Plant seeds for success with beginner vegetable gardening workshop starting Feb. 15 – Shaw Local

URBANA – Whether you have a multi-row backyard vegetable plot or a patio with room for a few containers, now is the time to start planning for a successful gardening season. Over the past several years, there has been a surge of gardeners taking up the trowel for the first time to try their hand at growing fresh produce at home.

Dig in with confidence this spring with Growing Great Vegetables, a five-week webinar series starting Feb. 15 that will cover how to grow a vegetable garden from seed to harvest. Participants will check in during a weekly workshop covering a new topic, engage with University of Illinois Extension horticulture experts, and receive emails with even more research-based tips and factsheets.

Growing Great Vegetables will be held from 6 to 7 pm Tuesdays, Feb. 15 to March 15. Sign up by Feb. 9 at The cost to participate is $10. Sessions will be recorded and made available to registered participants if they cannot attend live.

Topics include:

Feb. 15 – Where Will You Garden? Learn about traditional garden plots, raised beds, salad tables, container gardening, growing vertically, and more. This session also will cover watering, weeding and garden tools.

Feb. 22 – Seed and Plant Choices: Planning, design, and layout are key elements to a successful garden. Learn about hardiness zones, frost and freeze dates, how to order plants or seeds from a garden catalog or locally, reading and selecting seed packets, and starting plants from seed. Explore the importance of soil health and learn about soil testing and amendments such as fertilizer and manures.

March 1: Cool Season Vegetables: Cool-season crops can be grown in spring or fall, each with its own characteristics and potential issues. Learn how to grow and cool-season vegetables as well as how to manage common insect pests.

March 8: Warm Season Vegetables: Warm season crops grow in the hottest part of the year. This session will cover how to make vegetables such as lettuces, tomatoes, carrots and more flourish.

March 15: Insects and Diseases: New and experienced growers alike are challenged by insect pests as well as plant diseases or disorders. Learn about insects, diseases and wildlife pests and how to prevent and handle them. Then, learn how a vegetable garden can be set up to be more appealing to beneficial insect pollinators such as butterflies, bees, beetles and moths.

Series presenters include Illinois Extension horticulture educators Jennifer Fishburn, Ken Johnson and Sarah Vogel, and local foods and small farms educators Erin Harper and Katie Parker. For more information, contact Ken Johnson at

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