Changes coming to Eastern Iowa farmers markets; retirements, new market locations announced

Laura Strabala (right) and Danielle Martin (center) chat with a customer during the indoor Mount Vernon Farmers Market this spring. The two sisters are retiring from selling at farmers markets, but will continue as the market's managers. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Laura Strabala (right) and Danielle Martin (center) chat with a customer during the indoor Mount Vernon Farmers Market this spring. The two sisters are retiring from selling at farmers markets, but will continue as the market’s managers. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Note: Find an updated list of more than 50 Eastern Iowa farmers markets all season at Homegrown Iowan. For a printed copy, order the  April 21 edition of the Corridor Business Journal at this link.

By Cindy Hadish/For the Corridor Business Journal

Danielle Martin and Laura Strabala are hanging up their baking hats after seven years of selling artisan breads and more at Eastern Iowa farmers markets.

The sisters, who operate Wild Prairie Acres in rural Lisbon, started at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market at the tender ages of 16 and 17. They expanded from there, including a regular spot at the summer Downtown Farmers Market in Cedar Rapids, but are now “retiring” from selling in their mid-20s. Continue reading

Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on Facebook
Posted in Farmers Markets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gardening folklore: Planting potatoes on Good Friday and phases of the moon

Gardening tradition calls for planting potatoes on Good Friday. The reason may be related to phases of the moon. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Gardening tradition calls for planting potatoes on Good Friday. The history may be tied to phases of the moon. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Fans of the Old Farmer’s Almanac are aware of the practice of planting by phases of the moon.

According to this gardening tradition, flowers and vegetables that bear crops above ground should be planted during the light, or waxing, of the moon, from the day the moon is new to the day it is full. Flowering bulbs and vegetables that bear crops below ground are planted during the dark, or waning, of the moon, from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again.

The tradition of planting potatoes on Good Friday likely is related to those moon phases.  Continue reading

Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on Facebook
Posted in gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seed giveaways, composting, recycling and more scheduled during Earth Month events in Iowa City

A composting workshop with Scott Koepke of SoilMates is among the events scheduled April 19 in Iowa City. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

A composting workshop with Scott Koepke of SoilMates is among the events scheduled April 19 in Iowa City. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

So much is happening in the coming days in Iowa City, beginning this Saturday, April 19, 2014 and running through Earth Week.

Johnson County hosts two Earth Week events next week that are free and open to the public and The Salvage Barn, operated by Friends of Historic Preservation, hosts a daylong event this Saturday that includes recycling for crafts, prairie tours, composting and more. Continue reading

Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on Facebook
Posted in Environment | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Noelridge Greenhouse ready to open for Easter weekend

One of the displays at the Noelridge Greenhouse is seen during last year's Easter Showcase in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

One of the displays at the Noelridge Greenhouse is seen during last year’s Easter Showcase in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS – The annual Easter showcase inside the balmy greenhouses at Noelridge Park will offer a tropical getaway for Iowans weary from an especially cold spring.

Admission is free to the event on Saturday, April 19, 2014 and Sunday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park is at 4900 Council Street NE, just off Collins Road. Continue reading

Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on Facebook
Posted in gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grandma’s miracle flower

Grandma's African violet, blooming in April 2014, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Grandma’s African violet, blooming in April 2014, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Our challenges in saving the family farm continue and it looks like, despite all of our efforts, it probably won’t remain intact.

I found one message of hope, however, in all of the despair that surrounds losing something you love. A little background: our uncle was living on the family farm in rural Chelsea, Iowa, a Century Farm – belonging to the same family for 100 years – on its way in 2016 to becoming a Heritage Farm with 150 years in the family. Continue reading

Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on Facebook
Posted in houseplants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DNR reports first case of chronic wasting disease in Iowa’s wild deer population

Deer saunter through a forested lot in southeast Cedar Rapids in April 2014. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources notes that chronic wasting disease has beenconfirmed in deer in the wild in Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Deer saunter through a wooded lot in southeast Cedar Rapids in April 2014. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources noted that chronic wasting disease was confirmed for the first time in deer in the wild in Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Bad news for Iowa’s deer. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported today that chronic wasting disease was detected for the first time in a deer in the wild.

The deer was killed in Allamakee County in December, but the announcement was not made until today. Previously, the disease – which is always fatal – had been detected in confined deer on pay-to-shoot game farms in Iowa. Continue reading

Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on Facebook
Posted in The Great Outdoors | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to bring native pollinators back to Iowa

monarch butterfly

A new program through the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa, promotes planting gardens for pollinators such as monarch butterflies. (photo courtesy Blank Park Zoo)

Just love this new statewide program coming from the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. The zoo is teaming up with 10 organizations to introduce Plant.Grow.Fly., a conservation effort to bring back native pollinators.

Through Plant.Grow.Fly., Iowans are encouraged to plant pollinator habitat in yards, schools and businesses. Continue reading

Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on Facebook
Posted in gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding mushrooms in Iowa and news about the Iowa Valley Food Co-op

A lion's mane mushroom (right) sits among oyster mushrooms recently harvested at Mushroom Mills in rural Columbus Junction. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

A lion’s mane mushroom (right) sits among oyster mushrooms recently harvested at Mushroom Mills in rural Columbus Junction. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

It’s still on the cool side to see morels popping up, at least in Eastern Iowa, but I am thrilled to find that Mushroom Mills is selling both oyster and lion’s mane mushrooms through the Iowa Valley Food Co-op.

Based in rural Columbus Junction, Todd Mills has already been selling the delectable fungi he grows at farmers markets and at New Pioneer Food Co-op in Iowa City and Coralville. If you’re already craving morels and haven’t tried lion’s mane yet, give it a shot. The texture is a little different, but the taste is similar. Plus, there are all kinds of health benefits to the mushrooms. Continue reading

Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on Facebook
Posted in Local foods, morel mushrooms | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Iowa City Earth Month event teaches homeowners window restoration techniques

Participants learn window restoration techniques during the Cedar Rapids Historic Preservation Commission's Preservation Showcase last May in Cedar Rapids. A window restoration workshop is set for April 5, 2014, in Iowa City. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Participants learn window restoration techniques during the Cedar Rapids Historic Preservation Commission’s Preservation Showcase last May. A window restoration workshop is set for April 5, 2014, in Iowa City. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

IOWA CITY – Homeowners with older windows can learn restoration techniques during a workshop this Saturday in Iowa City hosted by Friends of Historic Preservation.

The event is one of many scheduled in Iowa City during Earth Month. Another event that had been set for this Saturday at the East Side Recycling Center, the Repair Fair, has unfortunately been canceled, but the window workshop will proceed as planned.

Find a list of nearly 40 other Earth Month events in Iowa City and read on for more about Saturday’s workshop from Friends of Historic Preservation: Continue reading

Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on Facebook
Posted in Environment | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mike Nowak preaches the gospel of organic lawn care

Mike Nowak

Mike Nowak

The circle of feeding, growing and maintaining a lawn is mind-boggling. Ingest the ground with chemicals and spend even more time running through it with a gas-guzzling mower.  Yet, I know many homeowners want that pristine sea of green.

Mike Nowak might be able to insert some common sense into our love of lawns. His presentation, Guys on Grass (Organic Lawn Care 101) is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, 2014, at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, in Whipple Auditorium. Continue reading

Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponPin on PinterestDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someoneShare on Facebook
Posted in Master Gardeners | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment