Hort Day

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On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa Charity Nebbe speaks with Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist, and Cindy Haynes, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University about caring for plants indoors during the winter months.  They discuss holiday plants, traditional house plants and outdoor plants that can be over wintered in the home.  Bringing plants in from outdoors can pose some challenges.  

jacki-dee / Flickr

Iowa may have had a mild fall so far, but winter is just around the corner. With that in mind, it's time to prepare yards and gardens for the arrival of winter.

Aaron Steil, Manager of Public Programs at Reiman Gardens, joins host Charity Nebbe to discuss best practices for winter readiness. Steil provides some tips for care of strawberries, asparagus, perennial care, diseased plants, and even how to take care of the leaves covering lawns.

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Growing plants organically, whether done on acres of farmland or a backyard garden, can be tricky work. Iowa State University Extension Organic Specialist Kathleen Delate joins Host Charity Nebbe on this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa. Delate explains what cover crops are and how they can improve soil quality by infusing it with nitrogen and carbon and preventing soil erosion, nitrate leaching, and ground water pollution. Delate also discusses the uses and benefits of composting.

Pumpkin Season Has Returned

Oct 16, 2015
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Regardless of your personal feelings about pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin season is here. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, Linda Naeve of the Value Added Agriculture Program at Iowa State University Extension speaks with Charity Nebbe about the squash family, where to find pumpkin patches, and the many dishes pumpkins can create.

"I'm a pumpkin fan myself," Naeve says. "There's pumpkin muffins, pumpkin squash soup, there's pumpkin scones. You can put pumpkin in just about anything and, I think, make it taste good with those spices."

Fall Colored Perennials

Oct 9, 2015
Swallowtail Garden Seeds / Flickr

Watching the trees change color is one of the chief pleasures of fall, but few people consider what hardy perennials can add to scenery. An added benefit is that they are pretty easy to tuck in, where a tree may not fit.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Denny Shrock, Master Gardener Coordinator at Iowa State University, discusses some of his favorite suggestions and he provides an extensive list of beautiful October bloomers as well as perennials with outstanding fall foliage colors.

Vera Kratochvil/Wikimedia Commons

It may not feel like it yet, but it is officially fall. This hour on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Aaron Steil, assistant director of Reiman Gardnes in Ames, and Iowa State University Extension horticulture expert Richard Jauron about spring blooming bulbs. It’s best to get them in the ground before the first frost, sometime in early fall. 

Jauron says that when you’re talking about tulips and daffodils, it works best to plant between 15 and 20 bulbs in a clump.

Iowa State University

With Iowa trees readying themselves for fall and the changing colors of leaves, look no further than Ames, Iowa for a new healthy seedling.  Bill Graves, Associate Dean of the Graduate College and Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, says he is excited about the Swamp White Oaks offered this year.  Graves loves to see people who enthusiastically purchase trees from ISU as well as discovering what becomes of those trees.

Phil Roeder / Flickr

It’s county fair season, which means the quest for blue ribbons is on. During this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturists Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes about the vegetable, fruit and flower competitions that bring so many people to the fair.

"You don't know who is exhibiting," says Haynes. "It could be someone who raises vegetables for sale or it could be a 10-year-old."

She says that when she's faced with a table of tomatoes, she looks for those that are ripe, blemish free and firm enough to hold up for a few days. 

John / Flickr

In September, master gardeners from all over the world will gather in Council Bluffs, Iowa to share ideas and learn from each other. On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa State horticulturists Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes about the International Master Gardener’s Conference and about what to plant if you don’t want to plant hostas.

Isidre blanc / Wikimedia Commons

More and more gardeners and entrepenuers are getting started growing hops in Iowa. Diana Cochran, a horticulture specialist with Iowa State University, says its for good reason; Iowa is a great place to grow hops, as long as a grower can keep the plants disease free. 

"They grow well here. It's the humidity that is a factor because of disease. They need well drained soil, but otherwise, the problems that you'll see here really have to do with disease," she says. 

John Tann / Flickr

If you head out for a hike, there's a decent chance you'll return with a hitchhiker. All three types of ticks in Iowa are active right now. 

Donald Lewis, an entomologist with Iowa State University extension, speaks with host Charity Nebbe about ticks. ISU Extension horticulturist Richard Jauron and DNR district forester Mark Vitosh also join the conversation.

Llez / Wikimedia Commons

Sweet potatoes are often thought of as a southern plant, but with the right care, they can thrive in Iowa.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Ajay Nair, Assistant Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, about the ins and outs of growing sweet potatoes in your own backyard. Technique is key.

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Prairie rehabilitation has become an important part of restoring native plants and wildlife in many communities. One noticeable change in recent years is that many prairies are being grown on a smaller scale, in urban environments and backyards across Iowa.

Ken_from_MD / Flickr

Walk into a garden center this time of year, and you’ll be greeted with row upon row of colorful flowers and other bedding plants. But all that variety can seem a bit overwhelming at times.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, horticulturists Richard Jauron and Chris Curry of Iowa State University put your worries to bed when it comes to approaching your big trip to the garden center.

It all starts out with having a game plan before even stepping foot in the garden center, so you know what to look for.

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Now that the snow is gone, it’s easy to see where the dead spots are in your lawn. If that’s making you eager to seed your yard, Iowa State University Horticulture Professor Nick Christians tells host Charity Nebbe he recommends waiting a month or two.

  “A common mistake that people make is that they buy seed, and they put it out but nothing happens because the soil is too cool. It will be well into April before rye grasses will germinate and well into May before blue grasses will germinate.”

Julie Falk / Flickr

Though the weather's warmed up in Iowa, colder dips are still to come. So how do you extend your growing season?

Adam Fagen / Flickr

The snow is starting to melt and that means it's time to prune back trees before spring weather arrives. 

Dennis Brown via Wikimedia Commons

Temperatures outside have been frigid, but there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy gardening and prepare for the spring.

Liz West / Flickr

Most flowers travel thousands of miles each year  before being sold for Valentine’s Day.

Just because its January, doesn't mean there aren't flowers in bloom. 

gapowell / flickr

Monarch butterfly numbers have declined dramatically. Now it looks like they may be put on the Endangered Species List.

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For the seasoned gardener, seed catalogs have already begun to arrive in the mail.

There's a great deal of history to be found on most university campuses--but not just in the buildings and the libraries.

Roadsidepictures / Flickr

The answer is: probably zero. ISU entomologist Donald Lewis says fears and myths about spiders are overblown.

Usually Melancholy / flickr

They are easy to grow, decorative and delicious.

TumblingRun / Flickr

Summer is officially over, but the changing of the seasons brings a whole new type of beauty to our Iowa landscape.

Karen Blaha / Wikimedia Commons

Iowa and Georgia have one thing in common: they're known for their signature crop. But one man is blurring those lines. 

Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

When we think of Iowa landscape, Iowa prairie and Iowa farm field immediately come to mind. But there's an unexpected gem of Iowa land that often gets overlooked: the fen. 

And just like that… suddenly it’s Fall (or feels like it).  On this Horticulture Day, Denny Schrock, Iowa Master Gardener Coordinator is here along with Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron.  We talk about bulbs, spring blooming and fall blooming bulbs.  Just in time for some possible frost that might hit northern Iowa tonight.

Noah Sussman / Flickr

Like it or not, summer is nearly gone. But you don’t have to say goodbye to summer produce.