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The Humble Gardener

At University of Illinois Extension, our volunteers are at our core. Hear their voice on this volunteer driven blog.
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Volunteers Give Presence

As the meeting room at the Knox County Extension Office filled with folks gathering for the annual holiday potluck in early December, I marveled at how "good" we cleaned up. The attendees, bearing dishes to the communal table, were Master Gardeners who I usually see in less formal circumstances- dirty, disheveled, and doing the tasks needed to keep local gardens growing. Part of the Mas...

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Remembering All The Things

The end of the growing season brings many tasks to a close. The last task of the season: update the gardening journal. Okay, that last statement makes me sound organized. Honesty compels me to confess that my gardening journal is more of a mental record than a written record. Chip has the utmost confidence in my ability to remember stuff; on a daily basis, he casually tosses a request...

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The Humble Gardener Meets Kale

It is no surprise when I write that this fall has been unusual in the garden. Little rain and high temperatures combined for a weird growing season. Cabbage moths dance upon the broccoli; Asian beetles are seven deep on the honey dew melons. Bees and wasps are thick on the compost pile. Right now we have tomato plants that are almost totally brown. They are enlivened by red and yellow t...

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What's for Dinner? Late Season Harvest

A friend and I were talking about dinner plans one day and I commented that one of the first things I do in the morning is decide what to have for dinner. She thought I was kidding; when Chip came up to us, she asked him what he did first in the morning. He said, "Talk to Sandy about what we're having for dinner." I started laughing when he got to "about"-the look on my friend's face was pricel...

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zucchini flower

Too Much Summer Squash

As I got out of my car in Target's parking lot, key fob in hand, I heard a man say, "Be sure to lock your car." Startled, I noticed an older gentleman in the car next to mine. He smiled and said, "It's zucchini season." Immediately my mind flashed to my kitchen counter, piled with yellow summer squash, and I briefly considered stashing squash in unsuspecting vehicles as a possible solution to o...

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Question. Plant. Reap. Enjoy!

My favorite time of the year as a gardener is when I get to be in my gardens. To watch veggies that we started last February make their way to our table in early June is a constant marvel to me. I understand the science that makes this happen, but I am awed that we grew this morning's breakfast. Today we had omelets (eggs from our chickens) with mushrooms, pepper and carrot (only one of each was r...

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Gardening Gramma

Last weekend, I had the overwhelmingly pleasant experience of creating a garden with my granddaughter. I won't bore you with how incredibly smart, charming, and exceptional Ms. Maisie is. At 3 1/2, she has more energy and enthusiasm than this old gramma could keep up with, but the new garden we created served as a testament to a practice that originated with my immigrant Italian grandfather and th...

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