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Rhonda J. Ferree

Rhonda J. Ferree
Former Extension Educator, Horticulture

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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Contorted hazelnut in winter
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Twisty Curvy Plants

Twisty curvy and weeping plants are fun to look at, but hard to use in the landscape. They are so unique and special that they must have a special spot to really work. Most should be used as a planned focal point, since they definitely draw one's attention. Usually, one is enough in the landscape as more than one is too distracting. What do I mean by twisty curvy plants? These are plants that...

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2007: C.B. Smith students explore the bounty of blooms.
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Gardening with Kids

Gardening is for everyone, but is especially important for children. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of gardening with kids. It encourages personal growth, environmental stewardship, hands-on learning, improved nutrition, community involvement, and family interaction. During my 25 year career with Extension I've attended many programs on how to garden with kids. Each time I come...

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potatoes growing in a plastic container
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Time to Plant Potatoes

Potato ranks with wheat and rice as one of the most important staple crop sin the human diet around the world. Certainly potatoes are an important part of our diets as we eat French fries, potato chips, mashed potatoes, augratin potatoes, and more. Potatoes are very easy to grow in your own garden. Potatoes are among the earliest vegetables planted in the garden. Early, midseason, and l...

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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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Grow Your Fresh Salsa

"There is nothing like a fresh salsa and tortilla chips summer snack," according to Rhonda Ferree, Extension Educator in Horticulture. Fresh salsa is also called pico de gallo and is comprised mainly of tomatoes, peppers, onion, and cilantro. Rhonda says that almost all the ingredients can be grown right in your own backyard or on your patio. Tomatoes are one of the most popular homegrown vege...

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tomato grown in a container
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Tips for new vegetable gardeners

According to the Garden Media Group, our younger generation (15-49 year olds) is just learning to garden and is hungry for information. They are most interested in growing edibles (herbs, fruits, and vegetables), gardening with their children, and using sustainable gardening practices and methods. If you are starting your first vegetable garden or know someone that is, here are six simple step...

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Dwarf tomato growing in a container.

Tomato Terminology

Tomatoes are the most popular home garden vegetable grown in America. We answer many questions each summer about tomatoes. There are literally hundreds of varieties of tomatoes available, making it difficult to choose which one to grow. Adding to that confusion are various symbols and terms describing the plants. Let me try to simplify several of these tomato terms. Hybrid...

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