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Gardening and Horticulture Open Access Resources

This guide provides many open access (free to use) resources regarding agriculture, horticulture, and other topics usually covered within the University Extension programs.

Getting Started

Elaine Kragt and her radishes the size of apples, Colfax, Washington, 1980. Washington Rural Heritage Collection.


Below are some easy to use, but very helpful, resources that are meant to assist novice to more advanced gardeners and farmers.

Gardening and Horticulture (General)

Washington State University (WSU) Extension: Gardening in Washington State - WSU Extensions guide to gardening. These resources are broken down by subject and include virtually everything needed to assist the novice to experienced Washington gardener. Also check out the WSU Home & Garden Links.

WSU Extensions Quick Guide to Gardening in the Inland Northwest - A quick set of resources for those exploring gardening in the Inland Northwest.

WSU Snohomish County Extension Quick Answers - These guides were developed to help common questions in the fields of gardening and pest management. Written for Western Washington State but may be useful in other areas.

WSU Extensions: HortSense - A compilation of fact sheets for managing common landscape and garden plant problems

Texas A&M Guide to Gardening - Short and easy to understand articles on everything you need to get going regarding how to start a garden, easy to grow vegetables, plant diseases, and garden insects. 

WSU Extensions Organic Gardening Publications - Resources regarding organic gardening in Washington Sate. 

USDA PLANTS Database - Although more of an advanced tool, the PLANTS Database provides information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.

Urban Gardening Resources

Municipal Research and Services Center Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture - Provides an overview of urban agriculture and community gardening for local governments in Washington State, including local examples and recommended resources

Growing Fruit

General Fruit

WSU Extension Growing Small Fruits for the Home Garden (Home Garden Series) -  This publication provides details on how to choose, plant, and maintain some of the most popular home-grown small fruits, including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwi, currants, gooseberries, American elderberries, and lingonberries.


WSU Extension Blueberry Fact Sheet (PDF) - A quick guide to get you familiarized with growing blueberries.

University of Minnesota Blueberry Guide - A extensive guide regarding growing blueberries in your home garden.


WSU Extensions Selecting Strawberry Cultivars for the home garden - A quick factsheet on the three types of cultivated strawberries: June-bearing, everbearing, and day-neutral. 


WSU Extension Growing Tomatoes in Home Gardens (Home Garden Series) - A nice introduction and fact sheet regarding growing tomatoes in Washington State.

WSU Extension - Canning Tomatoes and Tomato Products - Everything you need to know to can and preserve your tomatoes. 

WSU Extension Tomatoes Questions & Answers (PDF) - A guide detailing some of the most common questions and problems.

Tree Fruit

Check out WSU's in-depth research guide on tree fruits.

Growing Vegetables

WSU Extension Guides to Growing Vegetables in Central Washington - An extensive list of resources regarding growing vegetables in Central Washington (although much of the information will be pertinent to all gardeners). Topics include planting, grafting, and growing a wide range of vegetables. 

Washington State University Extension Vegetable Growing Fact Sheets (PDF)

Growing Flowers

Growing Flowers 

WSU Guides to Flowers & Landscaping - A extensive resource regarding how to select sites and successfully grow various types of annual and perennial flowers including:


Washington State University Extension How-To Guide to Growing Roses - An exhaustive, yet easy to follow, online guide regarding every step of the rose growing process from site selection to caring for your roses. 

Washington State University Extension Guides to Growing Roses in Washington State:

Growing Native Plants of the Palouse

The Palouse is a unique geographic region and the home to a vast array of different plants. The resources below will assist you in understanding and growing plants that are native to this region.

Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute - The PCEI provides many resources regarding the different types of native plants from perennials and grasses, to shrubs, to trees. 

USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service Palouse Prairie Restoration Guide (PDF) - A very nice guide that covers obtaining native plant seeds, identifying plants, and growing native plants. 

WSU Extensions Xeriscape and Native Plants Resources - A list resources from the WSU regarding growing and landscaping with Washington native plants.  

See also:
Idaho Native Plant Society - A statewide non-profit organization dedicated to promoting interest in native plants and plant communities.

National Wildlife Federation Native Plant Finder - Find native plants and pollinators by zip code. 


WSU Extension Guide to Watering Home Gardens and Landscape Plants - An extensive, but easy to follow guide, detailing many aspects of irrigation and garden watering especially as it pertains to the Inland Northwest. 

WSU Extension Drought, Conservation, and Irrigation Guide - An extensive list of resources detailing water conservation strategies including planting drought tolerant plants, learning soil structure and enriching it to hold more water, investigating new irrigation methods and timing, and more.

University of Idaho Guide to Water Home Lawns and Landscapes (PDF) - A thorough guide regarding watering lawns and other landscapes within the Inland Northwest. 

Texas A&M Extension Efficient Use of Water in the Garden and Landscape - An easy to follow guide that deals with garden watering and water conservation.

Nutrient & Soil Management

Nutrient and Soil Management

WSU Guide to Backyard Composting - A easy to follow guide to assist gardeners of all skill levels with backyard composting in Washington. 

WSU Extensions Soils, Compost, and Mulch - A database of resources regarding soils and nutrients across many different applications.

Washington State University Puyallup Extension Organic Farming Systems and Nutrient Management - Covers topics such as nutrients and amendments for gardens, cover crops, biosolids, and much more.

Penn. State University Introduction to Soils - A easy to follow guide regarding how to understand and utilize soils. 


WSU Extensions: Propagation of Plants by Grafting and Budding - Including a glossary of terms, this handbook is well illustrated with clear photographs and drawings. It covers tools and materials, grafting and budding factors, kinds of grafts, budding methods, topworking, and repair. A table of many common plants indicates when and how they best respond to the propagation methods described.

Pest Management & Pesticide Resources

Pest Management and Pesticides

Washington State University Pest Management and Pesticide Resources - Resources provided by WSU include:

WSU Extension Hortsense - An extensive list of resources including information regarding where the general public can find approved pesticides for plant problems caused by fungus, bacteria, insects etc.

WSU Pestsense - A compilation of fact sheets for managing common indoor pest problems. 

WSU Home & Garden Resources - Lists of information on pesticides and pest management. 

WSU Pest Control in Home Vegetable Gardens (PDF) - A very helpful guide pertaining to pest control in vegetable (and other) gardens. 

WSU Extension Vole Management in Home Backyards and Gardens (Home Garden Series) - Voles undergo periodic population explosions during which time they cause extensive damage to crops. This fact sheet will help identify voles and the damage they cause and talk about preventative measures. 

The Grow Smart, Grow Safe consumer guide to lawn and garden products - Thurston County Environmental Health's guide to choosing safer pesticides and garden products. 


Insects Are Your Friends!

WSU Extension Guide to Beneficial Insects in Your Garden (PDF) - An ecologically healthy garden or landscape has a diverse fauna of insects each with a unique, and usually beneficial, role in keeping your backyard habitat healthy and functioning efficiently.

Historic Gardening Resources

Historic Gardening and Horticulture Resources

This Washington State University Library Guide has extensive information pertaining to locating historic resources regarding agriculture and gardening (such as images, publications, historical documents, maps, and much more). 

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us