered advice on making your garden deer resistant. They even offered tips for displaying your cut flowers. Mow More Landscape Supplies (www.mowmore.com) seemed to be a good place for the landscape professional. They had product information, specials, and the opportunity to sign up for their mailing list.

No column on gardening would be complete without mentioning the Better Homes and Gardens Online web site (www.bhglive.com/gardening). This was the most most advanced in their use of Internet technology to deliver information. Using the Real Player (www.real.com) plug-in for your web browser you could view videos on planting a tree and three other on sharpening shovels, trowels, and shears. Their "Hardiness Map" was colorful and informative. Did you know WNY is in zone 5? This is good to know when you purchase flowers and plants via the Internet or through a catalog. The Q&A area was particularly useful with topics like "squash those bugs" and "broccoli is cool".


If you have access to USENet News you might want to check out the rec.gardens newsgroup. If you don't have a news service you can read and search the postings online at DejaNews (www.dejanews.com).


Finally, we want to continue to help you utilize the Internet in your life. Let us know what you're interested in and we'll check it out. You can email us, info@internet-guys.com , or fax us, (716) 853-1350 and let us know what's happening on the Internet in WNY or any computing related activities you're involved with.