October 19, 2021

Virtual gardening event Oct. 9

The program Gardening in the Air will be from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 9. University of Illinois Extension and Iowa State University Extension have teamed up to offer assortment of current topics for you to pick and choose from.

The virtual program will offer three tracks, each track offering a different program at 9 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. You decide which ones you want to participate in. You will be sent the Zoom links and access to handouts prior to the event.

There is no registration fee but a donation is appreciated. Register at tinyurl.com/2arht6f5

Pollinators Track

Pollinators, Plants and People, Dr. Donald Lewis, professor of entomology, Iowa State University, 9 a.m.: This program will examine common pollinators in the Midwest, their identification and challenges, and how we can help pollinators by planting more pollinator-friendly plants.

Planning for Pollinators this Fall, Erin Garrett, energy and environmental stewardship educator, University of Illinois Extension, 10: 15 a.m.: Learn about pollinator-friendly garden cleanup, fall planting of bareroot plants, and winter planting of native seeds. Garrett also will cover what fall-blooming plants to add to your garden to provide food and habitat for pollinators after the spring and summer seasons.

Pollinator Gardening, Nathan Brockman, butterfly curator, Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University Extension. 11:30 a.m.: Tailor your garden’s pollinators with the plants you choose. This program will include tips and tricks to encourage your favorite insects to visit your garden.

Trees Track

New and Alternative Shade Trees for the Home Landscape, Dr. Grant Thompson, assistant professor of horticulture, Iowa State University, 9 a.m.: Learn about new and alternative shade trees for the home landscape that may be substituted for some of the more common species and those with known issues.

Planting and Growing Healthy Shade Trees, Mark Vitosh, district forester, Iowa DNR Wildlife Bureau, 10:15 a.m.: Planting new trees is beneficial in many ways, but there are multiple keys to a successful planting. Learn about proper planting and care to promote healthy new trees in your landscape.

Trees and Shrubs for Pollinators, Debbie Fluegel, field coordinator and program manager, Trees Forever, 11:30 a.m.: Trees and shrubs in our landscape and in our communities serve a critical ecological service to a wide variety of pollinator species. Pollinators, such as butterflies, moths, and bees, play a critical role in our food production systems. Explore the ways we can plant and manage our landscape to support these vital creatures.

Fruit/Vegetables Track

Big or Small: Cover Crops for All, Dr. Ajay Nair, associate professor of horticulture, Iowa State University, 9 a.m.: Sustaining soil quality and health is an important aspect for creating and maintaining productive backyard gardens and landscapes. Cover crops are primarily grown after a cash crop to cover the soil and protect it from erosion due to wind and rain. This presentation will highlight benefits and challenges of cover crops and focus on their impact on various ecological services such as weed suppression, pest and disease reduction, nutrient recycling, and enhancement of soil biodiversity.

Harvesting and Preserving Herbs, Dr. Cynthia Haynes associate professor of Horticulture, Iowa State University; and Bruce J. Black, horticulture educator, University of Illinois Extension, 10:15 a.m.: Herbs are great fun to grow in the home landscape — and they are easy to grow, harvest and keep. Learn more about harvesting and preserving your home-grown herbs to enjoy in recipes all winter.

Backyard Greenhouse Basics, Katie Bell, local foods and small farms educator, University of Illinois Extension, 11:30 a.m.: Looking to extend your production season, hoping to expand your small business, or just interested in trying a new growing system? Explore the basics of greenhouses and high tunnels. Learn how to select a good site, what system will best meet your needs, and what to consider when building a greenhouse or high tunnel. These structures capture heat and light to increase plant growth and offer protection during weather events. These systems provide many benefits and can allow for diversity in your growing system.