Garden Guru

Gardening experts attend Iowa City gardens at regular times throughout the growing season. Visit the gardens for free food, inspiration, learning and fun.

Got gardening questions? Ask a Garden Guru.

From May through October, garden experts will help you...

  • Increase yields in vegetable and herb gardens

  • Successfully grow fruit trees and berry bushes

  • Mitigate the impact of climate change through gardening

  • Grow habitat for pollinators and other wildlife

2021 Theme: Urban Bushcrafting for Families

With the COVID-19 pandemic still upon us, gardening topics this year are designed to help families form lasting connections with nature by practicing wilderness skills right outside their backdoor.

Bushcrafting is the practice of thriving in the wilderness using both modern and primitive skills. It simultaneously brings out a love of living and a love of nature through experiential activities that highlight gifts provided by the natural world.


Planning is still underway. Classes will be conducted online or in-person depending upon CDC recommendations.


Dates and registration details will be solidified in early March.


  • Grow Easy Fruits

  • Grow Easy Vegetables and Herbs


  • Forage Wild Edibles

  • Grow Herbal Tea

  • Build a Toad House

  • Tracking Backyard Critters


  • Easy Outdoor Cooking

  • Grow Herbs in Turfgrass

  • Grow Easy Pollinator Habitat


Mother Nature will care for anyone who takes time to get to know her. These classes will help you...

  • Increase self-reliance

  • Prepare to help your community during emergencies

  • Gain greater family and neighborhood cohesion


Classes will be conducted at public gardens listed below. If you cannot attend a class, please visit the gardens afterward to see what was done, pick up publications, tend the garden and harvest food.

We wish you an abundance of wellness.

Edible Classroom

Robert A. Lee Rec. Center

220 South Gilbert St.

Enjoy lunch in the garden and learn about...

  • Harvesting free food.

  • Low-maintenance gardening in raised beds.

  • Small patches of fruit trees and berry bushes.

  • Pollinator habitat.

Creekside Park

New orchard at

1858 7th Ave Court

At Iowa City's newest edible forest, learn about...

  • Newly planted fruit trees and berry bushes.

  • Ground covers.

  • Medicinal benefits of herbs.

  • Pollinator habitat.

Wetherby Edible Forest

Existing orchard at

2400 Taylor Dr.

At this mature edible forest, learn about...

  • Harvesting free food.

  • Large plots of fruit trees and berry bushes.

  • Pollinator and bird habitat.

  • Increasing soil health.

  • Regenerative agriculture.


Join neighbors to transform landscapes into spaces that help reduce the impact of climate change.

At all Garden Guru events, we'll provide top tips for how you can create a climate-friendly garden.

  • Grow vegetables, herbs or fruits.

  • Plant trees or shrubs.

  • Cover bare soil with mulch or ground covers.

  • Compost.

  • Seed and grow cover crops.

  • Seed lawn with Dutch white clover or violets.

  • Use natural products instead of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

This project would not be possible without sponsors and supporters. Please frequent these generous organizations to thank them for donations of materials, services and funds.

Logo: Iowa City Parks an Recreation
Backyard Abundance

Backyard Abundance is a leading educational nonprofit that helps people create vibrant, engaging outdoor spaces that benefit families and our environment.

P.O. Box 1605

Iowa City, IA  52244


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