FREEPORT, Ill. - University of Illinois Extension is proud to announce an upcoming fruit and vegetable webinar series offered this April for backyard growers and homeowners.

“Each spring, we get a number of calls to our University of Illinois Extension office asking about growing fruit trees, tomatoes, and squash”, states Grant McCarty, Local Foods and Small Farms Educator. “These three categories are among the most popular and bring with them some of the main challenges each year”

Each week will center on a different fruit/vegetable with an overview on selecting the right cultivars, managing them during the growing season, addressing insects/diseases, and finally harvest. These webinars are designed for beginning and established backyard growers.

The Get Growing Webinar Series will kick off with “Beyond Dirt” on Friday, April 3rd. “A successful vegetable garden and/or a backyard orchard depends highly on getting your soil right” McCarty shares. “So we need to talk about soil at the start of our series”.

The Get Growing Webinar Series will be held from 10:00-11:30AM on Fridays in April. These will include:

April 3rd- Beyond Dirt Topics include: Understanding what your soil does for your crops, how to use organic matters (composts), choosing the right fertilizers, preparing your garden for the 2020 season, and reading soil tests.

April 10th- The Backyard Orchard. This course is designed for helping new and established backyard orchards. Topics will include choosing the right types of fruit trees, general pruning practices, day 1 planting, and insect/disease management.

April 17th- Totally Tomatoes, Perfect Peppers. Topics will include deciding on tomato and pepper varieties, trellising, insect/disease management, and seasonal management

April 24th- Successful Squash. Topics will include deciding on squash varieties including pumpkins, winter squash, cantaloupe, and others. Additional topics will include seasonal management, insect/disease management, and harvest.

Participants can sign up for all webinars or pick and choose which ones they would like to view. These webinars will be delivered via the Zoom program. To register and for more information on this webinar series, please visit our website: go.illinois.edu/jsw