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North Dakota Ag College/ State University Extension Service title

Smith noted in an interview his concerns about people no longer learning gardening basics from their parents. His publication on vegetable gardening offers definitions that even Oscar H. Will never thought to offer such as perennials, annual, herb. In addition, in the Fall of 2009, he plans to offer a course at NDSU on the basics of gardening. Though indoor classrooms in the fall are not garden patches, he is searching for a way to get dirt on the students’ hands.

Another garden aid that A. F. Yeager and Oscar H. Will could never have dreamed of is the computer. Smith, guided by an innovative graduate student developed a garden computer program in 1986. The Gardplan was a program, said to be “user friendly,” by which a gardener could plan the garden. Though complex as all home computers were in 1986, this PC (IBM compatible) plan “makes computer understanding almost unnecessary.” Readers were encouraged to engage in gardening by the dollar figures reported. A three-year study of forty ND counties found that the average dollar value of the home garden was $400. The highest individual garden value was $1263. This return made the investment in labor, seed, soil testing, tools, and the Gardplan worthwhile. (Smith, H-893)

The authors of the Gardplan also made a statement that would have not appeared in Yeager’s or other’s bulletins. They stated that “the entire family works in the garden,” where they learn about plants, harvest fresh vegetables at the peak of ripeness, have access to more varieties than they can find in the grocery store, and gain good health from food and exercise. This statement actually presages the most up-to-date literature on gardening which emphasizes good health from nutritious food, good exercise, a wholesome family activity, and unusual varieties of food. Smith’s most recent garden article is published in an Extension magazine which promotes family health, especially for children through proper nutrition, exercise and gardening. (Eat Smart, Play Hard)

Over a period of nearly 120 years, NDAC/SU has presented gardeners with new hardy, drought-resistant, and early vegetables; knowledge about preserving foods that has changed with new technologies; and published new ideas about who is gardening and why gardening is valuable to the public.

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