Acreage Living newsletter addresses April showers, May flowers and other spring issues
April showers bring May flowers - along with yard work, weeds and excess rainwater. Acreage owners can be proactive about managing all these spring tasks by subscribing to the electronic Acreage Living newsletter, offered free from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Small Farm Sustainability Program. The recently published Spring 2015 e-newsletter provides readers with resources and information to manage spring home and landscaping projects.
Excess rainwater is inevitable in the spring, but can it be contained and reused?
“Harvesting rainwater has gained attention in recent years, especially after the Midwest experienced a couple seasons of wet springs followed by several dry weeks during the growing season,” said Linda Naeve, value added agriculture specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
In the wet season, runoff from roofs and drain pipes can create riverlets and trenches across a landscape. But the dry season has homeowners wishing for a little more rain to keep plants alive. These problems can be solved with a rainwater catchment system.
"Use of collected rainwater reduces the need for potable water for outdoor water uses, such as watering landscape plants," Naeve said. The rainwater catchment article explains how to calculate the amount of water a catchment will need to hold, what to use for a catchment, different ways to use the collected water, and where to purchase the supplies needed to install a rainwater catchment system.
The Acreage Living newsletter also offers information on May flowers. Planning how to use extensive space around a rural home can be tricky, but the article on spatial design explains how to find the most aesthetically pleasing way to organize flower beds.
"By using bubble (or functional) diagrams and form composition studies, a comprehensive spatial design can be achieved that will miraculously reveal garden rooms surrounded by planting beds," said Lisa Orgler, professor of horticulture with Iowa State University.
Her article describes how to study the relationship of spaces and the visual connections between them. Once a homeowner understands how to use space efficiently, garden areas can be defined with a strong shape inspired by a particular garden style or even the architecture of the owner’s home. After plans have been laid out for a beautifully designed landscape, the only thing left to do is to start digging and plant.
Additional articles featured in this issue include manure management, using riparian buffer strips, and managing thistles.
To subscribe to future issues or to view past issues, visit the Small Farm Sustainability website at www.extension.iastate.edu/smallfarms.
Small Farms Program, Ag Marketing Resource Center, 515-294-4430,
Linda Naeve, value added agriculture, 515-294-8946, firstname.lastname@example.org