Accessing Local Knowledge for Gardening Questions
Peaceful Valley staff would love to have both the time, knowledge and resources to answer all your farm and gardening inquiries in general and about our products in depth. However, regional variations in soils, pests, diseases, microclimates and other variables that affect crop success are beyond our scope. Where do you go for information? Try your local Cooperative Extension office.
Cooperative Extensions in Your State
Established in 1914, the Cooperative Extension created a partnership between the USDA and universities/colleges in every state in order to provide research-based information to the public. These state specific websites vary widely in what and how much information is presented, support for organic methodology, programs offered and response time. All show contact information allowing state residents to inquire about general or specific concerns. Some provide direction to specific departments for faster service. There is also an interactive map that will list major Extension resources for your state.
Master Gardener Programs
Cooperative Extensions also offer Master Gardener programs where regionally specific answers and often publications can be obtained. Know that within this program it is best to request a conference with someone with a "passion" in the issue to which you are interested. Many Master Gardeners are employed by local independent nurseries or are have tables at Farmers Markets to address your questions.
Programs in Neighboring States
If neither of these options yields results, a Cooperative Extension in an adjoining state may be helpful. (For example, in the east, Michigan State, Penn State and Cornell and on the west coast, UC Davis and Oregon State Corvallis have extensive offerings.) To expedite your search, include key references pertaining to your issue–pest management, soil diseases, chill hours, regional fruit or crop compatibility, etc.) Most information is offered free, but many states also provide publications for purchase.
In addition to providing the most recent updates on crop issues regionally, most offer clinics and workshops, support for school garden programs and farm visits if warranted. Check out the wealth of information offered by your local Cooperative Extension.