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A basket full of red tomatoes.

Maximizing Tomato Production

Based on our updated frost-free dates, most of the risk of spring frost has nearly passed, and it's time to start thinking about planting cold-sensitive vegetable crops.  Tomatoes are perhaps one of the most popular warm-loving plants in the home vegetable garden.  With their time in the...
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Vegetable Garden Planning

It’s that time of year again – time to start planning for the vegetable gardening season.  The explosion of enticing seed catalogs hitting my mailbox these days has started to get me in gear by dusting off all the tools, looking at our empty garden beds and dreaming of the growing season to...
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Growing Loofa Gourds

Most gardeners who have planted a summer squash in their vegetable garden can attest to the prolific growth of healthy squash vines.  And in good years, many can also recount the bountiful harvest, with fruits ripening faster than you can pick them at times.  I think we’ve all found those...
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Vegetable Gardening with Raised Beds

Vegetable Gardening with Raised Beds

The spring-like weather this past week has been phenomenal.  Although we may see a return to cooler weather since March is known to “come in like a lion”, it was certainly a sign of things to come.  I’m really looking forward to March’s exit as it “goes out like a lamb” and the 2022...
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Locally raised turkeys make a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving meal.

Finding local foods for your Thanksgiving feast

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many of us are stocking up on all the ingredients for our favorite dishes so we can contribute to the family feast.  The Thanksgiving meal has traditionally been a celebration of the year’s harvest, making it a great time to focus on the bountiful...
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Garlic is typically planted in fall by separating bulbs into individual cloves for planting.

Fall Garlic Planting

As the vegetable growing season quickly approaches fall frosts when production screeches to a halt, there is actually one crop that can be planted now in anticipation of next year’s growing season.  Garlic (Allium sativum) is an easy-to-grow bulb crop that does best when planted now for a...
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August is a great time to start a fall garden including cool-season crops, like this lettuce, that will thrive in the milder temperatures of the late growing season.

Fall Vegetable Gardening

In the heat of July, it seems out of place to consider fall frost, but it is an important detail for vegetable gardeners planning a fall garden.  There are a variety of garden crops that can be planted in July and August for fall production, many of which are cool-season crops that actually...
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Delicious and sweet ‘Sungold’ tomatoes were hard to find in 2020 since an unusually large number of homebound gardeners bought up seeds and plants at unprecedented numbers.

2021 Garden Planning

What will your 2021 vegetable garden look like?  Where will you source seeds or plants?  What new crops are you interested in planting this year?  All these questions are on the minds of many gardeners this time of year. In 2020, there was an unprecedented interest in all types of...
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New Vegetable Garden Maintenance

New Vegetable Garden Maintenance – Weed and Watering

Vegetable gardening takes some forethought and planning to ensure your garden space is ready, select the best crops, and get everything planted while working around spring rains.  Our enthusiasm and planning in early spring typically culminates in the planted garden and often wanes as the work...
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Beets are a cool-season vegetable that can be direct seeded into the garden now.

Selecting Plants for the Vegetable Garden

Although this past week’s weather trended toward more winter-like conditions, we all know that warmer spring weather is just right around the corner and next week looks quite promising.  One of the key factors in knowing when to plant your vegetable garden relates back to weather since some...
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Raised garden beds are a great solution to a variety of common soil issues.

Analyzing Soils for New Vegetable Gardens

In last week’s blog, I covered the basics of site selection for a new vegetable garden.  Finding the best location in your yard, or understanding that containers may be the winning option is a really important part of setting up your growing space for success.  I would like to continue...
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beet growing with title "it's hard to beat a good beet"

It's hard to beat a good beet

Mentioning the ripe beets coming out of the ground this time of year doesn't get much excitement out of my kids, but they are certainly a favorite of mine. I have such fond memories of fresh beets from my grandmother's garden. She served them pretty regularly as a side, fresh when possible,...
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Tomatoes are one of the most planted garden crops in the US, with several common problems here in central Illinois that can be managed through fairly simple cultural practices.

Tomato Care

Nothing beats a homegrown tomato!  Even when in season, the store bought varieties just cannot compare to a fully ripe tomato harvested at its peak from your own garden.  So many gardeners across American choose tomato plants for their garden each year for this reason, making it the most...
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