I learned to garden as an adult by poring over gardening magazines and watching shows on HGTV, like “Gardening by the Yard.” Remember that one? Sadly, none of the instructional and inspirational shows that taught me to garden are still on the air, since HGTV replaced them with shows about outdoor decorating. Furniture, fabric and fireplaces galore, but not much that grows.
A few regional gardening shows are still aired on public television, but for most of the U.S., there’s nothing for people who learn best by watching, like I do. And what’s more visual than gardening, anyway? It’s even more visual than cooking, which is all over television.
Lucky for people wanting to learn to garden, now there’s Youtube, the number two search engine (after Google) and number one source of how-to instruction, whether it’s cooking, setting up your new Fitbit, or gardening.
Which is great, but have you ever looked for gardening help on Youtube only to find conflicting information or really bad advice? I sure have. Or I’ve found how-to advice from someone somewhere in England, where I’m unfamiliar with the climate and don’t know how to adjust the advice for where I garden. (Videos of Alan Titschmash pop up often in search results but what are his growing conditions? I haven’t a clue.)
So I started a project called Good Gardening Videos to find and promote good videos, the ones that can be trusted to teach viewers to succeed at gardening (by providing information that’s accurate) and are watchable (no shaky cameras or traffic noise, please).
To help with this nonprofit project I asked a bunch of smart garden communicators and scientists for their advice and am proud that they include GGW’s own Fran Sorin, along with two members of the famous Garden Professors bloggers and a few more actual experts. We are all unpaid except for horticulturist Charlie Nardozzi, whom we’ve recently hired to curate videos about growing edibles, a subject about which I know literally nothing.
The almost 600 good videos selected so far were made by 18 state Extension universities and a variety of garden communicators, like GGW’s very own Debra Lee Baldwin. (We’ve chosen six of her videos to feature so far.) Some of the plant world’s most reputable companies are also making instructional videos, and we’re happy to promote the best of them, as long as they’re truly instructional, not infomercials.
So how do we provide useful information for gardeners across the drastically different growing regions in the U.S. and Canada, our target audience? By prominently revealing each expert’s location, no matter how difficult it was to find that bit of vital information, and letting viewers make any necessary adjustments for where they garden.
You can find our curated videos on the website or the Youtube channel by searching or browsing the topics. And to help people find the videos they need when they need them, we’re creating Seasonal Guides, collections of the best videos on such timely topics as lawn care, seed-starting and bulb-planting.
Admittedly, you can’t learn everything from videos, so we’ve compiled a list of websites and books we find ourselves recommending over and over – in “How to Find More Accurate Gardening Information.” That includes how to find research-based information using good old Google.
GGVideos is pro-science, pro-environment, ad-free and nonprofit.
How to Video Your Own Garden
It didn’t take long to discover that more good gardening videos are needed! To help gardeners share their gardens, their plant collections or their make-over projects, our website includes tips on “How to Make Videos Yourself.” One take-away is that making a good-enough video is easier than you think – especially if you compile still photos into a slide show with captions or your own narration. No budget for videos? There are free editing programs, and good-enough videos can be made with point-and-shoot cameras or even smart phones.
We’re also nudging gardening companies, public gardens and anyone who’ll listen to make more good gardening videos. In the 21st Century, video marketing is widely recommended because it’s very effective.
Guest Post Author Bio:
Susan Harris pursued her passion for helping people succeed as gardeners through writing and garden-coaching before her recent retirement. Online, she co-founded and contributes to the team blog GardenRant and promotes public gardens and gardening in the Washington, D.C. area at DC Gardens.