Website/Online Content

Jon Traunfeld
Principal Agent & Director, Home & Garden Information Center
University of Mayland Extension

Traunfeld, J.*1, , Carignan, C.2, , Adler, D.3,
1 Principal Agent & Director, Home & Garden Information Center, University of Mayland Extension, Ellicott City, MD, 21042
2 Coordinator, Digital Horticulture Education, University of Maryland Extension, Ellicott City, MD, 21042
3 Video Production & Web Support, University of Maryland Extension, Ellicott City, MD, 21042

Purpose and objectives
Maryland Grows ( is the blog of the University of Maryland Extension’s (UME) Home & Garden Information Center (HGIC). It is an online communications platform that educates Maryland residents about sustainable gardening practices. Blog articles are written by University of Maryland faculty, staff, and Master Gardener volunteers. Articles are published once or twice each week and shared via social media. Objectives are to:

  • Use timely subject matter to engage, inform, and guide readers to best practices in gardening and IPM.
  • Direct readers to the UME HGIC website for more comprehensive information including publications, research, instructional videos, and articles emphasizing Integrated Pest Management;
  • Increase awareness and use of our Ask an Expert online question and answer service, thereby connecting the public to UME horticulture specialists.

Maryland Grows was launched in 2017 and expands upon the former UME Master Gardener “Grow It Eat It” blog to include a broader variety of home horticulture topics such as plant selection and native plants, beneficial insects and pollinators, and tree/shrub/lawn care.


Our target audience is the Maryland public with an interest in yard and garden topics, techniques, and solutions. We reach beginner gardeners as well as more advanced readers such as Master Gardeners.

Readership of the blog (page views) increased 77% from 2018 to 2019. The blog has 550 subscribers. Articles are distributed on HGIC’s Facebook and Twitter, which have 3,933 and 1,821 followers, respectively, as of February 2020. Maryland Grows articles have been disseminated further by:

  • UME Master Gardeners, in their county-based monthly newsletters and social media sites;
  • University of Maryland departments and faculty social media accounts;
  • Social media groups including the Extension Master Gardeners national Facebook group, Maryland Native Plant Society Discussion Group, and numerous garden clubs online.

The blog receives an average of 15,600 views monthly during the growing season. It was one of the top-ten referring sources of traffic to the UME website in 2019.