The Ford Iroquois Master Gardeners serve the residents of Ford-Iroquois Counties by organizing programs and projects that extend knowledge on flowers, vegetables, herbs, fruit, trees, shrubs, and more. Master Gardeners help promote a better understanding of plant diseases, organic gardening, composting, native plants, and the importance of pollinators. In 2019, About 17 Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners volunteered about 1,400 hours making their community a better place to live!
If you enjoy gardening, learning, and sharing your knowledge with others, then the Master Gardener program may be for you.
Volunteers make a commitment to complete 60 volunteer hours on approved Master Gardener projects within two years. This period was extended in 2020 due to Covid.
What Do Volunteers Do?
Here are some of the ways our volunteers are active in Ford and Iroquois Counties:
- Design, plant, and care for an educational Idea Garden at the Onarga Library
- Sections include: Welcome Sign, West Border, Cottage, Vegetable, Herb, Butterfly, Natives, North Border, Composting, Maintenance
- Plant and manage a community garden at the Gibson City Reservoir/Fishing Pond
- Rain Barrel, Native Shrubs, Annuals and Perennials for Pollinators Demonstrations
- Provide garden-themed presentations to the local community through their Speakers Bureau
- Participate in Citizen Scientist Programs like Cocorahs and IPollinate
- Hold plant shares each year
- Organize educational field trips for fellow Master Gardeners
- Participate in the Monarch Watch Program, tagging monarchs each fall
- Raised Bed Consultation
- Serve as an officer including President, Vice President, Secretary, or Committee Chair
- Maintain Idea Garden Scrapbook
- Help organize IGA Cookout fundraiser and Plant Share in May
- Idea Garden Open House or Garden Walk in June
- Watseka Harvest Days and Plant Share in October
Meetings are (normally) scheduled for the second Tuesday of the month at the Iroquois County U of I Extension Office- 916 W Seminary Ave, Onarga, IL 60955-0163
- Subcommittee meetings from 9 or 9:30-10 a.m.
- A business meeting is from 10 am to 11 a.m.
- Continuing Education offered from 11-Noon
- Workdays may follow in the afternoon during the growing season
- No July or December meetings
Request a Speaker for your Group
Our Master Gardeners are trained by Extension Educators to give research-based lessons to public groups. Speaker's Bureau presentations are available by Master Gardeners in Ford-Iroquois Counties. Call 815-268-4051 for more information.
- Seed Starting 101
- Medieval Plants
- Annuals and Perennials
- Seeds, Seeds, Seeds
- Fairy Gardens
- Milkweeds and Monarchs
- Pollinator Pockets
- Container Gardening
- Right Plant -Right Place
- Gardening With Children
- Making a Dried Herb Wreaths
- Make a Live Pumpkin Centerpiece with Succulents
Visit the Gibson City Fishing Pond 460 N 300E Rd, Gibson City, IL or the Onarga Idea Garden at the Onarga Public Library, 209 W Seminary Ave, Onarga, IL
Master Gardeners enjoy sharing their knowledge with others. Visit and view educational demonstration areas like these:
- Butterfly Garden
- Vegetable Garden Planted with Fall Cover Crop
- Herb Garden
- Annuals and Perennials
- Native Plants
- Compost Bin
- Rain Barrel Irrigation System
It is essential that you report all volunteer hours earned using the reporting website. These hours enable the sponsors to understand the value provided by Master Gardeners and to justify continued support for the program.