Extension News

Ask the Experts from ISU

Bearded iris

Note to media editors:

This column will be published each Wednesday during the growing season.

Got gardening questions? Contact the Hortline at (515) 294-3108 (M-F; 10-12 & 1-4:30) or e-mail us at hortline@iastate.edu.  For more gardening information visit us at Yard and Garden Online - www.yardandgarden.extension.iastate.edu



How do you care for irises after they are done blooming?
As soon as bearded irises are done blooming, remove the spent blooms. Removal of the spent flowers improves the appearance of the plants and prevents seed pod formation. Bearded irises require little care during the summer months. In late fall or early spring, remove all the dead debris around the iris plants. This helps to control leaf spot and iris borer. To prevent overcrowding, bearded irises should be divided every 3 to 5 years in July or August.

How long can I expect my June-bearing strawberry planting to be productive?
June-bearing strawberry plantings that are well-maintained and renovated annually should remain productive for 4 or 5 years. Poorly managed beds may be productive for only 1 or 2 years. It’s time to plant a new strawberry bed when berry size and numbers decline.

Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?
There are different ways to classify or categorize plants and plant structures. Botanically, the typical plant has roots, stems, flowers and fruit. The root is the edible portion of carrots, radishes, beets and parsnips. Plants grown for their edible leaves include lettuce and spinach. Edible fruit include tomatoes, peppers, melons, snap beans, apples, pears and many others.

In common usage, a vegetable is defined as a plant eaten with the principal part of the meal. In contrast, a fruit is a plant part which is used chiefly in desserts. Therefore, snap beans, carrots and spinach are vegetables, while apples are fruit.  Botanically, the edible tomato is a fruit. In common usage, the tomato is a vegetable in that it is usually consumed during the main meal. Therefore, the tomato is both a fruit and a vegetable.

Contacts :

Richard Jauron, Horticulture, (515) 294-1871, rjauron@iastate.edu

Jean McGuire, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu

Iris photo for print  1.2 MB