1. Published

    When determining what mulch is best for your vegetable garden, you may encounter all manner of solutions online and suggestions from fellow gardeners. But what mulch works the best for growing big tasty veggies while keeping the weeds down. Following are some of the most common mulches used in the vegetable garden listing their pros, cons, and where they are best suited for use in the landscape.

  2. Published

    We often don’t think much about insect pests outside of the occasional pantry pest or accidental invader during the winter months. Despite it being the middle of winter, that doesn’t mean our plants won’t have insect problems. This is particularly true for houseplants, where insect pests often seem to arrive out of nowhere.

  3. Published

    A new year provides the opportunity to try new plants in the garden. With all the plant and seed magazines coming in, it can be difficult to decide on what varieties to pick of your favorite vegetables and flowers. Fortunately, the All American Selections (AAS) is an independent non-profit organization that tests new varieties of plants and awards top performers for their superior performance. Below is some information about this year’s national award-winning varieties that might be of some assistance for your 2022 decisions.

  4. Published

    “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

    This quote, which has likely made it onto posters in classrooms and by the coffee pot in the breakroom, is from philosopher William James.

    A new year is often heralded with a renewed sense of hope. A restart! However, the older I get, I am seeing it more like an “I made it!” moment. Followed quickly by a “Now what?”

  5. Published

    Needled evergreens like pines, firs, and spruces get most of the attention this time of year. However, broadleaf evergreens like holly also make an appearance during holiday festivities. In addition to providing some decoration for the December holidays, they are also great plants in the landscape. They can provide some winter interest with their colorful berries as well as food and shelter for our feathered friends.

  6. Published

    Poinsettias are one of the most popular holiday plants with their bright color providing festive Christmas décor, but if you have ever been gifted a poinsettia or been tempted to purchase one due to their showy, colorful bracts (leaves), you know they aren’t the easiest plant to keep alive much past the holidays.

  7. Published

    From a horticultural perspective, the term “habit” is not what you think. Though there are certainly some bad habits in gardening like not cleaning soil off tools or buying plants with no feasible location to plant them. When you hear a horticulturist say the term “habit” what we are referring to is the form or shape a plant takes.

  8. Published

    Along with evergreens and poinsettias, another sign that the holidays are approaching is the appearance of amaryllis in stores. Whether you’re buying them as gifts or for yourself, these relatively carefree plants are a great way to add a splash of color indoors.

  9. Published

    Thanksgiving can have a different meaning for all from a celebration of harvest to a time of giving thanks for the blessings of the past year, but as we sit to enjoy the meal prepared, it is important to be reminded of our farmers who work hard to supply us with fresh farm products.    

  10. Published

    You’ve likely heard of hazelnuts, perhaps even used them in some delightful dessert or savory dishes and garnishes. If you give my children a choice between peanut butter or a chocolaty hazelnut spread, the peanut butter jar remains unopened. About 40 percent of global hazelnut production goes into making one product – Nutella.

  11. Published

    Once you’ve picked the last of your fruits this season, you may think your work with your fruit plants is over. However, a few tasks can be done in the fall to set yourself up for a successful growing season next year.

  12. Published

    More and more, we hear of major supply chain issues in the United States that have affected pretty much everything. As farmers prepare for the 2022 growing season, they are experiencing fertilizer and herbicide shortages resulting in significant price increases. Higher input prices will likely affect management choices farmers make for the 2022 crop.

  13. Published

    As the chill of fall finally settles in, many Illinoisans find themselves outside cleaning up leaves, the garden, and landscape beds. It makes one ponder the seasonality of plants. One Good Growing reader had such a question and posed it to us, “How do plants know when to flower?”

  14. Published

    As the days get shorter and cooler, the gardening season starts to wind down, and many of us will begin cleaning up our landscapes for the winter. While cutting back dead plants and raking leaves can make for a clean-looking yard, it may not be the best thing for pollinators and other wildlife that inhabit our landscapes. So, how should we approach garden clean-up in the fall?

  15. Published

    Whether you apply fertilizer to your lawn, pasture, or production field, the 4R principles of nutrient management is relevant information that can be used when making applications.  When making fertilizer applications, it is always important to consider if we are using the Right fertilizer source at the Right rate, at the Right time, and in the Right place.

  16. Published

    As the calendar turns from October to November, toothy Jack-o’-lanterns start to look like deflated basketballs. This means millions of Americans need to dispose of billions of pumpkins. While many people toss these festive yet mushy winter squash into the trash, this adds an immense amount of organic material into the landfill. Typically, in a landfill, this material gets buried and rots in an environment devoid of oxygen, which creates the potent greenhouse gas methane.

  17. Published

    The days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are finally getting cooler, meaning fall has arrived. While many of our gardening activities are starting to wind down, it’s time to start thinking about planting our spring-blooming bulbs. Bulbs such as crocus, tulips, daffodils, as well as a host of others, can provide a burst of color early in the year before many of our other landscape plants begin blooming.

  18. Published

    As the crisp cool air of fall approaches, you might enjoy warming up with a sweatshirt or cuddling up with an additional blanket, and you are not alone! Many insects and other pests are making plans to move somewhere warm to survive the winter, and often that place is your home.

  19. Published

    It has begun. The corn has turned. Transforming much of the Illinois landscape into a sea of tan. The soybeans are following with their yellow hues. Combines churn away, as the heavy scent of plant debris permeates the truck cab. Bright seas of goldenrod sway in the wind, as if a welcome mat laid down for autumn. Within the goldenrod mass, you may spot dots of purple asters. I was once told the colors of Western Illinois University were inspired by the fall colors of the prairie – goldenrod and purple aster.

  20. Published

    As the calendar turns from August to September, chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum x morifolium), aka mums, start appearing in nurseries and garden centers. These plants are a staple in many landscapes in the fall and can provide some much-needed color to our landscapes when most other garden plants are starting to decline.