Winnebago-Boone

Interested in Becoming a Master Gardener?- September 24- December 10


Do you have a love for spending hours planting and tending to your backyard garden? Do you have a knack for teaching and enjoy sharing your knowledge with others? If gardening is your passion, and you would like to be part of a team that educates youth and adults alike on the joys of gardening, consider becoming a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener. 

The mission of the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program is “Helping Others Learn to Grow.”  There are more than 3,000 Master Gardener volunteers in Illinois. Each year, they reach thousands of people and are a valuable resource to many schools, communities, and youth programs and farmers markets. Together, they teach classes and workshops, answer telephone inquiries concerning home horticulture, guide planting and educational demonstrations in community and school gardens, represent the program at the county and state fair, and work with many community organizations to convey up-to-date, research based gardening information.

The DeKalb County Master Gardener training will be offered on Mondays, beginning September 24, 2018 through December 10, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. at the DeKalb County Center for Agriculture (Farm Bureau Building), 1350 W. Prairie Drive in Sycamore. In-person training costs $250, and will include the Master Gardener manual with helpful resources and other materials.  Submitted applications will be reviewed and interviews will be set up with Extension staff. Applicants must complete an application, interview, and screening. 

If you are interested in becoming a DeKalb County Master Gardener, contact University of Illinois Extension at 815-758-8194, visit us online at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo or stop by and see us in the DeKalb County Extension office at 1350 W. Prairie Drive in Sycamore. 

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in the program, please contact the DeKalb County Extension office at 815-758-8194.

Save the Date for this Year’s Boone County Farm Stroll – Sunday, October 7.


Have you ever wondered how local orchards produce such delicious apples?  Or how grapes become wine?  Or how raw wool turns into your favorite pair of socks?  Or where all those beautiful vegetables at the farmers market are actually grown?  Or how technology is used to raise crops today?  We have a free, family friendly event to satisfy your local food cravings and curiosities!

On Sunday, October 7, 2018 from noon to 5pm, University of Illinois Extension will host the fifth Boone County Farm Stroll, a self-guided driving tour of highly-diversified family farms, all open to the public on one big day!  There will be farm tours, demonstrations, and of course fresh local food sampling and sales. 

The farms participating in this year’s Farm Stroll are:  Alpaca Pines Farm and Fiber Mill, Angelic Organics Learning Center, Aves Dairy & Prairie Pure Cheese, Beaver Creek Gardens, Illinois Wool and Fiber Mill, McEachran Homestead Winery, Ramsay Farm, Shady Grove Haflingers, Trogg’s Hollow CSA and Market Farm, Valley Orchard and Willow Glen Alpaca Farm.

These farms raise fruits, vegetables, sheep, horses, wine grapes, chickens, alpacas, dairy cows, corn and soy beans and so much more.  Just choose which farms you want to see and create your own route using the map and brochure provided.  The Stroll is free, but bring some cash to stock up on local, farm-fresh products.

Follow Boone County Farm Stroll on Facebook for up-to-the-minute information, brochures, maps, and spotlight features on each farm: https://www.facebook.com/northernilfarmstroll.  Or contact Judy Hodge at the University of Illinois Extension Boone County office at 815-544-3710 with any additional questions you may have.   Click here for brochure.

Master Gardeners are ready to answer your call 


University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners offer a free service answering garden questions at their Horticulture Help Desk.  The Help Desk is open 1:00-4:00pm, Monday thru Friday throughout the growing season (April – Sept.)


Master Gardeners research topics about insects, trees, shrubs, plants, vegetables, fruits, gardens, lawns, and more.  They provide research-based answers to questions, and take time to find the information you need for your specific circumstance.


The Master Gardeners can be reached by calling 815-544-3710 (Boone) and 815-986-4357 (Winnebago), emailing in your question to uiemg-boone@illinois.edu  or uiemg-winnebago@illinois.edu or by stopping at the office located at 205 Cadillac Court, Suite 3 in Belvidere or 1040 North Second Street in Rockford, IL.  Master Gardener volunteers will ask you diagnostic questions to understand your horticulture situation, then they will call you back after they have done their research.  They do not make house calls. 


Clients are encouraged to email or bring in photos or drop off samples of their troubled plants, trees, or shrubs.  Call for tips on how to collect samples.

Buy Direct From the Farm


Prairie Bounty of Illinois, a directory of direct-from-the-farm sellers, farmers’ markets and agritourism businesses, is available online at www.specialtygrowers.org/prairie-bounty.html

Provided by the Illinois Farm Bureau® and the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, the directory contains contact information and locations for more than 900 individual growers of fruits, vegetables and herbs throughout Illinois. The directory also provides consumers with farms’ contact information, products available, method of sale, and a complete list of all community farmers markets and agritourism businesses in Illinois, searchable by city, county, or zip code. 

“Consumers are demanding more of the food they purchase.  They want to make that connection with the farmer and know who grew the food on their table,” said Jim Fraley, Manager of the Illinois Specialty Growers Association. 

This directory helps consumers do just that — support local farmers and buy farm-fresh produce and products at farms and farmers markets across the state.  Prairie Bounty has become a great source for retailers as well looking to find growers to provide product for restaurants, grocery stores, and schools, among others.

The directory is regularly updated as growers add their names and markets to the system. Growers interested in adding their names and businesses to Prairie Bounty of Illinois may contact Jim Fraley at 309-557-3109 or via e-mail at fraley@ilfb.org, or may visit the Illinois Specialty Growers website at www.specialtygrowers.org for additional instructions on how to register.

“Considerations for First Time Cover Crop Adopters” Guidebook for Il Farmers


“Considerations for First Time Cover Crop Adopters” Guidebook is a new resource for Illinois farmers that introduce the most recent research and information on the best management practices for effectively incorporating a cover crop ahead of soybeans. The Guide outlines comprehensive tactics for cover crop use as part of a nutrient management strategy. Research results from planting to termination of cover crops are included.
 
With funding from the Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC), researchers from the University of Illinois, Illinois State University and Purdue University have been studying the various variables involved in a successful cover crop program. Research efforts are supported by Dan Schaefer with Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) through a grant from NREC. This research has been performed at an on-farm, field-scale level and has shown – over multiple years – that a cereal rye cover crop ahead of soybeans has no detrimental impact on the soybean crop, and that the cover crop successfully scavenges nitrogen -- lowering the levels of N in field tiles.

As defined in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, Illinois has a target of reducing nitrogen (N) losses by 410 million pounds and P losses by 38 million pounds by 2025. Cover crops are identified as an important tool in meeting that target. NREC’s investment in this research helps to support the collaboration across the agricultural industry, environmental groups, and engaged stakeholders.

The guide is available for download from the Illinois NREC website at www.illinoisnrec.org . Printed copies can be requested by filling out the contact form on the website or emailing Julie.armstrong@illinoisnrec.org.


IMPORTANT:  Dicamba Training Requirements for 2018 Use


In November, the Illinois Department of Agriculture announced that due to a change in the product label for the three dicamba-containing herbicides allowed for use on dicamba-resistant soybeans, all certified private applicators in Illinois or those applying these products under their supervision must attend a qualified dicamba training session this winter. Prior to applying these products in the 2018 growing season applicator(s) must complete dicamba or auxin-specific training. Labels for affected products may be viewed using the following link: https://ifca.com/IllinoisDicambaTraining/Resources

Various Illinois agricultural groups worked to facilitate nearly 60 FREE, 90-minute training opportunities around the state this winter. These trainings will assist applicators in meeting the enhanced training requirement and will provide a certificate of completion of the training (needed for certified applicator record-keeping).

Advance registration is required, please visit:  https://ifca.com/IllinoisDicambaTraining to find a venue near you.