MURPHYSBORO, Ill. – Horticulture Educator Austin Little and Local Foods and Small Farms Educator Katie Bell are teaming up to share a webinar series for beginning gardeners starting on April 7.

During our time of quarantine, there is still one thing we can all do – garden! Whether you have space to install many beds or are limited to a patio garden full of beautifully potted plants, this webinar series will help you navigate all the different questions that may arise in starting your new hobby. This free six-part webinar series will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. CST. Topics will include: 

  • April 7, Site Selection and Preparation – Learn how to select a planting area based on light duration and intensity, drainage and slope, utility considerations, and soil type. Learn which tools and methods are needed to prepare the seedbed for planting.
  • April 9, Soils – Learn the basics of soil science with topics such as soil physical properties, and some basic soil chemistry. We will also talk about soil fertility, improvement, and best practices for soil health
  • April 14, Plant Selection – Learn about crop rotation, disease prevention and which crops to plant based on the time of year and location. 
  • April 16, Plant Nutrition – Explore macro and micronutrients that plants require, how plants interact with the soil ecosystem, different types of fertilizers and recommendations, basic fertilizer calculations, and plant-microbe interactions.
  • April 21, Succession Planting and Companion Planting – Learn how to incorporate a season extension method to allow for more harvests. Learn about the three-sister type of companion system, crop rotation and discover which plants have insecticidal or bio-control qualities.
  • April 23, Harvesting and Produce Storage –Learn the basics of harvesting and storing common crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. 

Each webinar will be one hour except for the April 21 succession planting and companion planting webinar, which will be two hours in length. The webinars will be hosted through Zoom video conferencing platform. Those without internet access can also listen through a dedicated phone line. Instructions on joining remotely will be provided after registration. The event is free and open to the public; however, registration is required. Register online at go.illinois.edu/thebeginninggardener 

Like others in our community, Extension is working to navigate safety issues while fulfilling work commitments as the coronavirus situation continues to evolve. At this time, we have suspended normal office, and staff will be working from home for the foreseeable future. All face-to-face events through May 31, 2020, have been canceled, suspended, or transitioned to online delivery. Please check your local Extension website to learn more about the status of any of events, webinars and other online opportunities in your area.

News Sources: Austin Little, little84@illinois.edu and Katie Bell, klbell@illinois.edu

News Writer: Heather Willis, hdwillis@illinois.edu