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 in bright t-shirts 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 birds

2020 Theme: Gardening for Hope and Healing

Gardening topics this year are designed to help communities cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.


Hope and wellness can be found by going outside and getting your feet and fingers in the soil. This is the one activity you are “allowed” to do and it may be exactly what is needed for long-term well-being.

Until public gatherings are safe, events will be held via live streaming on Facebook. Follow our page and watch for events so you can participate and ask questions of the gurus.


Visit the gardens after each event 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.

Edible Classroom Schedule

1st and 3rd Friday of each month,

10:30 am - 11:30 am.

May 1    Veggie Planting Top Tips
May 15  Harvesting Greens All Season
Jun 5     Wellness in the Garden
Jun 19   Pruning for the Perfect Tomato
Jul 3      Building Your Immunity by Gardening
Jul 17    Summertime Veggie Planting
Aug 7    Tea from the Garden
Aug 21   Wellness in the Garden
Sep 4     Sowing Fall Greens
Sep 18   Invitation to Learning at the Edible Classroom
Oct 2     Garlic Planting Party
Oct 16   Planting Spring-Blooming Bulbs

Creekside Park Schedule

2nd and 4th Wed. of each month (unless specified)

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm.

May 13  Planting Edibles, Groundcover, and a Living Mulch
May 27  Inter-planting Veggies
Jun 10   Herbal Friends and Flowers Planting
Jun 24   Build a Sundial
Jul 8      Delicious Ways to Use Leafy Harvests
Jul 22    Wild Plant ID and Maintenance
Aug 12  Pollinator Honoring
Aug 26  Maintain the Garden
Sep 23  Tree and Shrub Protection for Winter
Oct 28   Leaf Blanketing and Yoga Nidra for the Garden

Wetherby Edible Forest Schedule

1st and 3rd Sunday of each month,

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm.

May 3   Wake Up, Garden and Tool Care

May 17 Sow Resilience: Veggie and Herb Planting

Jun 7     Inviting Wildlife Into the Garden

Jun 21   Art in the Garden

Jul 5      Healing with Tea from the Garden

Jul 19    Tour a Residential Edible Forest

Aug 2    Fairies in the Garden

Aug 16  Herbal Syrup Making (postponed due to derecho)

Sep 6     Get to Know Aronia (postponed due to audio issues)

Sep 20   Pollinator Garden Prep - Volunteer Workday

Oct 4     Facebook Live: Design a Pollinator Garden

Oct 18   Facebook Live: Establish a Pollinator Garden


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


  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • Instagram