Farm News

Agriculture Activities for the Summer

The school year is over, which means that summer is here! Summer is a great time to do activities that you may not have the time for during the busy hours of the school year. This summer, consider taking some time to do activities that help teach you or your children about agriculture! These activities are fun and great for learning. Let’s dive into some ideas of what agriculture activities you may be able to do this summer.

First, you could grow a container garden. Growing food in containers is a great way to have a small, easy to manage garden that teaches about food production and basic plant care. Small and mini vegetable varieties are perfect for a container garden. Mini zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and bush pea plants are good options for containers. Before even starting the garden, seed germination would be a fun and practical task to do as an activity, then transplant into the containers for your container garden. Seed germination can be done by placing a damp paper towel on a plate, spreading plant seeds on the towel, then placing a second damp paper towel on top of the seeds. You will want to ensure that the paper towels stay moist for 5 to 7 days and that you are checking the seeds daily for sprouts.  

To go along with the idea of growing foods, you could also save watermelon seeds from any watermelon that you eat to replant. You will want to rinse the seeds well, then spread them on a paper plate to dry for a couple days. Next, you simply plant the seeds into a container with soil or into the ground and they will be ready to harvest in late summer (as long as you plant in May to early June). Watermelon seeds can even grow great in between the cracks of concrete. Another food that is fun to grow on your own is popcorn! Popcorn is easy to grow. You can find popcorn seeds at the store, then simply plant into the ground and ensure they are taken care of with water and sunlight. Then, in the fall you will have ears of popcorn ready to be dried then popped for a delicious snack. 

One more planting activity that can be fun is to plant a tree. This would be a great opportunity to discuss agroforestry, which is agriculture incorporating the cultivation and conservation of trees, and why it is important. Benefits from planting a tree include clean air, windbreaks, shade for animals, soil and water protection, and increased biodiversity. Trees help both farmers and the environment. 

Outside of planting, you could visit an agritourism business in the area. This is a perfect opportunity to learn more about agriculture and agritourism specifically, while supporting our local businesses! Two market places in the area include Braffet Berry Farm and Schaer’s Country Market. Braffet Berry Farm is located outside of Carlock, IL. Their website,, provides more information about the farm. This is a great location to check out homegrown asparagus (late April/May), strawberries (early June), blueberries (end of June), and apples (early September). Schaer’s is located in East Peoria, IL and specializes in U-Pick strawberries, sweet corn, cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes, and more. Check out their Facebook page "Schaer’s Farm Market" for more information!

Finally, the fair is a great place to learn more about agriculture as well. You can enjoy the fun from the rides and fair food and also learn about agriculture in the community. This year, the McLean County Fair is on August 3rd through August 7th. The Tazewell County Fair is from August 2nd through August 6th, and the Logan County Fair is July 31st through August 7th. Agriculture expands to more topics than what was covered in this article. In our rural communities it is beneficial to learn about agriculture and how it plays a role in our area. We hope that you have a fun and learning-filled summer!

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