Hort Day

Univ. of Iowa Arborist Andrew Dahl

Cool temperatures, plentiful moisture and a long growing season ahead make spring the best time to plant trees. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with ISU Professor and Horticulture Department Chair Jeff Iles and Richard Jauron of Iowa State University Extension about the best methods and timing for planting trees. They also answer listener questions. 

Serres Fortier

Purple foliage is striking against a landscape of green, pops against neutral-colored siding, and can add color to a garden year-round. For Cindy Haynes, associate professor of horticulture at Iowa State University, a plum tree planted her passion for the purple pigment, and her garden hasn't been the same since.

"You don't want an all purple foliage garden because then nothing stands out," Haynes says. "I've tried it, I know."

Andy Miccone

As April showers kick off spring weather across the state, flowers are beginning to bloom, and grasses are starting to grow. Iowa State University Extension turfgrass specialist, Adam Thoms, shares some advice for how to establish and maintain healthy lawns.

“Never apply more than ¾ of a pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet," Thoms says. If you're applying corn gluten meal, make sure not to exceed 20 pounds of meal per 1000 square feet, Thoms adds.

Ziggy Liloia

In just a few weeks, it'll be time to search for the elusive and delectable morel mushroom. Aspiring morel hunters and experienced foragers alike can look to the forests for this fungal delicacy. 

On this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Mark Vitosh, Forester for the Department of Natural Resources, about where, when, and how to scout for the hard-to-find morels.

Sharon Dowdy

It’s too early to get to work in the garden, but it is time to think about your trees and shrubs.

On this horticulture day episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with Aaron Steil, assistant director of Reiman Gardens, who has some pruning advice.

“For a lot of the shade trees out there, you can be pruning right now,” Steil says. “The general rule of thumb is to never remove more than a third.”

Steil and Richard Jauron, ISU Extension horticulture specialist, talk about shade trees, shrubs, and answer listener questions.

Lucy Crosble

On this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Linda Naeve, ISU Extension Value Added Agriculture Program Specialist, about taking our seed starting skills to the next level. It helps to start with the right medium.

"We recommend you go to the garden center and invest in a seed-starting mix," Naeve says. "A soil-less media that contains peat, perhaps vermiculite, very fine medium. That medium drains well."

Andrew Fogg

Orchids are beautiful, fragile, and extremely popular. As appealing as they are, the idea of growing orchids can be a bit intimidating. Proper watering is key. Aaron Steil, assistant director of Reiman Gardens, recommends against ice cube irrigation.

"If ice is always on the plant or if there's a lot of ice on the plant a lot of the time, that medium is never allowed to dry out completely," Steil says. It is important for orchids to get as dry as possible, without becoming bone dry, before watering again.

Dean Borg

More cut flowers are purchased on Valentine’s Day than on any other day of the year, in spite of the fact that the holiday falls in the dead of winter. When buying a bouquet, it can be hard to determine how best to care for cut flowers and make them last.

Cindy Haynes, a horticulturalist from Iowa State University, has some tips for selecting cut flowers.

“We like roses that are fairly tight in bud that are showing good color,” Haynes says. “Red roses and some of the darker colored roses don’t show that damage quite as much as something like a white rose.”

New Year's Resolutions for Your Garden

Jan 5, 2018
Image courtesy of Reiman Gardens

The harsh winter weather is upon us this January, and many Iowans are left longingly looking at their outdoor gardens buried in snow wondering what they can do to stay busy during the winter months. While some may opt to visit Iowa's many wonderful indoor botanical gardens, another option is to create a similar atmosphere within your own home. Assistant director of Reiman Gardens, Aaron Steil, has suggestions how to create a humid atmosphere for plants to grow.

Image courtesy of Ildefonso Gómez Sierra

The plants outside are starting to change their shape and color. Given that the trees have shed their leaves and the ground is too frozen to plant almost anything, many Iowans are left twiddling their green thumbs wondering how they can manage to plant anything in this weather. Cindy Haynes, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, suggests planting some holly.

Image courtesy of cocoparisienne

With the holiday season just around the corner, many living rooms will soon be filled with towering Christmas trees and holiday plants like poinsettias. Many Iowans have questions about how to care for these plants, and DNR District Forester Mark Vitosh has advice for those who would like to keep their trees properly hydrated indoors.

Protecting Your Winter Garden

Nov 17, 2017
Artem Vasev

It’s mid-November, and winter weather is already upon us. Many Iowans want to know how to prepare their yard and garden for winter. Winter garden care involves covering strawberries, prepping roses, and getting ready to fend off hungry rabbits. Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens in Ames has advice for those who want to protect their strawberries.

Reflecting on the Growing Season

Oct 27, 2017

With the impending frost Iowa is about to receive, the growing season has come to an end. The season ending means that astute gardeners should take this time of year to reflect on what did and didn't work in their gardens. Chair of the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University Jeff Iles reflects on the diversity of plants outside his home.

Image courtesy of Michael Leland

With the cold winter months just around the corner, many Iowa gardeners are wondering how to best prepare their plants for the impending frosty weather. In order to prevent the deaths of numerous different plants, precautions must be taken, and Ajay Nair of Iowa State University Extension has advice for gardeners to resist soil erosion during the winter.

Image courtesy of Giani

With autumn underway, plants and trees are beginning to change their shape, many shedding their leaves preparing for the cold winter months ahead. These changes bring difficulties to those who would like their trees to remain picturesque during these months, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestor Mark Vitosh advises the proper way to keep them healthy during these dry months.

regan76 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Right now we’re anticipating the rich yellows, oranges, and reds of fall, but it’s also time to start thinking about the pinks, purples, and whites of spring. In this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe is joined by horticulturists Cindy Haynes and Richard Jauron. They talk about planning and planting spring blooming bulbs.

Jauron says the coming weeks are the best time for planting any type of bulb.

Tips to Control Broadleaf Weed Sprawl

Sep 22, 2017
Image courtesy of NY State IPM Program

Growing season is nearing its end, but plants in the yard and garden remain busy nonetheless. Specifically, broadleaf weeds can pose a problem for homeowners during this time of year. Iowa State University professor of horticulture, Nick Christians, has some tips about controlling broadleaf weeds.

Image courtesy of Wolfgang Eckert

With the changing leaves and the cooling temperatures, late season vegetables are ready for harvesting. Knowing when exactly to harvest specific vegetables is a problem for many people, but Iowa State University Extension specialist Linda Naeve has advice for those curious about winter squash.

Nicholls of the Yard / Flickr

Painted lady butterflies are having a really good year, according to Nathan Brockman, entomologist and curator of the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing at Reiman Gardens.

Brockman conducts an annual survey of butterflies, and he's seen a lot of painted ladies recently.

"Last year, one week we saw 12, one week we saw 21; but when we did our survey this week, we saw 747 individuals on the gardens' ground."

Fixing Your Late-Summer Patchy Lawn

Sep 6, 2017
Image courtesy of Hans Braxmeier

It can be very frustrating when the picturesque, cloudless blue summer sky is undercut by a patchy, dead-looking lawn. In these last days of summer, it's common to assume that a discolored lawn is dead, but Iowa State University Extension Turfgrass Specialist Adam Thoms recommends inspecting the lawn more closely before assuming anything.

Image courtesy of Michael Leland

One of Iowa's largest and most recognizable insects is the Praying Mantis. Contrary to their predatory nature and creepy appearance, the Praying Mantis is actually beneficial to the garden, and according to Entomologist Donald Lewis, they can't really hurt you.

Image courtesy of magdus

During the dry periods of summer, many gardeners across the state are unsure how to keep their gardens full of life during the lack of rainfall. Luckily, there are multiple flowers that can still thrive without much water, as Iowa Master Gardener Coordinator Denny Schrock explains.

Image courtesy of Boomsbeat

The Iowa State Fair is the state's signature annual event, attracting over one million visitors in each of the last two years, according to its website. Some of the fair's most notable events are the vegetable, fruit, and flower competitions; the winners of which receive the coveted blue ribbon. Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron, who judges the competitions, explains what he and the other judges look for when it comes to blue ribbon quality fruits and vegetables.

Yolanda

The decline of Monarch butterfly populations over the past two decades has received much attention from scientists. However, recent surveys of the Monarch population in the Midwest have not been showing dramatic decreases.

Monarch populations are thought to be tied to the disappearance of milkweed, the only plant on which Monarchs lay eggs. Iowa State University assistant professor in ecology, John Pleasants says Monarch populations in the Midwest may appear stable because counts are taken in open areas where butterflies can find milkweed.

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Chiot's Run

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturists Richard Jauron of Iowa State University Extension and Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens.

Tomatoes are relatively easy to check for ripeness, but other garden fare can be tough, especially with underground vegetables.  

For new potatoes, Steil says that you need to wait until the tops dieback.

Phil Roeder / flickr

Rising in popularity over the years, a trip to the local farmers’ market has become a staple outing for summers in Iowa. If the “buy fresh, buy local” shopping experience interests you, there are some tips to ensure your visit is worth your while. Iowa State University Specialist in Value Added Agriculture Linda Naeve suggests bringing a cooler with a freezer pack in if you have a long distance to drive, bringing reusable grocery bags, and not bringing your dog unless it’s a service animal.

Demonstration Gardens Offer Ideas for Iowans

Jul 14, 2017
US Army Garrison / flick

If you’re having trouble getting something to grow or just looking to gather new planting ideas for your garden, Iowa State University’s Extension and Outreach is a great local resource. This summer they are offering six opportunities across the state for Iowans to learn about gardening techniques and to ask questions about the plants in their gardens.

No Easy Solution for Japanese Beetles

Jul 7, 2017
Matthew Beziat / flickr

The Japanese beetle has reached its peak population in places across Iowa. While some areas of the state have not seen the beetle’s appearance at all, isolated spots have seen early spurts of incredibly high numbers. Professor and Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis says that typically it’s toward the end of June that Japanese beetles emerge over a 3-4 week period. This year though, it seems they have all appeared at once.

Choosing and Preserving Edible Flowers

Jun 30, 2017
Kimberly Vardeman / flickr

When most of us think about fresh food from the garden we’re thinking about fruits and vegetables, but it turns out there are also a lot of flowers you can eat. Master Gardener Coordinator Denny Schrock says that in addition to growing spices like chives, basil, and dill in your garden, many common garden flowers are also edible. Flowers like impatiens and petunias make great additions to salads and can beautifully decorate deserts because of their vibrant colors. Day lily buds can be cooked similar to asparagus or zucchini as a mild vegetable substitute.

Make Your Container Garden Thrive

Jun 26, 2017
Jeff Boyd / flickr

Container gardening is a great alternative to traditional gardening if you are low on space and don’t have time for weeding. Potted plants also offer the benefit of being able to better control the soil, which allows for a superior soil type and drainage.

 

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