1. Published

    Starting seed at home is easy, even with limited materials.


    Some of you may have already gotten your seed order for the spring, but the procrastinating gardener that I am will force me to explore last year’s seeds stash.

    Horticulturists typically keep their seed stash in a refrigerator to ensure viability. We have a refrigerator at the office to keep our seed for our various projects, like the Unity Community Center garden.

  2. Published

    Planting perennials can bring you wonderful surprises and inspiration for future garden design.

  3. Published

    Whether you have a young person at home for school closures, or are just young at heart yourself, experimenting with kitchen scraps can turn into a bountiful garden to enjoy again. Skip the compost bucket or garbage can, and re-grow your leftover veggies and fruits for beautiful houseplants and garden additions.

    Kitchen scrap gardening reinforces the concepts of recycling and reusing, and learning plant parts.

    The following fruits and vegetables are examples of plants that can be grown again and again:

  4. Published

    Free time on your hands? Avoiding social spaces, but need some time outside?

    First, remember that just because you're outside, the virus can still spread. If you're working with more than one person:

  5. Published

    University of Illinois Extension Livingston County Master Gardeners would like to welcome spring with an educational workshop entitled “A Day in the Garden Patch” on Saturday, April 4 from 8:30 a.m. to Noon.

    A Day in the Garden Patch is all about inspiring, educating and encouraging gardeners, whether they have a balcony and a sunny window or an acre to grow. This educational event is for all who love plants and want to discover new gardening tips while having fun.

  6. Published

    ‘Tis the season for the garden seed catalogues. If you are like me, you are perusing through these catalogues that advertise 15 varieties of watermelon, 50 varieties of peppers, and even more tomato varieties to choose from. They all look amazing and are all claiming “vigorous!” “great flavor!” and “disease resistance!” So which one do you choose?

  7. Published

    The Perennial Plant Association is proud to announce the 2020 Perennial Plant of the Year®! Aralia ‘Sun King’ is a fabulous high-impact perennial that brings a bold pop of glowing color and texture to the shade or part shade garden. It's a secret that just Perennial Plant Association (PPA) members know! PPA members can annually nominate 2 perennials for consideration. The top 5 nominees are put on the ballot. PPA members vote for the Perennial Plant of the Year® each summer.

  8. Published
    When do I plant? Should I plant seeds or transplants? What about seed spacing? Find what works best for backyard vegetable growers in Illinois!
  9. Published

    Asparagus goes great with hollandaise sauce, has a nutty flavor when eaten raw (wash it first, and cut off the lower third), and is always a welcome treat at a restaurant. With a little patience and some planning, you can grow loads of asparagus each spring.

    Growing Requirements

    Full sun is required.

    Poor drainage in your asparagus patch will promote disease issues in the roots.

  10. Published

    This is Part 2 of a series. Part 1 can be found here.

  11. Published

    He’s not just a restaurateur, nor just a farmer, nor just a chef, nor just an entrepreneur. He’s an influencer of sustainable eating. He wants to change the world, one delicious plate at a time. Ken Myszka, owner and operator of Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group, runs four celebrated restaurants in McLean County: Epiphany Farms Restaurant, Anju Above, and Bakery and Pickle, all in downtown Bloomington; and Old Bank Restaurant and Bar in LeRoy.

  12. Published

    Many urban trees only live about 20% of their life due to issues like pests and disease, but mostly can be linked back to improper care and installation. A tree should live more than 50 years, and up to 100 years depending on their species. A recent USDA study analyzing tree life expectancy in urban areas finds the typical street tree living between 19-28 years; however, the ideal life span of a white oak is 600 years, and the average life span of a red maple can be between 75 to 150 years in the Illinois wilds.

  13. Published

    BLOOMINGTON, IL – University of Illinois Extension is hosting two sessions for backyard gardeners on how to grow and care for fruits at The Refuge Food Forest in Normal, an outdoor, hands-on classroom. One session will focus on pruning and training apple trees, the other on pruning brambles like raspberries and blackberries.

  14. Published

    University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners would like to invite you to their 18th annual Home, Lawn and Garden Day on Saturday, March 7 at Central Catholic High School, Bloomington. Home, Lawn and Garden Day is a day dedicated to garden fun! It is an ideal place to gain inspiration for future garden projects, fall in love with a must-have plant or learn the basics of everyday gardening.

  15. Published

    It’s a new year and many are reflecting on their 2019 gardening season and making resolutions for the 2020 gardening season. If you are anything like me, you started missing gardening in early November and can’t wait for temperatures to rise and strive for all those grand resolutions. When I can’t garden, I read reports from the Horticulture Industry.

  16. Published

    Perhaps my favorite thing to do during the holidays is to make my own ornaments. Glittery baubles, shiny tinsel, twinkling lights, and baroque glass ornaments just are not my style when decorating for the holidays. I am inspired by nature and entrenched in a family tradition of making art.

  17. Published

    Before I became an educator for the University of Illinois Extension, my career solely focused on growing plants in a greenhouse. High-quality poinsettias were one of the most important crops for a grower. Clients had long-standing orders for these holiday treasures, and expected long-lasting, healthy, bright, bold, and grand plants to decorate their homes, churches, and businesses.

  18. Published

    Trees are vital to our environment, and understanding their biology can help us to protect them from stresses caused by the urban environment, extending their lives and promoting their health. 

    The average components of the tree consist of 5 percent fine feeder roots, 15 percent larger transport roots, 60 percent trunk or main stem, 15 percent branches and twigs, and 5 percent leaves (hard to believe on a fall day).

  19. Published

    Our unit director, Bobbie Lewis-Sibley, often says, “I wish there were a garden in every school,” a response to youths' unfamiliarity where their food comes from, and a deficiency of interaction with the natural environment.

    At the Unity Community Center, Extension’s after-school site in Normal, youth have harvested potatoes with glee, released butterflies with gentleness, and tracked water flow in a stream with the precision of scientists. But how does Extension connect with other youth in our community and give them similar experiences as the youth at Unity?

  20. Published

    This holiday, give a gift to the earth by buying a live Christmas tree. Many would think that buying a fake tree would be the more environmentally friendly option, because you are not actually chopping down a tree. However, most fake trees are made of plastics, metals and chemicals that take energy to produce and most of the time they are not sourced in Illinois or even the United States. Live Christmas trees sequester carbon while growing, are usually replaced three to one, and farming of this crop doesn’t need the highest quality land and soil.