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Tales from a Plant Addict

Fun (& a few serious) facts, tips and tricks for every gardener, new and old.

Tomatoes in the Heat and Drought

There is usually a correlation between the tomato problems that people ask about at the Extension office and the weather conditions. This year is no exception; this summer has been filled primarily with issues related to the hot dry weather that has dominated east central Illinois. Tomato problems can be divided into the broad categories of fungal, bacterial, viral, or cultural causes. For furt...

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Hummingbirds

Despite the drought conditions this summer, I have still seen plenty of hummingbirds frequenting my garden. Honestly, I was a little surprised, thinking they would have moved on to somewhere that actually saw some rain this summer. Hummingbirds are uniquely an "American" bird. They are found only in the Western Hemisphere, in North and South America. There are between 325 and 340 species of hum...

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Grey Water Use in the Home Landscape

The drought has made gardening a challenge this summer, to put it mildly. As we anxiously watch weather radar in hopes of a few drops of rain, the question of what to do if it doesn't rain weighs heavily on our minds as the days and months go by. The extended drought has made a lot of us realize how much we take our water supply for granted. This week Decatur was forced to implement the...

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More Than Just Topiaries

In mid-July, I had an opportunity to attend the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Annual Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a very busy week of meeting Extension staff from across the U.S. and learning about their programs. As part of the meeting, the last day is traditionally one of tours. One of the stops on my tour was valuable to me not only because of th...

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