Vacant flood lot proves value as garden in New Bohemia

The little Czech garden is planted earlier this spring on a lot in the New Bohemia neighborhood of Cedar Rapids. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The little Czech garden is planted earlier this spring on a lot in the New Bohemia neighborhood of Cedar Rapids. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS – While the city awaits its fabled casino to appear on a large swath of vacant prime real estate and threatens a nearby gardener with legal action for taking care of a smaller plot of vacant land, here is what is happening at our little Czech garden.

The garden was planted this spring in a slightly different location than last year in the New Bohemia neighborhood of southeast Cedar Rapids.

Beth DeBoom, president of Save CR Heritage, is restoring a house at the site and the garden is an effort to bring life to that end of Third Street SE, where so many buildings were demolished after the 2008 flood. Steve Gravelle and a handful of others joined in the planting. Continue reading

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August events in Eastern Iowa include daylily sale, garden tour, tomato tasting

Daylily Ruby Grandure photo/Zora Ronan

Daylily Ruby Grandure photo/Zora Ronan

Summer isn’t quite over yet, as events scheduled for later this month attest.

The Downtown Farmers Market in Cedar Rapids, as well as many others, are scheduled for this Saturday, Aug. 16.

See the Homegrown list of markets for details.

Next weekend, the Cedar Valley Iris & Daylily Society will hold its annual late summer sale of daylilies on Saturday, August 23, from 9 am to noon.  The plant sale will be held at Riverside Gardens, 441 E. 3rd Street, Monticello. Continue reading

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Tomatoes still green? This could be the reason

Temperatures are just one factor that can play a role in the ripening of your tomatoes. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Temperatures are just one factor that can play a role in the ripening of your tomatoes. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Iowa’s unseasonably cool nights this August may be perfect for sleeping, but temperatures are among the factors that play a role in our gardens.

I’ve heard from several gardeners whose tomatoes are slow to ripen this year, and Linn County Master Gardeners who take calls at the “Hortline” for Iowa State University Extension, are hearing the same. Continue reading

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Brucemore Garden & Art Show returns with new activities, presentations

The Brucemore mansion can be seen from the estate’s formal garden during a past Garden and Art Show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The Brucemore mansion can be seen from the estate’s formal garden during a past Garden and Art Show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS – As of today, Eastern Iowa’s weather doesn’t get much better than this, and hopefully, that will hold out for the upcoming Brucemore Garden & Art Show.

If you enjoy lovely formal gardens, want to learn more about seed saving techniques from expert Master Gardeners, make simple summer appetizers (and get to sample them!) or have a guided tour of the historic Brucemore estate from head gardener, David Morton, be sure to make it to the show on Saturday, Aug. 23.

“We are really excited about the variety of presenters for the main stage this year, as well as the different activities that are planned,” said Tara Richards, director of events and communication for Brucemore, at 2160 Linden Dr. SE. Continue reading

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Cedar Rapids man ordered to remove garden or matter will go to police

Neighbor Charlie Stoneking stands in the lettuce patch she tends in Ed Thornton's garden in southwest Cedar Rapids. Thornton has been ordered to remove the garden. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Neighbor Charlie Stoneking stands in the lettuce patch she tends in Ed Thornton’s garden in southwest Cedar Rapids. The city has ordered Thornton to remove the garden. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

UPDATE (Aug. 4, 2014) Ed Thornton has resolved the issue with the city, at least for this year. Here is what he wrote: “I just met with Ray Nees, Manager at the Building Services Department, and Sandi Fowler, Assistant City Manager, in my Garden. We have reached a solution that is amicable to everybody. I will be allowed to grow the Garden until October 31st but I will remove the fire pit. This is the solution that I was looking for and I’m glad that they came to me and discussed this like reasonable people. I’ll have to see if the land can be purchased or if I will move the Garden somewhere else next year. Thanks to everybody that got behind me on this, for all the kind words and support. It’s good to know that people will still stand up and say something when they see something is unjust.”

Original story: By Cindy Hadish/Homegrown Iowan

CEDAR RAPIDS – In a city that touts itself as a healthy, “Blue Zones” community, Ed Thornton faces a trespassing violation. His crime? Growing vegetables. Continue reading

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Market news: reason behind Marion’s changes, Saturday’s downtown market and Farmers Market Week in Iowa

Apples are sold during the Marion Farmers Market under the shelter of the depot in 2013. The market has ended on Wednesdays, but will continue on Saturdays. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Apples are sold during the Marion Farmers Market under the shelter of the depot in 2013. The market has ended on Wednesdays, but will continue on Saturdays. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Some customers are put off by the crowds at large farmers markets, but I think it’s exciting for the vendors, who often do more business in one day than they can in several weeks of smaller markets.

With that in mind, the next Downtown Farmers Market in Cedar Rapids is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to noon, this Saturday, Aug. 2. More than 200 vendors and 16,000 customers pack the streets of downtown.

As much as I appreciate the downtown market, my heart is with the smaller markets where the farmers, bakers and craftspeople might not necessarily know your name, but remember what you like to buy and can take the time to chat about how their garden is growing or their latest baked confections.

So, it was disappointing to hear that Marion has discontinued its Wednesday farmers markets at City Square Park. Continue reading

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Northern Ridge: Evolution of an Iowa berry farm

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By Cindy Hadish for Radish Magazine OXFORD – With growing interest from restaurants, schools and grocery stores for fresh, local produce, Northern Ridge Berry Farm has evolved beyond its namesake berries. “We put close to 35,000 to 40,000 plants in … Continue reading

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Native wildflowers highlighted in Iowa City tour by Backyard Abundance

Purple coneflower photo/Cindy Hadish

Purple coneflower photo/Cindy Hadish

IOWA CITY – Backyard Abundance will host a free yard tour this Saturday, Aug. 2, to help residents learn how to create beautiful yards that are low-maintenance and benefit our environment.

The free tour will be at the townhome of Judy Joyce, at 903 Walker Circle in Iowa City, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Continue reading

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Healthy oak among trees to be removed for Cedar Rapids sidewalk project

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UPDATE: This photo (at right) shows what remained of the once-healthy oak tree as of the end of July 2014. CEDAR RAPIDS — The Kell family is saying good-bye to their front-yard tree. It’s not torrential rains, high winds or even … Continue reading

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Fish discovered in Mississippi thought to be locally extinct in Iowa since 1932

Longear Sunfish photo/Iowa DNR

Longear Sunfish photo/Iowa DNR

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has found a fish thought to be long-gone in the state.

State and national scientists are working to positively identify the fish, believed to be a longear sunfish, the DNR reported. If proven to be the species, this would be the first time in more than 80 years that the fish has been confirmed in Iowa.

The fish is being held alive by the DNR until it can be positively identified. Continue reading

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