Introduction to the Archive

The gardening articles, photos, and germination databases preserved on this site were written mostly in the mid-90's, with the earliest in 1993, and the most recent in 2002.  There are two important pieces written for this site by guest authors.  They are clearly identified, and include an e-mail address for contacting that author if there are questions about his material.  A third guest authored article (moles) was written for UMD, but is included here, with permission, for completeness.  Any other questions about this material should be posted to one of the gardening forums.

All of this work, including that of the guest authors, was developed as a public service in the spirit of cooperative extension. Initially, the purpose of these articles was to eliminate the repetitive nature of answering the same questions over and over every year on various gardening forums.  It is simply easier to point someone to the URL which contains the answer to their question than it is to type it out all over again. There is no advertising. It is not fair to take advantage of people doing research on simple gardening questions. The site design also takes into account the needs of children doing school work, as well as the visually impaired.

My interest in seed germination was the result of my desire to grow vegetables without the use of chemicals.  I decided that restoring two acres of northern Illinois horse pasture into a nature preserve would bring about a balance through diversity that would permit nature to control pests as it has always done in pristine environments. To that end, I introduced more than a thousand species of ornamentals to these gardens, all of which were started from seed. I provided nest sites and homes for all manner of predatory wasps and pollinators.  I encouraged birds to make this property their home. As the years went by, the success of this approach became more apparent.  There were some crops which required lightweight Reemay covers for protection from insects, but for the most part, insects were controlled either by crop timing or by the birds and other predators which made the property their home.

The original site contained 355 pages of gardening related material.  In preparing for the archive, some of that material had to be dropped in order to provide maintenance-free articles and databases which would stand the test of time. The archive is confined to 314 pages. The author wishes to thank the thousands of recreational gardeners, hundreds of professional gardeners, and the dozens of teachers and researchers who have directly or indirectly contributed to the development of this work by their participation and interest.

Tom Clothier
2003