News Spotlight
Recent quarter-sized holes in the soil made by periodical cicadas

Enjoy the silence. Cicadas are coming

If you haven't heard the buzz, you will soon. Billions of periodical cicadas are coming, and University of Illinois Extension is sharing information to help track their moves before emergence.

“Historically speaking, 2024 is a big year for periodical cicadas in Illinois,” says Ken…

Erin Garret standing next to little bluestem in a garden

Grasses at a Glance blog earns award from national Extension organization

URBANA, Ill. — Grasses are a small and often subtle backbone of many ecosystems, making up nearly 30% of the planet’s land cover. They prevent soil erosion, regulate water flow, and provide food and habitat for wildlife and livestock. But ask someone to identify one grass from another, and you…

spotted lanternfly

Get tools to manage non-native plants and insects at Illinois Invasive Species Symposium

URBANA, Ill. — Spotted lanternflies were found in Illinois for the first time in 2023. Quagga and zebra mussels clog water intake pipes on Lake Michigan, and every spring, invasive Bradford Callery pear trees and amur bush honeysuckle bloom across Illinois communities instead of native…

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Green plants in degradable pots sitting in the soil ready to be planted.
Master Gardener program offers online training options
URBANA, Ill. — For 48 years, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners have measured success by gardens planted, insects identified, produce harvested, and the millions of hours volunteers have logged by helping others learn to grow....
Ginger rhizome
How to grow tropical ginger for at-home spice
URBANA, Ill. — Growing fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs in the backyard can seem like a lot of work, but at the end of the season, the bountiful, tasty harvest is worth it. The International Herb Association named ginger (Zingiber officinale) the...
Canned pickles
5% acidity vinegar is key to safe canning
URBANA, Ill. — There’s a long list of home canned foods that use vinegar as an ingredient, including salsa, pickled vegetables, barbeque sauce, and preserved fruits like apple butter and cantaloupe pickles, as well as canned tomatoes as an acidifier. The vinegar increases acidity, thus lowering...
Growing cucumber on vine in the garden.
Want more from your garden? Plant a fall crop of cucumbers
URBANA, Ill. — It’s the middle of summer, and you are looking for a new home project. Did you know it is not too late to plant some vegetable plants? With proper care, many vegetables are easy to grow in a sunny location in your backyard or a container garden on a patio. Take the challenge and...
An Indiana Bat with a metal band on its wing
Illinois landowners can support bats with backyard trees, forests
URBANA, Ill. — Fluttering overhead at night, quiet except for their squeaks, bats can be easily overlooked, but these small mammals play a big role in the ecosystem. Bats are also at risk. Illinois is home to 13 species of bats, and more than half of them are listed as endangered, threatened by...
emmit shows orienteering skills
Youth champions named in 2023 4-H Outdoor Skills Challenge
Urbana, Ill. - The 2023 4-H Outdoor Skills Challenge took youth into the great outdoors as they showcased their expertise and engaged in outdoor adventures throughout the spring and summer. The curriculum-based challenge invited young nature enthusiasts to immerse themselves in nature,...
Two raised bed gardens on top of asphalt lot.
Elevate your expectations with raised bed gardening
URBANA, Ill. — Whether for convenience or accessibility, raised beds are a popular option for growing fruits, vegetables, or ornamental plants. Raised bed structures elevate the soil, and with it comes a variety of advantages for growing plants.  Using raised beds may allow gardening in...

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