Highlight Blog Posts
squash and beans

Grow a more productive garden with a little imagination and hardworking plant combinations

With the spring gardening season beginning, imaginations run wild with gardening possibilities. Some gardeners may ponder the complexities of an age-old practice that is regaining popularity in recent years – companion planting. How do certain combinations of plants benefit from being planted alongside each other, yet other combinations seem to struggle? Uncover the secrets of companion planting...
redbud flower

Spring flowering trees and shrubs

Signs of spring are beginning to pop up if you look close enough.  In the last week or so, I’ve noticed harbinger of spring (Erigenia bulbosa) and spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) in natural areas. The beginnings of Virginia bluebells can also be found as their distinctly purple-blue new leaves poke up in more protected locations on the forest floor or in garden beds. ...
Recent Blog Articles

Know what to look for in milk alternatives

Cow’s milk has traditionally dominated the dairy aisle, but recently alternative milks, such as almond, soy and oat milk, have been battling cow’s milk for more space. There’s a number of factors determining the increased popularity of non-dairy milk options, including veganism, lactose-intolerance, milk allergies and environmental concerns. But how do alternative milks compare to cow’s milk in terms of nutrition? Cow’s milk continues to hold the number one spot in milk sales and for good...
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No two fogs are the same

We are bound to have fog from time to time. I still remember when I was in my late teens and insisted on going to see some friends when I could barely see the edge of the road. My parents were not happy. Some areas, such as San Francisco or London, have fog more often. The cause of fog can depend on location. Radiation fog The most common cause of fog in Illinois is when there is a lot of moisture in the air on a clear, calm night. This creates what is known as radiation fog. When you hear...
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What role does soil health have on IPM decisions?

With so many conservation practices focusing on soil health, what impact might those decisions have on your Integrated Pest Management (IPM) decisions? IPM is a science-based decision-making process that combines tools and strategies to identify and manage pests as defined by the USDA. It is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools to minimize economic, health, and environmental risks. In the April 2022 episode of the...
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Backyard Beef: A guide to small-scale feeding

As the desire for locally grown, niche marketed beef grows, many people are considering feeding cattle for personal consumptions or local sale. Here are some things to consider before you get into finishing beef cattle: Raising your own beef will not guarantee that it will be less expensive than the grocery store. Costs include purchasing the animal, feed, medicine, bedding, harvest or slaughter expenses, labor, and others. Homegrown beef has the potential to be profitable in a well-managed...
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Vegetable Garden Planning

It’s that time of year again – time to start planning for the vegetable gardening season.  The explosion of enticing seed catalogs hitting my mailbox these days has started to get me in gear by dusting off all the tools, looking at our empty garden beds and dreaming of the growing season to come.  Despite all the excitement, it can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to figure out where to start planning.  Before we know it, spring may be upon us, although Punxsutawney Phil may disagree...
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Egg substitutes when baking

No eggs? No Problem! You can use a variety of other foods when cooking and baking. It’s good to know how much egg substitute you need when replacing eggs in your recipe. 1 egg is roughly 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons/2oz) so you need to replace that volume in your recipe. Depending upon the recipe and the function of the egg, certain options are better suited than others, as the flavor and texture may be slightly altered. Egg substitute for binding (helps hold the shape and stick...
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Say "I love you" this Valentine's Day with dark chocolate

Nothing says “I love you” like a decadent bar of rich chocolate for your Valentine. There are many types of chocolate, but dark chocolate is the one that has received all the hype for its health benefits. However, can such a treat be good for you? Like milk chocolate, dark chocolate is made with cocoa butter, sugar, and cocoa solids, but dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of cocoa solids, giving it the bitter taste you either love or hate. It also contains less added sugars and 2-3...
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When should I start my seeds?

Seed starting is a great way to scratch the gardening itch we often get during late winter. In addition to getting a head start on the growing season, there are a number of additional benefits to starting your own seeds. Starting seeds to make your own transplants can be cheaper than going out and buying them later in the year. You also have much more variety to choose from when you start...
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Extend the vase life of your fresh flowers with a little care

The delicate act of arranging fresh flowers is a joyful art. Each bloom and sprig of foliage receives special consideration when creating an arrangement as beautiful and unique as the recipient. Local florists are already hastily preparing arrangements for the upcoming Valentine’s Day rush. Aside from Mother’s Day, this is the most popular day for gifting fresh flowers. Completed arrangements sold in a vase are attractive and convenient, but sometimes over budget. Invest a little less money...
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What's fresh in winter?

February is dull and dark and cold…..but at the same time full of promise. The earth is beginning to tilt toward the sun and every day the sun shines in February the snow and ice melt---it’s true---there are more icicles in February than any other winter month—that is because the ice/snow is melting. Hurray! Let’s turn our attention towards the sun and the promise of warm days ahead. February is American Heart month and with heart disease the leading cause of death in the US, we need to take...
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Personal Finances

Illinois Extension can guide your family through all of life's stages.
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Great retirements don't happen by accident. Tips for saving and investing your money.

Live Well. Retire Well.

university of illinois graduate

Money talk by college students, for college students.

Be Centsible

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Develop and maintain thoughtful and effective financial behaviors using these trusted methods.

Fearless Financial Future


In today's hectic lives, families find themselves raising children, caring for elders, and working.

Read these timely resources for wellness across the lifespan.

Family Files


Living well means taking time for ourselves so we can be healthy for others who need us. 
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Take steps to living a healthier life.

To Your Health

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Genuine, sustained self-care is an art.

Refill Your Cup with Self-Care

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A journey of wellness dedicated to awareness and the power of knowledge to help you on your health and wellness journey.

Walking the Line to Wellness

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Empowering people to make healthy, respectful and responsible choices.

Community Health: Empowering People

Nutrition and Wellness

Eating healthy shouldn't be this hard.
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Healthy information for better living

Live Well. Eat Well

healthy food on table

Nutrition information you can use.

Be Smart, Eat Well, Get Healthy

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Highlighting food, recipes, and ideas for a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Eats and Repeat

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Helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Community and Economic Development

Illinois Extension helps communities develop strategies to thrive.
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Strategies for strengthening local economies.

Building Entrepreneurial Communities

government building

Participants in Illinois Extension Illini Science Scholars Program share their experiences in this unique opportunity. 

Scholars Speak

Natural Resources

We have one planet. Let's work together to ensure its future and ours.

Dig deep into the types of grasses and their uses in our world.

Grasses at a Glance

world globe made of paper

Read the latest news in natural resources.

Naturalist News

field buffer

The Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy guides efforts to improve water quality at home and downstream.

Nutrient Loss Reduction


Weather impacts food production, transportation, homes, and lives.

All About Weather


From the flowers you enjoy to the produce you eat to the plants that add value to our life, we offer help for growing strong.

Keeping you (and your garden) growing with good ideas.

Good Growing

garden shed

Gardening in Illinois including everything from vegetable gardening to native plants.

The Garden Scoop

garden path

Where northern Illinois gardeners come to find out what's happening out in the yard.

Over the Garden Fence


Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.

Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

garden path

Helping new and experienced gardeners develop their skills and knowledge while encouraging everyone to enjoy the outdoors.

Illinois River Horticulture


Archive of the most popular blog articles from Illinois Extension

Our Greatest Horticulture Hit Blogs

Local Food Systems

Growers are diverse, from urban agriculture and beginning small farmers to farmers markets and organic agriculture.
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Learn new resources for urban growers.

Local Foods | Local Farms | Local People


The "Jungle" refers to Elizabeth Wahle's personal St. Louis Metro East garden and it provides the backdrop for her writings about building and sustaining viable food webs and ecosystems within the home landscape.

Welcome to My Jungle

squash soup

A blog for growers, consumers, and backyard gardeners to grow, eat, and connect in the local food system.

Raise, Grow, Harvest, Eat, Repeat

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Connecting you with your food, farmers and community.

Know How. Know More. Connecting Food, Farmers, and Community

carrots in the ground

Ramping up local food production in the second-most populous county in the US.

Cultivate Cook County


angus bull

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies.

The Cattle Connection


All issues concerning Small Farms, Agriculture, Local Food Systems, and the Natural Resources.

Acres of Knowledge


Current topics about crop production in Western Illinois, including field crops research at the NWIARDC in Monmouth.

Hill and Furrow

Youth Development

We're the friend you've been looking for.
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4-H’s learning opportunities are intentionally designed around four essential concepts necessary for positive youth development: a sense of belonging with a positive group, independence and self-determination, a spirit of generosity toward others, and a wide variety of opportunities to master life challenges.

Our Stories from Illinois 4-H

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Timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.

Connection Corner: Activities for Families