Annual Joys of Gardening event offered February 17th

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Freeport, IL--Mark your calendars for the 21st annual Joys of Gardening program offered by the University of Illinois Extension and the U of I Extension Master Gardeners. Slated for Saturday, February 17, at the Highland Community College Student Conference Center, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport, the program will begin with registration at 8 a.m., keynote address at 8:25 a.m., and breakout sessions following the keynote.

Terra Brockman, Author of The Seasons on Henry's Farm and Founder of The Land Connection will give the Keynote address "The Joys and Challenges of Growing Fruits and Vegetables". Brockman is the fourth of five generations of a central Illinois farm family, and aJames-Beard-nominated author. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Epicurious, Zester Daily, the Christian Century, and Edible Chicago. In 2000, she foundedThe Land Connection,an educational nonprofit that trains farmers in regenerative agriculture, and helps builds healthy, community-based food systems. When she is not writing or speaking about food and farming, you are likely to find her working for food on herbrother Henry's vegetable farmor hersister Teresa's fruit farm.

Following the keynote presentation will be a series of four breakout sessions. Each breakout session will include unique garden related classes. Session 1: 21st Century Victory Gardens, Cooking with Fresh Produce, Making Succulent Terrariums, Climate Resources for Gardeners, and Garden Plants: The Best and the Beautiful. Session 2: The Backyard Orchard, Growing with Hydroponics, Right Tool for the Job, Putting Rain to Work, Creative Container Gardens, and The Basics of Keeping Bees. Session 3: Successful Squash, Area Gardens to Visit for Free, A Gardener's Guide to Invasive Plants, Composting: Creating a Better Pile, I Love Whole Grains, and Intermediate Bee Keeping. The day will conclude with a single presentation in Session 4: Providing for Pollinators. Local professionals, Extension Staff and U of I Extension Master Gardeners will lead each of the classes.

Joys of Gardening will again feature the popular Master Gardener Seed Giveaway. Master Gardeners have collected, cleaned, and packaged seeds from their yards and these seeds will be available to participants at no charge. In addition, a silent auction will be held to support programs offered by the University of Illinois Extension- Master Gardeners. There will be door prizes and educational displays as well.

For more information about Joys of Gardening visit or call (815) 235-4125. The registration cost for the program is $25 and includes lunch. Registration deadline is February 9.