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 six hours of county approved continuing education and volunteer at least 10 hours of service on county approved projects.

Become A Master Gardener

JCMG Thymes Blog


Johnson County Hortline: 

The Johnson County Master Gardeners are staffing the Hortline for area homeowners and garden enthusiasts. With Covid-19 safety precautions in mind the Hortline, staffed by volunteers, will be open 9-11am on Mondays and Thursdays.

You may speak to a Master Gardener by calling 319-337-2145, leave a message, email or stop by the Johnson County Extension Office, located adjacent to the Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds at 3109 Old HWY 218 S. You may also email your questions to the Johnson County Master Gardeners at JohnsonCoMG@gmail.com and they can assist you with questions ranging from lawn care to fruit/vegetable production to ornamentals to pest management and much more.

Steering Committee Meeting Agendas & Notes

2021 Meeting Agendas & Notes

December 2021 - No meeting was held. November 2021 -

October 2021 - Agenda  September 2021 - No meeting was held. August 2021 - AgendaNotes  July 2021 - No meeting was held. June 2021 - Agenda | Notes May 2021 - Agenda | Notes April 2021 - Agenda | Notes March 2021 - Agenda | Notes February 2021 - No meeting was held. January 2021 - Agenda | Notes
2020 Meeting Agendas & Notes

 

Master Gardener Committee and Projects

Steering Committee Chair: Doug Geraets
Steering Committee Vice-Chair: Open Position

Master Gardener Project Brochure (Full size or Tri-fold)

Approved Core Projects

Attended Displays

Attended Displays

Project Chairs: Jackie Wellborn, Chris Sedrel

The Master Gardener Attended Display volunteers; staff booths, answer questions, educate the public, give out pamphlets, and promote the Master Gardener Program at community events. These events include:

  1. Bur Oak, Prairie Preview
  2. Project Green Plant Sale
  3. Master Gardener Plant Sale & Flea Market
  4. Johnson County 4-H Fair
  5. Farmers Market
  6. Plum Grove guide Sundays May-July
  7. Other periodical events as they are requested.
2021 Annual Project Report
Butterfly House at Fairgrounds

Butterfly House

Location – Johnson County Fairgrounds (next the Heritage Barn)

4265 Oak Crest Hill Road, Iowa City

JCMG Charis: Carolyn Murphy, Mike Murphy

Project Goal: Teaching the public about native butterfly’s life cycle, habitats, and providing educational material on gardening for butterflies and other pollinators.  We are helping raise awareness regarding the survival of the Monarch and the shrinking population of butterflies and other pollinators in Iowa.

The Johnson County Fair is scheduled for the last week of July each year.  The Butterfly House exhibit will be open Sunday thru Wednesday with training on Saturday (day before).  Consider helping when Carolyn sends out an email with details.  The schedule will be set up in shifts each day, although you are welcome to sign-up for more than one shift or days.  This project requires 60 Master Gardener volunteers to effectively host the 6-7,000 visitors that go thru the exhibit during the fair.  No experience necessary, a training class will be held before the fair.  It is a fun way to get core hours and meet other Master Gardeners that share an interest in butterflies and butterfly gardening in a county fair atmosphere.  Contact Carolyn Murphy if you have any questions.

This project came together as a community partnership with Charlie Isaac/Johnson County Agricultural Association, Lucy Hershberger/Forever Green Nursery, and the Johnson County Master Gardeners.

The Johnson County Butterfly House was selected as one of the Iowa Master Gardener Search for Excellence Award winners in 2015.  The awards go to innovative and impactful projects that Master Gardeners lead.  The JC Butterfly House was chosen because of the amount of Master Gardeners involved in a project that reached many people.

2021 Annual Project Report

Historic 1876 Coralville Schoolhouse

HISTORIC 1876 CORALVILLE SCHOOLHOUSE grounds and garden
310 5th Street, Coralville, Iowa
 
This is a brick memorial patio and bench surrounded by a perennial garden, featuring many native plants.  Also there are new plantings around the foundation and in front of the schoolhouse, as well as various beds along the perimeter with Hosta, hydrangea, daylilies, hollyhocks, and the like.  The City of Coralville provides the grass mowing, and JCMG provide the bed maintenance.  Periodic maintenance will include spring cleanup, then throughout the summer weeding, deadheading, pruning, battling garlic mustard and burdock, and re-mulching.  Work sessions are scheduled about once a month, usually on Saturday mornings, but there is always additional work that can be done individually or in pairs, on your own, whenever time allows.  Construction work is being completed this fall along the north perimeter of the property (sidewalks and street) so the 2016 growing season will no doubt see some restoration/replanting necessary in that area.

Contact Cindy Parsons 

2021 Annual Project Report

Ecumenical Towers

Ecumenical Towers, 320 E. Washington St., Iowa City, IA 52240
 
Ecumenical Towers is a 13-story apartment building on Iowa Avenue in downtown Iowa City next to the Senior Center. The residents are of various ages and abilities who meet certain income criteria. The Master Gardeners take care of the front garden while the residents maintain the back garden. Working at Ecumenical Towers is a great way to help the residents enjoy their outdoor space while enhancing our local community through garden beauty.

Contact: Michael Hesseltine

2021 Annual Project Report

Demonstration Garden

Demonstration Garden at the Johnson County Fairgrounds

This Garden Project is showcased at the Johnson County Fair in July. It demonstrates the planting and design of a garden bed including annuals, perennials, and vegetables.

Contact Chris Sedrel

2021 Annual Project Report

Downtown City Gardens

Downtown City Gardens involves improving and maintaining Iowa City-owned properties located primarily in the downtown area, but range to the City’s Northside Neighborhood and as far as City Park, Ashton House and other city locations. Collaborating with Iowa City horticulturist is a necessary to protect desirable plants, and avoid and remove infestation of those less desirable. Throughout the growing months tasks might include planting, watering, weeding, deadheading, picking up and disposing of litter in garden beds. In the spring and fall season, removing and disposing plant debris is a requirement. Work days and schedules are flexible and weather dependent. Volunteering includes opportunities to work with University of Iowa REACH students and others to plant bulbs and flower gardens, clean and prepare flower beds for fall and winter.
 
Project Leader Description: Volunteer(s) must have a flexible schedule and provide his / her own transportation and garden equipment, including gloves, which are required. Coordinating with Iowa City staff is essential to prioritize work / areas and to avoid duplication of effort. The ability to locate available plants from outside sources is very desirable. Volunteer(s) must have the capacity to work with others who have little or no gardening experience.
 
Note: Not all gardens experience success in challenging urban environments.

Contact: Linda Schreiber

2021 Annual Project Report

Fair Grounds Flower Beds and Rain Garden- Fair Grounds Beautification

Fair Grounds Flower Beds

This includes flower beds and patios  on the north side of Montgomery Hall and the Memorial garden on the west end of Montgomery Hall; flower bed in front of Bldg. "C"; the flower beds around the fairgrounds bldg. (not extension office but the grey bldg.); the plants in front of the butterfly hoop house;  the hostas around the trees and flowers by the highway around the signs.

We plant a few annuals in the spring, do spring clean up, mulch flower beds, and do general maintenance of deadheading,  and trimming as needed during the summer. We also do a fall clean up after the frost kills back the plants.

We do not have set hours to work on these flower beds so you can set your own hours and day  to help maintain the flower beds.

We want these flower beds to be well maintained during the summer months and especially during the county fair. The fairgrounds are used for many events so it is important that the beds are neat and well kept.

Any major landscaping needs to go through Brenda Christner at the Johnson Co. Ag office first.

Rain Garden at the Johnson County Fairgrounds

Landscape of the Johnson County Fairgrounds are maintained by Master Gardeners to show examples of home landscape.  A special project is a rain garden which showcases water conservation and management.

Contact Chris Sedrel, Lavon Yeggy

2021 Annual Project Report

Firefighters' Memorial

The Iowa Firefighters Memorial in Coralville is to forever honor, celebrate and inspire the spirit, courage and service of Iowa firefighters-past, present and future. The Master Gardeners invite you to come, enjoy the gardens, and pay tribute. The gardens are planted and maintained for the public to have a peaceful place to appreciate.

Contact Barb Schintler

2021 Annual Project Report

Plant Sale/Flea Market

JCMG Plant Sale & Flea Market
Saturday, May 7, 2022
 
After a COVID-19 hiatus in 2020 and 2021, our Plant Sale & Flea Market is scheduled for Saturday, May 7, 2022, at the fairgrounds. The July/August Thymes outlines the changes we're making for the 2022 sale. 
   
Money raised goes to support the Jo. Co. MG program including but not limited to scholarships and awards sponsored by the group. 

Project Chair: Emil Rinderspacher 

2021 Annual Project Report


JCMG Plant Sale & Flea Market Additional Information

Hortline

The Johnson County Master Gardeners are staffing the Hortline for area homeowners and garden enthusiasts. With Covid-19 safety precautions in mind the Hortline, staffed by volunteers, will be open 9-11am on Monday and Thursdays.

You may speak to a Master Gardener by calling 319-337-2145, leave a message, email or stop by the Johnson County Extension Office, located adjacent to the Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds at 3109 Old HWY 218 S. You may also email your questions to the Johnson County Master Gardeners at JohnsonCoMG@gmail.com and they can assist you with questions ranging from lawn care to fruit/vegetable production to ornamentals to pest management and much more.
 
2021 Annual Project Report

Hortline Advertisement Flyer

Please note above we are currently not operating under typical hours.
Typical JCMG Hortline Hours:
April - October Monday 9-11am, Wednesday 1-3pm, Friday 9-11am 
November - March Thursday 9-11am

Hospice Gardens

The Hospice Volunteer Site at Willow Creek Park

The Willow Creek Park project is located along the bike trail not far from Benton Street in Willow Creek Park.  The site is dedicated to volunteers who give their time to Iowa City Hospice.  It has three stone benches set in a forested setting and offers a place for quiet reflection.

Melanine Haupert meets with Master Gardeners at the park on Thursday mornings at approximately 9:00 AM for about an hour.  We begin the year in early April with clean up in preparation for the Hospice Walk for Dignity which begins at our site on the fourth Sunday in April.  We continue meeting on Thursday mornings throughout the year, ending sometime in late October.  Many years ago we planted 1,000 daffodils.  Most falls find us planting 100+ daffodils to maintain and increase the beautiful show for the following spring.  Iowa City Landscaping put in a path for us two years ago.  We have added a hosta garden, which is a work in progress.

Volunteers weed, deadhead the roses and hosta flowers when needed.  In the spring we rake the rose beds and the flower beds along the bike path.  Occasionally we plant new hostas.

We have a relaxed attitude regarding our work at the park.  Although we have many volunteers who give their time, we may have as few as two of us or as many as 8 or 9, depending on the need for help.  The site is an example of the benefit of consistent work in the garden.  Only occasionally do weeds threaten to run rampant.  We enjoy the camaraderie working together and chatting with passers by who appreciate our work.

Contact: Melanie Haupert

2021 Annual Project Report

Buckets of Flowers & Scarecrow Contest

Johnson County Fair 4-H Buckets of Flowers and Scarecrow Contest

Johnson County Master Gardeners judge Horticulture, 4-H Buckets of Flowers and the Scarecrow Contest  annually during the Johnson County Fair last full week of July.

Contact Lavon Yeggy

Oaknoll Garden Project

Oaknoll Garden Project

Oaknoll provides exceptional retirement living and health services through LifeCare. Master Gardeners are paired with residents to plant and maintain the facility landscape and individually assigned raised beds. 

Contact: Vicki Siefers & Marilou Gay

2021 Annual Project Report

Plum Grove

Plum Grove - 1030 Carroll Street, Iowa City
Open to public May 31-Oct 31
 
Johnson County Historical Society oversees the site.

(Contact a MG chairs to get things okayed with the Historical Society; such as any projects, events, or service requests.

Johnson County Master Gardeners created and maintain 3 heirloom gardens.

Project Chairs: Lavon Yeggy, Carolyn Murphy, Darlene Clausen

Honorees: Betty Kelly, Joanne Leach

Volunteer Opportunities:

Mid-April – October – Saturdays 9 a.m. – 12 Noon

(Note: Plum Grove is a locked site and requires a key to open. Contact chairs if you wish to work flexible times)

Schedule: Everyone Welcome!
 
February/March - Planning Garden for coming year, ordering seed (held at the extension office)
 
April/May - Start seed, make repairs to fences and signs, clean garden after winter, planting, planning the Heritage Taste menu and jobs.
 
June - Planting, weeding, mulching, tending compost pile, update garden maps and labels or plant lists, planning the Tomato Taste.
 
July - Weeding, compost, Tasting Party.
 
August - Weeding, compost, Tomato Tasting Party.
 
September - Weeding, compost, cleaning up garden to get ready for next year.

As a group we plan the gardens, Taste of the Heritage Gardens, Taste of Heirloom Tomatoes and anything that may come up (such as shed or fence repairs).  
 
Most of the work at Plum Grove takes place in May and June.  We try to have the gardens fully planted by June 1.  The two Tasting parties take some additional work and attention.  One of the largest tasks is getting Master Gardeners lined up to help with those.  Working at Plum Grove is a continuing summer commitment, but it is a beautiful place to work.

The Committee Chairs job at Plum Grove is to show up every Saturday or assign someone to open, help direct the work each week and make sure any interns or new people are occupied and feel comfortable.  In general, we just make the gardens look good and make any repairs that are needed.
 
Contacts: Carolyn Murphy, Lavon Yeggy, Darlene Clausen


2021 Annual Project Report

Macbride Raptor Center

Macbride Raptor Center Gardens (Iowa Raptor Project)
2095 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE
Solon, IA  52333

The JCMG maintain a Hummingbird Garden at the conference center, and a Butterfly Garden next to the Prairie Walk.  Our goal is to plant and maintain flowers and plants (emphasizing natives) that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies respectively.  On an annual basis we schedule a clean up day, planting day, and weeding and watering throughout the summer.  There are no regularly scheduled events. 

We schedule a clean up day early in spring (April) typically on a Saturday morning to remove leaves, pick up sticks, cut back grasses, etc. And then in May we schedule a day for planting.  At that time a sign up sheet is provided for teams of 2 to select 2 week timeframes throughout the summer to weed and water at least once a week.  Once coverage is established, the individuals work together to determine when they will go to the gardens.  It is not required to go at the same time, only that they communicate when they will provide coverage for weeding and watering.  These individuals also update the leaders (Alice and Karole) iof issues including lapses in coverage and the condition of the gardens.  The leaders can sign up for a timeslot or go out when they can to check up on the gardens. 

Contact: Ann Tvedte

2021 Annual Project Report

Speakers Bureau

Speakers Bureau

There is no location for our group as we arrange for speakers to talk on a variety of garden topics at the request of different groups around Johnson County.  As the chair Jackie Wellborn arranges the talks and get a Master Gardener to speak. We have a number of master gardeners that are willing to speak on a variety of topics.

We are always trying to recruit gardeners to speak on topics that they might have an interest in. Sometimes two gardeners join together and give a talk.  If you decide you would like to sign up it’s a good way to get hours. The talks are about 30-45 minutes and time for driving. Also, hours can be counted for research on the topic and any handouts needed for the talk.

Most of the time we get calls or emails from community groups that are eager to listen to anything about gardening. Topics of interest have been: garden set up/take down, good vegetables to grow, low maintenance yards, organic gardening, flower gardening in yards with deer, bees in the urban yard, hostas, starting vegetables and flowers from seed, and many more.

Contact: Jackie Wellborn

2021 Annual Project Report

Thymes Newsletter

Thymes is the official newsletter of the Johnson County Master Gardeners (MG). The newsletter is published for MGs to communicate information about MG events, community activities, and to publish articles on topics of interest to MGs. It is published monthly except for January and August.

Each issue features a MG birthday list, a listing of MG Committee Heads for projects, and volunteer opportunities. MG projects including the Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden, and Plum Grove activities are also highlighted.

MGs and MG interns are encouraged to contribute information or articles for publication in the Thymes by contacting Doug Geraets at dougrph@aol.com or 319-541-6324. 

2021 Annual Project Report

Other Projects

Other Projects are personally chosen projects which are not on the approved core project list however still meet the standards of being educational in nature, a benefit to the public, and you are not getting paid for.

Additional Committees:
Social Events: Beth Fisher
Treasurer: Jean Holzhammer
Master Gardener Educational Sunday Training:  Linda Schreiber, Jackie Wellborn
Intern Fall Training Class: Shannon Bielicke
Volunteer Hours/Secretary: Shannon Bielicke

Educational Hours

Programs which you attend to expand your horticulture knowledge. These programs need to be educational and research based.

 

Members Only

How to Report Service Hours

Hours requirements are as follows:

  • Interns must complete 40 volunteer hours (at least 20 of those need to be Core project hours) during their first full calendar year in the program.
  • Master Gardeners who have completed their internship will need to complete 20 volunteer hours (at least 10 of those need to be Core project hours) and 10 educational hours during each calendar year to maintain their certification.
  • Visit the Master Gardener Reporting System website to report your volunteer and educational hours online.
    • Drop Down Menus have been programmed in to help you report your Johnson County specific Core projects. Please use this Reporting Hours Help sheet when recording these hours.

CONNECT AND LEARN about your fellow Johnson County Master Gardeners
Johnson County Master Gardener DIRECTORY- please contact Shannon Bielicke, bielicke@iastate.edu for a copy. This list is for Johnson County Master Gardener use only

Educational Opportunities

2022 Continuing Education Speakers

2022 Johnson Co. Master Gardener Continuing Education Event
Sunday, March 6, 2022

Speakers: Tyler Baird, Iowa City Supt. Parks and Forestry; Mike Anderson, LCMG; Jason Grimm, Executive Director, and Claire Zabel, Food and Farm Specialist, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development (IVRCD) and Grow Johnson County.

Click here for the Event Flyer with descriptions

Recorded Program can be located:
JCMG Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JCMG.Iowa/
City Channel 4 YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/citychannel4 (direct link to the video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mC2SbgrMP_g )

Tyler Baird, Iowa City Supt. Parks and Forestry: https://youtu.be/00u5oQ3la9s

Mike Anderson, LCMG: https://youtu.be/TMSdhlAKYhM

Jason Grimm, Executive Director, and Claire Zabel, Food and Farm Specialist, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development (IVRCD) and Grow Johnson County: https://youtu.be/3p0ObjJK0yM

2021 Continuing Education Speakers
Presentations can be viewed on the Johnson County Master Gardener Facebook page or on the Channel 4 Iowa CityYouTube Channel.
 
The Joys and Challenges of Native Plant Gardening, Speaker Eric Miller 

Recorded date: Sunday, January 24, 2021 

Iowa Master Naturalist Eric Miller has led numerous groups on field trips that highlight the unique qualities of the Iowa prairie. As the only state that is completely tallgrass prairie, Iowa’s landscape has been defined by its tall grasses and flowers. As gardeners, incorporating urban flower prairie species into the landscape will provide enjoyment for the gardener and habitat for wildlife. Goldfinches, hummingbirds and butterflies will take up permanent residence in your garden if you have prairie plants. Eric will cover the challenges of incorporating native plants in your home garden.

YouTube Link for the video: https://youtu.be/VnQCcGrpcSE


Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden, Speaker Jo Dillon
Recorded date: Sunday, February 28, 2021 

Linn County Master Gardener Jo Dillon will provide gardeners with suggestions how to please the bees and butterflies. Our lives on planet Earth are intertwined with many creatures, including pollinators like bees and butterflies. But pollinators and their habitats are disappearing. Learn about what is happening to pollinators, what steps are being taken to protect pollinators, and how gardeners can provide much-needed habitat.

YouTube Link for the video: https://youtu.be/frRRta7LjPw

Speaker's Resource List: Click Here


How to Prepare for Possible Drought Conditions, Speaker Deb Walser
Recorded date: Sunday, March 28, 2021

Master Gardener Deb Walser presenting How to Prepare for Possible Drought Conditions. Ms. Walser will help gardeners prepare for one of the worst things that can happen to a garden – drought. She will offer advice about how to deal with another hot, hot summer like the 2012 summer! Ms. Walser knows that gardeners have to plant! Her presentation will focus on how, what and when to water during a drought and will highlight drought-tolerant plants. 

YouTube Link for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqaE6tAXePg 


Delightful Iowa Fungi, Speakers Sarah DeLong-Duhon and Dave Layton

Recorded date: Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sarah and Dave have been hunting and studying mushrooms for decades. Together, they will share the satisfaction of identifying and learning about Iowa’s fungi and the internet tools they use. They will describe the tasty mushrooms that are found in Iowa and perhaps share characteristics of a good hunting spot as well as some cooking methods. Both are members of the Iowa Mushroom Club which is a part of the Prairie States Mushroom Club.

YouTube Link for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg1s0ihP6i4


When Wild Bees Come to Town: Why We Need Them and What to Do to Help, Speaker Dr. Steve Hendrix

Recorded date: Sunday, May 23, 2021

Dr. Steve Hendrix, University of Iowa professor emeritus, will explore the biology and status of wild bees and honeybees on native prairies, farms, and urban areas in this Johnson County Master Gardener presentation. An evaluation of pollinator supply and demand in urban areas will be discussed, and suggestions to encourage wild bees will be provided. Before retiring in 2015, Dr. Hendrix was a faculty member of the Department of Botany and Department of Biology for 40 years. During his career, he studied the ecology of plant-animal interactions before turning to bees including: insect induced changes in flower sex, effects of herbivory on plant population dynamics, and then, prairie plant reproduction in habitat and fragments. Because many prairie plants succeed as populations only if they have pollinators, he started studying wild bees in Iowa and almond groves of California.

YouTube Link for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaBEtaGKpyk 

 

Member Resources

Growing Together Food Security Mini Grants

Johnson County Master Gardeners are proud 2019, 2018 and 2017 Recipients!

 

2019 Mini Grant

Resources:

2018 Mini Grant

Resources:

Seed Share Component

With 1,125 packets of proprietary seeds from local and national seed companies, the Johnson County Master Gardeners have distributed nearly 800 (794) packets. Seed Share 2.0 at the Iowa City Public Library distributed 353 packets.

JCMGs had an early distribution at the annual Winter Potluck where 168 packets for core projects were distributed; 230 tomato and pepper packets went to the Iowa Medical Classification Center; 53 packets went to community gardens. All participants were encouraged to “Plant a Row” and distribute part of the food to a local food pantry.

Our last Seed Share will be held at the Plant Sale & Flea Market on Saturday, May 12, from 8:30 to 10 a.m.  The Plant Sale & Flea Market hours are 8 a.m. to noon.

Local participating businesses include Earl May and Pauls. National Seed companies include Annies Heirloom Seeds, Baker Seed Company, Burpee Seeds and Seed Savers in Decorah, Iowa.

Plant A Row Component

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Plant a Row for the Hungry

Plant A Row(PAR) is a nationwide, people-to-people program sponsored locally by Johnson County Master Gardeners to benefit community food pantries.

Our Aim is to make it easy for those who have extra fresh produce to easily find a facility that welcomes donations of any size and will quickly distribute the fresh fruit and vegetables to those in need. A listing of Johnson County food pantries is included.

Our Goal is to connect Master Gardeners who grow extra fruits and vegetables with those who need nutritious food.      

To Learn more about the Plant A Row for the Hungry contact ISU Johnson County Extension Office at 319.337.2145

How you can help:Plant Free Seeds Free seeds are available through our Seed Share 2.0 that will be held Sunday, March 24, from 2 – 3:30 p.m., at the Iowa City Public Library.

The volume of free seeds available to our community depends on generous contributors. We ask JCMGs to record the number of pounds of fresh produce that you grow and donate each year. Seeds will be available at the Winter Potluck.

We ask that half of your harvest from Seed Share be donated to local food pantries or facilities.

Donate Half the Harvest: You are welcome to donate to a facility or site directly and we do ask you to please weigh your harvest and report it at the end of each month to Shannon Bielicke. Every pound counts.

Eight Tips for Donating Fresh Produce to Food Pantries

It is important to check with the food bank or pantry before delivering any produce. Find out if they accept produce at their site and if they do, ask if they need the type of produce you have to donate. Always handle the fresh fruits and vegetables safely to minimize the risk of foodborne illness. For example, don’t harvest when you are sick and always wash your hands before harvesting Offer only high quality, freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Do not donate fruits and vegetables that are overripe, have mold, bruising, spoilage or insect damage. If you use pesticides in your garden, always read and follow the label instructions. Harvest produce early in the morning. Wipe as much mud and dirt as possible off of the produce but do not rinse the produce. Rinsing the produce takes off some of the natural protective coating and will cause the produce to spoil sooner than if it wasn’t rinsed. Do not mix different kinds of produce. For example, don’t put cucumbers in the same clean, food grade container as green beans. For example, you might have bags of 4 different kinds of veggies that you put in one large box.

2017 Mini Grant

Resources:

Seed Share Component

A new activity emerged just in time for gardeners. Dubbed “Seed Share,” the no-risk gardening opportunity encouraged gardening enthusiasts to drop-off and pickup seeds for spring planting. 
 
Just before the doors opened, gardeners lined-up eager to attend Seed Share, a new partnership between Johnson County Master Gardeners and the Iowa City Public Library. 
 
The project, a component of a Growing Together, a mini-grant from Iowa State University, hopes reduce food insecurity among individuals and families in Johnson County communities. Gardeners who participated in Seed Share were also encouraged to “Plant a Row” and donate excess produce to Johnson County food pantries and organizations that feed the hungry and those in need.
 
Three popular, national seed companies, Baker Heirloom Seeds, Burpee and Seed Savers in Decorah, participated in the inaugural collaboration, donating more than 700 seed packets of nearly 30 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers. 
 
Many gardening enthusiasts also contributed their saved seeds to share with others. JCMGs provided packaging, labeling and instructional materials allowing contributors to identify and package the seeds and provide planting instructions for others. Approximately 25 percent of those attending brought seeds to share. Planting guides and recipe cards were also provided to those participating. 
 
The early April date for the Seed Share was selected to allow gardeners time to start seedlings indoors before 6 temperatures warm sufficiently to transplant outside in mid-May. 
 
More than 10 Master Gardeners helped set up Seed Share; all promoted the benefits of gardening and the training they’ve received through the Master Gardeners programs. Beth Fisher, ICPL Librarian and JCMG, was pleased with attendance at the maiden Seed Share with more than 70 people, calling the effort, “Awesome!” "Thanks to all for helping make Seed Share a success!"
 
~Linda Schreiber

 

Educational Component

 

Growing Together Video
Growing Together Webcast 2017

Click on the Titles Linked below to view these videos on YouTube.

Directions on Reporting Hours Online

JCMG who participate in the Growing Together grant activities in their private gardens or at core project locations and who track results may add up to 6 core service hours for your efforts.  Beyond 6 hours will also be accepted but as “other”. Shannon has created a “grant” choice for us to report our hours online. Hours must be recorded online on the Master Gardener Reporting System.

  • Location – select: Other
  • Location Other: Home
  • Category – select: Food Security Mini Grant
  • Local Project/Sub Category – select: Food Security Grant & Garden Vegetable Donations
  • NOTE: Please make sure to use this Sub Category when you are entering all hours that pertain to this project. If you are working at one of the Core project locations or any other locations please just mark that in the description section. This will allow us to pull an accurate report including all that was contributed to the grant efforts.

JCMG will be asked to complete worksheets to track produce donations. 

Examples of when to report hours under the Food Security Mini Grant Sub Category include

Mini Grant Related Meetings Seed Share Event at the Iowa City Public Library Time spent harvesting and donating food to food pantries and related organizations. More will be listed as they come to our attention... If you have questions please feel free to ask.

Helpful Publications & Resources