Unity Center to host workshops meant to guide home gardeners

Classes will be April 23 through Sept. 10 at Unity Community Center’s Garden in Normal. Registration closes April 16.

The physical and nutritional benefits of keeping a vegetable garden are well documented. Spending more time outdoors, and having fresh delicious produce on-hand benefits individuals and families alike, but starting a new garden can be intimidating without ongoing guidance.

Registration is now open for “Backyard Gardening: a Full Seasons Walkthrough,” an 11-session, hands-on, step-by-step series to teach residents to grow a diverse mix of vegetables, use garden space efficiently, and manage the produce you grow, using proven and reliable techniques.

Classes will be every other Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., April 23 through Sept. 10 at Unity Community Center’s Garden in Normal. Registration closes April 16.


University of Illinois nutrition and wellness educator and registered dietitian, Jenna Smith, says “only 1 in 10 adults meet the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. But what happens when you grow the fruits and vegetables yourself? When we have a bit of sweat equity in it, and they are readily available, we’re more likely to eat them.”

Studies and experience demonstrate that children are also more likely to try new vegetables they have helped to grow.

Enjoying the fruits of your labor, and knowing the benefits it gives you and your family, is like no other feeling in the world.

Class topics include early season topics:

  • soil health
  • garden planning
  • vegetable varieties
  • crop rotation
  • seeding

Growing season topics:

  • weeding and tools
  • garden insects and diseases
  • trellising
  • irrigation
  • herbs
  • harvest

Late season topics:

  • storage and preservation
  • composting
  • edible landscapes
  • seed saving
  • cover crops
  • using the produce

The $100 registration includes the book “Vegetable Gardening Guide of the Midwest”, 11 hands-on gardening classes and learning materials, and a share of produce harvested from the teaching garden in Normal.

A fee waiver is available in exchange for working in the production garden outside of class time for those who qualify.

Check out registration and more details at go.illinois.edu/RegisterLMW .

If you have questions on this Extension program, feel free to contact Brittnay Haag at the University of Illinois Extension office in Bloomington by calling 309-663-8306 or bhaag@illinois.edu.