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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Seedlings ready for planting on May 7, 2012

Starting Seeds Indoors

Are you "itching" to start your vegetable garden? One way to jump-start the growing season is to start seedlings indoors. There are many advantages to starting your seeds indoors in addition to allowing anxious gardeners to "get their fingers dirty." In theory, plants started indoors will be bigger and produce faster than seed planted directly into the garden. Many of us wait until the cell pac...

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Horticulture Educator Team Wins Excellence Award

A team of nine University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educators was awarded an Interdisciplinary State Team Excellence Award at University of Illinois Extension's annual conference in November 2016. The Interdisciplinary State Team Excellence Award is awarded for excellence in collaborative work to address a priority issue. University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Ed...

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Indoor Herb Gardens

I have been enjoying the fresh basil, dill, cilantro, and parsley I'm growing indoors this winter. I use the herbs to make fresh pesto, teas, salsas, and more. Gardening is not limited to outside in the summer. Herbs are probably the easiest to grown indoors, but there are many more. Last winter I grew salad tomatoes and carrots. As I learn more, I was amazed by how many food crops you...

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Videos available on YouTube /

Ferree Provides Garden Tip Videos on YouTube

My new horticulture YouTube channel extends my gardening education into another realm of social media. Videos are the latest social media trend, with predictions that 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. My plan is to produce short, informational videos covering a wide variety of gardening topics and more. I post the videos on my ILRiverHort Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, I...

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Juniper berries

Spirited Plants

Happy New Year! Where did 2016 go? Whether you toast in the New Year with sparkling grape juice or a more spirited drink, it is interesting to think of all the plants that make up spirits. Spirits are actually named by the fermented material from which they are distilled. Various grains make up whiskey, vodka, gin and most types of schnapps. Brandy is made from fermented grape juice, an...

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Disposing of Your Christmas Tree

Once the Christmas holiday is over, the chore of taking down and disposing of the cut Christmas tree remains. Today, because of solid waste regulations, most communities will no longer permit the used Christmas trees to be hauled out with the garbage and sent to the sanitary landfill. However, Christmas tree disposal does not have to be a problem, because there are several environmental...

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Christmas rose (Helleborus sp.)

Christmas Rose

What is a Christmas Rose? It may be roses given at Christmas or a particular china pattern. It could also refer to a perennial plant called the Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose. The Christmas and Lenten Roses are Helleborus plants that are said to bloom at Christmas or in the winter. In actuality, they bloom in February or March in our part of the world. Still, they are a joy to see bloomi...

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