top of page

Know Your Resources

“Hey, Siri, what’s the best kind of mulch for my garden?” This is a question often overheard in a plant center from someone trying to make a selection for their yard. And while Siri can give some options, one has to doubt the accuracy of the reply. Questionable advice can always be found somewhere, whether that’s from artificial intelligence or your neighbor’s second cousin on Facebook, but surely there’s a better way to get the most accurate and helpful answers! This article explains how you can find answers to many of your gardening questions from experts and based on research. Read on to learn how to find reliable answers to your gardening questions.

Valerie Rogotzke, Dakota County Master Gardener

Know Your Resources

For Dakota County gardeners, let’s get better acquainted with two websites: the U of MN Extension site and our Dakota County Master Gardener site. You can bookmark these on your phone, computer, or tablet—and I encourage anyone to do so. You can find hundreds of helpful articles, guides, books, pamphlets, and more, all available for free! Everything is backed by scientific research and all specific to our growing zone and climate. 


From this start page, you see several specific guides to get started in the garden and solve common problems.

How-To Guides

Find Plants

  • Flowers (annuals, perennials, native flowers)

  • Fruit 

  • Houseplants

  • Native Plants 

  • Trees and Shrubs

  • Vegetables

  • Weeds (identify weeds and learn control strategies)

What’s wrong with my plant? 

This helps you diagnose problems in the yard and garden caused by insects, diseases, or other issues. If, for example, your eggplants look strange in the vegetable garden this summer, look up eggplants in this guide to learn what the issue is and solve the problem going forward.


Identify the weed in your lawn and find the best way to eradicate or manage it.

Dakota County Master Gardener Volunteers

On our local Dakota County Master Gardener website, you’ll find a calendar of local events as well as updates on our local projects and other gardening resources. You will also find dozens of articles on a variety of gardening topics (most articles previously found in the Garden Buzz monthly newsletter). You will find articles on what you might be doing in your garden monthly, good gardening tips, features on native and perennial plants and vegetables; recipes using vegetables or fruits from your garden, and tips to deal with problems in or related to your garden. There is a search box to help you find articles by topic. There is also a link to subscribe to our Garden Buzz newsletter. This is a great supplement to the statewide website. 

Information on Let’s Get Growing (our spring gardening expo) and the Annual Plant Sale in May is there, as well as a list of the farmers’ markets where our Master Gardener Volunteers will be, answering questions and ready to discuss home gardens with all who stop by.

Other resources of note:

Gardening Projects with Children

This section has dozens of project ideas to do with the kid gardeners in your life! Projects are available for all seasons and incorporate science learning and art.

Gardening Book Club Recommendations

Looking for a book to read with your gardening club? We’ve got you covered with dozens of book reviews on horticultural topics. 

Finally, a last way to get information on gardening and the Dakota County Master Gardener projects going on all around you is to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. When the U of MN offers free webinars on pollinators or when a garden tour in our area pops up, we’ll be sure to let you know!

Photo credits:

Photo 1 for newsletter: Credit Paul Wood

Photo 2, credit: U of M Extension

bottom of page