Extension Unit News
Heirloom Garden Teamwork Award
At the University of Illinois Master Gardener conference that was held on September 17, thirteen Master Gardener teams received the State Master Gardener Teamwork award. This award recognizes groups of Master Gardeners who work together to accomplish a common goal for the betterment of their communities.
Sangamon-Menard Heirloom Vegetable Garden Project was recognized as one of the teamwork award winners.
In October 2008, Mike McPeek, Park Guide, Lincoln Home National Historic Site, conceived the idea for a "Living History Heirloom Garden" at the national historic site. This was one of several new features added to the historic neighborhood in commemoration of the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth. Almost 40 volunteers including Master Gardeners in Sangamon-Menard Unit, Master Gardeners in Christian county and Springfield Civic Garden Club participated in the project.
The heirloom garden location is behind the Harriet Dean house, which is in the Lincoln Home National Historic Site neighborhood. Lincoln Home National Historic site is located at 426 South 7th Street, Springfield, IL. The time period for the Lincoln Home site is mid-19th century (1860's). This is the period used for the interpretive garden.
Goal for the project is to educate the public about gardening during the mid-19th century was achieved. People from around the world visit Lincoln Home site. Visitors were able to learn first-hand about gardening. Volunteers were able to answer questions about the plants, gardening techniques and tools. Approximately 7,232 people visited the garden in 2009. This does not count the number of people who viewed the garden when a volunteer was not at the garden site.
Another benefit to the community was approximately 700 pounds of produce was donated to Grace Lutheran Church Food Pantry. The donation was made as part of the Plant a Row for the Hungry program.
Sangamon-Menard Master Gardeners who were 2009 members of the heirloom garden include: Dennis Suttles, Bharati Jhaveri, Kathy Homa, Randy Thomas, Diane Grottola, Gary Trammell, Shirley Wilson, Ken Hage, Bev Vost, Ruth Nonneman, and Susan Cressy. Christian County Master Gardener volunteers: Sharron Taft, Jean Shuler, Mary Grace Given, Midge Kendle, Jenniffer House, and Gwen Podeschi.
Congratulations to the Lincoln Home Heirloom Vegetable Garden team. L to R: Ed Doornbos, Shirley Wilson, Ken Hage, Diane Grottola, Mike McPeek, Gwen Podeschi.
Master Gardener State Award Winners
Each year a few Master Gardener volunteers are recognized on a state level for their outstanding contributions to the Master Gardener program. This year at the University of Illinois Extension statewide Master Gardener conference, held September 16-18 in Rockford, several Sangamon-Menard Unit Master Gardeners were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the program.
This year's honorees are representative of the state's 3,500 Master Gardener volunteers. These Master Gardeners were recognized for their superior contributions to the program.
Statewide 37 Master Gardeners, fewer than 2% of active Master Gardeners in the state, received the State Outstanding Master Gardener award. Master Gardeners who receive this award must be an active participant in the program, demonstrate leadership and have volunteered more than 180 hours of service to the program.
Sangamon-Menard Unit Master Gardeners who received this award were Tom Hiler and Sandy Pecori both of Springfield.
Don't let recent cool temperatures make you think that the gardening season is over. Fall is a great time to get a few last chores done and get a head start on next spring. Here are a few items to add to your fall garden "to do" list.
It's not too late to plant spring bulbs. While bulbs should be planted as soon as possible, they can be planted until the ground freezes. Select firm, disease free bulbs. Plant large bulbs such as tulips and daffodil 6 to 8 inches deep. Small bulbs such as crocus and grape hyacinth should be planted 3 inches deep. Be sure to plant bulbs with pointed end up and flat side down.
Clean annual plant debris from vegetable and flower gardens. This includes plant remnants and weeds. Don't underestimate the power of a few weeds. Remember the saying "One year of seeds equals seven years of weeds."
Perennial flower beds should be mulched. Be sure to do this after plants are dormant, around mid-November. Mulch with a loose organic mulch to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Most plant debris can be removed from the garden, however ornamental grass foliage can be left as it adds winter interest to the landscape.
After roses are completely dormant, around Thanksgiving, remove leaves from around the plant. Protect hybrid tea roses by applying a winter protection. This can be done several different ways. For information and pictures of how to provide winter protections visit the University of Illinois Extension "Our Rose Garden" at http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/roses/.
Start a compost pile with leaves and garden debris. Many gardeners enjoy turning composting leaves, lawn clippings, shredded twigs, and vegetable and food waste into something that can be reapplied to the landscape. Composted material is a great soil amendment. A compost pile should be contained structure. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate- tie four pallets together or stack several layers of concrete blocks together. The minimum size for a compost pile should be 3' x 3' x 3' and the maximum size is 5' x 5' x 5'. For compost bin ideas stop by the Sangamon-Menard Master Gardener demonstration gardens located on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Mulch strawberry plants to protect them from extreme cold. Strawberries should be mulched before the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This is generally done around mid-November. Use a loose organic material such as clean seed-free wheat straw.
Enjoy the beauty of fall while preparing your garden for winter.
Master Gardener Training
If you have a desire to learn more about gardening and then share your knowledge with others than the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteer program may be for you.
Master Gardeners are adult members of the community who are interested in learning more about lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, the environment and much more. Master Gardener trainees receive 60 hours of in-depth unbiased, research-based horticulture training from University of Illinois Extension educators and specialists. A Master Gardener Intern is expected to return 60 hours of volunteer service in the year following their graduation. Classes will be offered on Thursdays from 9am to 4pm, starting January 20 and ending March 31, 2010.
Applications are due November 15. If you would like an application or more information about the Sangamon-Menard unit program, phone (217) 782-4617.
Master Gardener Conference
Nine Sangamon-Menard Master Gardeners attended the Upper Midwest Master Gardener Conference "Gardening to a Better Life" which was held September 16-18, Rockford, IL. Master Gardeners took part in tours of the area and attended garden related seminars.
L to R: Diana Hetherington, Jane Morris, Joy Poos, Susan Helm, Charles Bell, Susie Risser, Sharleen Bell, Janet Keistler, Donna Christison, Jennifer Fishburn (Horticulture Educator)
A "Compost Workshop" of interest to horse stable operators, livestock producers, landscape waste composters, news media and backyard composters will be offered on Thursday, November 4, from 9 am to 1:30 pm. The event will be held at the University of Illinois Extension Building #30, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield. Registration is free. The workshop is co-sponsored by Illinois Department of Agriculture, University of Illinois Extension and Illinois State University.
Topics covered include: the composting process-characteristics of good compost; composting do's and don'ts; compost networking- matching manure generators with compost producers; compost regulations and IEPA permitting; uses for compost; composting in the backyard. A tour of the Illinois State Fairgrounds composting facility will include compost monitoring process, bin composting, windrow composting.
For more information contact: Paul Walker, (309) 438-3881; Mike Rahe, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jennifer Fishburn, (217) 782-4617, email@example.com; or
Randy Fonner, firstname.lastname@example.org.