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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
Planting Peas

Time Your Vegetable Plantings by Cold Hardiness

Last week I planted peas and lettuce in my garden. I love peas and can't wait to have some for dinner. Peas and lettuce are both very hardy vegetables, thus the cold and snow last weekend did not impact their growth. How early you can plant various crops depends upon the hardiness of the vegetables and the date of our last spring frost. Our average frost-free date is April 22 with the a...

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Salad greens growing in aerogarden.

Grow a Combination of Salad Greens

I grew several different types of salad greens indoors this winter. We ate them in salads, on sandwiches, in tacos, and more. With spring just around the corner, now is the time to plant salad greens outdoors in the garden. There are many different types of salad greens to choose from, in a variety of flavor types. Arugula, mustard greens, and chicories provide a strong peppery flavor....

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2018 All-America Selection winners by Bruce Black


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Start your vegetable garden early with cool season crops by Gemini Bhalsod

Posted by Rhonda J. Ferree -

URBANA, Ill. – After a long winter, gardeners are always eager to get outside again. "Get a head start on your vegetable garden by planting cool-season crops," says Gemini Bhalsod, a University of Illinois Extensio...

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GBD 2018 social media image

Gardeners' BIG Day is April 14

The nineteenth annual Gardeners' BIG Day is almost here! This year's event will be Saturday, April 14, 2018, from 8:00-3:00 at Dickson Mounds Museum. Attendees will hear speakers, visit vendors, and see gardening displays. Partnering sponsors include University of Illinois Extension Fulton and Mason County Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists, Spoon River Garden Club, and Dickson Mou...

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Cutting Garden in Master Gardener Demonstration gardens at ICC in E. Peoria.
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Bring your garden indoors with cut flowers

I love having fresh flowers on my kitchen table. They bring such beauty, energy, and life to the room. Every spring I vow to bring fresh flowers indoors all season, but I never seem to follow through very well. Maybe I would do better if I had a cut flower garden dedicated specifically to this purpose. My colleague Candice Hart provides the following tips for creating a cut flower garden....

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Perennial plant of the year – Allium 'Millenium'

URBANA, Ill. – The Perennial Plant Association has awarded the title Perennial Plant of the Year 2018 to  Allium 'Millenium'. This herbaceous perennial, a relative of the common onion, is a workhorse of the late summer garden. Bred by Mark McDonough, horticulture researcher from Massachusetts, 'Millenium' was introduced through Plant Delights Nursery in 2000 where it has proven itself y...

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Pollinator Gardens Grow in Popularity

News on the importance of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators continues to grow. Most people think of bees and butterflies when thinking about pollinators, but bats, beetles, moths, flies, hummingbirds, wasps, and more also spread pollen in some plants. As you plan your spring garden, Kelly Allsup, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, provides the following tips...

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MG 2017 training-008

Apply NOW for Spring 2018 Master Gardener Training

I am excited to announce that we are next University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener training class begins this spring! Training begins April 17 and is held one day a week until June 19. All sessions are held on Tuesdays, and all classes run 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Training includes both classroom lectures and outdoor activities. Master Gardeners learn how to improve home l...

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