Gardening to Give

Gardening to Give

Feed your club, community, country, and world with monthly, hands-on, and research-based activities and learning opportunities focused on gardening and growing, designed for all ages and abilities. By working together across the state to grow gardens, we can not only provide food for our loved ones, but we can donate our harvest to food pantries while engaging in the gardening experience. We are working across Extension to share information and learning opportunities for all of Iowa, and Gardening to Give is the youth-focused program for this opportunity.

The Gardening to Give program will run from March 15th-October 30th, 2021. Register for gardening and growing research-based monthly activities and learning information. Consider connecting with your local Extension Office to get horticulture information. Register here.

Pledge your hands to larger service by growing a garden with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Iowa 4-H Youth Development. Weekly challenges and learning information will come to your inbox after registering.

girls planting, 4-H clover, shovel in garden

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July Lessons

July Lesson 1: Pest Management ​​​​​​​
Pests in your garden can harm your plants causing less produce or damaged produce. There are three main types of pests that a gardener deals with: insect pests, weeds, and diseases (that’s right, plants get sick too!)

July Lesson 2: Jams and Jellies
Jams and jellies are a tasty way to preserve fruit from your garden. There are a few defining characteristics that separate a jam and a jelly.

July Lesson 3: Annuals and Perennials
An annual is a plant that completes its full life cycle from germination to the production of seeds within one growing season.  A perennial plant is a plant that lives more than two seasons. 

July Lesson 4: Pollinators
Flowers on your vegetables, fruits, and ornamental garden plants need to be pollinated in order to form fruits and seeds. If you are growing tomatoes, you will not be able to harvest any unless the flowers on your tomato plants get pollinated. Pollination happens when pollen lands on the stigma of the flower.​​​​​​​

June Lessons

June Lesson 1: Weeds
Weeds are plants, the same as the crops you are trying to grow, but they are plants out of place. When weeds grow next to your crop plants, weeds can take water, light, and nutrients away from the crop plant. Weeds are a constant problem for gardeners. 

June Lesson 2: Food Safety for Harvesting​​​​​​​
Proper care for our plants requires watering regularly, removing weeds, and adding fertilizer or nutrients into the soil to ensure a bountiful harvest. The amount of time spent caring for plants throughout the growing process is important.

June Lesson 3: Early Harvesting
Garden harvests tend to be more bountiful in late spring and early fall, but several plants may be ready in early summer. Onions, radishes, lettuce, peas, spinach, turnips, rhubarb, and strawberries may be ready now if not already harvested.

June Lesson 4: Dehydration
Dehydrating is a great way to enjoy your produce year-round! Drying foods is simple, safe, fun, and easy to learn. There are several advantages of drying foods; it is the least expensive food preservation method and very easy to do.

May Lessons

May Lesson 1: Transplanting
Transplanting is moving plants that are already growing to a new place to keep growing. There are a few reasons to transplant your plants. Plants need enough space to grow to maturity, so this means you need to move plants into bigger pots as they grow.

May Lesson 2: Soil Health
Soil is not only used to plant and grow vegetables and flowers; it also serves the world in many other ways. Soil acts as a water filter, provides habitat for billions of organisms, and serves as a foundation for our cities and towns. Soil provides our world with the necessary feed, fiber, food, and fuel.

May Lesson 3: Plant Care
Now that your vegetables are growing in your garden (whether by planting seeds or transplanting), you need to know how to care for your plants so that they grow and produce vegetables to harvest. The three basic needs of your plants are water, sun, and nutrition.

April Lessons

April Lesson 1: Garden Journaling
A garden journal is a great way to stay organized throughout your gardening experience. A garden journal helps track the progress from seed to harvest. 

April Lesson 2: Ways to Garden
Did you know about the different ways you can garden? Or have you thought about some of the things you need to consider when selecting the way you would like to garden?

April Lesson 3: Planting Seeds
​​​​​​​It is time to plant your seeds in the garden. Before planting in your garden, you will need to check on the frost date in your area for your garden. This date caries depending on where you live. 

April Lesson 4: Planning Your Space
​​​​​​​Planning is key to a successful garden. Take some time to utilize the worksheet in your initial stages of dreaming your summer garden.

March Lessons

March Lesson 1: Connecting with Food Pantries
We encourage you to donate fruits and vegetables to your local food pantry. Did you know that the most requested food at food pantries is fresh fruits and vegetables? Your garden donation can directly help your community.

March Lesson 2: Seed Starting
Seeds are the start of the plant life cycle. Some plants can be grown from cuttings but most plants that you will grow in your garden will start from seeds.

March Lesson 3: Garden Preparation Worksheet
​​​​​​​Answer the following questions to help you discover components of your gardening goals to best prepare your garden plan for this growing season.