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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
blossom end rot on tomato


Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable grown in the United States, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "They are probably one of the easiest vegetables to grow, but no vegetable is problem proof," said Ron Wolford. "Here are some of the common tomato problems you may encounter during the growing season." "I get calls in late July from gardeners who ha...

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propagating holiday cactus with leaf cuttings

Clone Your Plants

Do you have an annual flower in your garden this year that you especially like and definitely want to use again next summer? You might be able to clone it using vegetative propagation methods. I have a coleus plant that I particularly like in my patio containers. Each fall I take a few cuttings from the plants and grow them in my kitchen windowsill for use next spring. If you ar...

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Blue ceramic pots planted with a green spike for height and orange calibrachoa for the container%u2019s fillers and spillers.

Reunion Gardens

Summer is the time for family and school reunions. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, suggests taking reunions to another level by starting a reunion garden. "School reunion gardens are especially nice to do using flowers in your school colors." "You've probably noticed that school colors typically include bright, complementary colors." "This als...

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Bee on purple cone flower

Native Pollinators Are Important for our Food Supply

When it comes to pollination, honey bees get a majority of the attention. However, many insects play a role in pollination. What is Pollination? Pollination occurs when pollen grains are moved between two flowers of the same species, or within a single flower. There are many ways that flowers are pollinated, including wind and animals. According to the website...

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Spinach growing in Morton Giving Garden

Midsummer Vegetable Gardens

Are you enjoying the "fruits of your labor" from your vegetable garden this summer? With proper care, vegetable gardens provide fresh produce well into the fall. It is essential to keep plants watered consistently during the heat of summer. On average, plants need one inch of water per week and this may need to be stepped up to one inch every five days during the heat of summer. Waterin...

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Tomato on right and tomatillo on left on 7-13-12. Notice leaves go all the way to the ground on this tomato. I rotated it to a new location this year. Last year's tomatoes had lots of foliar leaf blight.
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Fresh Tomato Salsa

Over the past decade, Americans have grown to love salsa, surpassing ketchup as a favorite condiment. While there are many variations, a basic salsa recipe includes tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro and tomatillos. I make tomato salsa several times each summer from plants grown in my garden. You can too! The type of tomato used will affect the thickness and quality of the sals...

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Maple in decline with possible verticillium wilt.
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Tree Cankers and Vascular Wilts on the Rise

As I've written in previous blogs, the droughts of 2012 and other recent weather events continue to take a toll on tree health. Trees can take three to five years to show symptoms from a severe event such as drought. Unfortunately trees under stress are less able to fight off insect and disease problems. Plant diagnosticians at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic describe the follow...

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