Focus

WILL - Focus - March 14, 2014

Gardening: Getting Ready for Spring

Are you anxious to get outside and into the garden? We welcome your calls and questions today on Focus!

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(Duration: 51:49)

black eyed susan

We had a taste of spring weather earlier this week and according to Shane Cultra, who helps run Country Arbors Nursery in Urbana, there were lots of anxious gardeners who were more than ready to get outside. During this time in spring, before the ground is completely thawed, is a great time to take care of the gardening chores that don’t involve plating – taking leaves, mulching raised beds and pruning fruit trees and rose bushes.

This hour on Focus Cultra talks with WILL’s Lisa Bralts about getting ready for spring in the garden. We’ll hear this hour about building and starting to grow flowers and food in raised beds if you’re thinking about it, and as always, we welcome your questions about your lawn and garden!


WILL - Focus - March 07, 2014

Encore: From the Ground Up

Do you grow vegetables in a garden or in pots around your home or apartment? If you do -why did you start? If you don’t, why not? This hour on Focus, Lisa Bralts talks with Jeanne Nolan, author of “From the Ground Up” about why she does and how she learned.

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(Duration: 51:29)

Jeanne Nolan

Jeanne Nolan has run the Edible Gardens at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago for eight years. In addition to working with Green City Market, the organization which maintains the Edible Gardens, Jeanne runs a business helping people learn to plant and grow their own vegetable gardens. Getting to where she is today, however, was a long and winding road.

This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to guest host Lisa Bralts' talk with Nolan about why she’s devoted her life to organic gardening and how she got to where she is today. We’ll hear her talk about the time she spent learning about agriculture at a commune in California and about the US’s urban farming movement and if it’s losing steam or still gaining momentum. During this hour on Focus, we dig a little deeper into the cost of the grow-your-own model and talk about Nolan’s “five food principles” when starting a backyard garden or urban farm.


WILL - Focus - February 14, 2014

Gardening: Caring for cut flowers and bugs in the cold

This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about caring for cut flowers with horticulture expert Sandy Mason. We welcome your calls and questions!

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(Duration: 51:27)

cut flowers at Urbana's Market at the Square

It’s safe to assume that there will be lots of cut flowers exchanged today, we’ll talk with University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Sandy Mason about how to prevent them from wilting. She’ll also tell us about new miniature potted plants that are becoming popular as gifts.

Do you have questions about caring for your lawn or garden? Thinking about getting ready for spring planting? We want to hear from you on Focus!


WILL - Focus - January 07, 2014

Gardening: Growing Herbs

Today on Focus, host we’ll learn more about cooking with and growing herbs. Do you grow herbs in your garden in the spring and summer? We want to hear how you use them!

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(Duration: 50:01)

Rosemary and other bundled herbs

Due to the life-threatening cold that shut down schools and businesses through much of the Midwest yesterday, we'll spend the first few minutes of this hour on Focus checking in with State Climatologist Jim Angel to get an update on the weather and hear a little more about this weekend's storm.

Then, we’ll turn our attention to thoughts of warmer days ahead… There are lots of beautiful plants to incorporate into a garden, and if you're a person who likes function as well as beauty, planting a herb garden might be a good way to go. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Chuck Voigt, University of Illinois Extension vegetable and herb specialist, and Holly Shimizu, Executive Director of the US Botanical Garden about herbs.


WILL - Focus - October 18, 2013

Gardening: Composting

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with horticulture expert Sandy Mason. We welcome your lawn and garden calls and questions today!

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(Duration: 46:60)

compost pile

Now's the time of year to start cleaning up the garden and raking leaves in the yard. University of Illionis Extension horticulture expert Sandy Mason says, that means it's a perfect time to start a compost pile if you haven't already. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Sandy about composting and what should be on your fall gardning to-do list.


WILL - Focus - October 04, 2013

Gardening: Fall Foliage

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with horticulture expert Sandy Mason and Urbana City arborist Mike Brunk. We welcome your lawn and garden calls and questions today! 

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(Duration: 51:37)

Fall is officially here; leaves are starting to change color from green to bright yellows, oranges and reds, in perfect time for Mike Brunk, city arborist for Urbana to join us on Focus to talk about why fall foliage is brighter some years than others. He says he expects this year to be a good year to observe the changing of the seasons. Host Jim Meadows talks with Brunk about why deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will give us an update on how the effects of the emerald ash borer in our area. And of course, Sandy Mason, our resident gardening expert, will also be here today to answer your lawn and garden questions. 


WILL - Focus - September 13, 2013

Where are the Butterflies?

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with horticulture expert Sandy Mason and Mike Jeffords of the Illinois Natural History Survey. We welcome your lawn and garden calls and questions today!

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(Duration: 51:36)

a monarch

If you’ve been trying to attract butterflies to your garden but haven’t seen any, you’re not alone. There has been a substantial decrease in butterfly populations this year throughout the Midwest. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Mike Jeffords of the Illinois Natural History Survey about why.

Sandy Mason, our resident gardening expert, will also be here to answer your lawn and garden questions.


WILL - Focus - August 23, 2013

Falls Bugs and Caring for Fruit Trees

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with horticulture expert Sandy Mason and entomologist Phil Nixon. We welcome your lawn and garden care questions today!

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(Duration: 51:12)

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with University of Illinois Extension entomologist Phil Nixon about the best ways to deal with fall nuisance bugs that start showing up around the house and in the garden. Sandy Mason, our resident gardening expert, will also be here. As fruit trees start bearing apples, pears and peaches, we’ll talk with her about how to properly care for fruit trees and how to get the best yield from yours. We welcome your lawn and garden care questions this hour on Focus!


WILL - Focus - August 09, 2013

Pollinators in the Garden

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with horticulture expert Sandy Mason and University of Illinois Pollinatarium Director Lesley Deem. We welcome your lawn and garden questions today!

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(Duration: 51:35)

We all know what kinds of insects we don’t want in our gardens… but how do you attract the ones you do want? This hour on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with University of Illinois Pollinatarium Director Lesley Deem about the ways to attract and maintain an active pollinator presence in your garden. She’ll tell us about how the shapes and colors of the plants you have can attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. We’ll also hear about some of the upcoming workshops and events at the pollinatarium…and will find out what exactly the pollinatarium is. Sandy Mason, our resident gardening expert, will also be here to answer your lawn and garden questions.


WILL - Focus - June 28, 2013

Insects in the Garden?

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with horticulture expert Sandy Mason and entomologist Phil Nixon. We welcome your lawn and garden questions today!

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(Duration: 51:22)

It’s finally officially summer, and while that means sun, lemonade and cool days at the beach, it also means that mosquitos, ants and other creepy crawlers are gracing us with their presence. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with University of Illinois Extension entomologist Phil Nixon and horticulture expert Sandy Mason. We welcome your pest, lawn and garden care questions this hour on Focus!


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