Growing Great Vegetables


Planning, design, and layout are key elements to successful gardening. Learn about hardiness zones, frost and freeze dates, how to order plants or seeds from a garden catalog or locally, reading and selecting seed packets, and starting plants from seed.

The spring of 2020 saw a surge of gardeners taking up the trowel for the first time to try their hand at growing vegetables. This year come prepared with Growing Great Vegetables, a seven-week webinar series covering the basics of starting a vegetable garden from start to finish led by Illinois Extension horticulture experts.

Whether growers have several acres or a patio with room for a few containers, now is the time to start planning for a successful garden. Growing Great Vegetables will offer participants the opportunity to learn from and engage with professional gardeners, receive emails with helpful research-based hints and tips and access to four additional monthly sessions for ongoing support throughout the growing season.

Each class will consist of a live 50-minute Zoom webinar presentation by Illinois Extension horticulture educators followed by a Q&A. Sessions will be recorded and made available to registered participants if they are unable to attend live.

Questions? Contact Ken Johnson at

Registration for the series closes January 21. If you are still interested in participating, contact Ken Johnson at about a late registration.  

Other Classes in the Series

January 26 - Where will you Garden?: This session will cover building a garden using whatever space you have. Learn about traditional garden plots, raised beds, salad tables, container gardening, growing vertically and more. 

February 9 - Preparing the Garden and Care: Soil plays an important role in growing a vegetable garden. In session three, Extension local foods and small farms educators will cover soil testing and amendments, fertilizer, manures, mulch, watering and weeding and gardening tools.

February 16 - Cool Season Vegetables: Cool-season crops can be grown in spring or fall, each with its own characteristics and potential issues. Learn about growing and harvesting cool-season vegetables including how to manage common insect pests.

February 23 - Warm Season Vegetables: Warm season crops grow during the hottest part of the year. This session will cover how to make vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, squash and more flourish while keeping pests at bay.

March 2 - Diseases and Disorders: New and experienced growers alike are challenged by vegetable plant diseases and disorders of vegetable plants. Learn about diseases and wildlife pests and how to prevent and handle them.

March 9 - Attracting Pollinators and Controlling Pests: Increasing vegetable production in a garden can be as easy as making it more appealing to pollinators such as butterflies, bees, beetles and moths. Learn methods for attracting pollinators as well as how to control unwelcome insects.

Additional Monthly Sessions

  • May 6: Cool Season Plants
  • June 10: Harvesting and Using Produce
  • July 1: Tomatoes and Peppers
  • August 5: Planting a Fall Garden

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Ken Johnson at Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting access needs.

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