This week the Clermont County Master Gardener Straw Bale Demonstration Garden has again provided a wonderful harvest. More zucchini, cucumber, and peppers were harvested. This week onions, tomatoes, and banana peppers were also harvested. The green beans are close to being harvested, tomato vines are full of tomatoes, and the pumpkin vines have produced pumpkins of a decent size that will soon be ready for harvest. Harvests from this week will be used for an upcoming Food Preservation Class hosted by the Clermont County OSU Extension Office. The garden is continuing to be monitored for Japanese Beetles and other types of pests. With the recent rain we have received it has also flourished the growth of several weeds. The MGV’s have been hard at weeding out all their gardens this week. Pictured below is how the MGV’s store their daily garden notes and any other materials they need to have while at the garden. The MGV’s are continuing to keep a weekly schedule on maintaining the gardens and keeping track of their findings, tasks, and accomplishments within the gardens.
The Master Gardeners are continuing to have success with their many gardens located here on the fairgrounds. Bountiful harvests continue for the MGV’s. You will see pictured a recent harvest from this week containing: Banana Peppers, Parsley, Radish, and Rosemary. The squash growing in the garden is growing rapidly and producing long and strong roots. The potato blooms are full and open and showing that the potatoes are growing. Many creatures/bugs/insects have been spotted around the gardens such as: Japanese Beetles, Monarch Butterflies, Dragonflies, Gardener Snakes, and more! The gardens continue to be a great success this year. The rain this weekend will surely create more beautiful harvests for next week.
It is time for the weekly Clermont County Master Gardener Volunteers Garden Update. Did you know that you can grow plants almost anywhere? Lumber has drastically sky rocketed, making it hard for people to afford to purchase. There are alternatives to using wood for your raised bed gardens. The Clermont County Master Gardeners have used several unique alternatives in their demonstration gardens here on the fairgrounds. Some of the things used are: tires, logs, straw bales, and even a sink! The MGV’s have continued their amazing teamwork to ensure that their gardens flourish. Many of the plants on the fairgrounds are blooming nicely and are creating vegetables to be harvested. The MGV’s have created a schedule amongst themselves to care for the gardens daily and they continue to take notes of their findings, duties, and observations. Pictured below you will see many of the different unique planting options and the abundant growth of all the vegetables and flowers located in the different gardens located on the fairgrounds. The MGV’s also had a big harvest this week of Radish, Lettuce, and Zucchini.
The Clermont County Master Gardener Volunteers have been continually hard at work maintaining this year’s Straw Bale Demonstration Garden; located on the fairgrounds. Last week the MGVs were able to harvest some vegetables from their plants; they collected two nicely sized radishes, and more are almost ready to be harvested. Several other plants were beginning to bloom or beginning to sprout, such as; the Mexican Sunflower, lettuce, and pumpkins. They were also able to transplant Zinnias into the garden. There were several days of rain last week, so the straw bales and soil stayed continually high in moisture. The MGVs are continuing to monitor for insects and pests as well; some plants were showing signs of damage and have been treated.
On June 2, 2021, Clermont County Master Gardener Volunteers, Susan Givler and Candy Horton presented to the Williamsburg Garden Club. Givler and Horton presented about identifying pests, pest management systems, and options when gardening. Door prizes and drinks were provided by Janice Robertson. The meeting was held at Harmony Hill Museum in Williamsburg, Ohio.
The MGV’s have been working hard in the demonstration gardens located here on the Clermont County Fairgrounds. They are continuing to upkeep the straw bale garden and have planted their sensory demonstration garden located in front of the 4-H hall. Every year the MGV’s choose a theme for their sensory garden; this years theme is “Plants with Animal Names”. The MGV’s week consisted of their daily tasks of watering, pruning, and checking plant health. During their week of checking plant health they noticed unidentifiable flying bugs on some bales in the straw bale garden and noticed some leaves had dark spots or darker colored leaves. The MGV’s were able to identify issues such as: fertilizer burn, underwatering, too much time between watering, and possible temperature highs for young seedlings. While observing these things, the MGV’s were able to determine that shade cloth for the garden may be beneficial. The Master Gardener Volunteers also installed “No Zone” stations to repel deer, rabbits, squirrels, and bats. A watering guide and journal were also added to improve record keeping and to ensure the proper water amounts are given daily. With the help of Clermont County Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Gigi Neal, the gardens also received a fresh weed cutting around the garden areas. The Master Gardener Volunteers also received a generous donation of Impatients, that were planted in the garden; from Grant’s Farm located in Williamsburg, Ohio. Pictured below are photos from the demonstration gardens.
This Spring, the Master Gardener Volunteers in Clermont County are creating a straw bale demonstration garden at the Clermont County Fairgrounds. Using 22 straw bales, the MGVs are planting a variety of vegetables including tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, beans, radishes, carrots, and lettuce. The bales are surrounded by herbs and flowers.
All vegetables will be donated to within the county. Let’s hope for a bountiful harvest!
The MGVs will be collecting data throughout the growing season so they can educate others in doing successful straw bale gardening. Come visit the demonstration straw bale garden at the Clermont County Fairground during the fair July 25-31!
Advantages to straw bale gardening are:
- Raises heights of beds making it easier on your back
- No weeding needed
- Low startup cost
- Extended growing season
- Impossible to over water
- Easy to move location of your garden each year
- Alternative to poor soil
- Holds moisture well
- Creates loads of A+ compost
- Prevents disease issues
- No heavy work i.e., tilling
- Minimum pests
Tips for successful straw bale gardening include:
- Use straw bales, do not use hay bales
- Place bales in full sun and near a water source
- Position bales north to south with no more than two rows side by side
- Cut side of the bale is up with strings on the side
- Condition each bale
Conditioning is the process of getting the straw bales to compost internally so they will support plant growth. The process takes about 2 weeks and involves spraying the bales to get water and fertilizer deep inside the bales so they can start to “cook”.
Schedule for conditioning the bales:
Days 1-3-5: Water into each bale ½ cup of lawn fertilizer high in nitrogen (i.e., 20-0-4, 46-0-0) with no pesticides nor slow-release features. (Water on days 2 and 4.)
Day 6: Water
Days 7-8-9: Water into each bale ¼ cup of same lawn fertilizer high in nitrogen
Day 10: Water into each bale 1 cup of i.e.,10-10-10 or 12-12-12- fertilizer free of pesticides
Day 11: Gather plants, seeds, and potting soil, while allowing bales to rest.
Day 12: Plant
It is essential that the bales be conditioned during this short period so that the bacteria inside the bales are activated and begin to digest the straw; making nitrogen and other nutrients available to the plants.
After bales are conditioned, plant seedlings or seeds in bed of potting mix. Water daily and enjoy your crop. At the end of the season, bales turn into clean compost for other gardens or as mulch.
For more information on straw bale gardening, check out Joel Karsten’s book entitled Straw Bale Gardens Complete
Do you want to join the Ohio State University Master Gardener Volunteer Program? Applications are now available for the 2018 training class to be held this fall. The Ohio State University Master Gardener Program reaches hundreds of people in Clermont County each year.
Volunteers receive training from OSU experts on topics such as lawns, soil health, tree identification, annual and perennial plants, insects, pest management, plant diseases and more! Once trained, Master Gardeners volunteer for OSU Extension to increase the outreach efforts of Ohio State University throughout the community. Some projects include conducting public seminars and workshops, answering homeowner questions during Master Gardener Hotline hours, hosting informational booths, and maintaining OSU Extension’s container gardens.
The training will begin in October and run through November. Applications are due September 1, 2018. Classes will be held Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 6p to 9p at the Clemont County Agriculture Center 4-H Hall Kitchen. The application and more information about cost and class schedule can be found by clicking here or contacting Gigi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-732-7070
You could be 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.
The Master Gardener Program
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.
For more information and to register click this link: Master Gardener Registration 2017-1n9m0hz
Clermont County Master Gardener Volunteers have been busy cleaning, planting and reworking the Ag Center “People’s Garden”. Mulch and educational name plates will be added to each plant.
The Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested Ohio residents who then volunteer their time assisting with educational programs and activities. Volunteers are not required to have gardening skills or knowledge; a passion for learning about gardening and sharing this knowledge with others is a must!
Working with county Extension personnel, Master Gardener Volunteers 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 horticultural activities.
To learn more about the Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, visit Clermont Extension at clermont.osu.edu, or contact Gigi Neal, OSU Extension Clermont County Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, at 513-732-7070 or email email@example.com.