April 16, 2021

Calendar: Home, Lawn and Garden Day March 6

Join fellow nature-lovers and learn all things gardening this spring at the 19th annual Home, Lawn and Garden Day, sponsored by McLean County, Illinois, master gardeners. This event will take place online, Saturday, March 6, from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Participants will attend six live sessions on trending horticulture topics, from growing tomatoes to designing stunning container gardens. Master Gardeners featured on WJBC Radio will host a question-and-answer segment — your chance to ask that gardening question you have been pondering all winter. Research-based solutions will be presented by the panel, as well as fun and practical advice.

In addition to the live presentations, participants also will receive links to 10 pre-recorded sessions that will be available to you to watch at your leisure and comfort of your home. Learn how to make a succulent wreath, get tips for designing (or redesigning) your landscape, be inspired to try new annual vines or ground covers in your garden, and more.

A $10 registration fee includes five live workshops, Q & A session with the master gardeners, and 10 pre-recorded presentations to watch in your free time. Registration closes March 3 at midnight. Register at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/default.cfm?RegistrationID=23000.

Program schedule:

  • 8:30-9:15 — What’s New at the Nursery for 2021
  • 9:15-10 — The Great Debate: Heirloom or Hybrid Tomatoes
  • 10-10:45 — Creative Containers
  • 10:45-11:15 — Garden and Growing Q&A with Master Gardeners
  • 11:15-Noon — Birdscaping and Beeyond
  • Noon-12:45 — Native Shrubs for Home Landscaping

For more information about the event, call the McLean County Extension office at 309-663-8306.

Northwest Illinois Grazing Conference opens March 3

The theme for the 2021 Northwest Illinois Grazing Conference is “Reinvigorating Pastures and Expanding Grazing.” The conference hosted by University of Illinois Extension will be held virtually via the Zoom platform over four consecutive Wednesday evenings in March from 6:30 to 8 p.m. There will be a $15 fee for all four sessions or a $5 fee per session if you do not want to register for all sessions. Pre-registration is required to receive the Zoom link to participate. Visit https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=22930.

  • March 3: Laura Paine from University of Wisconsin Extension will kick the series off talking about “Am I a Regenerative Grazer?” Should you consider becoming a regenerative grazer? What are the benefits? And how do you do it?  Spoiler alert: you may already be doing it!
  • March 10: Teresa Steckler from University of Illinois Extension will discuss “Be Creative – Identifying Alternative Grazing Opportunities.” What “pasture” alternatives are possible for small farms with sheep and goats?  Steckler will explore different possibilities, limitations and potential pitfalls of these alternative “pastures.”
  • March 17: Travis Meteer from University of Illinois Extension will discuss “Extending the Grazing Season.” Meteer will cover pasture grazing tips, utilizing alternative grazing opportunities such as crop residue and cover crops.  He also will share some tools and equipment that will help make this easier to implement.
  • March 24: Gene Schriefer from UW Extension will wrap up the series with his presentation on “Encouraging Maximum Grazing and Weed Control, Putting the Pieces Together.”

Northwest Illinois Agronomy Summit

The University of Illinois Extension will continue the Northwest Illinois Agronomy Summit via a shift to a virtual platform in 2021. This live series consists of weekly sessions to provide valuable updates for Midwestern corn and soybean producers while allowing them the opportunity to ask questions and discuss with the experts.

“As we often try to do, there is a little bit of everything presented here including research updates, producer recommendations, and best management practices,” says University of Illinois Extension Commercial Agriculture Educator Phillip Alberti. “The theme for this year’s summit is “Updates in Nutrient and Pest Management” and we are really excited to bring in both specialists from the University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin-Madison to discuss production strategies including pest management, cover crop management, and grain safety, and more.”

All sessions will be from 1 to 2 p.m. Register at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=22948.

Remaining sessions in the series are:

  • February 25: Cover Crops in Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin and Combine Cleaning. Cover crops provide many benefits to producers but can be challenging to establish in a corn-soybean rotation. However, with a little research and holistic crop rotation management there are many opportunities to incorporate cover crops into a crop rotation. In addition, as waterhemp has become a common problem,  a little management in the fall via combine cleaning can go a long way the following season.
  • March 2: Updates in Disease Management. Each year provides a variety of challenges when it comes to crop diseases and management strategies. To help work through some of these common problems and solutions, Extension Specialist Dr. Nathan Kleczewski from the University of Illinois will recap some of the bigger culprits in 2020, what research is being done, and how producers may be able to combat them.
  • March 4: Grain Bin Entry. Newly appointed University of Illinois assistant professor Dr. Salah Issa will provide a review of grain storage conditions in addition to providing a review of proper grain bin entry protocols.
  • March 9: Weed Management. Latest research into integrated strategies for waterhemp and giant ragweed management in soybean production.
  • March 11: The Importance of Scouting to Mitigate Risk for Fungicide Resistance Development. Chelsea Harbach, University of Illinois Extension educator, will review the principle concept of the plant disease triangle and how it can help predict the impacts of important crop diseases like the soybean cyst nematode and tar spot on corn in your growing systems.