Learn Something New in 2015

I'm really excited about all the great gardening programs we have available here at University of Illinois Extension in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. Here are just a few examples.

Our Master Gardener program provides the most comprehensive educational opportunity for gardeners. "Those who complete Master Gardener training will provide 60 hours of volunteer service in a two year period helping with local projects to become active Master Gardeners," says Pryor, Master Gardener Program Coordinator. "Area projects include community gardens, school projects, church and civic presentations, horticulture hotlines, and much more."

Training begins January 27 and is held every Tuesday from 9 – 4 through April 14. There are still a few spots left in this class, so contact Julia at jpryor@illinois.edu or call 309-543-3308Image removed.309-543-3308 for more information.

Our Four Seasons Gardening Series is jam packed this year with great topics. The winter series includes Sempervivums on February 3 & 5, Beekeeping on February 17 & 19, and I teach The Edible Indoor Garden on March 3 and 5. All webinars are available for home viewing or at select Extension offices across the state. After the program, the taped version is available on YouTube.

I am team teaching a new program this year that focuses on invasive plants. The Good, The Bad, and The Lovely Plants Webinar Series will be offered to nights at 6:30 p.m. On February 10 we cover common invasive plants and control strategies. Then on February 24 we continue the series, covering alternatives plant to consider instead of the invasive ones and end with pollinator plants.

Our annual Gardeners BIG Day will be April 11 at Dickson Mounds Museum. Master Gardeners are planning another day full of great speakers, vendors, and door prizes. This event sold out last year, so watch our website and register early. The keynote speakers is engaging and entertaining speaker Father Dominic Garramone, of St. Bede Abbey in Peru, Illinoi. He previously hosted a "Breaking Bread with Father Dominic" TV series on PBS.

For those of you growing local foods for sale, our Small Farms Webinar Series is for you. The winter series includes information on potato production, sweet corn production, perennial crops, and understanding insecticides.

I hope you will be able to join us in your quest to learn more about plants for your home and garden. If you have trouble fitting a face-to-face program into an already busy schedule, our website is available 24/7 with a plethora of information. You'll find award winning garden topic websites, my blogs, factsheets, links to my social media sites, and more information on all the above programs at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/fmpt.