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Buckets, Bales, & Bushels

Connecting You with Your Food, Farmers, and Community
Cicada Killer-DSwan-Smlr

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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Three Gardens; 2000 pounds of food

Posted by Beth Allhands -

Comprised of over 3700 volunteers around the state, the Illinois Master Gardener program is a truly great program with a mission  to help others learn to grow. To that end, each Unit, County, and person in the program provides individualized services to the needs and interests they see in their neck of the woods. From the Idea Garden at the Urbana-Champaign campus to the Monarch Madness...

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Lunch box notes

Lunchbox Fun

Parents, teachers, and students: welcome back to school! Along with education, social engagement, and student personal growth, food is a major part of school culture. Consider the different times foods can pop up during the school day: Breakfast – at home, on-the-go to school, or a school-provided meal Lunch – a meal packed at home or provided by the sch...

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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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Posted by Beth Allhands -

Don't we all wish we could capture the beauty of summer, with its lush growth of greens, yellows, purples and pinks? Recently, University of Illinois Piatt County Master Gardner Kristi Pyatt shared a different way to preserve those colors and shapes of growing plants; Eco-Dying! A small group of people were lucky enough to attend a presentation on Eco-Dying at Allerton Park and Retreat...

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Blender Salsa

Salsa in the summer? Yes please! I like salsa as part of my lunch during summer as a way of getting vegetables in my diet in a different way from my usual bell pepper slices. My trouble with jarred salsa I buy is that the sodium amount is higher than I would like. I also prefer my salsa less chunky than I can usually find in jars, or even sometimes as fresh salsa in the deli. So making...

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