Weekly Article Update – 3/27

OSU Extension Greene County

Weekly Article Update for the Week of March 27, 2020

Agriculture and Natural Resources

During these unprecedented times for many of us, I thought it was important to start off this column by taking our minds off things even if it was for just a moment. While our physical office is closed, we are committed to continuing to conduct our work as fully as possible. We are teleworking from our homes and are ready to serve you. In recent years, OSU Extension has invested in the technology needed to facilitate effective teleworking for our organization; and we will utilize our resources during this challenging situation to remain engaged with you. Clients, stakeholders, and other community members should continue to connect with any OSU Extension staff member via phone or email as usual. As a matter of fact, if you call the Extension office, the call goes straight to our computers or cell phone and we can answer your call. If you need to contact me directly, please call me at 937-971-2544 or e-mail me at corboy.3@osu.edu.

I know there are many events and activities going on this time of year and many are in the process of being moved to a virtual setting. The best way to stay informed is by checking out our website at greene.osu.edu or by subscribing to our blog. Just type in this link (u.osu.edu/extensiongreene) and scroll to the bottom of the page to type in your email address then select subscribe! We post updates for 4-H, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Sciences, Master Gardener Volunteers, educational events, and other opportunities available for all ages from youth to adult.

The heavy rain last week only compounded problems for our farmers. Nonetheless those that want to work in the yard and garden beds. With more rain forecasted, I hope this will soon pass and things start drying out. Animal and crop production are considered “life sustaining” by the government and needs to keep pushing forward. Hopefully the changing of the season and warmer temperatures will give us a good spring and allow the crops to get in the ground in a timely manner and allow the pastures and hay fields grow for our livestock.

Speaking of springtime ventures, now is a good time to test your soil. Our office can help in sending your soil off to the lab and then giving recommendations on successful growing. Even though we aren’t in the office, you can visit our website, pay online and get your soil sample to the lab. More information on this is at greene.osu.edu.

If you have a chance, take a few minutes to go outside and enjoy nature (but keep you distance from others). It is refreshing to see blooms start to appear as they did over this past week. Speaking of our current changes in life, it seems fitting to end up today’s column, with this quote from Anna Quindlen: “Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. The second is only part of the first.” Have a great week and be safe.

4-H Youth Development

There are many 4-H books geared towards youth to learn basic home production.  Ohio 4-H has about 15 different 4-H publications geared towards natural resources and gardening.  For example, Ohio 4-H has a publication called “Canning and Freezing.”  This would be a wonderful publication to work through with children to learn the importance and the correct steps in canning and freezing foods.  In addition, spring is a perfect time to plan for a summer garden.  Engage youth in helping to design the garden and deciding what plants to grow for this coming summer.  To take a sneak peek at 4-H publications, please visit https://projectcentral.ohio4h.org/  If you want like to order any publications, please contact our office or email me at supinger.5@osu.edu.

There are opportunities for our Cloverbuds to be actively engaged in home production as well.  There are wonderful hands-on activities for youth ages 5-8 to participate in gardening activities.  Visit this blog for more ideas.  One of my favorite activities while planning the garden, is to have the youth eat a whole plant.  For example, carrots can be the roots of a plant.  Celery can be the stem.  Spinach leaves can be the leaves of the plant.  Broccoli can be the flower of the plant.  https://ohio4h.org/sites/ohio4h/files/d6/files/CBConnections/CBactivitypages/I%20Can%20Eat%20a%20Whole%20Plant.pdf

Enjoy this time home and take advantage of it as a learning experience.  Have fun.  Get dirty.  Make memories.

Home Horticulture

Helleborus orientalis: The Beautiful Harbingers of Spring by Kim Hupman

After what seems to be a long, grey and gloomy winter, the sight of my Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose) beginning to bloom assures me that early spring is upon us.

Helleborus orientalis is a clump forming, evergreen shade perennial that typically grows 1 – 1 ½’ and blooms late winter to early spring. It has palmate, serrate, leathery, 8-16″ wide, glossy, dark green leaves (7-9 leaflets) are evergreen in mild winters but deciduous in extremely cold winters. Helleborus need to be sheltered from winter winds as the leaves may become scorched and tattered. The plant bears nodding or outward-facing, saucer-shaped, flowers, of white, pink, green, primrose, mauve or smoky purple in color. The flowers will remain for 8 – 10 weeks.

Helleborus is a low maintenance perennial who’s few needs include removal the scorched or winter damaged foliage and applying a slow release granular fertilizer around the time it blooms. The task does not take a great deal of time. Be sure to apply the fertilizer at the drip line of the plant (where rain drops from the end of the leaf and then falls to the soil) and not on the crown of the plant. Helleborus uses a lot of energy when in bloom as it is also producing new growth at the same time. Besides being a low maintenance plant, Helleborus are deer resistant They do best in part to full shade and well-drained soil with protection from the winter wind. They are an excellent border plant or make a great back drop for lower growing shade plants such as Hakonechloa macra “Aureola” (golden Japanese forest grass), Veronica umbrosa “Georgia Blue” (creeping veronica), and miniature hosta.

Helleborus orientalis is a wonderful low maintenance, deer resistant perennial and a beautiful harbinger of spring. Consider adding this plant to your shade garden.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu. For an accessible format of this publication, visit cfaes.osu.edu/accessibility.

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