Let's Grow Together

Farming and gardening have a lot in common

Let's Grow Together encourages Iowans to try their hand at food and flower gardening while learning firsthand the many similarities gardening has with farming. Both farming and gardening take hard work, spark ingenuity and inspire an intense appreciation for where food really comes from.

Growing your own food can be immensely satisfying, yet it can be intimidating for first-time gardeners and even challenging for those with the greenest thumbs. Tomatoes are often feast or famine, broccoli and cauliflower are fussy, and herbs can quickly take over a space.

With thoughtful planning and advice from experts, urban dwellers and those with vast spaces can master the art of gardening. The recipe for a bountiful garden combines equal parts of soil quality, proper planting and fertilizing, suppressing weeds and pests, and proper harvesting along with a dash of help from Mother Nature.

Digging In

Cristen Clark is well-versed in agriculture. She lives on a farm near Runnells, where her family raises pigs and grows soybeans and corn. She’s also an award-winning baker and cook but was a gardening novice. Last spring, with the help of Earl May Garden Centers, Clark decided to dig in and grow a new hobby.

Ryan Case, manager of the Earl May Garden Center in Ankeny, worked closely with Clark on all aspects of the garden, from planning and planting to fertilizing and harvesting. Take a look as Cristen talks with Ryan about his tips for a beginner's garden and getting off on the right foot!



Fresh from the Garden Recipes

Wilted Lettuce Salad - click for recipe

Caprese Buttons - click for recipe

Cucumber Slices with Herbed Cream Cheese

Read More!

Let's Garden - Tips for growing plentiful produce and flourishing flowers

Published in Fresh Pickings magazine - Spring 2022

Let's Grow a Garden - Tips to create a paradise for produce to thrive

Published in Fresh Pickings magazine - Spring 2023

Let's Grow Together - 2017

The Streck Family "Grows Together"

With the support of Earl May, Joe and Lynette Streck and their three daughters began a from-scratch garden in their backyard in Van Meter. From planting seeds to enjoying fresh vegetables on the table, the experience deepened the family's appreciation for Iowa farm families and the food they produce. See their family's gardening journey.

Farming & Gardening Insights

We've teamed up with Earl May Garden Center and Mark Jackson, a soybean and livestock farmer from Mahaska County, to provide expert tips for making the most of your garden.