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Know How, Know More 2015

Winter Workers - Worms!

As the snow and cold continue, I find myself dreaming about ways to stay connected to the outdoors, the garden & living things! I know plant life outside is just dormant but tending to a worm farm in the winter can be a fun activity for all ages. Besides, they don't require the attention of...
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Delight in Fall

The morning now greets us with a crisp chill and the darkness of the evening comes sooner than many would like this time of year.  For some, fall is a much anticipated time while others skip this season already dreading what follows - winter.As we bring in the final garden harvest for the season,...
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Frugal or Smart Gardening?

Have you wondered the aisles of your local garden center and had that same rush of adrenaline you get while looking through seed catalogs in the winter? Walking through a greenhouse in the spring is like going to the grocery store hungry – bring a list! If you are new to the vegetable gardening...
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Sharing Your Garden and a Little Bit of You!

If you are a seasoned gardener or are just starting out with a new hobby, one way to glean numerous new ideas in a short time is by talking to other gardeners. You can share ideas, talk about lessons they have learned – the good & the bad, and ask some of those questions you've been wondering...
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Small Flock Farmers - Be Alert For Avian Flu

In the past ten days, the number of Avian Influenza infected flocks in the Midwest has increased dramatically. No Avian Influenza has been confirmed in Illinois, but it has been confirmed in the bordering states of Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin. This disease does not affect human health but can be...
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Plant Cover Crops Now - To Improve Your Garden

As our gardens wind down the growing season, fall is the time to get our gardens ready for next spring. Have you ever considered planting a cover crop in your garden? Maybe you should, cover crops improve our garden soil in many ways. Cover crops add a blanket of green to our otherwise bare soil...
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Another reason to love daylilies

Recently I presented a program with a colleague about using edibles in the landscape. Eating out of your landscape can challenge your definition of "ornamental" versus "edible" plant. One of my favorite ways is to use plants traditionally relegated to the vegetable garden as members of the...
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My Tools of Choice for Weeding

The weeds are beginning to sprout between the rows of my vegetables out in the garden, so I need to get busy weeding. First thing to remember when controlling weeds in the garden is that the younger and smaller they are, the easier they are to control. The second important thing to remember is a...
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Great Things in Small Ways

Did you hear that? It was a very faint buzz but it's there. The gardening bug has officially emerged! A few days of sunshine and 50 degree weather after a cold winter is all it takes for this very special bug to emerge and enter its human host. Once infected, the host may suffer excessive bounce in...
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No Squash Bugs on this Pumpkin

Are you looking for a winter squash that squash bugs do not like? Take a look at the Hopi Orange squash. I have been growing this squash off and on over the past 10 years.  I have never a problem with squash bugs when I plant Hopi...
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Farmer's Market Shopping

You know your dentist. You know your doctor. Do you know your farmer? Farmer's markets are an excellent opportunity to get to know your farmer and pick up some tasty, nutritious foods. Local farmers can offer a lot more varieties than a supermarket. Purple carrots are cool to find. Ever seen...
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It's Thanksgiving - Thank A Farmer

At the holidays, it is often easy to forget about the people who produce the food we eat. I understand this can happen, especially here in central Illinois - in the heart of the Corn Belt, where we see a lot of corn and soybeans growing.As I often have to remind my neighbors, we raise a lot more...
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Don't Fear the Less than Perfect Produce

Ever had funny looking produce show up in your garden? Did you eat the harvest even though it wasn't pristine? I'm going to guess that most of you did because you tended that misshapen little fruit. I'm also going to guess that it probably tasted just fine and maybe even delicious because it was...
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Bee Blitz

June 21 marks the first annual "Bee Blitz". All nature lovers and concerned citizens in Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio are invited to get outside, snap pictures of honey & bumble bees on Sunday, June 21st, and upload their findings to BeeSpotter, the citizen...
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Growing Berries in Containers-- The First Year

Last spring we set out to try a number of different container growing methods for vegetables. We demonstrated a few at the Piatt County Extension office, both commercially available and repurposed containers were featured. I planted a few different containers of tomatoes and peppers at my house as...
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Backyard Chickens - Are they for you?

Having chickens at home has many benefits for a family. You can have your own fresh eggs and you have the peace of mind of knowing exactly how they were produce. In addition, it is a way for children to have the experience of helping to care for animals and to see where their food comes from. On...
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Now is a Great Time to Try Something New

New Year or not, everyone has a list of "someday, I would like to try…" activities. What is on your list? It can be something small or of epic proportion. Let's face it; life isn't going to get less busy so why not start working on that list now. What is stopping you? "Trying something new often...
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Recycling Your Christmas Tree

Now that the glory of your Christmas tree has faded, what are you planning to do with your tree?How about recycling your tree? Here are some suggestions for recycling your Christmas tree on your own property. You can have it mulched into wood chips for use in your community or around your house....
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If There's a Will, There's a Way - In the Garden

It's a bucket, a former vessel for pounds of icing, waiting to make the next birthday celebration a sugary delight. That same bucket can bring similar merriment to those who once had a garden but because of life events, aging bodies, various health situations or limited amounts of sun in their...
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