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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.
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A winter experiment for youth: Forcing paperwhites by Brittnay Haag

A winter experiment for youth: Forcing paperwhites URBANA, Ill. – Even though it is cold outside and snow may be covering our gardens, we can still exercise our little ones' green thumbs. Bring the garden inside this winter with fun activities and experiments! Winter is the perfect time for kids to learn basic plant concepts and develop an interest in the garden."A great family-friendly acti...

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The Legend Mistletoe with Chris Enroth

URBANA, Ill. – Decorating with mistletoe has been a holiday tradition for many centuries in North America and Europe. It begs the question: Why do we have this strange tradition that prompts friends, family, and even enemies to kiss when they meet underneath mistletoe? "Perhaps you have been one of the lucky—or unlucky—few that have found yourself under the mistletoe for a kiss," says U...

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Climate change may confuse plant dormancy cycles

Perennial plants in the Midwest are well attuned to their surroundings. They hunker down all winter in a dormant state, just waiting for a sign that it's safe to unfurl their first tender leaves or flower buds. For many plants, the cue is a sustained warming trend, but day length also factors into the dormancy equation. Day length is governed by our trip around the sun each year – that...

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Perennial Plant of the Year is Allium 'Millenium'

Allium 'Millenium' has been awarded the 2018 perennial plant of the year. I actually just heard about this plant at a pollinator conference in October from Steve Foltz, Director of Horticulture at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, calling it a must have plant for the pollinator garden. The zoo has placed it on their Zoo's Best Perennials for Pollinators list where they promote plants thr...

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Rabbits and Richard

Colder weather, frozen soil, fallen and windblown leaves, and later any accumulated snow, all will force rabbits to take shelter and begin to look for food anywhere they can. Once the ground is frozen, rabbits will have fewer places to take shelter or hide. Foraging for food will mean staying a lot closer to the protection of their winter home. While the weather remains favorable, rabbi...

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Cover crops provide bed and breakfast layover for migrating birds by Cassandra Wilcoxen

After harvesting a corn or soybean crop, farmers may plant a cover crop for a variety of reasons—to reduce soil erosion and nutrient runoff, increase organic matter in the soil, and improve water quality. Now there's another reason. University of Illinois research shows that migratory birds prefer to rest and refuel in fields with cover crops. "Here in the Midwest, we're in one of the m...

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Start the Holiday season off with Nature inspired crafts in Eureka

Universityof Illinois Extension and Heartline and Heart House are teaming up to celebrate the holiday season by offering a free make and take Holiday Nature Ornament Program. Not only are these type of ornaments trending this holiday season but also they can be very affordable, easy to make and a fun family affair. These small ornaments can adorn any tree small or large to fulfill that great...

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