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By Sharon Dowdy
University of Georgia

Book stores and Web sites are filled with the latest manuals geared for both advanced and novice gardeners. But if buying the newest how-to book doesn’t fit your budget, turn to University of Georgia experts for free information online.

Some 600 publications available

The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Web site (www.caes.uga.edu/publications) offers more than 200 research-based publications on gardening and landscaping. Another 400 publications cover subject areas ranging from how to raise horses, cattle, pigs and chickens to how to control carpenter ants and termites.

To a home gardener, there's nothing like nurturing a tomato plant and watching it produce ripe, red tomatoes. But seeing the fruit begin to rot on the vines can cause even a seasoned gardener to panic. For answers, home gardeners can turn to the CAES publications on blossom-end rot to learn how to combat this problem.

View instantly or download for later

The easiest way to find the information on the site is to do a Google search for your topic, said Amanda Swennes, the CAES publications editor who manages the collection. The Web-based publications can either be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF file.

“We average about 2.5 million hits a month and 11 percent of those are from addresses outside the U.S.,” she said.

To make sure the publications remain current, Swennes asks UGA faculty to update their publications every one to three years.

The newest or most recently updated CAES publications include Blossom-End Rot and Calcium Nutrition of Pepper and Tomato, Home Garden Blueberries, Home Garden Strawberries, Flowering Annuals and Perennials for Georgia Gardens and Growing Indoor Plants with Success.

Most popular publications change with seasons

Each month Swennes keeps a record of the most popular publications.

“Crape Myrtle Culture is usually one of our most requested publications,” she said.

The most requested publications in May were Rats and Mice - Keep Them Out of Your House and Yard, Fast-growing Shade Trees, Centipede Lawns, Camellia Culture for Home Gardeners, Dogwood Diseases and Problems, Home Garden Apples and Home Garden Strawberries.

“This summer, we will release part two of the Native Plants for Georgia publication, which focuses on ferns,” she said. “The first one focuses on trees, shrubs and woody vines.”

(Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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