Potager Dream – Garden Location

A series of articles presented by Candy Horton, OSU Extension Clermont County, Master Gardener Volunteer

In duplicating a French Potager Garden there are several things that I must consider.  The potager garden is a garden that is created to provide food, medicine, enjoyment, and beauty all year round.  They are considered an extension of the home, inviting me to come and explore all the different “rooms “in it and to see the vegetable garden, medicinal or herb garden, the orchard, and nut trees.  I would find flower beds of all sorts, most likely a water feature, or a maze.   To top all of those things off, architectural elements such as statues, arbors, and sitting spaces are all along the pathway.

With all of this in mind, my first consideration has to be the location of my garden.  This will determine how successful my garden will be.  If I have several acres then I will be able to have the garden as large or as small as I would like it to be and have several options for location.  If I have a smaller plot, then I might be limited in the size and where I can build my garden.  The next thing when considering a site is the soil quality, and for most vegetables, fruits, and flowers, I will need a spot that is well-drained with fertile soil.  How do I know what the soil quality is? I will take samples of the soil to my local extension office for testing.  The importance of knowing the soil quality tells me what I can easily grow in my garden and what I need to do to amend the soil for healthy plant growth.   For me, healthy soil means healthy plants, which in turn, through the produce means better-tasting fruits and vegetables and a healthier me.  I will need to remember that healthy soil will be different for flowers than it will be for vegetables or even fruits.  I will need to let my extension office know to test for everything that I want to grow.  They all need something different and the soil test is what gives me that knowledge.

The next thing that I need to think about in deciding my spot is how level is the space.  I want an area that is south or southeastern-oriented and mostly level with a slight bit of sloping.  A little bit of sloping will drain away excess water and helps to dry my garden faster.  Too much of a slope will cause erosion and could wash away my garden.  A slight bit of sloping can also help the heavy colder air to flow away from my garden affecting how quickly my garden warms up. The quicker my garden warms up, the earlier I can start planting.  Sunlight is another important factor in my garden.  At a minimum, I need 6 hours of direct sunlight.  This is very crucial for the colder months if I am trying to harvest plants during those months.  The most optimal amount of sunlight is between 8 and 10 hours of direct sunlight per day.  My sun-loving plants may need a bit more during the summer months and the cool-loving plants might appreciate less.  The last thing I want to think about when deciding my garden location is where my water source is located at.  How far away that is determines if I am using a watering system of some sort, or if I am carrying bucket loads of water to help my plants survive.

I find that in order to locate the perfect spot, I need to observe my garden at different times of the day, different times of the month, and different times of the year.   This allows me to see what is happening in my garden all year long and to journal that knowledge to be able to make the best decision possible all year long.  The next question in my Potager Dream is how to plan my garden.

Spotted Lanternfly and the Potential Impacts on the Maple Syrup Industry

There will be a free webinar on November 16, 2022, at 10:00 AM EST, titled Spotted Lanternfly and the Potential Impacts on the Maple Syrup Industry.

Extension Educator Brian Walsh, Penn State Extension, will discuss what is known about the spotted lanternfly and observations about maple trees that provide insight as to the impact the insect could have on the industry.

Ever since the spotted lanternfly was found in Southeast Pennsylvania, it has been causing damage to agricultural plants as well as non-agricultural plants. As the insect continues to expand its range, more is being learned about the insect’s lifecycle and its feeding habitats. Since the spotted lanternfly can feed very heavily upon certain tree species, the insect can potentially impact the maple syrup industry.

Click this link to register:  https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-and-the-potential-impacts-on-the-maple-syrup-industry

“A Potager Dream”

Photo credit to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension


A series of articles presented by Candy Horton, OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, Clermont County

One day as I was skimming through the most recent issue of “Country Gardens “magazine, I came upon an article written by Paige Porter Fischer titled “Designed to Delight”.  It’s an article about a woman, Helen Norman, and her desire to have a simple kitchen garden and how that turned into a very beautiful Potager Garden.  I had never heard of a Potager Garden, nor ever seen one.  I was immediately hooked!  I love the structure, the tranquility, and the sense of peace in the architectural details.   Written documentation of the Potager garden goes all the way back to around the 1500s and possibly earlier.  A Potager Garden comes from the French term Potager.  It’s also known as an English Kitchen Garden and they are gardens that were close to the kitchen.  They grew crops all year round and they grew anything that was edible, vegetables, fruits, flowers, berry bushes, trees, and more.  The idea was to provide the home with fresh food all year long.  They were also structured and held architectural elements of interest and a water feature of some sort.   In reading about this garden, I began to dream about building one of my own.  Questions started flying at me and I quickly realized that I would need to sit down and start writing out all of the questions and finding answers to each one as I go and that by taking this project one step at a time, I will eventually have a beautiful Potager Garden.

The first question that I asked myself was “Is it possible to grow crops all year round in Ohio”?  To find that answer I researched through several sources, one through my local Ohio State University Extension articles, another was the North Carolina Extension articles, and the third through the Brooklyn Botanical Garden articles.  These three sources, along with a couple of others, show that I should be able to grow a variety of vegetables through the winter with just a couple of adjustments to my garden plan.  This is very exciting news to know that I can have a very close version of the Potager Garden right here in southern Ohio!   It’s also very exciting to think that I can also have fresh food all year long rather than just during the summer months!

What I found in my research is that a lot of the cooler weather crops have a better flavor when grown in early spring, fall and winter, especially after the first frost.  Insects and pests are less of an issue than during the warmer months.  You are able to get several harvests of crops using secession planting, growing them in the spring and then again in the fall.  There are several lettuce varieties, kale, and collard greens that grow really well in the winter months.  I will need to make sure to use the right ones for each of the seasons.  Using a cold frame or hoops and plastic coverings will protect these plants from the snow and ice which in turn allows them to keep growing.  They will grow at a slower rate during the winter but will continue to grow with proper care.

Now that you know what a Potager Garden is, we can look at the next question, “Where will I put my Potager garden”? Watch for the next article in the series, A Potager Dream.

Brown and Clermont Counties New Master Gardener Volunteer Training

The Master Gardener Program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested gardeners who then volunteer their time assisting with educational programs and activities for Ohio residents through their local Ohio State University Extension county office.

What is the Master Gardener Program?       

Working with county Extension personnel, Master Gardeners provide such educational services to their communities as answering gardening questions from the public; conducting plant clinics; gardening activities with children, senior citizens, or disabled persons; beautifying the community; developing community or demonstration gardens; and other horticulture activities.

How do I know if I’d make a good Master Gardener?

You could qualify to become a Master Gardener, if:

  • You want to learn more about plants and gardening.
  • You are eager to participate in a practical and intensive training program.
  • You enjoy sharing your knowledge with others.
  • You have the time to attend training and serve your community as a volunteer educator.

How do I become a Master Gardener?

To become a Master Gardener, you must:

  • Be accepted into the Master Gardener program by completing the volunteer application. Registration and application can be found at https://go.osu.edu/2022newmgvtraining  Please complete your registration and application by October 4, 2022. More information will be emailed directly to you upon completion of online registration.
  • Complete the formal training provided by The Ohio State University Extension. The training is approximately 50 hours and participants must pass all quizzes and examinations with a cumulative average of 70% or better.
  • Complete 50 hours of volunteer time on projects pre-approved by the Master Gardener coordinator. This volunteer time must be finished within one calendar year after their formal training.

Is there a cost for the training?

The 2022 class costs $200 plus the cost of a required background check. If paying by check, make checks out to Ohio State University Extension. Background checks can be done upon acceptance into MGV class.

When is the next training?  Beginning October 18 and ending November 17, classes will be held every Tuesday and Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. – 12 p.m. Hour lunch break. 1p.m. –  4:00 p.m. You will be required to attend all the classes listed in order to complete the required 50 hours of training.

Where will classes be hosted? Training will be offered in-person Tuesdays in Brown County and Thursdays in Clermont County, rotating between the sites for the series.

Dates of:

October 18, orientation 9-Noon

October 25 & 27

November 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, & 17

I already received my Master Gardener Volunteer training.  Can I join a different county association?

Yes, if you are a member in good standing with another state or county association, you can switch your membership to a different county’s association.

There are additional criteria for transferring from out of state. Contact your local extension office for those details.

How do I continue as an active Master Gardener?

To stay active, you must do the following every year:

  • Pay your local association dues.
  • Complete 20 hours of volunteer time on pre-approved Master Gardener projects.
  • Complete 10 hours of pre-approved training in horticulture. Training opportunities will be provided locally but are also available at state and national conferences.

Contact Information


Fascinating Woodland Fungi

Registration is now open for Fascinating Woodland Fungi, Friday, October 14th at the Ohio State Mansfield campus.  Spend the day with Extension’s Curtis Young to learn all about these wonderful fungi growing throughout Ohio’s woodlands.  Space is limited.  Register here.

88th Secrest Arboretum Diagnostic Workshop

Learn about horticultural, plant pathological, and entomological problems and opportunities. Time will be spent looking at insect and disease samples from the arboretum.

Speakers include Joe Boggs, OSU Entomology; Jim Chatfield, OSU Emeritus; Paul Snyder, OSU, Secrest Arboretum; Denise Ellsworth, OSU Entomology; Dan Herms, Research VP, Davey Tree Expert Co.

CE credits are available.

Event information

Registration Information

What do Master Gardeners Love about the Fair?

We love sharing our gardens with you.

Again this year, the Master Gardeners are working with straw bales in the garden.  We have a beautiful demonstration garden located near the Boy Scout Cabin.  We are growing several of our standard vegetable selections this year along with a few new varieties.  In addition, we are participating in an OSU Home Garden Trial.  The trial consists of two varieties of bush beans and two varieties of cucumbers.  The trial is to determine which grows best in our area and is a selection we should suggest to you your own garden.  We will let you know which variety is a success.

Our Sensory Garden, located along the 4-H hall is something to see. We began this garden last year but this year it has come into its own.  The Iron Weed is sky high and the Chocolate Mint is very tasty.  We have a few new additions to this garden also.  Check out the Peek-a-boo plant and the Stevia is so sweet. And don’t forget to find the Apple Mint!

Containers are another wonderful way to grow vegetables and herbs when you don’t have garden space.  Our containers have several varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers along with herbs like borage, thyme, oregano, and dill.

If you aren’t into vegetables but want to plant for pollinators, stop by our perennial garden further down the office building.  Stop and watch the pollinators as they buzz from flower to flower.  The plantings vary from Blackeyed Susans to Bee Balm and Mountain Mint.

Don’t forget to visit our booth in the Floral Hall during the Fair.  The Master Gardeners love to talk about our gardens! Maybe we can show you how to start a new garden.

——Deb Garner, Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator

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.

Straw Bale and other Gardens at the Fairground

It was a hot week, and the plants appreciated the heavy rain on Tuesday.  In the straw bales, the cucumber beetles have discovered the pumpkins and squash.  NEEM oil was applied and the following day the number of bugs had decreased.  The application is only good until the next rain.  The marigolds planted with the cucumbers seem to have deterred this pest.

There are green tomatoes hanging on the Early Girl and Early Doll plants.  Summer squashes are growing quickly, and some are about 3 inches long. Pepperoncini peppers are the only pepper plants with peppers. We were busy removing suckers off the tomatoes and trimming leaves resting on the soil.  Twine, hair clips, and string were used to tie plants to stakes.

Outside the 4-H Hall, the Master Gardener Volunteers have 2 additional gardens.  The Sensory Garden is for children to explore using taste, smell, and sight.  There is a birdhouse, birdbath, and chimes.  Some of the plants include basil, stevia, apple mint, eyeball plant, sunflowers, hens, and chicks-just to mention a few.

The Container Garden has a variety of peppers and tomatoes tied to a metal fence plus a variety of herbs-oregano, thyme, and borage.  The first planting of pickler cucumbers didn’t come up in one container.  Maybe the seeds were too old but with new seeds and a replant, the new cucumbers have emerged.

You are welcome to visit these gardens at any time.

Early Doll Tomato in straw bale Straight Neck squash in straw bale Container Garden Sensory Garden

Ticks and tick-vectored diseases are major concerns

Ticks and tick-vectored diseases are major concerns to humans, companion animals, and livestock in Ohio.  We have gone from one medically important tick twenty years ago in Ohio to five now, adding two in the past couple of years.

There is also a new fact sheet on the Asian Longhorned tick that can supplement this programming.