Spend more time on sunsets and bonfires, and less time worrying.

As daylight hours fade, your family activities ramp up. We know you don’t have time to research everything might need to know to survive the rush of fall activities, so we’ve curated a collection of how-to resources which answer our most popular questions: How do I thaw a turkey? When should I test my garden soil? How safe are my canned tomatoes? How do I keep my farm family safe? If you’ve wondered about it, we probably already have an answer for you. Go enjoy more bonfires, and let us do the heavy lifting to a fun fall.

IN THE KITCHEN

Apples, pumpkin, cinnamon - nothing beats the flavors of fall! 

  • How to Make Pumpkin Puree: When selecting a pumpkin for cooking, the best selection is a "pie pumpkin" or "sweet pumpkin."
  • Wild Game: Nutrition information and cooking tips for venison. 
  • Acorn Squash: Acorn squash are typically small, and if winter squash is new to you, they are a great one to try first. Plus they are packed with a variety of nutrients.

Food Preservation

  • Preserve Like a Pro: Are you planning on preserving your garden’s bounty? This recorded webinar covers the pros and cons of canning, freezing, drying, and fermenting your favorite foods.
  • Apples: It's apple season! Learn how to preserve them with a variety of resources. Watch a webinar, explore how to can apple pie filling, or download the FAQ guide
  • Freezing: Freezing is a quick and convenient way to make your fruits and vegetables last well past harvest.
  • Fermentation: Fermentation has been used for thousands of years to preserve food and is seeing a revival as people learn to ferment their own foods and beverages. 
  • Drying: Drying or dehydrating food involves removing its water content to a point where the food is preserved for a longer time than if left fresh. 

     


IN THE GARDEN

  • Garden Clean Up: Don't put that trowel and rake away yet. Fall may end this year's gardening season, but it is the perfect time to begin preparations for next year.
  • Fall Lawn Care (videocast): Fall is a great time to do various activities in our lawns like seeding, fertilizing, and aerating.
  • Recycling Leaves: Every fall, an onslaught of leaves drop relentlessly into yards leaving homeowners to rake, bag, and haul them to the curb. But what many don’t know is that those golden-hued leaves are gold in the garden.
  • Cool Season Vegetables: Fall harvested vegetables tend to be sweeter as the temperatures start to cool and they finish growing. Download the Guide | Watch the webinar
  • Fall Cover Crops: During the off-season, too many gardeners leave their vegetable or flower gardens bare. Beat the weeds and hang on to your soil by planting a cover crop. 
  • Bring House Plants Indoors: It’s time to bring houseplants inside for winter. Many houseplants do great outside in Illinois in the summer, but cannot tolerate cold temperatures.
  • How to Grow Mums: Mums are treated like annuals, but they can survive outdoors in Illinois. What can be done to help mums survive in our landscapes?
  • Harvesting Winter Squash: Winter squash is harvested from September to October before a hard frost. 
  • Colorful Fall Shrubs: Some colorful fall shrubs are non-native and bad for the environment. Try these bright alternatives. 

     

GET OUTDOORS

  • Monarchs on the Move: On their annual 3,000-mile migration to Mexico, monarch butterflies rest in select trees. A group of Illinois Extension volunteers scout out these roosts and report their findings to help this at-risk species. 
  • Managing Natural Areas with Fire: Spring and fall are the most common times of the year burns are conducted in grasslands and forests to manage natural ecosystems. 
  • Orb weaver spiders: No other “bug” generates quite as much "Eeek!" as spiders. Found in gardens, fields, and forests, most orb weavers appear in spring, but we notice them more in the fall as they and their webs get bigger.
  • Illinois Owls webinar: Owls are not only at the top of their food chain; they are at the top of their game with a unique set of tools that make them masters of illusion. 
  • Fall Equinox: Equinox means “equal night.” There are two equinoxes yearly, one in March and the other one in September. On those two days, the noon sun is directly overhead at the Equator. 
  • PawPaw trees: Pawpaw, Asimina triloba, is the largest native tree fruit of the U.S. Forage for wild PawPaw in August. 
  • How to Collect Milkweed Pods: Anyone can grow milkweed in their yard or garden. With permission from landowners, you can pick milkweed seed pods this fall rather than buying seeds or purchasing plants.