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 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.

Four Seasons Gardening Program Offers Summer Series- Tuesday, July 10 via computer

The Summer series of University of Illinois Extension’s Four Seasons Gardening program, which focuses on environmental stewardship, home gardening, and backyard food production, gets underway this month. The first session of the series is titled, Beneficial Insects: Garden Warriors.

This program will be offered via computer on Tuesday, July 10 at 1:30pm at the Boone County Extension Conference Room located at 205 Cadillac Court, Suite 5 in Belvidere.

Gardeners can be blinded by insects that eat their plants without paying attention to insects that act as warriors in the garden by either eating the bad bugs or parasitizing them. Learn the most common ones with Extension Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup, and never accidentally kill a good bug again.

 This webinar may also be viewed from home by pre-registering at Recorded videos of these sessions can be viewed following the program at 

Other topics in the Summer series include Urban Soil Safety and At-Home Micropropagation: In Vitro Plants.

There is no fee for this program but advanced registration is needed.  To register to attend Beneficial Insects: Garden Warriors at the Extension office on July 10, call 815-544-3710 or visit our website at  If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the Extension office.

Calling out 11 to 16 year olds for Adventure!- Tuesday, August 7th

Summer is winding down and the new school year will begin soon. Ready to put some excitement and entertainment in your 6th grade through Freshman’s day? University of Illinois Extension- Ogle County and Ag In the Classroom is offering an opportunity to challenge yourself and others with an “Escape Box”, a complicated endeavor where you must find clues to solve puzzles to complete a given mission. In the course of this fun and exciting adventure, we will be celebrating Illinois Bicentennial, that’s Illinois 200th Birthday! #IllinoisProud

Join us for the opportunity to play a game that is both social, physical and intellectual. Tuesday, August 7 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm only $3.00 per person. U of I Extension, 421 W. Pines Rd, Oregon.

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  or 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

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, or may visit the Illinois Specialty Growers website at 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 . Printed copies can be requested by filling out the contact form on the website or emailing

University of Illinois Extension Boone County has FREE programing set for this summer at Ida Public Library.  If you are interested in learning something new, please consider joining us for these upcoming programs.

D.A.S.H. (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension)
Monday, July 9 @ 6:00pm

Research shows that high blood pressure may be lowered or prevented by following the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. The DASH plan is lower in sodium and emphasis is placed on consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low fat milk and dairy, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts.  This heart healthy eating plan is lower in saturated fat, cholesterol and trans fats and is rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure.  Presented by Marilyn Csernus, Extension Nutrition & Wellness Educator.

Cooking with Culinary Herbs
Monday, July 16 @ 6:00pm

Just about every dish tastes better with fresh herbs!
Learn how cook with herbs during "Cooking with Culinary Herbs" workshop offered by University of Illinois Extension – Boone County.  Extension Nutrition & Wellness Educator Marilyn Csernus will demonstrate how to use fresh herbs to enhance the flavor of all your favorite dishes. She will discuss herb/food combinations; have samples to taste and recipes to take home. Everyone is welcome!

Creating Cordage
Monday, July 23 @ 6:00pm

Utilizing nature to create a useful tool is very rewarding.  Join us and learn the Native American skill of using  dried nettle stalks to create cordage for use at home.  Presented by Peggy Doty, Extension Energy & Environmental Stewardship Educator.

While these programs are free and held at Ida Public Library at 6:00pm, advanced registration is required to ensure we have enough materials.  To register for these programs, please contact the Boone County Extension office at 815-544-3710 or visit our website at  If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in these programs, contact the Extension office.  We hope you can join us.

Certified Food Protection Manager Course Offered-

Tuesday, August 21 and Friday, August 24

The Certified Food Protection Manager Course will be offered by University of Illinois Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator, Marilyn Csernus, MS, RD at the Ogle County Extension office located at 421 West Pines Rd., in Oregon. The course will be taught over two days on Tuesday, August 21 from 9:00am - 3:00pm and Friday, August 24 from 9:00am - 2:30pm. The exam will be administered from 12:30 - 2:30 pm on Friday. A valid photo ID is required for the course.

The fee for this course is $100 for the 2 days and includes the book, educational materials, examination, and lunch. 

This course meets the 8-hour course work and examination required by the state of Illinois for either the initial Food Safety Manager certification, or the recertification, which is required every 5 years. This course is a National Registry of Food Safety Professionals® certified Food Safety Manger course.

Register by calling 815-732-2191 or visiting us online at

Space is limited register as soon as possible. Our next available dates will be the early December.

If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the Ogle County Extension office at 815-732-2191.

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:

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: to find a venue near you.