The cicadas are coming!

In case you haven’t heard, the cicadas are coming. We’re taking some precautions for the upcoming cicada emergence. A young, recently planted apple tree is susceptible to adults laying eggs. We’re covering that tree with netting to keep the cicadas out. To learn more and see if you may want to protect some of your… Read more »

Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day. You can observe the day by helping us clean and prepare the garden for our 2023 season. The University of Illinois Master Gardeners will be here to start us off with a Tai Chi warmup at 9:30. Other activities include information on native plants for Illinois pollinators, a color matching… Read more »

Gift Ideas for Gardeners

It’s easy to find garden decor for all kinds of gift giving needs. But if you’re looking for something different or unique, check out some of our favorite items for the gardener in your life. The Basics Any gardener needs basic supplies especially someone new to gardening. Consider putting together a gift set that includes… Read more »

Reconstructing a Prairie

Our prairie reconstruction process began in the summer of 2017, after receiving the Comed Green Region Grant, and under the guidance of ecologist Dave Eubanks. Our proposed plan would replace 1.25 acres of sod to native prairie plants, the majority located in a detention area west of our Township Highway Dept. This area receives stormwater… Read more »

Re-wilding with Sixth Graders

In 2016, I was approached by Fremont Middle School personalized learning teacher Emily Loerakker, looking for a community project for her class. The timing was perfect, as Fremont had just been awarded the ComEd Green Region Grant, and we were forming plans on what was to come. I made a list of possible projects for… Read more »

The Roof is Alive!

Green (or living) roofs have much to offer!  In urban areas inundated with impervious surfaces, they slow the run-off of stormwater and provide habitat and food for birds and pollinators.  The aid in cooling of the structure below.  They add beauty and whimsy, softening the harsh edges of buildings. They also create some design challenges–… Read more »

Hoop House Happenings–Lessons from year 1

Thanks to  grant from Liberty Prairie Foundation, we received the funds to build a high tunnel, movable hoop house for growing tomatoes in spring 2018.   Our tomatoes had been suffering from a fungal disease called blight from cool, damp weather, spread by wind and found in soil.   Up until now, my strategy for… Read more »

Natural Building Project–Phase 3

Put a little Art into it. After a layer of brown coat, we were ready to add some bling.  Local artist Susan Peterson came to the rescue with her sketching skills and helped create our oak tree outline.  The oak tree is a powerhouse, or I should say, keystone species, in  our ecosystem.  So many… Read more »

Natural Building Project–Phase 2

Messy Feet and Happy Hearts With our foundation, framing and stem-wall complete, we were ready for the good stuff to begin.  Our local Natural Building guru Pete Poli found some clay for us from a water main dig in Mettawa.  He was looking for clay with little to no organic matter.  A common waste product… Read more »

  • Natural Building Project–Phase 1

    A Goal without a Plan is Just a Wish When our hand me down Costco playhouse collapsed in a winter storm of Jan 2016, dreams of a natural building project swirled through my head.   I immediately called friend, kindred spirit, jack of all trades, environmental activist and Wilmot WI resident, Pete Poli.  Pete built… Read more »

  • Swales

    From the get-go, our blank canvas was screaming for swales.  Even with just a preliminary study of permaculture, you realize what resources you have and how to take advantage of them.  We had a sunny, open space on a slope.   It was easy to see that heavy rains would wash down the slope, flooding… Read more »

  • Starting seeds indoors

    The winters may feel long for most people in zone 5, but to those of us 4 season gardeners, our winter is about two months long.  I take December and January off, with only my houseplants to half-heartedly care for.  Early February, onions and leeks are sprouting in my basement under lights, followed soon after… Read more »

  • Our Beginnings

    In Jan 2014, a small group of volunteers eager to promote sustainability saw the potential in an almost acre of land on the Fremont Township property.  For several years prior, it had been your run-of-the-mill veggie garden with long rows of veggie with limited diversity and lots of weeds.  These volunteers instead visioned crop diversity,… Read more »