Be Careful When You Water

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

On a hot, sunny, day you may see your garden plants getting droopy in the summer sun and longing for a cool drink of water. As sorry as you may feel for the plants, it is better to wait to water until the heat of the day subsides. Even better yet would be to greet your plants with the morning light and offer them a drink before the day begins.

The danger of watering at the “wrong time” is leaf damage. Water droplets left on the leaves in intense sun can scald plant tissue and lead to dead patches on leaves. In turn, leaving plants with wet leaves overnight increases the risk of fungal pathogen establishment in your garden. If the method you use to water results in wet plant leaves, the best time to water is in the morning before 9 AM. Watering in the morning allows Continue reading

Through the Vine; the Summer, 2021 Newsletter is Posted

Find the Fairfield County Master Gardener, Summer 2021 newsletter, “Through the Vine” posted here in PDF format. Articles include:

  • New garden innovations
  • Connie’s Corner
  • Helping Hands in the Garden
  • Using pesticides safely
  • Spring clenaing for physical and mental health
  • Allelopathy defined
  • Pruning Hydrangeas
  • The importance of Vegetables
  • The Gardener directed by Sebastien Chabot
  • The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
  • Summer Nights on the Veranda
  • Summer Gardening for Old Folks – focus on composting
  • In/Around the Garden

Mosquito Prevention Season is Here

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

Mosquitoes can be transmitters of dangerous diseases of humans and animals. Photo: Getty Images

Mosquito activity is greatest during the months of May through October in Ohio. Mosquitoes are more than just annoying flying bugs. They can be transmitters of dangerous diseases of humans and animals. Globally, the mosquito is the vector of diseases that kill 700 thousand to one million people annually. The most prevalent cause of mosquito related deaths is malaria. While malaria has been eliminated from the United States since the 1950s, there are several other diseases that the Ohio Department of Health tracks and works to suppress including eastern equine encephalitis virus, La Crosse virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, and West Nile virus. Of the 59 mosquito species that inhabit Ohio, only five transmit human diseases. Occurrences of mosquito-borne disease varies drastically year to year and regionally depending on the weather.

Rainy and warm conditions are prime for mosquito development.  Mosquitoes breed in still water. Anything that can hold water can be a mosquito breeding Continue reading

Backyard Composting; The How-To’s

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OSU Extension

Compost bins can be ‘homemade and handy’ as exhibited by these made from old wire fence by Fairfield County Master Gardener A Lise Ricketts

One of the key elements of healthy soils is the presence of organic matter. Organic matter is the decayed residue of living things. Adding organic matter to the soil in your garden, lawn, or crop field can improve water infiltration and water holding capacity, nutrient access to plants, loosen dense soil texture, and lead to healthier plant growth on the surface. Every citizen has the ability to contribute organic matter back to the soils in their community in some scale through composting organic wastes.

There are many methods of composting that can be employed depending on the amount of waste generated by the household or business. Composting reduces excess deposition of organic wastes in landfills and recycles nutrients naturally by promoting speedy decomposition of organic tissues into soil media. From a coffee can on the counter to composting with worms in a Continue reading

Wildlife Babies Are Best Left Alone

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OSU Extension


Each year the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODW) reminds Ohioans to avoid removing young wildlife from their natural habitats. Advice from ODW is that human intervention is the last hope for wildlife survival and never its best hope.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) provides the following statements in regard to perceived orphaned and/or injured wildlife.

“Wildlife parents are very devoted to their young and rarely abandon them. Many species are raised by only one parent (the mother) and she cannot be in two places at once. This means that baby wildlife must be left alone several times during the day or even the majority of the time while the Continue reading

Gourmet Goodies for Rural Foodies

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OSU Extension

With mushroom season upon us, when foraging for wild edibles be sure you know which are safe to eat.

Every spring questions ring in about some of the most desirable and delicious wild foods you can find in Ohio- morel mushrooms. Foraging for wild edibles is a topic that I find incredibly challenging to address with clientele because proper identification of a plant or fungus can be the difference between a gourmet dinner and a grueling stomachache or worse, an untimely death.

Fortunately, morels are one of the easiest mushrooms to identify, but if you have any doubt that the mushrooms you have found are not true morels, you should not consume them or prepare them for others. There are false morels that appear in the same time frame and habitat that are poisonous. Proceed to forage with Continue reading

Potatoes for Breakfast

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OSU Extension

We’re talkin’ potatoes at the March Farm Talk Breakfast!

Let the taters roll! Grab your morning cup of go juice and your favorite breakfast potato and let’s talk potatoes on March 19. We will welcome Gigi Neal of Clermont County OSU Extension as our guest speaker for March’s Farm Talk Breakfast from 8:30-9:30 AM on Zoom.

Have you ever wondered:

  • What is a seed potato versus food potato?
  • When is the best time to set potatoes?
  • Where do I find seed potatoes and how do I set them?
  • Can I use a container instead of a garden?
  • Is there really a rainbow of potatoes?

These questions and more will be answered with plenty of time for you to get your potato bed ready for the 2021 planting season. We will talk about Continue reading

Herbs & Laundry Lines; A match made in the back yard

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

Photo: Pinterest @

Readers raise your hand if you use a laundry line to dry clothes outside. Raise your hand if you want to dry clothes on a line outside, but do not have one. Now, raise your hand if you have an herb garden or want to grow an herb garden this year! If you have a hand up right now, keep on reading. I have an idea for you.

The idea is not my own, but it is one I read recently and want to try myself!

The credit goes to Reginald Blomfield and F. Inigo Thomas who published the idea of planting a knot garden of herbs clipped to a uniform height and used as a drying table for laundry in a publication called The Formal Garden in England in 1892. I read the idea in a book called 1,001 Old-Time Garden Tips gathered by Roger Yepsen.

A knot garden is a precisely planted and clipped garden layout common in Continue reading

Seed shortages may happen with some of your favorite crops this year…

If you’ve been browsing seed catalogs lately, you may have noticed that many varieties have completely sold out, and some companies have stopped taking orders from gardeners entirely. There are reasons for seed shortages and ways to get access to the seeds you need.

Is there really a seed shortage?

The seed shortages we are seeing reflected on seed company websites are complex, and don’t necessarily mean that there is an actual shortage of seeds. There are many factors playing into the “sold out” messages on some of our favorite varieties.

Last year, we saw unprecedented seed sales at the onset of COVID-19, and companies struggled to keep up with demand. Griffin, a large horticultural supply company, conducted a survey of 1,000 first time gardeners in 2020, and 80% of them said that they would probably or definitely continue gardening in 2021. Based on early seed sales in 2021, it seems that the Continue reading

Green Thumbs Are Getting Antsy

– Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County OSU Extension

It’s not only cold temperatures that can destroy the best laid plans of the antsy gardener, but working wet soils can be equally destructive!

Hello March!

The end of winter is approaching. We are two weeks away from Spring Forward and three weeks from the first day of spring. The month of March is a very tempting time for green thumbs to start gardening. It can be a challenge to practice restraint when the sun begins to shine for more hours of the day, the air is warmer, the birds are singing, and our first early blooming flowers are starting to pop up. As tempting as it can be to go out to the garden and start digging, resist.

A condition known as “February Fever” was referenced by W.C McCollom in The Garden Magazine back in 1908 as the cause on many undue plant deaths in the month of March. McCollom’s advice was this:

“Don’t get the garden fever in February and uncover things on the Continue reading