Edible forest movement grows in Iowa: Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City cultivate “food forest” efforts

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By Cindy Hadish/for Radish Magazine Rhonda Dunn is interested in growing food, but not the way her mother gardened. “She’d till every spring and hoe it and weed it,” said Dunn, an Iowa City nurse practitioner. “That was the way … Continue reading

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Greene Square Park moving into the future in downtown Cedar Rapids with new design; plan retains some historical elements

The public was invited to provide input to the new Greene Square Park design during a session at the Armstrong Centre on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The public was invited to provide input for the new Greene Square Park design during a session at the Armstrong Centre on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS – The city’s oldest park will retain some of its past in the future.

Renovation of Greene Square Park is targeted to begin next spring, with the previous design plan scrapped after public input.

See the preliminary concept here.

Heather Lynxwiler, an architect with OPN Architects, said that initial plan, with a curved walkway, children’s play area and new planters, was “just to get people thinking” and for fundraising purposes. Continue reading

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Mystery insect ID at the farm

Margaret Wolter of Cedar Rapids, takes a closer look at a bug on a branch near Chelsea, Iowa, on Aug. 27, 2014. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Margaret Wolter takes a closer look at a bug on a branch near Chelsea, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Many Eastern Iowans know my sister, Margaret Wolter, from her years as a naturalist at the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids.

While she is now dedicating her work to teaching preschoolers, she still keeps nature at the forefront.

Continue reading

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Brucemore photo gallery and awesome, easy appetizer recipe

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CEDAR RAPIDS – Gardeners are generally hardy people who don’t mind a little rain, but a steady deluge slowed the usual crowds that flock to the Brucemore Garden & Art Show, at least in the morning. By afternoon, those crowds … Continue reading

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Garden party, solar food dehydrator demonstration, music and more in Iowa City

Participants will learn how to use a solar food dehydrator at an upcoming session in Iowa City. (photo courtesy of Backyard Abundance)

Participants will learn how to use a solar food dehydrator at an upcoming session in Iowa City. (photo courtesy of Backyard Abundance)

IOWA CITY – Two events coming up in Iowa City in coming days offer great opportunities to expand your gardening knowledge.

This Sunday, Aug. 24, New Pioneer Food Co-op is hosting a garden party at Earth Source Gardens. The following day, Aug. 25, Backyard Abundance is offering a solar food dehydrator demonstration, to put all of that great produce to use. Continue reading

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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

(Updated Aug. 22) Summer isn’t quite over yet, as events scheduled for later this month attest.

The next Downtown Farmers Market in Cedar Rapids isn’t until Sept. 6, but others are ongoing, with most running through the end of August.

See the Homegrown list of markets for details.

This 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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