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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

March 25, 2005

Tune in to 'Gardening in the Zone'

by Linda Charles

As soon as the weather turns warm, people head to their gardens, ever hopeful that this will be the season the rain and the sun come at the right time and the pests don't come at all.

Many of them will pour through garden magazines and books, looking for tips. They might find it simpler to turn on their television sets. That's where they'll find "Gardening in the Zone," two-minute segments that feature ISU Extension horticulture specialists discussing a variety of gardening topics.

Locally, the segments air March through October on Fridays during the 5 p.m. news on KCCI (see box for other stations carrying the spots). The topic can be anything from crab grass control to Easter lily care. The April 1 spot will be "April Tools Day."

"Gardening in the Zone" is a team effort by ISU Extension and Iowa Gardening Magazine.

The program began last year with 26 spots; this year 34 have been prepared, said Ann Marie VanDerZanden, associate professor of horticulture. The number of stations carrying the program also has increased. This year, all of Iowa, western Illinois, eastern Nebraska, and southern Minnesota and Wisconsin receive the spots.

In addition to helping start the program, VanDerZanden takes her turn in front of the camera. She will discuss the meaning of different flowers on May 6 (two days before Mother's Day) during a spot called "Language of Flowers."

The cost for the spots comes mostly in labor. ISU Extension provides the specialists, along with the camera and audio crews. Extension staff also edit the tapes and get them ready for the stations.

"It's a really good project," VanDerZanden said. "It lets us reach a new and bigger audience."

If you can't catch the spots on TV, you can see them later on the Gardening in the Zone Web site (http://emms-ws12.exnet.
). The site also features links to other pertinent Extension publications.

Iowa TV stations carrying Gardening in the Zone

KCCI (central Iowa)Friday, 5 p.m. News
KCRG (Cedar Rapids)Friday, Morning News
KETV (Omah/Council Bluffs)Thursday, First News
KTVO (Ottumwa/Kirksville)Friday, Your Source this Morning
KIMT (Mason City/Albert Lea)Friday, Daybreak
KCAU (Sioux City)Friday, Eyewitness News
WQAD (Quad Cities)Friday, 5 p.m. News

"Gardening in the Zone," two-minute television segments featuring Iowa State horticulture specialists, can been seen throughout Iowa, western Illinois, eastern Nebraska and southern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Above, associate horticulture professor Anne Marie VanDerZanden (left) and talks with the show's host, Liz Gilman from Iowa Gardening Magazine, during a recent segment. The spots air locally during KCCI's Friday 5 p.m. News. Photo by Bob Elbert.