Extension News

Eight Gardens in Eight Days

Note to media editors: This is the Garden Column for use during the week  beginning July 10.

7/6/2009

By Cindy Haynes
Extension Horticulturalist
Iowa State University

The Home Demonstration Gardens prepared by Iowa State University will soon be ready for display and open to the public for another year.

Vegetable gardening is increasingly popular in today’s economy, especially since there is the potential to save money by growing food at home. Yet, accurate and reliable, locally useful, information about what to grow and which vegetables provide the most “bang for the buck” is challenging to find. Therefore, one of the themes for the 2009 Iowa State University Extension Home Demonstration Garden is growing vegetables that can stretch your dollar. We also will have some fun with pumpkins and a display of new and unusual flowers.

Storing and Preserving Vegetables
One of the easiest ways to save money with a vegetable garden is to grow vegetables that store or preserve easily. Easily stored vegetables include potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and winter squash. Some new and some traditional cultivars of these plants will be on display. The cultivars selected are noted for their ability to persist for long periods in proper environmental conditions.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, beets and beans can be preserved through canning or freezing. Several cultivars of these plants with good canning or freezing potential are being grown at the Home Demonstration Gardens to showcase the possibilities.

Ghostly Pumpkins
Who doesn’t enjoy a good pumpkin patch? While it will be a bit early to pick the perfect pumpkin for Halloween, this patch may give you a few ghostly ideas for next year’s garden. The Home Demonstration Gardens are growing five cultivars of white pumpkins this year. The cultivars vary greatly in size and shape, so there is sure to be at least one that will pique your interest.

Other Oddities
If you have ever been to a Home Demonstration Garden Field Day before, you know that the display never stops with just vegetables…and this year is no different. There are several new and unusual flowers and annual grasses on display this year; and with names like ‘Bunny Tails’ and ‘Live Wire’ the annual grasses are sure to attract some attention. Other unusual flowers include angelonia, osteospermum, and one called joey. Visit the garden to check out these plants and some of the new cultivars of rudbeckias, marigolds, zinnias, and many others.

Field Days
With eight locations around the state, there is an Iowa State University Extension Home Demonstration Garden near you. So join us for a couple hours in the garden – it will be worth it.

Locations, dates, and times for the 2009 Iowa State University Extensions Home Demonstration Gardens are listed below or visit http://www.ag.iastate.edu/farms/fielddays.php for more information.

Rock Rapids - Lyon County Fair Grounds, Tuesday, July 14, 6 p.m.
Fruitland - Muscatine Island Research Farm, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 6 p.m.
Kanawha - Northern Research Farm, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 6:30 p.m.
Gilbert -  Horticulture Station, Thursday, Aug. 6, 6 p.m.
Nashua - Northeast Research Farm, Saturday, Aug. 8, 4 p.m.
Chariton - McNay Research Farm, Monday, Aug. 10, 6 p.m.
Lewis - Armstrong Research Farm, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 6:30 p.m.
Sutherland - Northwest Research Farm, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 6 p.m.

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Contacts :

Cindy Haynes, Horticulture, (515) 294-4006, chaynes@iastate.edu

Del Marks, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-9807, delmarks@iastate.edu