Pond Care Questions? Maybe Your Extension Office Can Help

Got a pond care question or for that matter any question relating to gardening, livestock, farm ponds? I could go on with the list of course but the point is finding the answers to the varied questions isn't always an easy task.

We get a lot of questions here every season about pond care, but quite frankly I'm not a "one-stop-shop" of knowledge. I know nothing about tomotoes and onions other than I like to eat them. Fortunately there are other people that know how to grow them well for my personal enjoyment.

Many of us that are internet savvy rely on Google or other search engines for information. Most certainly the "net" has opened up a world of advice, consultation and guidance that we've never had before. Even with all this technology though, you may have a terrific, time-tested resource in your local area.

For years now, when I get a tough question (usually one that is about some local phenomenon from a far-away state) I recommend folks contact their state or county extension service for helpful advice.

We don't always think about the Extension Service because it operates in the background, but it is a conduit for all kinds of programs and services in our communities that are offered for free or at little cost.

Extension services developed years ago as part of the federal land-grant university system. The government granted each state some land that could be sold to finance a college and the colleges were to make sure that their knowledge and expertise got in the hands of regular people through programs that were "extensions" of the campus.

In our area, Iowa State University in Ames and the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana oversee a network of offices throughout the respective states. Most of these are county based and therefore very local for folks around the state.

One of the best resources that I've found that provides extension service information across the U. S. is www.eXtension.org . The website is a cooperative effort of extensions across the country and it offers answers to questions ranging from parenting to dairy cattle to veggie gardens and most everything in between. Ponds would fall in there too somewhere.

If you visit the homepage of eXtension.org you'll find a search feature in the upper right hand side of the page. In using this you can narrow down your search results to involve pond care, aeration, etc and it's very useful. At the same time I prefer to go even deeper into the site and enter my zip code which will then show a link to local extension offices. For Iowa this show's a statewide map, and when you click on your county, you'll see contact information for folks near you. It's all very handy and easy to navigate.

So, the next time you have a question about an unidentified pond weed growing wildly or why the pH of your water is so high in your area or any number of other "local" questions, be sure to check out the Extension Service. You may find the answers you're looking for right in your own backyard.

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