Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on April 1, 2010. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Garden like a pro with MSU video
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Well-kept yards and gardens require seasonal maintenance, a task that Mississippi State University horticulturists have simplified with a new online instructional video series.
The series, “Gardening through the Seasons,” addresses gardening tasks to be done at different times of the year. Each video is about 5 minutes long and features MSU horticulturists demonstrating techniques, examples and problem solving.
MSU’s Office of Agricultural Communications produces the videos, which are posted monthly. Twenty-eight of them are already online and more are on the way.
“As horticulturists, we all get similar types of gardening questions when the seasons change,” said Lelia Kelly, consumer horticulturist with MSU’s Extension Service. “During our discussions about starting this series, we decided to use a seasonal theme so people could see what to do in the garden by the month.”
Horticulturists also wanted to take advantage of current communication trends to reach new gardeners. Today’s younger generation often talk to each other by texting with cell phones and downloading information into a personal digital assistant, or PDA. They also have multiple commitments placed on their time in juggling children and professional careers.
“We wanted to be more innovative with our Extension outreach,” Kelly said. “We targeted younger people – those starting out with their first home or yard – because many of them cannot come to Extension meetings we normally schedule.”
As more consumers of all ages develop computer savvy, many turn to the Internet as their primary information source. Posting the videos on MSUcares.com allows immediate access with a home computer and Internet connection. It also makes the information portable because consumers can download video files to a PDA.
Noting the favorable response of their clientele, several county Extension offices requested MSU Agricultural Communications to issue a DVD of the videos produced in 2009 to supplement workshops, programming and long-distance learning.
“These videos have been marketed through different distribution channels, and the formats have provided a quick reference point when needed,” Kelly said. “We can cater to clientele who use different sources to find information.”
Kelly pitched the idea of using MSU as the main location for many of the videos because of the renowned beauty of the campus grounds. She and MSU Campus Landscape interim head Rob Rice worked out the logistics.
“We don’t have many gardening situations on campus that are too extreme or out-of-touch with mainstream consumers,” Rice said. “We have the same goals and challenges on campus that many gardeners have at home, and we felt they could relate to what we do at MSU by taking the journey with us.”
There are popular spots on campus that can serve as good focal points for the videos, such as the rose garden on the North Farm and the gardens that frame the Chapel of Memories.
“Most people enjoy roses, and the chapel garden features many types of plant materials as well as bulbs and annuals,” Rice said. “Using these areas draws in viewers and also highlights the beauty of the MSU campus.”
Just like plants in springtime, the videos continue to grow.
“One of our goals was to build a library of timeless information that gardeners could access at any given point in time,” Kelly said. “Accessing this expanding body of work is just a click away.”