Today, magazines are no longer “just” magazines. Many have a parallel existence on the Internet, offering sweepstakes, free downloads of books & handouts, webinars, videos, and even more articles. I used to subscribe to a wide variety of gardening magazines but now I am interested in a few, partly because so much information is on the Internet now and partly because my interests have narrowed from everything that grows to everything that grows that I can eat. Fortunately, my Fairfax County Public Library allows me to check out back issues of magazines (free magazines!) and reading a spring 2013 issue in 2014 is still “in season.” Many times, themes are repeated with each season: spring issues encourage you to start plants from seeds; summer issues tell you how to prevent blossom rot on your tomatoes. The advantages of checking out gardening magazines from the library are: 1) its free, and 2) they are thin enough to tuck into the purse on the way to your son’s soccer game!
At home though, on my computer, I explore the parallel universe of my favorite gardening magazines. For example, Horticulture magazine, http://www.hortmag.com, offers webinars that are presented during the work week but if you register and cannot make it, you can still watch the webinar whenever it is convenient for you. This past month I was able to listen to Jessica Walliser’s Grow Organic: Making the Transition Smart Gardening Workshop for one hour in the afternoon but missed Nicholas Staddon’s Urban Farming. Because I had registered though, I can listen whenever I have a quiet hour. I am looking forward to his Heaven Scent presentation this month and I just registered for Allan Armitage’s Greatest Perennials and Annuals workshop. Hortmag also has sweepstakes, which I love to enter, succinct articles about new plants, free downloads, blogs, cute gardening tricks, videos, and more. Vegetable Gardening, http://www.vegetablegardener.com, has feature articles on edibles, recipes, videos, new books, and do-it-yourself projects. Its cousin, Fine Gardening, http://www.finegardening.com, has the pronunciation guide allowing you to hear how Latin plant names sound, free downloads, extra articles, featured plants, forums, videos, and blogs. Organic Gardening, http://www.organicgardening.com, has articles, blogs, podcasts, videos, sweepstakes as well as links to other companies’ sweepstakes (okay, I am a sucker for winning free things), recipes, and free downloads. With so much information on the Internet, it is easy to learn about gardening any time of the day.