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Buckets, Bales, & Bushels

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Gardening
2013-09-24 19 54 27

Top Ten Garden Tasks to do This Fall

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

When fall rolls around, it is easy to just be done with gardening for the season. You've worked all season long to water, weed, and keep things looking great and the idea of more gardening may not sound so enticing anymore. Don't give up yet though, there really are numerous fall gardening activities that can be completed at the end of the season and many of these will help prepare your garden...

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Celebrate the Power of Pollinators at Monarch Madness!

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

Discover and celebrate the power of pollinators and the monarch butterfly as they migrate across Central Illinois next month at the third-annual Monarch Madness co-sponsored by the Macon County Master Gardeners and Rock Springs Nature Center! Be a part of this family friendly and hands-on celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 17. See caterpillars, chrysalide...

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Cicada Killer - The Big Wasp

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been getting many phone calls from people describing giant wasps in their yards. These have turned out to be the Eastern Cicada Killer (Sphecius speciosus), which is a mild mannered wasp. The stinger on the female wasp is used to paralyze cicadas and the male has no stinger. The adult cicada killer is an impressive looking wasp measuring up to 1.5 i...

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Garden gone awry? How to Control Aggressive Garden Plants

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

Aggressive, invasive, and my personal favorite, a garden thug are all terms commonly used by gardeners to describe those garden perennials that tend to overtake their intended areas. It all starts with good intention. Usually a garden friend who wants to share a division of a plant they have an abundance of, or a gorgeous plant at the garden center whose label fails to note its aggressive growt...

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Soil Health – Why is it Important?

Soil health is getting a lot of attention and it well deserved. Do you know why? First, the most well-known and essential benefit of healthy soil is food production. Healthy soil is full of organisms that turn dead matter and minerals into vital plant nutrients. President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated it another way, "A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself." Second, healthy soi...

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2017-06-23 09 56 32

Water Less with Self Watering Containers

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

What do you do when you want to grow veggies at an office surrounded by gravel with no available growing space? You create containers! This was the dilemma this spring at our Clinton Extension Office. The summer Junior Master Gardener program was starting and we needed a way to...

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WildCarrot
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Watch Out for Queen Anne's Lace Look-Alikes

At this time of the year, the wildflower, Wild Carrot or Queen Anne's Lace , is in bloom. It is known for its beautiful white compound umbels of flowers that measure 2 to 5 inches across and is the source of our cultivated carrots. People will pick these flowers for...

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Garedn Walk

It's Garden Walk Time!

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

The Garden Walk is back and better than ever in 2017! Enjoy a self-guided tour of seven beautiful Decatur-area gardens from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 11. Explore historic gardens near Millikin University, learn about urban gardening techniques at  The Good Samaritan Inn and check out what the homeowners say is...

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2013-09-19 14 29 47

Using Floating Hydroponics to Grow Herbs

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

Growing Herbs and Vegetables with Hydroponics Last month I posted about the first passive hydroponic setup I've tested to grow herbs and vegetables indoors. This month, we'll discuss a floating hydroponic system, which is even more simple to assemble!...

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WhatToDo

Information on Using Pesticides Safely In the Lawn & Garden

Every year, people have a lot  of questions about identifying pests around the lawn or garden; which pesticide to use or not to use; how to apply it and how much should be applied. Pesticides used correctly are one of the tools a gardener can use to control pests. Candice Hart and Doug Gucker, Extension Educators in Horticulture and Local Foods Systems, have created a series of short v...

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Product Selection for Pest Control

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

Last week we discussed how to go about properly identifying a pest in your landscape or garden. Once you've identified that pest problem in the garden, the next step is to create your management plan and choose a potential product to control that pest, if necessary. What you may actually find though, is th...

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Proper Pest ID

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

Are pests and diseases reeking havoc on your plants indoors or outside? It's bound to happen every once in awhile, but before you start to treat the problem, it's important to figure out what the exact problem is. The definition of a pest is an annoying or troublesome person, animal, or thing, a nuisance. For a plant, this could mean that a pest is an insect that is fe...

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DontBag

Recycle Your Grass Clippings

Our grass clippings are too valuable to waste! When left on the lawn, properly mowed grass clippings filter down to the soil and decompose rapidly,usually within a few weeks. During the breakdown process, the clippings feed soil organisms, recycle plant nutrients, and contribute organic matter to the soil. These are all great things for our lawns. Research tells us that grass clippings...

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2014-08-25 11 23 35

Using Hydroponics at Home

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

Hydroponics continues to be a popular topic in the horticulture industry, but usually it's on a very large, greenhouse scale. But did you know, you can try it easily at home?! If you're not familiar with the term hydroponics, it's a method of growing plants in a nutrient rich water solution instead of soil. Why, you may ask? Because the growth rate can be 30-40% faster in this type of system. A...

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Beware of the Invasive Teasel Plant

As you travel along Illinois highways this time of the year, you may have seen a tall, dried, spiny plant with huge showy seed heads . You might have even considered taking some seed or seed heads home to plant and use as an accent flower or for use in dried flower arrange...

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2016-04-14 10 28 26

Think Spring: Starting Seedlings for Spring Planting

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

What gets a gardener through the dark days of winter? Thinking about spring planting of course! What better way to get prepared for spring planting, than getting some seeds started in preparation. Why start your plants from seed? Because it lowers the cost you would spend for plants, and it offers you a wider selection of plants. It also gives you a head start o...

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Bees and Pesticides in the Garden

" Bees and Pesticides in the Garden " is the title of a recent article by Ric Bessin, Extension Entomol...

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Spring Fever, Have you Gotten it Yet?

Posted by Beth Allhands - Gardening

Spring Fever, have you gotten it yet? February's combination of inclement weather, fragrant bouquets around stores for Valentine's Day, and a 70 minute gain of sunlight from the first of the month to the last are major triggers of this malady. Don't suffer in silence. There are ways to combat even the severest of cases. First, attend nearby garden workshops. On February 25 Macon County...

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Bacterial Leaf Scorch found in Moultrie County

Posted by Beth Allhands - Gardening

Photo: American Phytopathological Society   A high number of pin and other oak trees in Moultrie County have been diagnosed with Bacterial Leaf Scorch. Given the close proximity to us, we like to pay attention to what is happening to our neighbors. Bacterial leaf scorch is caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidosa and is spread by xylem-feeding leafhop...

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Common Tomato Problems

Without a doubt home gardeners love their tomatoes! Calls to the Master Gardener Help Desk prove this year after year with the number of questions we receive about issues with tomatoes. Tomato problems can be divided into the broad categories of fungal, bacterial, viral, or cultural causes. For further description of the problems described in this article, please call the Master Gardener Help D...

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Gardening Roller Coaster

If you are an amusement park enthusiast you are familiar with the feeling of great anticipation as you are fastened into your roller coaster car. With your shoulder harness securely fastened, the anticipation builds with click, click, click, as you ever so slowly climb to the top of one of the coaster peaks. Eak! Will you be met with an accelerated descent, a loop-the-loop or a sharp curve? Garden...

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Time for Fall Gardening!

Even though I haven't been a student for a lot of years now, I still cringe when I see "Back to School" ads and aisles showing up after the 4 th of July. Summer is all too short. I'm not ready to say goodbye to it just yet. One way to extend the enjoyment of the outdoors is to plan a fall vegetable or flower garden. I know people will ask about this topic in September and October, but...

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A Peck of Pepper Problems

The untold story of Peter Piper's Peppers: peppers can be hard to grow! Growing your own peppers makes perfect sense if you are a gardener. Whether you chop, dice, roast, stuff, pickle, grill or dry the brilliant colored vegetable, they are handy to have in your kitchen. You may have wandered the farmers market or supermarket and noticed they are a little pricey! Maybe Peter Piper knew growing...

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Butterfly Gardening

Mention butterfly gardening, and visions of colorful butterflies flitting among brightly colored flowers come to mind. But butterfly gardening is not just a means to attract beautiful adult butterflies to the garden. It can be a way to provide support for all life stages and help preserve populations of these beautiful members of the insect world. It's tempting to think that butterfly g...

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Keeping the Garden Weed-Free

As everyone is finishing planting their gardens, their attention turns to controlling the weeds. Unfortunately, this is backwards, we need to focus on garden weed control before the first seed is planted. All this was brought to mind, after viewing a large local vegetable garden, where the gardener was focused on getting plants in the ground. Yet, weeds were growing on the earlier plant...

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