April 16, 2021

Calendar: Tips for starting a pollinator garden

A pollinator garden provides an assortment of flowering plants which provide nectar and pollen and larval food sources for pollinator species. Jennifer Fishburn, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, will provide tips on starting a pollinator garden and the benefits of pollinators.

The program will be offered via Zoom from 6 to 7 p.m. April 5. Register at tinyurl.com/5bvz6745.

Container gardening with vegetables

Promoting local food can start in your backyard, patio, or even indoors. Learn to grow a variety of edibles in containers and use space efficiently. University of Illinois Extension Educator Andrew Holsinger will share some of the best cultivars for growing in containers.

The free online program will be at 2 p.m. April 6. Register at tinyurl.com/2dc6jt2c.

Backyard greenhouse basics

Join Extension Educator Katie Bell as she explains the benefits of having a backyard greenhouse, and tips to get your greenhouse ready for the planting season. There will be a short seed-starting activity following the presentation.

This workshop will be offered via Zoom at 1:30 p.m. April 7. Register at tinyurl.com/4uz2w9ed.

Reducing food waste, composting

University of Illinois Extension Educators Kristin Bogdonas and Martha Smith are offering programs in April that will give you strategies to reduce your food waste at home.

At an online program at 6 p.m. April 7, Bogdonas will share food planning, preparation and storage techniques to help you reduce food waste at home as well as creative uses for food scraps. Smith will talk about backyard/home composting methods to utilize compostable food waste, bypassing the landfill and providing you with a rich organic substance to add to gardens and landscapes.

At an in-person program at 6 p.m. April 22, learn about vermicomposting; using worms to decompose organic food waste, turning the waste into a nutrient-rich material for use in your garden and potted plants. You will go home with a vermicomposting bin, one pound of red wigglers (composting worms) and instructions on how to care for and maintain your worm bin throughout the year. You will be able to start composting your food scraps right away. The in-person program will be at the University of Illinois Extension office, 321 W. Second Ave., Milan, Ill., and be limited to 10 people, socially distanced, masks required.

Register at tinyurl.com/k3xtsfd7.

Virtual floriculture workshop

A virtual floriculture workshop will be from 4 to 5 p.m. April 8. Learn how to force bulbs indoors and plant a culinary herb basket. The workshop is open to youths of all ages, but may require parental assistance.

Cost for this workshop is $5 and you will need to pick up a starter kit at the Extension office in Collinsville prior to the workshop. Space is limited to 24 youths.

Register at tinyurl.com/5y8vr6a7.

Illinois owls webinar

Owls have a unique set of tools in their predator toolkit, from eyes that can penetrate the darkness, to rotating toes to pick up the smallest of rodents. Owls also are masters of illusion and silence.

Peer into the world of Illinois owls in a free online webinar at 1 p.m. April 8, presented by Peggy Doty, University of Illinois Extension energy and environmental stewardship educator.

Register at tinyurl.com/5anfxsuh.

2021 Field Day of Learning

Connecting people with nature and helping them become engaged environmental stewards is what you will learn at the 2021 Field Day of Learning. The event will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 10. The morning program will be at the Douglas Hart Nature Center, 2204 Dewitt Ave. E, Mattoon, and the afternoon program will be at the Warbler Ridge Conservation Area, Route 130 and Daileyville Road, Charleston.

Sessions for the day will be:

  • More Than Monarchs: Butterflies of Coles County with Kathryn Bulver. Learn about the most common butterflies in our area and how you can help support them through all stages of their life cycle.
  • Remarkable Reptiles: Turtles of Illinois with Hannah Schwanke. Learn about turtles commonly found in Illinois and about their habitats, diet, reproduction, conservation and what you can do to help.
  • Wondrous Wildflower Hike with Nancy Coutant. End the day hiking and enjoying the beauty of spring by identifying wildflowers such as Columbo, False Hellebore and Putty Root Orchid.

Door prizes will be given at each session. Light snacks and water provided in the morning.

Cost is $25. Register at tinyurl.com/9z2c9ny2.

2021 Virtual Gardenfest

If you’re looking to improve your green thumb, or you’re a seasoned gardener, you’ll benefit from the Virtual Gardenfest from 9 a.m. to noon April 10. Gardenfest will include keynote speaker Diane Blazek, executive director of the National Garden Bureau, and six Zoom breakout sessions: Hydroponics at McHenry County College, Long-blooming perennials, Growing your own bouquets, Beauty and benefits of native plants, Landscaping for birds, and community composting.

Sessions will be recorded for participants to view for a limited time after the event. Door prizes will be awarded to a few participants.

Register at tinyurl.com/267afxsu. For more information, contact uie-lm@illinois.edu or 815-338-3737.

Fun with quick breads 4-H workshop

Learn about quick breads and the basic ingredients at 10 a.m. April 10. Review the differences between plain and self-rising flour, learn methods of combining or mixing ingredients, and gain skills in preparation of batters and doughs. Following along in making Powder Biscuits and Peanut Butter Muffins.

Register at tinyurl.com/sbswr86p. For more information, contact anna.catterson@heartland.edu.

McLean County 4-H new family orientation

New to 4-H or interested in getting started? You won’t want to miss the new family orientation at 5:30 p.m. April 12 where you’ll learn about the many opportunities the 4-H Program has to offer youth, families, and volunteers. This is the perfect time to get answers to any questions regarding our program, projects, Record Books, clubs, the summer 4-H Show, and much more.

Receive a meeting link by emailing woodburn@illinois.edu.

Perennial crops: Rhubarb and asparagus

Did you know that some vegetables are perennial and include more than just one season of harvest? Learn the culture and care of asparagus and rhubarb, two of the most popular perennial vegetables, at 2 p.m. April 13. University of Illinois Extension Educator Andrew Holsinger will highlight the benefits of proper bed preparation to enjoy these crops for years to come.

Register by April 11 by visiting tinyurl.com/rbm7zwax.