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.
|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!
|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.