Gardens provide hands-on learning experience

Galesburg High School students from the Life Skills program and Knoxville FFA students, along with their teachers, Mallory Tolley and Katie Smith, visited the Knox County Nursing Home on April 21. They viewed the extensive gardens to learn more about gardening and what it takes to maintain such a large area.

University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners, who maintain and teach at the gardens, were on hand to offer a tour of the different garden areas on the grounds. Master Gardeners, Kathy Breeden, Janet Cummings, and Larissa Plunkett then worked with the students to for a hands-on experience. They prepared the gardens for the growing season including pruning back and removing last year’s vegetation.

Students learned the why this type of clean-up is beneficial when done in the spring and not the fall. This practice allows beneficial insects to overwinter in the stalks of dead plants as well as in the leaf litter. Gardeners are also able to use less chemicals in the garden creating a healthier habitat for plants, animals and humans.

SOURCE: Wendy Ferguson, Horticulture Program Coordinator, Illinois Extension

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