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Updated: 47 min 13 sec ago

House Feeling Drab? Try Some New Indoor Flowering Plants

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 12:38
With a palette of grays, browns, and whites, winter in Iowa can be pretty drab, but flowering plants can brighten things up. During this hour of Talk of Iowa , Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist Richard Jauron and Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens join host Charity Nebbe and introduce us to flowering houseplants that are easy to grow and bloom reliably. They also answer listener questions.

'Tis the Season for Festive Poinsettias

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 09:47
The poinsettia is everywhere this time of year. It’s beautiful, but where did this plant come from and how did it become such an important Christmas symbol? On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe talks with horticulturist Chris Currey about the long history of the poinsettia. Later in the hour, Richard Jauron joins to answer listener questions. Poinsettias are native to Northern Guatemala and Northern Mexico. According to Currey, they first took off as a holiday plant in the United States around 1828 in Philadelphia and then were formally named in Scotland shortly after. While poinsettias were originally red, breeding has allowed for a wide range of colors. "When you started to get into breeding poinsettias then they would purposefully make crosses to create more variety in the colors," Currey says. "You have everything from white, pink, red... to deep plum purple." Because of their native home in the tropics, the ideal temperature for poinsettias is

What Makes Something the "Bee's Knees" Anyway?

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 15:04
Got a "bee in your bonnet?" Fighting a major "computer bug" on your laptop? Insect-themed idioms have found a solid place in our everyday language, and on this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa , we're finding out just how that came to be. This hour, Charity Nebbe is joined by Iowa State University Extension horticulture expert Richard Jauron and Iowa State University professor of entomology Donalod Lewis, who has written and researched on the topic of insects in language. In case you find yourself wanting to read more on the topic, below is the essay, " Insect-Infested Language , " originally published by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Horticulture and Home Pest News. ----- Way back in 1999, our attention was focused on the “Y2K Computer Bug,” a reminder of a point known well to entomologists; that is, “bugs” are everywhere. Of course we see the real things throughout the landscape and garden but even more common are references and allusions to insects that pepper

Preparing Your Garden for Winter

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:36
I t’s early November and winter weather has arrived! On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with horticulture specialists Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes about preparing your yard and garden for winter. They talk co vering the strawberries, prepping the roses, and getting ready to fend off hungry bunnies. Later in the hour, Jauron and Haynes answer listener questions. Strawberries typically need to be covered with 4-5 inches of straw around mid-November. Perennials such as asparagus can be left alone until late March or early April. For roses, protection depends on the variety. "The shrub roses, those hardy roses, you really don't have to do much," Haynes says. "With the hybrid tea roses, what I usually recommend is tying up those canes a bit, putting a mound of soil or compost at the base of the plant, because that's what you're trying to protect... and then putting some straw or dried leaves on top of that." If you're still hoping to plant bulbs,

Tree Care: Pruning 101

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 11:58
Winter can be a sleepy time for gardeners, but it's a great time to start making plans for the trees in your landscape. On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe gets the lowdown on tree pruning with Jeff Iles, professor and chair of the Horticulture Department at Iowa State University. Later in the hour, Iowa State University horticulture specialist Richard Jauron and DNR Forester Mark Vitosh join to answer listener questions. Early winter is the ideal season to start looking at your trees with pruning in mind. As the leaves fall, you can see the full structure of your trees and assess any damage that may have occurred during the year. "The calendar isn't in our favor if we want to start doing a lot of work. Trees respond better to wounding, and of course pruning is a wound, when it's done in the late dormant season and even during the summer," Iles says. "However, we can go out and take stock of the woody plants in our yards and landscapes and make some

Planting Cover Crops in Your Garden

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 11:40
Planting a cover crop in your garden sounds like a wonderful idea, but for some of us, making it happen might be an unfamiliar challenge. On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa , Iowa State University Extension O rganic Specialist Kathleen Delate joins host Charity Nebbe to talk cover crops for the garden and to give a preview of the 2018 Iowa Organic Conference. Later in the hour, Iowa State University Extension Horticulture Specialist Richard Jauron joins to answer listener questions. This year the 18th annual Iowa Organic Conference will be held November 18-19 at the University of Iowa Memorial Union. "This year we're focusing on soils," Delate says. "Our keynote speaker will be Dr. David Montgomery, the author of the famous book Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations. " To keep Iowa's reknowned soil packed with nutrients, home gardeners and farmers alike can use cover crops to enrich their garden, particularly over winter. "Cover crops help break cycles of weeds, insects, and

How to Pick and Carve the Perfect Pumpkin

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 16:19
In search of the perfect pumpkin this fall? Never fear! We've got advice. During this hour of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe talks with Richard Jauron of Iowa State University Extension and Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens in Ames about how to pick, carve, and create the perfect jack o' lantern this fall.

Flooding, Forests, and Fall Foliage

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 12:26
It may feel like we’ve jumped from summer straight into winter, but fall is here and the trees are trying to put on a show. On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa , host Charity Nebbe talks with tree experts Jeff Iles and Mark Vitosh about fall color and how flooding impacts trees and forests. Later on, horticulturist Richard Jauron joins to answer listener questions. Weather patterns leading into fall can have a significant impact on fall foliage. Warm, sunny days and cooler nights are the ideal conditions for achieving vibrant color. "We're getting the cool nights but we're not getting those clear days," Vitosh says. Vitosh and Iles have seen vivid colors appearing on a few tree species so far this year but say that we have not yet reached the peak of fall color. If cold weather continues, t here's a risk that trees may lose their leaves before the golds, oranges, and reds have a chance to appear. "Strong winds could end the show prematurely," Iles says. With flooding

Squash, Sweet Potatos, and More for Your Late Season Harvest

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 15:29
With the changing leaves and the cooling temperatures, it’s time to start harvesting late season produce. It can be difficult to know when to harvest crops like sweet potatoes and winter squash, but Iowa State University Horticulturist Ajay Nair recommends paying close attention to the recommended harvest dates when you plant. He also says it’s very important to prepare your produce for storage. "If you want to store sweet potatoes for longer term storage… you need to start thinking about curing them. When you harvest you want to make sure you remove all the dirt and after that you put them in a room or expose them to conditions where the temperatures are 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain an 80-90 percent humidity. If we can keep those two conditions for 7 -10 days the sweet potatoes will be cured," Nair says. Nair says it’s also important to cure winter squash before storage, but they can be cured at a lower temperature of 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. On this Talk of Iowa, host