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ILRiverHort 2021

plate of Christmas cookies

Sugar and spice make everything nice

Sugar and spice make everything nice, especially Christmas cookies. But, do you know where your sugar and spice come from? Plants make the sugar glucose during photosynthesis. Certain plants can take excess glucose, create sucrose then stored it in either the stalk or root. This is the sugar we...
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composte bins in yard

Save wetlands, use soilless potting mixtures

Peat wetlands are delicate ecosystems that take thousands of years to form. Peat accumulates at a rate of about 1 millimeter per year. When the peat moss industry harvests 22 centimeters per year, it is easy to see why there is a concern for its sustainability.  Many rare plants and animals can...
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yellow bird in wild flowers

Want to help wildlife in Illinois? Protect their habitat

By Carla Rich Montez, Extension Master Naturalist serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties   “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”  Aldo Leopold, A Sand County...
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humming bird feeding from zinnias

Adding more blooms to your garden invites more birds

By Jeff and Nancy Staecker, Extension Master Naturalists serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell counties Over the last 20 years we’ve lost billions of birds – birds that are both beautiful and play critical roles in the environment… such as eating pests. We do not know all the complex...
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wedding bouquet using local blooms

Think local for eco-friendly and beautiful wedding flowers

Flowers are a wonderful way to make any wedding day special.  There are many ways to choose beautiful and sustainably grown and arranged flowers.  Choose a local source for your blooms. Flowers that are locally grown have a much smaller carbon footprint than flowers flown thousands of miles in...
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jumping worm

Stop the spread of jumping worms and other invasive species

Thoroughly clean tools, shoes, and vehicles when moving from one site to another. Only purchase compost, mulch, or other organic matter that has been heated to appropriate temperatures and duration to reduce the spread of pathogens, insects, and weeds. Jumping worm egg casings do not survive...
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jumping worm

Invasive Jumping Worms Confirmed in Peoria County

Originally posted April 15, 2021 Jumping worms (Amynthas spp) are an invasive earthworm probably brought into the country as fishing bait. They go by many names, such as crazy worms, Alabama jumpers, or snake worms. These worms are known to change the soil structure, deplete available...
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field of pink cosmos

Heirloom flowers provide fragrance, beauty, pollinator support

Spring brings thoughts of beautiful, colorful, fragrant blooms that brighten up our landscapes after a long winter.   But we aren't the only ones on the lookout for flowers. Pollinators are looking for them also. Heirloom flowers provide these pollinators with more of the resources they require...
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