Extension Information


15 Roadside, Forest & Aquatic CIC, 9:00 a.m., Extension Office, Elkader

15 Extension 4-H & Youth Development Committee, 7:30 p.m., Extension Office, Elkader

16 4-H Junior Record Book Interviews, 6:00 p.m., Edgewood Community Room, Edgewood

19 Clayton County 4-H Shooting Sports, 1:00 p.m., Osborne Pond, Elkader

19 4-H Citizenship Project Meeting, 5:30 p.m., Extension Office, Elkader

19 4-H County Council Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Extension Office, Elkader

20 4-H Junior Record Book Interviews, 6:00 p.m., Extension Office, Elkader

23 4-H Project Award Interviews, 6:00 p.m., Extension Office, Elkader

ISU Extension Farm Bill Program Overview Meetings November 5th & 18th

Clayton County – Farmers and landowners will learn about the new programs authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (commonly referred to as the Farm Bill) at an informational meeting conducted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and local USDA Farm Service Agency staff members. Meetings will be held November 5th, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. and November 18th 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Johnson’s Reception Hall in Elkader.

The Farm Bill – Program Overview meetings will focus on the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) that will be administered by USDA Farm Service Agency, and the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) administered by USDA Risk Management Agency through federal crop insurance providers.

We are prepared to discuss decisions farmers and landowners will need to make in the coming months as they consider all their options,” said Kristen Schulte, farm management specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “We’ll cover the timeline for when decisions need to be made along with information about our online Farm Bill decision tools.”

The main topics that will be covered during the meetings are:

  • Base reallocation

  • Yield updating

  • Price Loss Coverage (PLC)

  • Ag Risk Coverage (ARC)

  • Implications of PLC and ARC on participation in the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO)

  • Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP)

  • Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

Attend a local meeting

Meetings will be held November 5th, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. and November 18th 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Johnson’s Reception Hall in Elkader. There is no registration fee, however, registration is encouraged for handouts and location preparation. Please pre-register by calling the Clayton County Extension and Outreach Office at 563-245-1451 at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

Farm Bill meetings for the fall and winter months continue to be added to the  ISU Extension and Outreach Statewide Calendar. For the other meeting locations and dates visit the Ag Decision Maker Farm Bill website at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/info/farmbill.html or contact your county extension office. The Ag Decision Maker website also contains useful links and resources related to Farm Bill decision making.


Yard and Garden: Properly Planting Tulips in Fall

Tulips may bring thoughts of warm weather, spring, new life -- even a sense of renewal. But to enjoy tulips in spring, the best time to act is now. Tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs should be planted in October, giving them enough time to establish themselves for spring growth. 

Here are some tips from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists on the best way to plant spring flowers this fall. To have additional questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at 515-294-3108 or hortline@iastate.edu.

When is the best time to plant tulips?

October is the ideal time to plant tulips, daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs in Iowa. When planted in October, spring-flowering bulbs have sufficient time to develop a good root system before the ground freezes in winter. If the ground isn’t frozen, tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs can be planted as late as late November/early December.

What are good planting sites for tulips?

Tulips perform best in full sun. Planting sites should receive at least six hours of direct sun per day. Tulip bulbs also need a well-drained, fertile soil.

How deep should I plant tulips?

Plant spring-flowering bulbs at a depth equal to three to four times their maximum bulb diameter. Accordingly, tulips and daffodils should be planted 6 to 8 inches deep, crocuses and grape hyacinths 3 to 4 inches deep. Large bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, should be spaced 6 inches apart. A 3-inch-spacing is adequate for crocuses, grape hyacinths and other small bulbs.

What is the proper way to plant tulips?

Plant tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs in clusters or groups to achieve the greatest visual impact in the garden. When planting tulips and daffodils, plant 10 or more bulbs of the same variety in an area. Smaller growing plants, such as grape hyacinths and crocuses, should be planted in clusters of 25 or more bulbs.

Which are the best tulips for perennializing?

Most modern tulip cultivars bloom well for only three or four years. However, there are some tulip types (classes) that bloom well over a longer period.  

Darwin hybrid tulips are generally the longest blooming hybrid tulip. Darwin hybrid tulips are prized for their large, brilliant flowers. Flowers are available in shades of red, pink, orange, yellow and white. Blooms are borne on stems that are up to 30 inches tall. Darwin hybrid tulips bloom in mid-season.  

Fosteriana tulips also perennialize well. They are noted for their large, elongated flowers. Flowers appear in early spring on 10- to 20-inch-tall stems. Foliage is typically green or gray-green. However, a few cultivars have mottled or striped foliage. Fosteriana tulips also are known as Emperor tulips.  

Species tulips are generally the longest lived tulips. Some naturalize when given favorable growing conditions. Species tulips include wild tulip species and cultivars developed from these wild species. Species tulips are usually smaller than modern tulips. They also have smaller flowers. Species tulips are excellent choices for rock gardens and in the front of beds and borders. They sometimes are referred to as botanical tulips.  


Yard and Garden: Explore Fall-Blooming Bulbs, Trees and Shrubs

People typically think of fall as a time when plant life is winding down, a time of harvest, preservation and preparation for spring. But a number of plants and trees bloom in the fall, giving the landscape an extra boost. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists offer tips on using bulbs, trees and shrubs to their best advantage this fall. To have additional questions answered, contact the ISU Hortline at 515-294-3108 or hortline@iastate.edu.

Are there any fall blooming bulbs? 

While most gardeners are familiar with spring-flowering bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, many don’t realize a few bulbs bloom in fall. These fall-blooming bulbs make surprising, colorful additions to the fall garden.  

Colchicums (Colchicum spp.) are members of the lily family. The bulbs (corms) produce green foliage in spring. The leaves may be up to 10 to 15 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide. The foliage remains until summer, then it turns yellow and dies back to the ground. The crocus-like flowers appear without foliage in fall. Flowers may be white, pink, or lavender. Attractive cultivars include Colchicum autumnale ‘Album,’ which produces white flowers, and ‘Alboplenum,’ which is a double, white-flowering form. ‘The Giant’ produces large, violet flowers with white throats. The flowers of ‘Waterlily’ resemble waterlily blossoms. The large, double, purplish pink flowers contain up to 20 petals.

Colchicums require well-drained soils. Since the dying foliage of colchicums is rather unattractive, gardeners should carefully select their planting sites. Good locations would be in front of a shrub border or under the filtered shade of large trees or shrubs. Plant colchicums in groups of five or more bulbs. Bulbs should be planted 3 inches deep and 6 inches apart.  

Another attractive fall-blooming bulb is the showy crocus (Crocus speciosus). Showy crocus is a fall-blooming crocus. Flowers are violet blue with yellow anthers and deep orange stigmas. Plant height is approximately 5 to 6 inches. Excellent cultivars include ‘Albus’ (pure white flowers with orange stigmas), ‘Cassiope’ (aster blue flowers with yellow bases), and ‘Conqueror’ (clear, deep blue flowers).  

Showy crocus is easy to grow. Choose a well-drained site in partial shade to full sun. Plant bulbs in masses (25 or more bulbs) to achieve the best visual impact. Bulbs should be planted 3 to 4 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart.

Are there any fall blooming trees or shrubs?

While most trees and shrubs bloom in spring or early summer, common witchhazel is a notable exception. Common witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooms from mid-October to early December. Flowers consist of four, strap-like, yellow petals that curl up on cold days and unfurl in warm weather. Common witchhazel is a large shrub or small tree that grows 20 to 30 feet tall. Plants can be grown successfully in full sun to partial shade.  

Another attractive plant in late summer and fall is the seven-son flower (Heptacodium miconioides). Seven-son flower is a large shrub or small tree that grows 20 to 25 feet tall. Plants produce fragrant, creamy white flowers in September. After flowering, the appendages (calyces) surrounding the flowers turn purplish red in October and persist to mid-November. Winter interest is provided by the plant’s light brown exfoliating bark. The seven-son flower can be grown successfully in full sun to partial shade. It is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.

Which perennials bloom in late summer/early fall?

Late summer/early fall blooming perennials include New England aster (Aster novae-angliae), New York aster (Aster novi-belgii), boltonia (Boltonia asteroides), garden mum (Chrysanthemum x morifolium), sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), showy stonecrop (Sedum spectabile) and goldenrod (Solidago hybrids).