2001 Home Demonstration Gardens

Are you ready for the 2001 Home Demonstration Garden field day in your area? With 8 research farms participating, there is a garden within an easy drive of most Iowans. This year's themes run the gamut from the practical to the whimsical. We are growing space-saving plants, tomatoes with colored plastic mulches, colorful foliage plants, All-American Selection winners, and a few plants for the birds.

For space-savers, we are growing compact varieties of vines such as like watermelon, cantaloupe, squash, cucumber, and pumpkin. Many of these varieties are noted for having a bush to semi-bush habit while maintaining full-sized fruit. Check out the varieties and descriptions below.

Plant Name Variety Description
Cantaloupe Minnesota Midget Early; vines spread 3-4 feet
Honey Bun 5 inch melons; bush habit; 3-4 per vine
Cucumber Salad Bush Full sized fruit on compact plants
Spacemaster Bush 7 inch fruit on short vines/no runners
Pumpkin Spirit Full size fruit (10-15lb); semi-bush plant
Watermelon Bush Sugar Baby 12 lb scarlet melons; compact vines
Squash Summer - Goldbar Early; yellow fruit; true bush type
Summer - Gold rush Yellow zucchini fruit; compact plants
Winter - Emerald Bush Buttercup Dark green fruits; orange inside; 3-4 feet
Winter - Burpee's Butterbush Red/orange flesh; 3-4 feet; 4-5 fruits
Acorn - Bush Table Queen Dark green fruits; gold flesh; compact

Colored plastic mulches are reported to promote early ripening of fruits and increase yields of tomatoes. We are experimenting with red, olive, black, and clear plastic mulches on some common tomato varieties.

It's about time those photosynthetic structures got a little appreciation as decoration in the demo garden. We are growing more than a dozen different plants noted for their attractive and colorful leaves instead of their flowers. Annuals on display include summer poinsettia, coleus, castor bean, dusty miller, dahlia, burning bush, and polka-dot plant. Featured herbs and vegetables include mustard greens, hot pepper, lambsquarters, and Swiss chard. Many of these plants require little care and often "sparkle" in the garden. But beware, a few could be considered "weedy".

To commemorate the combining of the home demonstration garden and home acreage field day, we are letting the garden "go to the birds" - literally. Sounds foul, doesn't it? Come checkout the "range-raised" chickens and a collection of a few plants named after our feathered friends. We are displaying several varieties of cockscomb (Celosia), a chickpea (garbanzo bean), 2 varieties of eggplant, and a turnip named 'Gilfeather' (I know it's a stretch!).

Finally, every year we showcase a few of the upcoming All-America Selection winners in the demonstration gardens. Eight of next year's award winning annuals, vegetables, and herbs should be growing in the garden. Come take a sneak peak. These beautiful, bountiful, and brawny plants won't be available until next year.

The locations, dates, and times of the 2001 Home Demonstration Garden Field Days are listed below. I hope to see you there!

Research Farm Location Date Time
Southeast Crawfordsville Aug. 2 6:30 pm
Rhodes Rhodes Aug. 3 6:30 pm
Muscatine Island Fruitland Aug. 7 6:30 pm
Northwest Sutherland Aug 8 6:30 pm
Northeast1 Nashua Aug. 18 4 pm
Armstrong Lewis Aug. 22 6:30 pm
Western Castana Aug. 23 6:30 pm
Northern Kanawha Aug. 25 4 pm

1 - no chickens

For more information on the research farms see this page .

This article originally appeared in the July 13, 2001 issue, pp. 86-87.

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on July 13, 2001. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.