April 8, 2016

Growing Blueberries in Iowa

Blueberries are attractive shrubs with flowers in spring, edible berries in summer and fall foliage in shades of yellow, orange and red. Blueberries can be grown in any home garden but there are some special growing needs that must be met.  To learn more about growing this challenging crop see the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach news release from April 6, 2016.

Siberian Squill: Blue Harbingers of Spring

A hillside of Siberian Squill

Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) is one of the first spring-flowering bulbs to bloom in spring.  Its deep blue flowers are a sure sign that spring has arrived.  In central Iowa, Siberian squill typically blooms in early to mid-April.  Flowering normally lasts for 10 to 14 days.
Siberian squill is a member of the asparagus (Asparagaceae) family.  It is native to southwestern Russia, the Caucasus, and Turkey.

After You've Tested Your Garden Soil, Then What?

Graph of soil nutrient balance

Planning your vegetable garden is a fun spring activity.   Soil testing is the first step that can lead to a successful growing season. When the soil test results come back what to do with all that information?
In the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, we receive a variety of samples with symptoms characteristic of nutritional imbalances. The best way to prevent this imbalance is to start with the soil test results.

Master Gardener Healthy Food for Families Awards

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Master Gardener program awarded 25 grants totaling $20,000 to projects across the state of Iowa aimed at increasing access to healthy foods for families experiencing poverty.  Grants provide support for Master Gardeners to continue their work at the local level to increase food security.

Growing Peas in Iowa Gardens

Garden peas, snow and snap peas all do well in Iowa gardens when adapted varieties are properly planted and April is the prime time to give peas a chance in the garden. To learn more about growing peas see the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach news release from March 30, 2016.