December 11, 2015

New Initiative Aims to Increase Access to Garden Grown Food


Let’s increase the amount of fresh produce being donated to area food banks around Iowa in 2016! The Iowa Master Gardener winter webcast series is aiming to eliminate hunger and make it easier for gardeners to work with food banks. Contact your county Extension office to register. The webcasts are required by those applying for mini grants but are open to anyone interested!

Caring for Poinsettias


The poinsettia is one of the most popular potted flowers in the United States. These colorful plants can be found in nearly every household or business during the December holiday season. However, taking care of this festive flower can sometimes be tricky. See the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Yard & Garden news release from December 9, 2015 for tips and suggestions on how to care for poinsettias for a perfect holiday display.

What's With These Things Growing On My House Plant Soil

Earthstar mushroom

Sometimes our house plants (or the plants that we bring inside before frost) may have what our clients refer to as "odd looking things sprouting from the soil."  In the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, we often receive these specimens for identification (See picture below of the most recent one we received).

Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic Update - December 11, 2015

Fungal bodies of Lophodermium spp. on a pine

The following are highlights and updates about samples and questions recently received in the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic. Visit the PIDC's Facebook page to ask questions and for updates and more pictures.

Horticultural Programs


Upcoming horticulture conferences/workshops of possible interest to HHPN readers are listed below.  Additional information on each program is available from the listed contacts.

Kissing Bugs and Chagas Disease in Iowa? Not Likely

Pine seed bug

The recent media attention to kissing bugs has generated a great deal of interest and concern that the insect you just found crawling across the front stair might be a kissing bug!  The good news and the bottom line?  There are no kissing bugs in Iowa.

Seed Catalogs - 2016


Gardeners can purchase flower and vegetable seeds at local garden centers and mail-order companies. For your convenience, the mailing addresses and web sites of several mail-order seed companies are provided. This list has been updated for 2016. (No endorsement of companies is intended in this listing, nor is criticism implied of similar companies that are not shown.)