Straw Bale Gardening is Back!

Last year the Clermont County Master Gardener Volunteers were able to donate 275 lbs. of produce to the community from the straw bale garden at the Clermont County fairground.  This year we have increased the number of bales and have added some new crops and different varieties of vegetables.  Some of the new additions are acorn squash, pie pumpkins, blue potatoes, peanuts, gourds, Roma, Korean long, early doll, bush, celebrity, and big beef tomatoes.

One of the raised beds will not have straw bales but will trial two varieties of green beans and cucumbers this growing season.  The varieties were selected by the Athens County, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences-Extension, The Ohio State University.

The Speedway and Raider cucumber varieties will grow side by side to compare throughout the growing season. The same is true for Savannah and Aldrin green bean varieties.

The following information and data will be collected and submitted in the fall to the agricultural program to assist home gardeners in Ohio to select the best vegetables for their home gardens:

  • Soil type
  • Fertilizer used
  • Date planted
  • Date first harvested
  • Factors that may have prevented a good crop
    • Human error ( timing, watering, and site location)
    • Insects or diseases
    • Wildlife issues
    • Weather

A comparison  of the  2 varieties of cucumbers and green beans will be based on

  • Germinated best
  • Had healthier plants
  • Produced first
  • Produced higher yields
  • Had more attractive fruits/plants
  • Tasted better

The Clermont County Master Gardener Volunteers will keep you informed of the progress and recommend which cucumber and green bean varieties rank the highest comparing the above factors.

Presently, the cucumbers have a net over them to prevent cucumber beetles and squash bugs from infesting the early plants.  After rabbits have nibbled on the green beans, a 2-foot fence was constructed around the bed.  A mixture of egg and cayenne was applied to the leaves to ward off deer.  We will let you know if this is effective.

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