Fireworks in the Garden

July is the month for fireworks; it is also the month when the Iowa State University Extension Home Demonstration Garden Field Days begin. This year we plan to end the month with a bang - for your taste buds at least. The themes for this year's garden include: a plethora of peppers, pretty pigweeds, gorgeous geraniums, magnificent green melons, and a versatile vegetable pyramid.


There are 4 main types of peppers; bell, banana, hot, and ornamental. Over ten varieties of each are growing in this year's garden. Red, yellow, orange, purple, and green bell peppers are growing next to another sweet pepper called banana peppers. Banana peppers are typically yellowish green at maturity and more elongated (like a banana) than a bell pepper. Peppers are measured by the Scoville scale of heat - where bell and banana peppers are at the "non-hot" end of the scale at 0 Scoville units and habanero peppers top the scale at almost 500,000 Scoville units. Ornamental peppers are as their name suggests; they are grown for their attractive foliage and fruits. But don't be fooled by these pretty peppers - they are hot peppers as well.


Would I really put a weed in the garden? When it is a pretty as this one, I would! The 12 different types growing in the garden are from the North Central Research Introduction Station in Ames. Some are short - only a foot tall- while others are over 6 feet tall. All have attractive, colorful foliage and interesting rope-like flowers. We even have a couple of newly named introductions from Iowa Stated University called Pillar Orange and Pillar Red. If you're looking for a colorful bang in July for your garden, come and check out these interesting beauties.

Vegetable Pyramid

Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you, but do you know which vegetables we should be eating more of? This year's demo garden showcases the different categories of the new USDA food guide pyramid.

Field Days

Each year the Iowa State University Research Farms and Iowa State University Extension open their doors for field days to show off their farms and the Home Demonstration Garden. With 8 locations around the state, there is an Iowa State University Extension Home Demonstration Garden near you. Join us for a field day and taste the pepper fireworks for yourself.

Locations, dates, and times for the Iowa State University Extension Home Demonstration Gardens for 2006: Fireworks in the Gardens

Farm Town Date   Time
Northwest Sutherland July 24 6:30pm
Lyon County Fairgrounds Rock Rapids July 25 6:30pm
Muscatine Island Fruitland Aug. 1 6:30pm
Horticulture Station Gilbert Aug. 2 6:30pm
McNay Chariton Aug. 4 6:00pm
Northeast Nashua Aug. 5 4:00pm
Northern Kanawha Aug. 8 6:30pm
Armstrong Lewis Aug. 9 6:30pm
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