Lisa Hinzman Howard stands next to the combination compost station/pergola in her backyard. Native plants behind her include goldenrod, cup plant, and the purple-flowered Joe pye weed. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Lisa Hinzman Howard, known as the Midwest Garden Gal, will kick off the Project GREEN Second Sunday Garden Forum on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2023.

Howard will discuss GIY (Grow It Yourself): Veggies 101 during the forum from 2-4 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St.

Related: Midwest Garden Gal’s cheap tricks for gardeners

Read more about the presentation from Project GREEN:

IOWA CITY — Lisa Hinzman Howard, or as she’s known in the gardening world, the Midwest Garden Gal, will kick off Project GREEN and the Iowa City Public Library’s Second Sunday Garden Forums 2024 on Jan. 14.

The forums are held from 2 to 4 p.m. and are free and open to the public. The presentations are livestreamed on Iowa City Public Library’s YouTube channel:

Lisa’s topic, GIY (Grow It Yourself): Veggies 101, encourages gardeners to adopt the worldwide trend to grow your food to know your food. The program covers soil basics, getting started with raised beds, how to expand the season to maximize your harvest plus unique ideas around vertical, succession and companion planting for growing your own veggies at home.

A metal owl sculpture adorns the backyard of Lisa Hinzman Howard in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, while a series of stones serve as edging. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Diane Allen, co-president of Project GREEN, reminds us that 18.3 million new growers started gardening during the Covid-19 pandemic and nearly one in three U.S. households grow food. An average garden yields $600 in produce annually. “Whether you grow your food to eat or share with friends, family and area food pantries that serve those who are food insecure, Lisa’s presentation will inspire you and help you find success without overburdening gardeners with a lot of extra work.”

Lisa’s presentation eases gardening anxiety to help anyone – from pros to wannabes and dabblers – find success in their space. Using research-based garden education, she wants all gardeners, young and mature, novice and experienced, to achieve quick success and find long-term enjoyment in the garden.

She is a Linn County Master Gardener volunteer with 20-plus years of gardening experience. In 2016, Lisa founded Midwest Garden Gal, LLC. She published her book, Cheap Tricks Gardening: Cause You Don’t Need to Spend a Fortune for Fabulous in 2022. Signed copies of Lisa’s book will be available to purchase at the event.

She has made numerous speaking presentations at Master Gardener and other gardening events. When possible, Lisa teaches from her garden that she designed and built from scratch featuring extensive perennial and annual combination beds, raised beds, using pots and other found objects, a custom-designed three-bin compost system, a native prairie garden, a garden shed with a front porch, and her custom-designed fire pit.

Lisa is a gardening consultant with a B.A. in Marketing and Administrative Management and a Master’s of Strategic Leadership from Mount Mercy University, and an instructor at the University of Dubuque, where she teaches marketing, public relations and communication. Follow Lisa at

Master Gardeners may count Project GREEN Garden Forum programs toward C.E. credit hours.

The Garden Forums 2024 series will continue on Feb. 11 and March 10 in the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City.

Since Project GREEN (Grow to Reach Environmental Excellence Now) was launched in 1968, the nonprofit has funded over $2.2 million in projects, including Project GREEN Garden, a public garden at the city-owned Ned Ashton House at 820 Park Road, parks, roadsides, riverfronts and median parkways and public school grounds. Project GREEN also supports efforts to educate citizens about the importance of conservation practices and preserving the natural environment. The organization celebrated 55 years of service to the community in 2023.

MORE: Register for the 2024 Winter Gardening Fair

Yellow spider daylilies provide a striking contrast to native purple coneflower (Echinacea) next to Lisa Hinzman Howard’s home in Cedar Rapids. The delicate foliage of Baptisia, at front, intersperses with the other perennials. (photo/Cindy Hadish)