Horticulture

Beneficial Insects for Your Garden

Mar 31, 2017
Silk Knoll / flickr

While pollinators are lauded as the most beneficial insect to have in your garden, there are other insects that you also want around. Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis explains the various roles insects play in our landscape.

Lewis explains that the insects which we might perceive as a danger or a nuisance, such as wasps or bald-faced hornets, actually provide a needed service.

 

Establishing and Restoring Windbreaks

Mar 24, 2017
National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff / flickr

 

The state of Iowa is no stranger to its share of strong, gusty winds. A row of trees and shrubs can make a noticeable difference in erosion control or in reducing home heating costs. Iowa State University Extension Forrester, Jesse Randall, shares ways to plan for and establish healthy windbreaks.

His tips on how to configure a successful windbreak:

liz west / flickr

On this St. Patrick’s Day, the Hort Gang discusses some holiday-specific greenery. Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University Cindy Haynes says that contrary to the common belief that shamrocks and clovers are indistinguishable, they actually come from two different plant families and often live in two different environments. Clovers are described as adaptable, resilient, and are often found in people’s yards.

Mid-March is approaching, which means the growing season is getting close. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe discusses with guests about how plants multiply. 

Linda Naeve, who works with Iowa State University Extension, explains different ways plants are spread.

Smabs Sputzer / Flickr

As a beautiful weekend approaches the state of Iowa, many are looking forward to getting a head start on their spring yard work. If you’re looking to start pruning your shrubs soon, Assistant Director of Reiman Gardens Aaron Steil has some recommendations.

Pat Blank / Iowa Public Radio

Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about gardening again.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa Master Gardener coordinator Denny Shrock and Iowa State University horticulturist Richard Jauron about selecting seeds, starting seeds, and when it’s best to delay planting. They also troubleshoot problems commonly encountered when starting seeds and answer listener questions.

Vera Kratochvil/Wikimedia Commons

More cut flowers are purchased on Valentine's Day than any other day of the year, in spite of the fact that it falls in the dead of winter. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Cindy Haynes and Richard Jauron of Iowa State University about the best flowers to buy for longevity. Most cut flowers don't last more than a week. 

Smabs Sputzer / Flickr

After a couple of weeks of ice, snow, mud, and gloom over most of the state, the thought of working outside may not be very appealing right now, but the sun in peeking out today and there is still work to be done outside.

Jeff Iles, professor and chair in the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University says pruning is best done during the dormant season.

Photo Courtesty of the Iowa State University Department of Agriculture

There are blooms outdoors, even when it seems like everything has gone gray. You just have to know where to look for them. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Richard Jauron, horticulture expert with Iowa State University Extension and Cindy Haynes, who is professor in charge of the master gardener program. 

"The lenten rose might be something you’d consider for a bloom. Some people call it a Christmas rose," says Haynes. 

Gifts for Gardeners

Dec 8, 2016
Kate Ter Haar

A beautiful amaryllis in bloom or some paperwhite narcissus can bring joy to the depths of winter. 

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturists Richard Jauron of Iowa State University Extension and Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens in Ames about forcing bulbs. They also share some gift ideas for gardeners.

Christmas Trees And Poinsettias: What To Look For And How To Keep Them Alive

Dec 2, 2016
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Alby Headrick / Flickr

With the holidays upon us many of us will bring new plant life into our homes.  Choosing the right poinsettia or Christmas tree can be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. 

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

The corn and soybeans so abundant in Iowa could someday replace many of the plastic pots and flats at your local garden shop.

Researchers at Iowa State University set about to create pots for plants that were not made from petroleum products and that could biodegrade. They started with a corn-based bioplastic and tried a number of different formulas. Some of those included a polymer made from soybeans.

mikemennonno / Flickr

When it starts to get colder, a lot of people bring plants inside from outdoors, and on this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Richard Jauron, horticulture expert with Iowa State University Extension; Linda Naeve Iowa State University Extension Value Added Agriculture Specialist; and Mark Vitosh, DNR District Forrester about caring for house plants during the winter.

Some plants don’t look as healthy once they have been brought indoors, according to Jauron, That's okay. 

 

Jennifer C. / Flickr

Winter is on its way, and perhaps a bit late in Iowa this year. If overing roses and strawberries, or planting bulbs has been on your to-do list, it's almost time. 

"This weather has been good for those of us who are procrastinators," says Schrock. "You talked about covering strawberries. The temperature has to be in the 20's consistently for them to go completely dormant, so don't cover them yet."

"The same is true for roses, but be careful because it could happen any day now." 

Jennifer C. / Flickr

 

What To Do With Your Fallen Leaves

Oct 28, 2016
Jack / Flickr

  To rake or not to rake this time of year? That is the question. Living in the Midwest means that the changing seasons bring about changing chores. This hour on Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with  Iowa State University horticulturists Linda Naeve and Richard Jauron. 

 

If you do rake your leaves, you need to decide what to do with them. Jauron says that instead of disposing of them, try using them as mulch.

 

"If you bag them with a mulching mower, you can save them for next year and use them as a mulch."

 

Wikimedia Commons

This time of year, it’s hard to avoid pumpkin spice. It’s being used for candles, lattes, and even beef jerky. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Aaron Steil, assistant director for Reiman Gardens about what makes up the iconic blend.

Horticulture expert Richard Jauron also joins the conversation to answer listener questions.

Why October is the Best Time to Plan Your Spring Garden

Oct 14, 2016
Field Outdoor Spaces / Flickr

 

The rich yellows, oranges, and reds of fall are dominant in the landscape right now, but it’s time to start thinking about the pinks, purples, and whites of spring. 
 
On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa State University horticulturists Cindy Haynes and Richard Jauron about fall bulbs and how to plan for your spring garden.   

 

Best Places to See Fall Colors in Iowa

Oct 7, 2016
TumblingRun / Flickr

 

Fall is here and beautiful colors are creeping across the landscape.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with DNR district forester Mark Vitosh about why and how leaves change color in the fall and the best places to see fall color in the state.

 

Vitosh says his top five favorite trees in the fall are:

There’s a great deal of history to be found on most university campuses, but not just in the buildings and the libraries - the trees also have a story to tell.

On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturist Bill Graves about the Heritage Tree Program at Iowa State University. Also, he and horticulturist Richard Jauron answer listener questions.

Liese Coulter, CSIRO

When you plant an apple tree, it's sometimes a long wait for that tree to mature. But when it does you can suddenly find yourself with a lot of apples, which is great for pie making and canning. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Diana Cochran, Iowa State University Extension fruit crop expert about the best ways to harvest and store apples. Richard Jauron, ISU Extension Horticulture expert also joins the conversation to answer listener questions. 

Thompson Greg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Public Domain

Your friendly neighborhood herbivores, like deer and rabbits, aren’t opposed to snacking on your garden in the best of times, but they are particularly prone to snacking on ornamental trees and shrubs when the snow flies. 

Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron says the plants that are most vulnerable to deer during the winter months are evergreens like arborvitae and yews, but new plantings of trees and shrubs should also be protected.

Michael Hartl / Wikimedia Commons

As summer comes to a close, insects and arachnids have some work to get done, and that makes them easier to see. According to Iowa State University Extension Entomologist Donald Lewis, it's been a good year for spiders. 

"I don't know that it's been a spectacular year, but it's been a good year," he says. 

"Its in the fall of the year when we can see them. Its in the fall of the year when they make their biggest webs, and it's the time of year when dew settles on the webs and makes them most visible." 

F_A / Flickr, licensed through Creative Commons

Much of gardening is intuitive. Not so with lawn care.

Plants grow in the spring and summer, so you might think that would be the time to re-seed or over-seed your lawn. You would be wrong.

Iowa State University Extension Turf Grass Specialist Nick Christians says the date he circles on the calendar for planting grass seed is August 15th. He says that date gives the seed enough time to grow before a freeze, and cooler temperatures will give it a better chance of competing with other weeds.

Muscatine's Secret to Perfect Melons

Aug 12, 2016

 

What's the difference between cantaloupe and muskmelon? How many types of melon are there? And how in the world do they grow seedless watermelon?

 

With Melon season finally upon us and harvest time in full swing, the Hort Gang helps answers those questions, and find out just what makes those melons so irresistibly juicy.

 

Should I dry or freeze basil? How do I keep cilantro from bolting? Why is there so much mint?

In this edition of Talk of Iowa Host Emily Woodbury fills in for Charity Nebbe, and talks with Cindy Haynes, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University, about all things herb-related. Later, Richard Jauron, Extension Horticulturist joins the conversation and answers listener questions.

 

What's Going On Inside a Firefly?

Jul 29, 2016
More Weeping / Flickr

Watching fireflies as they light up a soft warm night is one of the pure joys of summer. As fireflies dwindle and send their last signals of the season, we find out what all of that flashing is about.

In this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Chairty Nebbe talks with Iowa State University Extension entomologist Donald Lewis about the majesty and fertility of fireflies, the genesis of Hort Day, and the upcoming 30th anniversary celebration. Later, ISU Extension horticulturist Richard Jauron joins the conversation to answer listener questions.

What is a master gardener? Someone who loves gardening, has a strong interest in helping others improve their gardens, and is willing to volunteer on projects.  Iowa State Uniersity offers training classes every fall semester starting Sept. 1. 

During this hour of of Talk of Iowa Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa State University Extension Master Gardener Coordinator Denny Shrock about what it means to become a master gardener and his work with ISU to help other gardeners get the best yields each year. 

In the height of the growing season, it's important to keep a careful eye on your beloved crops.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Assistant Director of Remain Gardens, Aaron Steil and ISU Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron to answer listener questions about pruning, mulch alternatives and organic pest solutions. Here's their to-do list for taking care of perennials and other plants.

As we brace for the end of storm season, wind damage and tree wounds are expected.

On this hour of Talk of Iowa Host Charity Nebbe talks with Professor and Chair of Horticulture Department at Iowa State University Jeff Iles, and Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron about tree recovery. They both share advice for caring for fallen limbs. 

Jauron and Iles also answer listener questions about stability and root systems and discuss the value of ground assessment, as well as the advantages of pruning trees young.

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