Horticulture

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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.

United Nations Photo / flickr

It's easy to forget about food safety when it comes to garden produce, because growing your own food is considered healthy. Dr. Angela Shaw, an assistant professor of food safety at Iowa State University, says cognizance is key when it comes to food safety in home gardens.

"The first thing is to consider where you place your garden. Thinking about soil: what was previously there? Was there heavy metal? What was your house grown on? We have a lot of swampland as well as chemical landfills that are now communities."

jjjj56cp / flickr

It's almost go-time in the garden, which means it's time to get ready for planting season.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa State University Extension horticulturists, Linda Naeve and Richard Jauron.

They share advice on getting rid of old plant debris, how to dispose of it, and how to avoid common pitfalls in the planning process. Richard and Linda also answer listener questions, including an inquiry on how to plant flowers for a fall wedding.

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.

gapowell / flickr

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

Wikimedia Commons

The poinsettia, traditionally given as a gift around the holidays, is native to Northern Guatemala and Northern Mexico. 

Wikimedia Commons

Poinsettia are beautiful holiday plants, but if you’re given one as a host or hostess or pick up one in the store, how do you care for it after the holidays?  

Monika Schnell / IPR Listener, Iowa City

If you look closely at the trees right now, you can see things previous hidden, like the nests of bald-faced hornets.

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

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Have you started getting your garden ready for winter? 

Usually Melancholy / flickr

They are easy to grow, decorative and delicious.

Wikimedia Commons

Demand for organic produce in Iowa is growing.

Caustic Cucumbers

Sep 30, 2014
Courtesy photo

Along with Iowa' s more traditional crops, two species of cucumber vines are having a bumper year.  You won't find them at the farmer's market though, because they're weeds. The light green vines can grow as long as 30 feet and will coil around anything they touch. They've been showing up in windbreaks in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Iowa State University Agronomy professor Bob Hartzler says the vines are very aggressive and will return year after year.

Wikimedia Commons

We give insects credit for pollination, but we often take their other work for granted. 

gabontour / flickr

Over the next few weeks the green in our fields will turn to gold and the leaves on the trees will begin to change.

Lynn Betts / Wikimedia Commons

Iowa is nestled in the center of America’s breadbasket; one of our most precious resources is beneath our feet. But it’s a resource in jeopardy.

F_A / Flickr, licensed through Creative Commons

How does your lawn look?  If the answer is, “not so good,” now is the time to do something about it.

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If you've been looking at your yard this summer thinking "a tree would look great there," now is the time to take action. 

Sebastian Stabinger / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

If your tree is looking a little tired with the leaves curling up and falling off, or the needles on your pine turning brown, it could be a disease. 

National Weather Service/NOAA

This week, thick clouds of millions of mayflies emanated from the Mississippi River in Northeast Iowa.

Clagett Farm CSA / Wikimedia, Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution License

Farmers' markets are hopping, CSA boxes are full to bursting, and gardens all over the state are starting to produce, but sometimes a bumper crop can be hard to handle. 

Amy Mayer/IPR

A fast spreading, crop destroying weed may be coming to the farms near you.

Palmer amaranth, which has plagued southern farms for decades, has been marching across the Midwest. It can decimate a crop. It can withstand many common herbicides. And it can cost farmers millions.

Roger Hargrafen, a farmer in Muscatine County, Iowa, is on the front lines in the battle against Palmer amaranth. His is one of four Iowa farms confirmed as having it.

Leo Seta under Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0 / Flickr

Everyone knows that morel mushrooms are delicious, but our forests and fields hold a lot of other wild delicacies too.

Summer Lull for Plants

Jun 20, 2014
Nikos Koutoulas

Spring is a riot of blossoms and fall brings with it beautiful changes in color. But in the midst of summer, there can be a bit of a lull.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

It continues to be a tough year for trees in Iowa. The Polar Vortex left its mark on many trees and shrubs, and now a tenth county has been added to the list of counties in Iowa where the Emerald Ash Borer has been discovered. That county is Johnson County, and an adult female Emerald Ash Borer was found in Iowa City.

Also, listeners have their plant and garden questions answered by Jeff Iles, Professor and Chair of the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University, and Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist.

Everyone knows you can grow black walnuts in Iowa.  But, there are actually a lot of other nuts we can grow too, and some of them may surprise you.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Jeff Jensen of Trees Forever, and Tom Wahl of Red Fern Farm in Wapello about hickory nuts, pecans, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts and more.  Horticulturist Richard Jauron answers non-nut related questions.

Todd Ehlers

Put heat, light, water and nitrogen together and you get lakes and ponds that are choked with plant growth.  It's Horticulture Day and host, Charity Nebbe, talks with Allen Patillo, Iowa State University Extension Fisheries and Aquaculture Specialist about aquatic plant management.  Later in the hour ISU Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron and DNR District Forester Mark Vitosh join the conversation to answer listener questions about plants and trees. 

Amy Mayer/IPR

Nathan Anderson stops his red pick-up truck alongside a cornfield on his farm near Cherokee, Iowa. The young farmer pulls on a heavy brown hoodie, thick long, sturdy yellow gloves and a beekeeper’s hat with a screened veil. He approaches a pair of hives sitting on the edge of a field recently planted with corn.

Craigsypoo / Flickr under Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

When you don't have room to build out, you build up.  The same rule applies to gardening.  It's horticulture day and Host Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist Linda Naeve about adding a new dimension to our garden or landscape with vertical gardening, including trellises, stakes, cages, archways and green walls.  Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron joins in to answer listener questions.

Paul Hudson

Purple foliage, purple flowers and purple fruits and veggies… Horticulturist Cindy Haynes has a passion for purple.

Today on Talk of Iowa, it’s Horticulture Day. Host Charity Nebbe talks with Cindy about purple plants for your landscape and garden. Horticulturist Richard Jauron and Cindy also answer listener questions about all plant and garden needs.

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