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Dr. Ajay Nair, Mike and Cindy Elwick prepare netting to cover a test plot in the Old School Produce garden.

The Old School Produce Company gardens have been chosen as a testing site for a product called Protect Net against other products of the same type that are on the market.

Dr. Ajay Nair, Associate Professor at the Iowa State University Department of Horticulture and Vegetable Extension Specialist, chose Old School Produce because of the ability to test a product in a controlled environment. Protect Net is a garden cover that is available but a more expensive option for the gardeners.

The benefits to this type of cover will help vegetable growers avoid needing to spray chemicals at all, hopefully, for insect control as well as having the ability to leave the cover in place until harvest.

There will be a row of broccoli that has 30 feet of it uncovered, 30 feet covered with a cheaper variation available that gardeners might use and two 30 feet sections of the Protect Net.

In each section of the garden being tested, there will be a thermometer, moisture gauges, and sensors to check the lighting. They will compare the data from each section, check the vegetables for cabbage worms and cabbage loopers which will tell them of the effectiveness of the product two weeks before harvest just to see if it is indeed working or if the vegetables will need to be treated.

Alecia Swift-Walker is managing the gardens through Americorp and 4-H and is also asking for the community's help to find volunteers to work in the gardens. If you want to come out and just learn about gardening, or if you'd like to work just a few days or hours she'd like to invite you out to lend a hand.

Alecia can be contacted by email at or you can call 319-560-2294


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