Seedling in hand

Getting Started with Seed Saving

If you find the perfect tasting tomato, harvesting and saving the seed will ensure you can have that tomato again next season. The seed stores the genetic information for a new plant. With a bit of practice and patience, you can have the seeds of your favorite vegetables ready for next year's garden.

Plant inside listening to music

Growing food is not limited to outdoors in the summer.

With some planning, you can grow food indoors throughout the year.

Make a plan

Before starting your indoor kitchen garden, it is essential to think about what you want to gain by growing food indoors. You might wish to have herbs to give dinners a special touch or boost nutrition for added health benefits.

bee on sedum

By Laura Bradshaw, Extension Master Naturalist serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell counties

The topic of the importance of pollinators is becoming more and more common. People are realizing the importance and taking action such as providing pollinator friendly plants and habitat. Learning more about insecticides and using them appropriately is another way to support pollinators.

composte bins in yard

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 only survive in peat wetlands. These wetlands purify water and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. To harvest peat moss, ditches are constructed to drain water from the area. Large vacuums remove the peat.

yellow bird in wild flowers

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 Almanac

humming bird feeding from zinnias

By Jeff and Nancy Staecker, Extension Master Naturalists serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell counties

women working in garden

There are many reasons to grow your vegetables, including health benefits, better flavor, and environmental protection. The health benefits are exponential with the combination of nutrients, sunshine, and exercise gained through vegetable gardening.

Studies show that those who garden are more likely to eat more vegetables. Vegetables are a good source of essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and fiber for example. As you work outside in the sunshine, you are aiding your body in the production of vitamin D.