Expanding Gardening in the Zone

Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Cynthia Haynes, and Jeff Iles, Faculty, Horticulture Department


Gardening is an immensely popular leisure activity in America with close to 80% of the U.S. population participating in one or more types of garden activities in 2005.  Disseminating timely, relevant and research-based information to this large audience is an outreach component of many state Cooperative Extension Service programs. Television provides access to a large audience, potentially with an interest in gardening, that Extension might otherwise not reach.


To enhance a collaborative project between Iowa State University Extension and Iowa Gardening Magazine to reach the gardening public (consumer horticulture audience) by producing and disseminating timely two-minute, educational videos on gardening for distribution to television stations throughout Iowa.


In 2006, 36, 2-minute video segments on gardening were developed under the direction Iowa State University Extension horticulture personnel and in collaboration with Iowa Gardening Magazine. The video segments are aired weekly from March through October on multiple stations. In addition, a weekly newspaper column highlighting each television segment was published by approximately 20 newspapers in Iowa. Outreach of the Gardening in the Zone project was expanded significantly in late 2005 and continued in the 2006 season, when video clips were made available via podcasting. Video clips are also available for viewing on the web directly at the Gardening in the Zone webpage section of the Iowa State University Extension website. Additionally, there are links from this location to Extension publications related to the video segments and the Gardening in the Zone newspaper column.


Television coverage has increased from 90% of Iowa in 2004 to 100% of the state in 2006 and includes viewers in southwestern Wisconsin, northwest Illinois, eastern Nebraska, and northern Missouri in 2006. In 2005 alone the Gardening in the Zone segments reached approximately 153,000 viewers each week, which are 5,355,000 gross impressions over the 36 week season. The innovative use of podcasting for this project was highlighted in two different seminars by The Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota as an excellent example of innovative Extension programming at the 2006 American Society for Horticultural Science national meeting.

September 2006

146 Consumer Horticulture and Forestry


Page last updated: October 4, 2006
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