Archive for April, 2008

Sour soil

The following information is from Claire Smith, Linn County Master Gardener:

 

My granddaughter was reading to me the other day and asked me to define “etc.” and eucalyptus”.  That got me to thinking that there have been several occasions where I’ve been a bit embarrassed because I didn’t know the definitions of some gardening words.  Following are a very few of the multitudes of terms.  Acid Soil:  soil with a pH less than 7.0.  Acid soil is sometimes called “sour soil” by gardeners.  Most plants refer a slightly acid soil between 6-7 where most essential nutrients are available.

  • Alkaline Soil:  soil with a pH greater than 7.0, usually formed from limestone bedrock.  Akaline soil is often referred to as “sweet soil”. 
  • Bare Roots:  trees, shrubs, and perennials that have been grown in soil, dug and have had he soil removed prior to sales or shipping.  Mail order plants are often shipped bare root with the roots packed in peat moss, sawdust or similar material and wrapped In plastic 
  • Berm:  a low, artificial hill created in a landscape to elevate a portion of the landscape for functional and aesthetic reasons such as to add interest, screen areas, or improve drainage.
  • Canopy:  the total overhead area of a tree including the branches and leaves.
  • Cold Hardiness:  the ability of a perennial plant (including trees, shrubs and vines) to survive the minimum winter temperature in a particular area.
  • Complete fertilizer:  powdered, liquid or granular fertilizer with a balanced proportion of the three key nutrients-nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K).
  • Compost:  decomposed organic matter added to the soil to improve its drainage and ability to retain moisture.
  • Corm:  a modified bulb-like stem.  It is swollen, short, solid and located underground. Crocus and glads are two plants that grow from corms.
  • Cultivar:  a CULTIvated VARiety.  A unique form of a plant that has been identified as special or superior and has been selected for propagation and sale.
  • Deadhead:  to remove faded flowers from plants to improve their appearance, prevent seed production, and stimulate further flowering.
  • Deciduous Plants:  trees and shrubs that lose their leaves in the fall.
  • pH: a measurement of the relative acidity (low pH) or alkalinity (high pH) of soil or water based on a scale of 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral.  Individual plants require soil to be within a certain range so that nutrients can dissolve in moisture and be available to them. 
  • Rootbound (or potbound):  the condition of a plant that has been confined in a container too long.  Its roots are forced to wrap around themselves and even swell out of the container.  Successful transplanting or repotting required untangling and trimming away some of the matted roots.
  • Self-seeding:  the tendency of some plants to sow their seeds freely around the yard.  It creates many seedlings the following season that may or may not be welcome.
  • Slow-acting (slow release) fertilizer:  fertilizer that is water soluble and releases its nutrients when acted on by soil temperature, moisture and/or related microbial activity.  Typically granular, it may be organic or synthetic.
  • Variegated:  having various colors or color patterns.  The term usually refers to plant foliage that is streaked, edged, blotched, or mottled with a contrasting color, often green with yellow, cream or white.

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Great May events!

Following is a list of area gardening events in Eastern Iowa for the month of May 2008. If you know of other public events, add it in a comment or send an email to: cindy.hadish@gazcomm.com

Thurs. May 1 through Sat., May 3 – Annual tulip festival in Pella, Iowa. See schedule at: www.pellatuliptime.com

 

Sat. May 3 –  9 a.m. to noon, Indian Creek Nature Center annual spring plant sale featuring wildflowers, prairie grasses and flowers, hosta, geraniums, and a variety of garden perennials, as well as garden art and accessories.

 

Sat. May 3 and Sun. May 4 – Urban permaculture workshop at 3409 Seminole Valley Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids. See schedule at: www.myearthwatchexperience.com/pcw/

 

Sat. May 10 – 9-11:30 a.m.,  Project GREEN’s annual Garden Fair at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City. Perennials for shade and sun, hostas, wildflowers, trees and more will be sold.

 

Sat. May 10 – 9 a.m. to noon, Brucemore annual plant sale, featuring several types of perennials and annuals from Brucemore’s greenhouse, 2160 Linden Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids.

 

Sun. May 11 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Noelridge Park Greenhouse open house, corner of Collins Road and Council Street NE, Cedar Rapids. Blooming planted baskets will be sold at $30 each as a fundraiser for the greenhouse. The open house also will feature a gardening and nature book fair, Bonsai display, and beekeeper and mushroom displays.

 

Sat. May 17 – 8 a.m. to noon, Johnson County Master Gardeners Garden Flea Market and Plant Sale, Food Booth Building, Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds, featuring garden and lawn tools, plant containers, yard art, horticulture books and plants, seeds and bulbs for sale.

 

Sat. May 17 – 10-11 a.m., Garden Containers with Pizzazz for Decks & Balconies with Mike Duggan Wyatt – Class will be in the Hy-Vee Garden Center, 5050 Edgewood Road NE, Cedar Rapids. The class fee will cover soil, plants and instruction. $20.  Pre-register at Customer Service, (319)378-0762.

 

Sun. May 18 – 2-4 p.m., Second Annual Master Gardener “Top Gardening Tips,” Iowa City Public Library, Room A, Betty Kelly will present top organic gardening tips and Sherlyn Flesher will present easy composting.

 

Sat. May 24, 8 a.m. to noon (or until plants are gone) – Linn County Master Gardeners annual plant sale, Extension office parking lot,  3279 Seventh Ave.,  Marion. Many kinds of perennials for sun or shade,  hosta, daylilies, wildflowers, groundcovers, ornamental grasses and some annuals,  from Master Gardeners’ own gardens will be sold.

 

 

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Market blooper

Lynn Perry, market master of the Cedar Rapids Eighth Avenue farmers market, pointed out that both the Noelridge and Eighth Avenue markets were left out of the list published in Sunday’s Gazette.

We’re still trying to figure out what happened. Both were in the original list and somehow got dropped in the editing process. It was certainly unintentional.

Information for the markets is included in the list on this blog and also appears below.

Noelridge Farmers Market in Cedar Rapids, 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays

and Fridays, May 2 through Oct. 24, corner of Collins Road and Council Street NE,

contact Teresa White at (319) 286-5731.

 

City parking lot at Eighth Avenue and Second Street SE in Cedar Rapids, 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays, May 1 through Oct. 25, contact Teresa White at (319) 286-5731. Closed June 7 and 21, July 5, Aug. 2 and 16, 

Sept. 6 and Oct. 4 in deference to downtown market.

Both markets have a wonderful selection of fresh produce, live plants, soap and other handcrafted items. I’ve also found organic meat and great baked goods at the markets. Lynn notes that Cedar Rapids is unique in this area in having a farmers market every day of the week, except Sunday. (And Hiawatha has its market on Sundays!)

 

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What’s your favorite farmers market?

Old Market - Omaha, Nebraska

One of my favorite memories of a childhood trip to Georgia was my mom getting me to try a peach she had purchased at a roadside stand. Juicy and incredibly sweet, it was nothing like the bland store-bought peaches we could find at grocery stores in Iowa.

 

That’s one of the great things about fresh produce. In and of itself, it’s tastier and healthier just on its own. No need to add anything. Gardeners understand this. I can’t eat supermarket tomatoes after having eaten them fresh out of my garden.  That’s why farmers markets are so wonderful. Everything is fresh and even if you have your own garden, there is bound to be something different at the farmers market.

 

The Old Market area of Omaha, Neb., shown in the photo, has a great ambience for farmers markets, with old shops, wonderful restaurants and street musicians.  Is it possible to create something like that here?

 

Eastern Iowa has some excellent farmers markets that are listed in a new tab on this blog for reference throughout the season. The list will  be printed in the Sunday, April 27, edition of The Gazette.

 

We’d also like to know what your favorite farmers market is. Is it here in Iowa, or elsewhere? What do you like about it? Let us know by adding your comments.

 

 

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Farmers Market list

(Note: this list is from 2008. Look for the 2009 list on this blog – Cindy)

Following are a sampling of farmers markets that operate in Eastern Iowa. A list of markets across the state is available at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Web site at:

http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/iowaProducts.asp

 

Allamakee County

   Allamakee Farmers Market, 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, June 2 through Oct. 6, Allamakee County Fairgrounds, Waukon, contact Teresa Wiemerslage, (563) 568-6345.

   Harpers Ferry, 5 to 7 p.m. Fridays, June 6 to Oct. 3, at Bluffview Park, contact Connie Benedict, (563) 586-2297.

 

Benton County

   Belle Plaine Farmers Market, 5 to 7 p.m. Fridays; June 6 through Sept. 26, 13th Street and Seventh Avenue, west of the Pizza Hut, contact Becky Poduska, (641) 489-2107.

   Urbana Farmers Market, 9 to 11 a.m., Saturdays, May 24 through Oct. 25, Legion Pavilion on Wood Street, contact Eileen Schmidt (319) 443-5620.

    Vinton Farmers Market, 5 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, through Sept. 25; BCHS Railroad Depot, 612 Second Ave., contact Duane Randall at (319) 472-4164.

    Youngville Cafe Farmers Market, 3:30 to 6 p.m. Friday, May 30 through Oct 17; junction of highways 30 and 218, contact Richard Grovert at (319) 223-5465.

 

Cedar County

   Cedar County Farmers Market, 7:30 to 11 a.m. Saturdays, May 17 through Oct. 4 or 11, south side of the county courthouse in Tipton, contact Yvonne Gregory, (563) 946-3551, or Evelyn Walshire (563) 432-6983.

  

 

 

  Mechanicsville Farmers Market, 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, May 27 through Sept. 30, on Main Street across from the fire station, contact Linda, (563) 432-7756, or Evelyn Walshire, (563) 432-6983.

 

Iowa County

   Amana Farmers Market, 4-8 p.m. Fridays, May 23 through August 29, in midtown Amana. Contact Kristie Wetjen (319) 622-7624.

   Williamsburg Farmers Market, 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays, May 9 through October, at the northeast corner of the downtown park, contact Elaine Wardenburg, (319) 668-1288.

 

Johnson County

   Coralville Farmers Market, 5 to 8 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, May 5 through Oct. 2, in the parking lot at the Coralville Community Aquatic Center, 1513 Seventh Street, contact Matt Hibbard at (319) 248-1750.

   Iowa City Farmers Market, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays, May 3 through Oct. 29, on lower level of Chauncey Swan parking ramp between Washington and College streets, contact Tammy Neumann at (319) 356-5110.

   Sycamore Mall Farmers Market, 3 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, May 6 through Oct 28, in the parking lot at the theater end (west end) of the mall, 1600 Sycamore St., Iowa City, contact Candy Norris at (319) 338-6111.

   North Dodge Ace Hardware — no longer has a farmers market.

 

Linn County

   Noelridge Farmers Market in Cedar Rapids, 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, May 2 through Oct. 24, corner of Collins Road and Council Street NE, contact Teresa White at (319) 286-5731.

   City parking lot at Eighth Avenue and Second Street SE in Cedar Rapids – 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays except during the Downtown Markets; other days moved to Noelridge site for this season –  4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays;  May 1 through Oct. 25, contact Teresa White at (319) 286-5731. Closed June 7 and 21, July 5, Aug. 2 and 16, Sept. 6 and Oct. 4 in deference to downtown market.

   Downtown Farmers Market in Cedar Rapids – moved to the area of Greene Square Park for Aug. 2 and subsequent markets due to downtown flooding –  7:30 a.m. to noon, Saturdays, June 7, June 21, July 5, August 2, August 16, September 6 and October 4, on Second Avenue between Third Street SE and First Street SW and on First and Second streets between First Avenue and Third Avenue SE, contact Jill Wilkins at (319) 398-0449.

   Central City Farmers Market, 4-6 p.m. Thursdays, June 5 through Sept. 11, at Courtyard Park on East Elm Street, contact Doris Nordstrom, (319) 361-6621.

   Hiawatha Farmers Market, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays in the Guthridge Park parking lot at 10th Avenue, April 20 through Oct. 26, contact Amy Holecek, (319) 393-1515.

   Marion Farmers Market, 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays; May 3 through Sept. 27, at the East End Shopping Center, 3375 Seventh Ave., contact Pat Carlson at (319) 377-4846, e-mail pcarlson@cityofmarion.org

   Mount Vernon Farmers Market, 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, May 8 through Oct. 9, at Mount Vernon Visitors Center, 311 First St. W, contact David Miller, (319) 895-0177.

   Springville Farmers Market, 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, June 3 through Aug. 26, at Cox Lake Pavilion, contact market manager Lena Gilbert, (319) 854-7097 or Springville Economic Development Corp., (319) 854-7016.

 

Tama County

   Toledo Farmers Market, 5 to 7 p.m., Fridays, May 2 through Oct. 31, held on the east side of the court house square, contact Dawn Kupka, (641) 484-2177.

   Traer Farmers Market, 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesdays, May 7 through Oct. 29, at the junction of highways 8 and 63 in Traer, contact Marlus Svoboda at (319) 479-2279.

 

Washington County

   Washington Farmers Market, 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, May 8 through Oct. 23, at Downtown Central Park at Washington Street and Iowa Avenue; contact Bob Shepherd at (319) 653-4888.

 

Winneshiek County

   Winneshiek Farmers Market, 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 to 11 a.m. Saturdays; May 3 through Oct. 29; at the Municipal parking lot at Heivly Street and Claiborne Drive in Decorah; contact Cindy Ballard at (563) 382-6385.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Oakhill garden update

What seemed like a straight-forward proposal turns out not to be with the Cedar Rapids City Council and the Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood’s plan for a community garden. Rick Smith’s Eye on the Island blog mentions the red tape the group has encountered. Following is the latest correspondence from Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association president Michael Richards:

From: Michael Richards, President/Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood ASSN.

To: Ms.Sina/Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation

 

Dear Ms.Sina;

 

The City Council made a decision to back the establishment of a community demonstration garden in the Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood nearly one month ago at the City Council meeting on March 26th.

 

We are in Iowa where we have a limited growing season.    The extended delays with getting this timely project launched are a mark of extreme inefficiency in our local City government.   If a business operated with such extreme inefficiency, it would be out of business in short order.

 

You are now telling me that you have to “take this back to City Council” after a formal decision was already made on this same project by the City Council one month ago?

 

This is a very well organized community effort.  The Oakhill Jackson Community Garden Project is not a random group of people heading out to a city park with a hoe.

 

Below is the list of organizations that are providing funding and gardening expertise to this exemplary community project;

 

1. Linn County Master Gardeners of the Linn County Extension Service/Iowa State University

2. Iowa Network for Community Agriculture This Statewide organization of professional operators of

    CSA/farms all over the State of Iowa are providing funding and expertise.

3. Practical Farmers of Iowa  (statewide organization that supports sustainable agriculture)

4. Kalona Organics (a coalition or Amish family farms that are binging healthy food to Iowa

5. The Kalona/Organics-Metro High fresh produce project

6. Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development (six county soil and water conservation organization that includes Linn County.

7. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University

8.I-Food Local Food Coalition (about 40 local organizations are participating including United Way, Prairiewoods, Grinnell College, ISU, and many local elected officials.

 

 

Back to Cindy: Rick Smith said it looks more likely that the garden will go somewhere other than what the neighborhood association had hoped for. More undoubtedly will follow.

 

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Urban permaculture in Cedar Rapids

A job at Clipper Wind brought Frank Cicela and his family to Cedar Rapids recently from Indiana. Wanting to meet some “kindred spirits,” Cicela decided to bring in a few experts to conduct a permaculture workshop at his new home in Cedar Rapids.

The workshop will be Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, at 3409 Seminole Valley Rd. NE.

Permaculture is the design of human habitats that have the stability, diversity and resilience of natural ecosystems. The multi-disciplinary approach integrates renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, agriculture and food systems, natural building, rainwater harvesting and urban planning, along with the economic, political and social policies that make sustainable living possible and practical.

This sustainability  allows people to begin taking food security and energy security into their own hands and into the hands of their community.

The focus of next weekend’s permaculture workshop will be on gardening. Part of the discussion will be how to garden in a three-dimensional zone, that is, using the space above, as well as the traditional design of a garden.

Quite a bit of work goes into starting such a garden, but once established, Cicela likened it to a “food forest,” that maintains itself. “Once it’s created, you just walk through and eat,” he said.  

The course – an intensive classroom and hands-on event – will be taught by three staff members of “Big Green Summer” from Fairfield.

Cicela said the workshop normally costs almost $200, plus a drive to Fairfield. This two-day course is $55 per person.

To see the schedule and register, go to: http://www.myearthwatchexperience.com/pcw/ or call (319) 832-1025.

 

 Michael Richards of Cedar Rapids, founder of  SUSTAINABLE ECOLOGICAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (S.E.E.D.) noted the following to take into consideration on the importance of urban permaculture:

 

– 95 percent of  the food on the shelves of Iowa grocery stores travels an average of 1000 miles to get to your table.

 

– A few decades ago, Iowa was close to total self-sufficiency in food supply.  Over the years, local creameries, canneries and meat processors all over Iowa have gone out of business in the “bigger is better” world of cheap energy.   

 – The opposite economic structure is now our present reality;  Energy is no longer cheap.

 So now what?      

 It is time to re-build Iowa’s local food production and local food distribution infrastructure.

 It makes no sense for the state that has the most fertile soil on earth to lack the ability to feed ourselves with local sources.

 Start in your own backyard with urban permaculture.

 We can all plant “Iowa Victory Gardens” to supply 10 to 20 percent of our household food needs in our own backyard or in neighborhood community gardens.   We can then gradually build back up the local food production and infrastructure throughout the State of Iowa to reclaim the economic foundation of a safe, healthy and abundant local food system.

 

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