May 20, 2024

Calendar: Bass Farms hosts Summer Twilight Series

COBDEN, Ill. — Learn about hydroponics and plasticulture in the first Summer Twilight Series program, 6 to 8 p.m. May 15 at Bass Farms, Cobden School Road and U.S. 51, Cobden.

Bill Bass of Bass Farms is teaming up with University of Illinois Extension to host the first of four twilight meetings at his farm. The Bass family has a long history in agriculture production, raising fruits and vegetables, livestock, and row crops in southern Illinois for over 50 years. Operating as a diversified family farm, each production area encompasses about one-third of their total farming enterprise. With a focus on providing fresh, high-quality produce directly to local consumers, Bass Farms’ main crops include strawberries, tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries and peppers, all grown on about 30 acres.

Bass will share lessons learned in the last 20 years of growing plasticulture strawberries and hydroponic greenhouse tomatoes. He will focus on production practices within his greenhouse structure and the plasticulture strawberry fields, including his experiences with variety selection, fertility, and pest management. Bass will also discuss why they invested in hydroponic greenhouse tomato production and how it has impacted the farm’s retail marketing strategy.

Participants will meet north of the farm stand at their greenhouse, which is located at the intersection of U.S. 51 and Cobden School Road. There is no cost to attend this in-person program, but registration is suggested. Visit or call 618-695-2441.

Barn Quilt Art

ST. CHARLES, Ill. — Plan and paint a barn quilt with Kane County 4-H, 1 to 3 p.m. May 13 at the Kane County Extension office, 535 S. Randall Road, St. Charles.

Youths ages 8 to 18 will create a painted barn “quilt” with some of their favorite colors. They’ll Learn how to plan, design, and execute this quilt block project, and build their visual arts project skills.

Cost is $25. Register at

Container Gardening

MT. ZION, Ill. — Container Gardening will be 1 to 2 p.m. May 13 at the Mt. Zion Library, 115 W. Main St., Mt. Zion.

Learn about the advantages of gardening in containers and tips for creating your own container garden. Topics covered will include containers, soil, plant selection, and proper care procedures.

Register by calling the library at 217-864-3622.

Plant Sale

FULTON, Ill. — The Fulton Plant Sale will be 8 a.m. to noon May 13 at Catttail Park, 100 19th St., Fulton. Proceeds will benefit the beautification of the Windmill Area.

Whiteside County master gardeners will be on hand to answer any questions. For more information, contact Mary Nelson at the Whiteside County Extension office at 815-632-3611.

Canner Testing

OTTAWA, Ill. — Free pressure canner testing will be 1 to 4:30 p.m. May 15 at the La Salle County Extension office, 1689 N. 31st Road, Ottawa.

Drop off your canner lid with dial. Once the lids are checked, you will be contacted for pickup.

Little Roots

ROCKFORD, Ill. — The Little Roots Gardening Calendar will guide you and your Cloverbud-age child in growing seven different plants, seed to harvest, by engaging in weekly activities like: Observing the world around you, researching basic horticulture terms, and caring for your plants. Seeds/plants will include sunflower, zinnia, radish, tomato, pepper, pumpkin and basil.

Kit pickup and first activity will be 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. May 15 at the Winnebago County Extension office, 1040 N. 2nd St., Rockford. The cost for this program is $8. This program is for any youth ages 5-7; children do not have to be in 4-H to join.

For more information and to register, visit

Tree Pruning

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. — Do you have pruning anxiety? Have you wondered what to do about tree branches that just don’t look right? Purdue Extension in Whitley County will be offering the free program Tree Risk Assessment and Tree Pruning from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET May 15 at the Whitley County 4-H Center, 680 W. Squawbuck Road, Columbia City.

Recognizing tree risk factors will comprise the first part of the program. Phil Woolery, Purdue Extension educator and ISA certified arborist, will go over the general process of evaluating tree risk, and cover some things to look out for in the tree branches, roots and trunks. He will also talk about some mitigation strategies for risky trees.

Some trees with risk factors could have been assisted early in their life with some prudent pruning. John Woodmansee, Extension educator in Whitley County, will cover best practices when pruning. He will focus on pruning younger trees so that they are better positioned for long-term survival. Woodmansee will cover why we prune, the best times to prune, how to best make pruning cuts, and the tools used for pruning. He will cover the overall goals of pruning, including establishing one central leader, eliminating non-beneficial plant parts, and branch spacing on the trunk. If time allows, shrub pruning may also be covered.

To reserve your spot, call the Whitley County Extension office at 260-244-7615.

ServSafe Training

VERNON, Ind. — ServSafe Food Protection Manager one-day class and exam will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET May 16 at the Jennings County Government Center, 200 E. Brown St., Vernon.

ServSafe educates foodservice workers about food safety. ServSafe Food Protection Manager training satisfies Indiana requirements to become a Certified Food Protection manager and focuses on five aspects: Foodborne microorganisms and allergen; personal hygiene; purchasing, receiving, and storage; preparing, cooking and serving; and facilities, cleaning/sanitation and managing pests.

The full, one-day training includes a manual and proctored exam. You must score 70% or greater to earn the certificate. The certification is valid for five years. A photo ID with signature is required to take the exam. Register at

Invasive Plants

URBANA, Ill. — The online program Invasive Plants: Beyond Outlawed will be 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. May 16.

Find alternatives for plants with troublesome tendencies. Plants that display a specific set of criteria can land on regulated federal and state invasive plant lists — but not all that meet those criteria are deemed invasive. Some of those plants are readily available at garden centers and commonly found in Illinois yards, despite a constant battle by landowners and conservation workers to keep them out of natural areas.

In this session, presented by Extension Horticulture Educator Chris Enroth, learn how to identify these species of concern, find ways to control them in natural areas, and pick up ideas for alternatives for the home landscape.

Register at

Container Gardens

MONTICELLO, Ill. — The program Container Gardens will be noon to 1 p.m. May 16 at the Piatt County Extension office, 210 S. Market St., Monticello.

DeWitt and Piatt County master gardeners will discuss the the advantages of gardening in containers and tips for creating a beautiful flower container garden. They’ll cover containers, soil, plant selection, and proper care procedures. Participants will create a small table top flower container garden to take home and enjoy.

Cost is $10. Register at

Wind Chimes

JERSEYVILLE,, Ill. — The Clay Wind Chime Workshop will be 4 to 5 p.m. May 16 and May 23 at the Jersey County Extension office, 201 W. Exchange St., Jerseyville.

Join local volunteer Christy Vice for this fun, two-part visual arts workshop. The program is open to youth ages 8 to 18 years old; children do not have to be 4-H members to participate.

Cost is $20. Register at

Cooking with Herbs

MOWEAQUA, Ill. — Cooking with Herbs will be 9 a.m. to noon May 16 at the Moweaqua Public Library, 600 N. Putnam St., Moweaqua.

The workshop will review the differences between spices, herbs and seeds; buying, storing, and preparing herbs; what herbs go best with what foods; and preserving herbs.

For more information, call the Extension office at 217-287-7246.

Saving Historic Properties

URBANA, Ill. — The Historic Properties webinar will be noon to 1 p.m. May 16 and June 13.

Communities are concerned with aging buildings in their downtowns. How can these historic resources be saved and safely restored? What opportunities are available and what are ways to overcome challenges? On May 16, participants will learn about listing properties on the National Register, creating a National Register Historic District, what being on the National Register means for redevelopment and what restrictions exist and do not exist from designation. Then, on June 13, find out about next steps after National Register listing, case examples of implementation, what successful projects look like, as well as what challenges to be ready for. The project-oriented session will include a discussion of financial aspects of the projects and how this process can be manageable for smaller communities.

Presenter will be Quinn Adamowski, regional advocacy manager, Landmarks Illinois. Register at

Cake Decorating

FLORA, Ind. — Cake decorating workshops will be May 16 at the 4-H Community Building, 102 N. 4th St., Flora.

Beginner cake decorating will be 6 to 7 p.m. ET and intermediate and advanced cake decorating will be 7 to 8 p.m. Participants should bring tips, icing and icing bags.

For more information, call the Carroll County Extension office at 574-967-3538.

Tractor Driving Practice

GREENCASTLE, Ind. — Tractor driving practice will be 7 to 8 p.m. ET May 16 at the Putnam County Fairgrounds, 191 US-231, Greencastle.

Local businesses have stepped up to provide tractors for this monthly program.

For more information, contact Jim Adams at 317-538-6931 or

Forest Taxation

DANVILLE, Ind. — The Forest Taxation Workshop will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET May 17 at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Complex, 1900 E. Main St., Danville.

The objective of this Hardwood University workshop is to discuss how to handle forest taxation during forest ownership, harvest, reforestation, and related issues.

Register at

Grant Writing

PORTAGE, Ind. — The two-day Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing program will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT May 17 and June 21 at Prominence Commons, 6470 Evergreen Ave., Portage.

Whether your project is big or small, this workshop will give you the information you need to submit proposals confidently.

Cost is $195, which includes all materials and lunch on both days. Register at

Garden to Table

WATERLOO, Ill. — The Wellness Wednesdays program Garden to Table will be 11 a.m. to noon May 17 at the Monroe County Annex, 901 Illinois Ave., Waterloo.

Sessions will be led by Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator and Registered Dietitian Kris Juelfs, and will feature a nutrition-related topic each month.

To register, contact Juelfs at 618-939-3434 or

Native Plants

ELIZABETH, Ill. — The program Rainwater Management with Native Plants will be 6 to 7 p.m. May 17 at the Jo Daviess County Extension office, 204 N. Vine St., Elizabeth.

Whether dealing with drought conditions or excess rainfall, management of rainfall is important to the long-term health of your landscape. The lingering minor drought conditions over the last two years serve as a reminder of how important capturing any rainfall as soil moisture can be. The ability of the landscape to deal with heavy rainfall events can be just as important during drought or wet years. Using native plants and intentionally designing rainfall management systems into our landscape can ensure success during minor drought and excessively wet times.

Learn about options for diverting rainwater from hardscapes into designed areas for absorption instead of lost as runoff. Also discussed will be how rain gardens, bioswales, and other structures can be designed into your landscape to retain this valuable resource.

Cost is $5. Register at

Raised Beds

TAYLORVILLE, Ill. — The program Raised Bed Gardening will be 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. May 17 at Taylorville Memorial Hospital, 201 E. Pleasant St., Taylorville.

Do you want to take your vegetable gardening to the next level? University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Andrew Holsinger will introduce techniques used in raised bed gardening to help you produce the most from your gardening space. Topics include techniques to plant densely, vertical gardening, interplanting, succession planting, day-length strategies and cultivar choices.

Register for this free program at

Sheep Showmanship

JERSEYVILLE, Ill. — The 4-H Sheep Showmanship Clinic will be at 5 p.m. May 18 at the Jersey County Fairgrounds, 100 W Fairground Ave., Jerseyville.

Youths ages 5 to 18 will learn the skills needed to succeed in this hands-on clinic for sheep showmanship. Register at

Learning in Lawn Chairs

LANARK, Ill. — The free gardening series Learning in Lawn Chairs resumes from 3 to 4:30 p.m. May 18 with the program Garden Talk at the Lanark Community Garden, 26549 U.S. Hwy. 52, Lanark. Looking for different ways to garden? Learn how to plant in practical containers, raised beds, straw bales, and more. There will be demonstrations and time for questions.

Extension Horticulture Educator Bruce Black will present this series each month from May to October. Learning in Lawn Chairs is for anyone interested in learning more about gardening, growing food in a home or community garden, or looking for ideas for the growing season. Carroll County master gardeners will be on hand at each session to answer any questions. No registration is required, and don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs. The event will be held rain or shine, and tents and water will be available.

Other sessions in the series will be:

• Growing Veggies Through the Seasons, June 15: Get the most out of your garden by planning, planting, and maintaining for the 2023 season broken down by spring, summer, and fall.

• Container Fruits, July 20: Lacking a large landscape and love homegrown fruits? Look to container gardening: fruit edition. Learn how dwarf cultivars of blueberries, strawberries, brambles (raspberries and blackberries), and even apple trees can be planted on your patios or small outdoor areas to provide those big fresh fruit flavors in small spaces.

• Using Garden Produce, Aug. 17: You have grown fresh produce all summer; what do you do with the excess produce like onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and more? Learn some simple ways of storing produce for longer shelf life and some easy recipes like refrigerator pickles to make your produce go further.

• Using Fresh Herbs, Sept. 21: Herbs are great fun to grow in the home landscape. Learn more about harvesting and preserving your herbs to enjoy in recipes year-round.

• Fall Garden Cleanup, Oct. 19: End-of-the-growing season cleanup can be daunting, especially with large yards. This presentation will help organize fall tasks into an easy month-by-month to-do list and provide a printable checklist to help you check off the tasks.

Plant Sale

AUBURN, Ind. — The DeKalb County Master Gardener Plant Sale will be 7:30 to 10 a.m. ET May 20 at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, 708 S. Union St., Auburn.

Livestock Show

MARION, Ill. — The Jackson and Williamson County 4-H Livestock Show will be 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 20 at the Williamson County Fairgrounds, 101 N. Fair St., Marion.

Dairy Show will be at 8 a.m., followed by the Goat Show at 8:15 a.m., Sheep Show at 10 a.m., Swine Show at 11 a.m. and Beef Show at noon.

Those participating must be registered 4-H youths enrolled in the appropriate fair project areas. All events are open to the public.

For more information, contact the Jackson County Extension office at 618-687-1727, or the Williamson County Extension office at 618-993-3304.

Plant Sale

AMBOY, Ill. — The Lee County Master Gardeners Plant Sale from will be 8 to 11 a.m. May 20 at the Lee County 4-H Center, 1196 Franklin Road, Amboy.

Master Gardeners contribute plants right from their gardens. Plants to be sold include annuals, perennials, vegetables, grasses and flowers. The sale will occur rain or shine. All proceeds benefit Extension programs offered by Lee County. For more information, contact the Lee County office at 815-857-3525.

Plant Sale

GRAYSLAKE, Ill. — Lake County Extension Master Gardeners Spring Plant Sale will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 20 at the Lake County Extension office, 100 S. Route 45, Grayslake.

The plant sale features a beautiful selection of nursery-grown plant varieties not readily available at traditional garden centers, including natives, new cultivars of perennials, grasses and pollinator-friendly plants.

There also will be a variety of home-grown vegetables and herbs, and the always popular “Garden Treasures.” Shop for new and gently used items to enhance your landscape and home, including yard art, garden tools, decorative containers and gardening books. Master gardeners will be available to answer your gardening questions, help with selection of plants and offer friendly gardening advice.

There will be multiple check-out lanes and plentiful parking. Payments are accepted in cash, by check or charge.

The plant sale is the Extension’s primary fundraising event of the year. All proceeds support projects and programming for volunteers, youths and adults.

For more information, call 847-223-8627 and ask for an Extension master gardener.

Family Fun Day

KENTLAND, Ind. — The Newton County Craft Show and Family Fun Day will be 9 a.m to 2 p.m. CT May 20 at the Newton County Fairgrounds, 12189 Punkin Vine Road, Kentland.

Plant Sale

MORRISON, Ill. — The Whiteside County Plant Sale will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 20 in the Community Room at Odell Public Library, 307 S. Madison St., Morrison. Whiteside County master gardeners will be on hand to answer any questions. Proceeds will benefit the beautification projects in Morrison. For more information, contact Mary Nelson at the Whiteside County Extension office at 815-632-3611.

Plant Sale

YORKVILLE, Ill. — The Kendall County Master Gardener Plant Sale will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 20 at the Kendall County Extension office, 7775 B IL-47, Yorkville.

The sale will feature several varieties of tomatoes and peppers, more than 150 native plants, and nursery-stock perennials. Master gardeners will be on-hand to answer gardening questions.

Payments may be made by cash or credit. Proceeds support the Kendall County Master Gardener program and community projects.

For questions, call the Extension office at 630-553-5823 or email