Celebrating its 40th year in Iowa, the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program will hold its core training sessions this fall for individuals interested in becoming Master Gardener volunteers.
As the season winds down for summer crops (sweet corn, pepper, tomato, etc.) we should not let our guard down on fall crops such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprout, kale, etc. These crops are on still actively growing and need attention when it comes to pest management.
Water sustains life in the garden and often becomes the center of attraction when added to a yard or garden. Starting a water garden — even one as simple as a large container of water — also expands the gardener’s choice of possible plants to be enjoyed.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s annual Fruit and Vegetable Field Day will be held on August 6 will feature research and demonstration projects on fruit and vegetable production for commercial growers, extension personnel, non-profit organizations and Master Gardeners.
In the Midwest, short growing seasons often limit the production of this crop; however, they can be grown successfully with a little extra care and attention.
Tomatoes are found in nearly every high tunnel and for good reason. The demand for fresh market tomatoes is incredibly high nearly all year, creating high prices during off-season production for locally grown fruit.
Soil fertility and nutrient management is one of the important factors that have a direct impact on crop yield and quality. Do you know how you can monitor your soil's fertility?
Looking for information on the Food Safety Modernization Act and your farm?
Submitted by Kris Boyles
We have a long way to go in learning acreage living. We are city transplants from about five years ago. But we did have a success of sorts that I'd like to share. This year we tried to plant more of our garden from seed instead of buying plants. (Seeds are cheaper than plants.) We converted the shed workbench to a temporary greenhouse by making a homemade warming "mat" out of mostly salvaged construction materials. (My husband works construction and keeps a close eye on the dumpster.) We also made greenhouse lights from second hand shop lights, mounted on a salvaged wood frame. We enclosed it with plastic to keep the plants warm. We were able to get it as high as 90 degrees in the greenhouse. We started planting indoors in early March and planted most of our seedlings outdoors by mid-/late-June. Next year I'd like to start some indoor plants even earlier.
This year we probably spent what we usually do in garden start-up costs, but most of the costs went to the reusable mat and lights instead of toward plants. So next year we expect to see a big savings in our garden start-up costs since we will have seed as our primary purchase. (Or we may invest our usual garden spending to grow or improve another area of the acreage, like trees.)
This year, we are done with peas, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, carrots, onions and beans. We are currently harvesting lots of squash, cucumbers, kale and parsley. Potatoes, rosemary, basil, pumpkin and cauliflower are still coming along. Peppers, cantaloupe and eggplant didn't do very well once we transplanted them. I won't do a winter garden until next year because we have some soil issues we want to address this fall. We TREASURE our 80+ tomatoes which are just beginning to mature. We turn most of them into sauce which we use for spaghetti, lasagna, and homemade pizza. We also can some whole or diced and sometimes make salsa or juice. We are a family of six, so we eat most of what we grow.
With the garden, the approximately 50 chickens we keep, and with the cattlemen relatives we have, my dream someday would be to only go to the store for dairy in the summertime. I don't know if it is realistic, but I can dream.
Have a funny story or a quick lesson from a project on your acreage? Drop us a line! We'd love to feature stories from our readers!
Summer garden projects often include plans for future expansion or modifications. If you are thinking of constructing or transitioning to raised garden beds, learn more about safe construction materials to use.