Maintain Your Garden and Your Fruit with These Helpful Tips

The nutrition/wellness and horticulture teams at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach continue the quickinar videos with garden maintenance and food preservation

June 10, 2020, 9:44 am | Ruth Litchfield, Sarah Francis, Cynthia Haynes

AMES, Iowa –This week’s Sow, Grow, Eat and Keep instructional video from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach shares how to maintain a garden and safely freeze fruit. 

Caring for your garden will help keep plants healthy and thriving. Remember to:

  • Weed the garden regularly. You don’t want your fruits and vegetables to compete with weeds for sunlight and water.
  • Water your garden. Most vegetables need an inch of water per week, whether from rain or the hose. Consider a soaker hose to avoid wetting the leaves and reduce disease.
  • Watch for insects. The Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic can help with identifying insects or diseases.

bean mulched with drip.A well maintained garden means you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Food preservation helps you enjoy garden produce long after the garden is done producing. However, it can be a bit daunting for those new to the concept. Freezing is a food preservation technique where most people have experience.

June is prime time for strawberries. You may find you have more than you can possibly eat before they spoil. Freeze what you can’t eat, and enjoy that fresh-picked flavor later.

Remember these steps when freezing fruit:

  1. Select fully ripe fruit.
  2. Wash (don’t soak) fruit thoroughly. Remove parts that are green or of poor quality.
  3. Place fruit in containers specifically made for freezing such as plastic freezer containers, plastic freezing bags or canning jars.
  4. Freeze quickly.

Visit the ISU Extension and Outreach Food Preservation 101 online class and the Freezing Fruits and Vegetables publication for more food preservation information. 

For those interested in learning more about gardening, contact your county extension office for information about the Master Gardener program at ISU Extension and Outreach. Training begins across the state this fall.

ISU Extension and Outreach will continue hosting weekly Sow, Grow, Eat and Keep quickinars. These quickinars will be 5-15 minute online lessons of seasonally appropriate topics for the garden, food preparation, and food preservation.

Upcoming topics include:

  • Cruciferous vegetables (e.g., cauliflower, broccoli).
  • Edible flowers.
  • Pollinators.
  • Produce food safety.
  • Canning produce.
  • Freezing vegetables.

For additional resources and publications referred to in this news release, visit Send your food or garden questions to

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