Master Gardeners – A Volunteer Program Sponsored by Penn State Extension

Master Gardeners are community volunteers trained by county extension agricultural agents. Once they complete their training, Master Gardeners begin volunteer service. They cooperate with service agencies and community groups on a wide range of gardening projects. They often provide hands-on training through demonstrations for home gardeners, clubs, and organizations.


Gardening with Kids

When I was a teen, my young nephews Bill and James asked my father if they could have a vegetable garden “just like Grandpa’s.” My dad, who raised much of the family’s food, obligingly turned over two small patches of good, fertile soil; located rakes and hoes and other implements of gardening suitable for small hands; and provided enough seeds to plant the most basic of gardens – beans, carrots, and lettuce.


Watering Tips

July is often a warm month and this summer is no exception. With our mild winter and lack of rain, many areas are experiencing drought conditions, making it even more important to practice good watering habits. Here are a few watering tips. Applying a layer of mulch to your gardens will hold in moisture. It will also help control weeds.


Plant Hardiness Zone Maps

With autumn passing through our area, signifying winter’s approach, I paused to think about the plant hardiness zone map. In particular, I was remembering how those “hardy in zone 5” crepe myrtles my mother planted last year were not hardy. Wondering where the hardiness zones originated, I did some research, only to find that hardiness zones are not an exact science, are often misunderstood, and have caused caustic debate among gardeners.


The Master Gardeners

This website showcases the activities, articles, and programs supported by the Master Gardeners of Adams County, PA and Frederick and Carroll Counties, MD. It is designed to give gardening enthusiasts, near and far, the opportunity to utilize the knowledge of our local Master Gardeners.  Articles can be accessed by topic, season or author.

Avant-gardening: Creative Organic Gardening

  • Includes information on composting, soil and a free e-newsletter

Beginning Organic Gardening

  • For the beginning organic gardener. Lots of articles and fact sheets.

Natural Organic Gardening sources at The Dirt Doctor (

  • Information about organic businesses, non-profit organizations and publications recommended by the Dirt Doctor 


Organic test gardens with photos, growing topics from A to Z, and lots of seasonal information


The Pennsylvania Integrated
Pest Management Program

Publications and online resources at this A Penn State website that include fact sheets on insects, including pictures.

Soil Amendments
(Colorado State University Extension)

Soil amendment refers to any material mixed into a soil...Using organic soil amendments is a great way to turn otherwise useless products, like fall leaves and livestock manure, into compost for improving soil tilth.

Web Resources at the Michigan State Horticultural Gardening Institute

Scroll about half way down the webpage to access the list of recommended Organic Gardening web resources.  " A complement to our efforts to promote and teach gardeners in all growing zones how to make gardening decisions and choices in relation to their environmental impact, the resource links below provide guidance on sustainable gardening practices, plant selections, conservation practices and site assessment."