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Over the Garden Fence

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hammerhead worm

Have you heard of hammerhead worms?

While you may be familiar with many invasive plants and insects, the hammerhead worm is perhaps one of the strangest and least well-known invaders to our gardens. HistoryAccording to the USDA,...
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close up of two pineberries

Grow pineapple-flavored treats in your garden

As spring planting begins and we look forward to the harvests of our labors, one of the best summer treats are strawberries. Depending on cultivar planted, June-bearing provide a large crop of larger strawberries and everbearing strawberries produce smaller berries throughout the growing season....
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overview of local rain garden just planted

Keeping rain where it lands

Rainwater is frequently treated like a waste product – gathered up, hustled off our yards, and into the nearest body of water. But instead, what if we kept it where it fell, used it, and directed it back into the ground. We could help mitigate flooding, conserve water, and be rewarded with a...
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cicada on leaf

Cicadas are coming!

With all the media frenzy around this year’s upcoming cicada emergence, what can we really expect?  Let Extension help you separate fact from fiction. Why do they live so long? Cicada larva (or grubs) spend most of their life underground, feeding on tree roots.  Depending on the species...
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white flowers with blue lines

Unseasonable weather makes for early plant arrivals

Over the past several weeks, residents in northern Illinois have experienced some unseasonable weather. Warm, spring-like temperatures, thunderstorms, rain, hail, sleet, and snow have been the reality along with 70-degree high days with 20-degree low nights. All of these warm days have woken our...
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humming bird

Hummingbirds are on the move

Every spring, I look forward to the return of the hummingbirds. Their aerial antics around the feeder, zooming by with iridescent flashes of green, red, and white, chasing each other with the precision of a tiny fighter jet – they always brighten my day. When will they return and, more importantly...
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reddish colored worms making compost

Turn trash to treasure with composting

At its core, composting is recycling organic matter into nutrient-rich soil.  Plants and other vegetative matter are broken down by decomposers such as insects, worms, fungi, and bacteria, making the nutrients they contain available to other growing things.  It also helps to improve the...
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hands in blue gloves pruning dormant twig

Winter considerations for propagating plants

Dormant winter pruning always leaves a mess of trimmings that usually end up being composted or placed in your yard bin. There is another use for those trimmings; you can us them to create plant clones! Plant propagation is the science and practice of creating new plants. This can be done with...
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recycled jugs and plastic bottles filled with soil and covered in snow

How to try winter sowing

Winter is a time to stow away your gardening tools, put your gardens to bed, pack away your gloves and dream of warmer weather, counting down the days until you can start planting again…or is it?  What if I told you that now is the perfect time to not just plan your gardens (especially if you’...
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