Horticulturists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach answer questions about what may be causing those black or brown spots on tomatoes, zucchini and other garden produce.
KoiGreen Produce and Pond Supplies, located in Ogden, Iowa, uses the water from their ponds stocked with koi fish to water the produce they grow and sell. KoiGreen was able to start its business and purchase many necessary items for its pond thanks to an USDA Farm Service Agency microloan.
Fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices, and co-management of natural resources and food safety should make plans to attend an upcoming Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training course.
Master Gardener volunteers donated produce grown in 15 counties as well as demonstration gardens from six Iowa State research farms as part of the Growing Together initiative. The total donation came to 74,841 pounds of fruits and vegetables that went to more than 75 locations across the state.
Gardeners selecting and planting warm-season crops may include hills of watermelon and muskmelon along with rows of produce. Iowa State University Extension horticulture specialists offer planting tips and describe muskmelon and watermelon variety choices for Iowa.
Strawberries are well suited to home gardens. They are hardy, easy to grow and produce a good crop with moderate effort. Early spring is the best time to plant strawberries in Iowa.
As a grower marketing directly to consumers, you need to make a good impression that will translate into a lasting positive image for your business. If possible, choose a bustling, centrally-located market that is populated by serious vendors. Proximity to your farm is a factor, but consider whether the extra sales made at a busier market will justify your time and additional expenses. Whichever market you choose, be familiar with the rules, keep the market manager happy and have a presence there every week, preferably in the same slot. Customers appreciate consistency.