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Gardening in the House

About now, gardeners are beginning to get the annual itch. Catalogs can keep the urge down, but eventually it comes back, growing stronger and stronger – that absolute need to get your hands dirty. To satisfy the craving, we can do some gardening activities inside right now. If you start your own flower and vegetable transplants, it is time to round up the materials you will need to be...

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Pesticides – What are They?

Pesticides are used every day, but many people are not aware of their properties and that they may even be using them. A pesticide is any chemical (synthetic or natural) that is used to repel, control or kill a pest; this might be weeds, pathogens that cause plant diseases, insects or rodents. The word pesticide represents a wide variety of natural and synthetic products that also are known by...

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Using rain barrels to save water in 2017

Collecting, storing and using rainwater is a great way to maintain beds and landscape during those times when Mother Nature is not giving us enough water. A rainfall of one inch per hour on a 1,000 square foot surface will yield 10 gallons of water per minute, so it is possible to fill that barrel with the first rain event of the season! Gardeners who are really into collecting rainwater will...

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Keep Calm and Chill when it comes to our Warmer Weather

Boy, there has certainly been a lot of news coverage this past week or two about our higher than usual and even record-setting temperatures. Just about every arboretum and botanic garden, and even Extension, has been called on for interviews. No one's gardening crystal ball has been very clear, and there is not a lot we can do except wait and see. Part of the concern comes from gardeners alrea...

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Learning More about the Impacts of Invasives

I just attended an Illinois First Detector workshop that addressed several invasive pests, insects and diseases, and even certain kinds of wildlife. Some made their way into Illinois, some just over the state line, and others are in other states that grow food crops we eventually eat. The First Detector Program trains participants to look for the early signs of these invasive plants and pests, and...

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Dormant Pruning in the Home Landscape

Punxsutawney Phil recently announced another six weeks of winter. That is going to be plenty of time for any late winter or very early spring dormant pruning of our shrubs in the home landscape. Keep in mind, dormant pruning needs to be happen before any spring growth resumes. There are several good reasons for dormant pruning. Without the leaves present, we can see the entire plant, looking f...

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Taking care of winter pantry pests

Back in December, this column talked about doing our best to prevent an outbreak of any one of several kinds of pantry pests in the home. Some of what was shared included sealing bulk amounts of dry pet foods, including the birdseed used all winter for outdoor feathered friends, and limiting, whenever possible, the amount of flour for baking during the holidays. Even with the best attempts, oc...

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