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Good Growing

Keeping you growing with good ideas

Give Your Soil a Check-up This Fall

Posted by Ken Johnson - Articles

As you begin your fall garden cleanup think about adding a soil test to your list of things to do. Soil testing is a quick and easy task that has many benefits. By conducting a soil test, it will allow you to see what the pH of your soil is, as well as what the nutrient levels in your soils are like. Conducting a soil test is good for both your wallet and the environment. By knowing wha...

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Indoor Plant Week Reminds it is Time to Start Bringing Houseplants Indoors

Coming up this third week of September is National Indoor Plant week. My attitude toward houseplants is quite harsh. I refuse to grow an indoor plant that is finicky about the pH of the water or must only be given a tablespoon of water every three days. To live in my house, you have to be tough! Late spring of every year, I return my houseplants to the outdoors, where they often thrive...

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Eastern Yellowjacket. Photo by Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org

Yellowjackets

Posted by Ken Johnson - Articles

As the calendar creeps closer and closer to fall, often times we begin to encounter yellowjackets more and more. These wasps are commonly confused with honey bees because of their similar size (both are about ½ long) and coloration. Despite this, they are rather easy to tell apart (if you're willing to look close enough). Yellowjackets have bright yellow and black bands on their abdomens and ar...

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Mowing for Monarchs

There is something about mowing that brings a measure of satisfaction to many of us. What is it that we love about mowing? The smell of cut grass? Taming an unruly landscape? To me, it is measurable progress. It seems so often that modern jobs give few tangible results. So much of our work these days is in the digital ether. After a full day's work, I leave the office switching off my computer,...

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Fungus Files: What to do about toadstools in your lawn

In that past two weeks, West Central Illinois has seen a much-needed return of rain after a summer of low precipitation. With the rain has come a handful of calls into the Extension office about mushrooms/toadstools popping up in lawns. Most callers are curious as to why toadstools are showing up now, while a few are on the warpath to eliminate these fungal intruders. The lawn warriors...

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The Best Gardening Happens in the Fall: Learn how with University of Illinois Extension

For the past three years that I have been part of the Good Growing column, I have written an article on gardening in the fall. And before that my predecessor, Mike Roegge, would write about the joys of fall gardening. Yes, you are about to read yet another piece on gardening in the fall. This is our subtle way of suggesting fall gardening is the best gardening. Though after all these years, the...

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Five Valuable Tips for Fall Lawn Care

Lawn care does not stop when summer ends. To the contrary, when it comes to routine turf maintenance the late summer to early fall months are a critical time for cool season lawns. Cool season lawns are a group of turf species comprised mainly of Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue. If you are a homeowner in Illinois with a lawn, more than likely it is a...

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