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Extension’s Planttalk Colorado helps gardeners

By Jim Smith
SUN Columnist

Gardening season is around the corner, and home gardeners will find concise and reliable answers to frequently asked questions through a 16-year-old program —  Planttalk Colorado.

The educational program offers multimedia resources delivered instantly through a website. Planttalk Colorado is sponsored by Colorado State University Extension, the Denver Botanical Gardens and the Green Industries of Colorado alliance.

Want to know the best time to divide perennials, which insects are beneficial, or whether upside-down tomato containers actually work?

Hundreds of resources

Just visit www.planttalk.org. From there, access hundreds of online resources that will help ensure gardening success. They include:

• The easy ability to “Ask an Expert” your personal gardening question.

• Written fact sheets on common topics.

• Audio recordings with gardening tips.

• Short YouTube videos providing gardening information, demonstrations and how-to information.

• Easy access to gardening blogs.

• Fact sheets available as podcasts and distributed through RSS feeds.

• Information can be accessed in Spanish.

Best sources of information

“We’re providing unbiased, science-based information that’s vetted by three entities that are among the best sources of information in Colorado,” said Jim Klett, CSU.

Planttalk Colorado began as a toll-free telephone service, the first program of its kind to offer Colorado gardeners instant access to reliable gardening information.

The program has evolved to deliver gardening information online and has had astonishing success with the web-based format:

• Website hits totaled more than 20 million as of February 2013.

• An average of 70,000 monthly users view or download Planttalk Colorado information on more than 600 gardening topics, according to 2012 data.

• Monthly podcast hits throughout 2012 averaged 21,950.

• Spanish Planttalk website hits average nearly 6,000 per month.

Colorado’s diverse climate

“People have discovered the usefulness of Planttalk because successful gardening in Colorado’s diverse climate depends on consistent, accurate and research-based information,” Klett said.

Gardeners are encouraged to visit the Planttalk Colorado(tm) site with a number of marketing strategies, including placement of more than 30,000 tags on plants sold at garden centers.

Instant access

CSU Extension continues to provide research-based gardening information through other popular methods, including agents in CSU Extension offices across Colorado and well-trained Colorado Master Gardener volunteers. But Planttalk Colorado(tm) is different because it offers instant access to gardening information from anywhere, with easy-to-use media platforms.

“We’re proud that Planttalk has evolved to use technologies that allow people to find solid information that is specific to Colorado gardening any time and from anywhere they like,” Klett said.

Calendar

April 4 — Colorado Master Gardener, 9 a.m.

April 4 — 4-H Shady Pine Club meeting, 6:30 p.m.

April 5 — 4-H Clover Bud Program, 2 p.m.

April 5 — 4-H Rabbit Project meeting, 3 p.m.

April 5 — Pathfinders, 6 p.m.

April 9 — Memorial Garden meeting, 5 p.m.

April 9 — Farm Bureau, 6:30 p.m.

April 10 — 4-H Sports Fishing, 4 p.m.

April 11 — Colorado Master Gardener, 9 a.m.

April 11 — Mountain View Homemakers, noon.

April 12 — Pathfinders, 6 p.m.

April 13 — 4-H Rocky Mountain Riders Club meeting, 6 p.m.

Check out our webpage at www.archuleta.colostate.edu for calendar events and information.

This story was posted on April 4, 2013.