Master Gardener Program

The Master Gardener Program trains garden enthusiasts to learn, grow, and teach others about plants and gardening in the home landscape. Participants receive 40 hours of training via webcasting, face-to-face, and hands-on workshops, while interacting with others of similar interests. After completing their training, Master Gardener Interns volunteer 40 hours of service in county approved projects related to gardening education to become active Master Gardeners. To maintain active status, Master Gardeners must attend at least 10 hours of county approved continuing education and volunteer at least 20 hours of service on county approved projects.

2024 Library Gardening Classes

Upcoming library class poster

Join us on Mondays and Tuesdays in April at 6 pm for free educational presentations! Locations alternate between Cedar Falls Public Library and Waterloo Public Library. 


Local Highlights

Pressure Canner Lid Testing

Pressure Canner Lid Testing 

Waterloo – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Black Hawk County offers free pressure canner lids checks Monday thru Friday between 8:00am and 4:30pm at 3420 University Avenue, Suite B in Waterloo.
Pressure canner lids with dial gauges need to be tested annually for accuracy. This service is free of charge and you can drop off your lid/gauge ahead of time when it is convenient for you. Gauges that read high cause under-processing and may result in unsafe food. Low readings cause over-processing. Pressure adjustments can be made if the gauge reads up to 2 pounds high or low. Replace gauges that differ by more than 2 pounds. Every pound of pressure is very important to the temperature needed inside the canner for producing safe food, so accurate gauges and adjustments are essential when a gauge reads higher than it should. If a gauge is reading lower than it should, adjustments may be made to avoid over-processing, but are not essential to safety.
The following brands of pressure canners can be tested: Presto, Steamliner, Lakeside Aluminum, Kook Kwik, Maid of Honor, and Magic Seal.  We cannot test Burpee, National, or All American.
If you would like to get your pressure canner lid checked please drop them off at the ISU Extension & Outreach Black Hawk County office. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Black Hawk County is open Monday-Thursday 8 am to 4:30 pm.
You can call (319)234-6811 or email with questions. 
If you have a question about canning, the AnswerLine provides information and resources for Iowa consumers with home and family questions. Call 1-800-262-3804 toll free Monday-Friday 9 am to noon and 1-4 pm. 

Pressure Canners
"We Arose Virtual Field Trip" by Food Corps

"We Arose Virtual Field Trip" by Food Corps

Thank You Food Corps Members, Clarissa Klostermann and Cadence Moon for sharing your 7 Tools Video! And a special thanks to DaQuan Campbell for sharing his knowledge about these tools!

Food Corps

Blueridge Orchard Virtual Field Trip

Food Corps Blueridge Orchard Virtual Field Trip 

Thank You Food Corps Members, Clarissa Klostermann and Cadence Moon for sharing your Apple Video! And special thanks to Abby Rippe for sharing her info and orchard with us! 

Extension, Food Corps & EFNEP

Extension, Food Corps & EFNEP Staff team up to learn the TESTED and SAFE way to CAN SALSA!

Thank You to Jill Weber, Human Sciences Specialist, for teaching Extension, Food Corps and NFNEP staff the safe and correct way to can salsa! And for sharing her home for the class. For questions you can contact Jill at:

It is important to use a tested or researched based recipe when canning homemade salsa.

The reason being, the ratio of low acid vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic) to acid (lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar) has not been tested in a non-research based recipe. Recipes that have been tested will have enough acid to prevent the growth of the botulism bacteria and provide a safe product that everyone can enjoy straight from the canning jar. View the TEST Salsa Recipe here: Recipe from National Center for Home Food Preservation 
Another great resource: Iowa StateExtension and Outreach Brochure, Preserve the Taste of Summer - Canning and Freezing: Tomatoes PM638            See more instructions here:



Save the Date

Save the Date!

2024 Fall Garden Symposium

Do plants make you happy? You are invited to a wonderful day of listening and learning with other garden enthusiasts at the 2024 Black Hawk County Fall Garden Symposium! 

Topics include planting and care of urban trees, growing beautiful cut flowers, creating pollinator and butterfly gardens, and more! 

Registration will be opening soon! This event includes speakers, handouts, a light breakfast coffee, a catered lunch, and snacks.

Vendors will be available for shopping. 




Seed Sharing

boxes of seedlings all around a white text box


Join us on Friday, May 3rd or stop by Saturday, May 4th for our Last Chance Seed Giveaway! Seeds will be offered bin style. We still have a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and flower seeds ready for planting! 

Soil Testing

Soil Testing



Soil Testing Resources - Information on how to take a soil sample in your lawn or garden. Click Here!

Master Gardener Information for Black Hawk



Master Gardener Information for Black Hawk    

Master Gardeners Login for Volunteer Hours

Master Gardener Club Info!
 Apply to Become a Master Gardener Here! Closes Sept. 1st

Statewide Resources

ISU Extension Agricultural and Natural Resources

Agriculture and Natural Resources has many resources to help Iowans. Get a list of them all here.

Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute

Helping support the state’s evolving grape and wine industry, because the potential economic opportunities in wineries, value-added agriculture and tourism are limitless.

Insect and Disease Encyclopedia

A collection of encyclopedia articles focused on common insects and diseases found around the house, in yards and throughout gardens.

Pesticide Safety Education Program

Central location for all pesticide safety education resources including Pesticide Applicator Certification information.

Insect and Disease Encyclopedia

A collection of encyclopedia articles focused on common insects and diseases found around the house, in yards and throughout gardens.

Pesticide Safety Education Program

Central location for all pesticide safety education resources including Pesticide Applicator Certification information.

Iowa Master Gardener Program

Horticulture & Home Pest News

Horticulture and Home Pest News is a one-stop-shop for all news and resources related to horticulture and home pests. This website is curated by our horticulture, plant pathology and entomology extension specialists with new information being added frequently.

Sustainable Vegetable Production

Focused on developing strategies that enhance crop production, soil health, and cropping system profitability in vegetable cropping systems in Iowa.

Got a Gardening Question?

ISU Extension Master Gardener Can Answer Your Gardening Questions! 

Other resources offered by ISU Extension can be found online. Extension provides unbiased, research-based information and education to help Iowans make better decisions today and tomorrow.

Master Gardeners Norman Lemmon and Bruce Clark are available to answer your gardening questions each Tuesday/Friday mornings until Nov. 1st. Questions may be directed to him by calling 319.234.6811 or stopping by the Black Hawk County Extension office at 3420 University Avenue, Suite B.  This is a free Extension service.

Norm and Bruce are certified master gardener and will work with you to provide answers to your questions, such as insect problems, lawn and tree diseases, caring and pruning of shrubs, propagating perennials, soil conditions, and planting, caring and watering vegetable and herb gardens or any plant-related problem that you may have.  Norman consults with ISU staff, as needed, but does not make on-site visits.

Common questions include how to keep growing what you want, identifying what is growing in your yard, and how to safely stop growing things you no longer want.   If the hours don’t work for your schedule you are welcome to e-mail a Master Gardener at with pictures and descriptions for them to work on and reply back to you.  You are welcome to call the office Monday – Friday from 8:00am -4:30pm or leave a message after hours for the Master Gardeners to help you as well.  This is a free service by volunteers who love helping others learn how to enjoy their yards and gardens.  

If you are dropping off a sample....please put in a plastic bag. THANKS!