Sit by a cozy fire and browse through these resources while planning your spring garden!
Planning Your Vegetable Garden

In addition to planning ways to expand our native plantings, January is a great time to think about the upcoming vegetable garden season. A hot drink, roaring fire, and seed catalogs are great motivators for me to actually accomplish something on these cold winter nights!

Personally, I enjoy gardening with heirloom seeds, which I order from Iowa's  Seed Savers Exchange, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the preservation of heirloom seeds. What are heirloom plants? Heirlooms come from seed that has been handed down for generations in a particular region or area, hand-selected by gardeners for a special trait. Heirloom vegetables are open-pollinated, which means they're pollinated by insects or wind without human intervention. How experts define heirlooms can vary, but typically they're at least 50 years old, and are often pre-WWII varieties. They can be unpredictable, with fruit size and appearance varying even on the same plant. For me, this is the draw of gardening with heirlooms. Their quirky nature and rich  taste are unrivaled. Also, sharing the "story" of each variety with my son, daughter, and various neighbor kids helps create a deeper connection and meaning to the seed they just planted in the soil.

Whether you choose to garden with heirlooms or not, the Seed Savers Exchange website has a fantastic online  Garden Planner. It is free for 30 days and includes de sign tools, crop rotation grids, and growing information on over 180 vegetables, herbs, and fruits. Browse through their website for lots of great heirloom gardening resources!

Conservation@Home Corner: Meet Linda and Terry Gurgone!
Check out TLC's Conservation@Home certified properties in this new feature! Also, are you looking for a presentation for your group? Contact us:  email   or call Sarah Michehl at 815-337-9502.
Meet Terry and Linda Gurgone, who have owned their 3.15 acre property in Woodstock for over 24 years. Having a mix of prairie, woodland, and pond habitats allows for abundant biodiversity. Linda chronicles her property's activities on her website,   Woodstock Natural Yard. The couple is motivated by the holistic feel they get when observing the ecological connections within their property, from the plants to all forms of wildlife that are supported by their restoration efforts. They also look forward to experimenting with a plot of eco-grass and building a worm-composting farm. They enjoy spreading the word about conservation possibilities to other homeowners, which is something that attracted them to the Conservation@Home program. They advise those new to sustainable efforts to start at the edge of their property and move towards the center. Being an environmental steward of your land will make a difference, no matter the size of your property! 

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County | Sarah Michehl | 
815-337-9502 | 
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