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Over the Garden Fence

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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 physical,...
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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’re...
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holly, mistletoe, pinecones, and greenery

Holly, mistletoe, and holiday traditions

During the holidays, there are a few plants that seem ubiquitous, even if only during the month of December. But have you ever wondered why we “deck the halls with boughs of holly” or kiss under the mistletoe? Holly Holly (Ilex sp.) is a group of almost 500 species of both deciduous and...
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red and white poinsettias

Deck the halls with Poinsettias: history and helpful hints

December showers may not bring holiday flowers in Illinois, but houseguests, neighbors, and friends just might! One of the most recognizable of these gift plants is the Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). A native to Mexico, the English-known Poinsettia was known to the Nahuatl and Aztecs...
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cranberry plant

Spice up your November with cranberries

October just left us with blistery cold snowy reminder that the growing season is over. Now we can turn our focus to our families, friends, and neighbors to celebrate the holidays together. When I think of November two things come to my mind - turkeys and cranberries. Americans consume nearly 400...
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two hands working with tweezers inside a round terrarium

DIY bottle terrariums make great projects, gifts

Fall is now in full swing with temperatures reaching down to the 30s at night and Halloween just around the corner. As we prepare our landscapes and gardens for a long winter’s nap, don’t let those seasonal blues get an early start. Why not start a plant project with your family or to give to a...
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