Final Stop on 2018 Local Foods Tour; Hugus Fruit Farm

Be sure to join us at 6:30 p.m. on September 13!

See first hand how and where your food is grown. On Thursday, September 13, enjoy a tour of Hugus Fruit Farm hosted by Ralph and Nancy Beth Hugus and sponsored by Ohio State University Extension in Fairfield County. The program will begin at their orchard, 1969 Old Rushville Road, at 6:30 p.m.

Apples aren’t the only crop cultivated at Hugus Fruit Farm! Walk the orchard with us and see how apples, peaches, pears, plums and Continue reading

Local Foods Tour Series: Tomato Tasting!

Back by popular demand . . . the 4th stop on the 2018 Local Farm Tour Series is a good, old fashion tomato tasting at the Fairfield County Ag Center. This year, in addition to tasting your favorite variety, we’ll also talk about the tomato diseases we often encounter, and preserving the crop once it’s grown.

The Master Gardener Tomato Tasting program will be held at the Fairfield County Ag Center located at the 831 College Avenue, Lancaster. Bring your most favorite tomato variety and we will see how well it stacks up with other tomato varieties offered for tasting. It should be a fun evening of learning and sharing.

In addition we’ll Continue reading

Grub Control Treatment in your Lawn should happen NOW

This has been one of the most prolific seasons for Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) in Ohio for many years.  High localized populations were observed throughout the state.  Adult populations of both the Northern Masked Chafer (Cyclocephala borealis) and the Southern Masked Chafer (C. lurida), two of our other common “white grub producing” beetles, were also very high this season.

Of course, high adult populations of these beetles do not necessarily translate into damaging white grub numbers.  Both the chafers and Japanese beetles lay dehydrated eggs that must absorb water from the soil in order to develop, so wet soil conditions support a greater egg hatch which means more white grubs.  Unfortunately, we experienced those conditions in many parts of the state.

White Grub Management Strategies

Cultural Control

Here is a primer for white grub management.  First, these Continue reading

Garden Open House; You’re Invited!

Bring a friend. It’s free and includes hot dogs, entertainment and children’s activities.

The Licking County Master Gardener volunteers invite you to come to Newark and “get inspired” at their annual Garden Open House. It happens from 10 to 2 on July 21, and is free. The location is their Learning Garden tucked behind the OSU Extension office at 771 East Main Street in Newark.

Explore and discover this Licking County garden gem. Several themed garden plots will awaken the senses as you meander through the garden paths. Visit Continue reading

Spotted Wing Drosophila Remains a Concern for Fruit Growers

SWD larva feeding on a raspberry

Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is a fruit fly that over the past five years has become a significant pest of fruit crops such as strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, grape, peach and plum. This insect causes damage when its larva – tiny white worms – feed on and within ripening fruit.

Beginning in early June throughout Ohio a number of county OSU Extension offices regularly monitor for the presence of SWD on several fruit farms. By the third week of June this year SWD had been detected in Clinton, Franklin, Greene, and Wayne Counties. Similarly, small fruit growers who have fruit that is ripe or near ripening should also be Continue reading

Tomato Diseases in the Garden

Symptoms of early blight on a tomato leaf.

Wet weather is a major contributor to a variety of diseases and pests in gardens, lawns, and shrubs. Many fungal and bacterial pathogens thrive in warm and humid conditions. Those conditions are also ideal for a variety of insect pests.

Tomato diseases are some of most often reported issues through the Extension Office. Most are soilborne diseases that can persist for multiple Continue reading

We All Love Mulch . . . Take Care Not to Misuse It!

Each year homeowners spend hundreds – and, in some cases many hundreds – of dollars on mulch for the landscape. When properly applied at the right time, mulch has its place. A thin layer of perhaps 1.5 to 2.5 inches of mulch can enhance the color of the landscape, aid in preventing weed germination, retain moisture in the soil, and moderate soil temperatures in the root zone of the plants being mulched. As mulch decomposes it also adds organic matter to the soil’s surface.

However, if applied to wet soils, or applied too deeply, when we receive the abundance of rainfall that’s been experienced throughout Fairfield County this spring, mulch can quickly become a detriment to plant health. Waterlogged mulch that retains too much moisture in the soil can be as problematic as poorly drained soils are to plant health.

Except for immediately after a rainfall, an ideal soil has approximately Continue reading

Local Foods Farm Tour: Mid-States Woolgrowers

Woolgrowers’ conveyor and wool sorting system was the only one of it’s kind when it was first utilized in 1995.

Join us at 3 p.m. on July 10th for the third stop on the 2018 “Local Foods” tour series when we visit Mid-States Wool Growers, the largest handler of raw wool in the U.S., located right here in Fairfield County! In business since 1918, this cooperative has 10,000 farmer members located across 23 states that handle and market 6 million pounds of raw wool annually.

The history of the Midstate Wool Growers is rich with producer involvement. From the beginning in 1918, where producers wanted a better price for their wool, right up to today when producers designed one of the most technologically advanced warehouses in the world, the organization’s driving force has always been to meet the needs of Continue reading

Marestail: Roundup Won’t Kill It!

Frequent rainfall this spring has allowed marestail to thrive everywhere including gravel driveways

Marestail . . . if you frequent farm stores you’ve heard people talking about how hard it is to kill. If you’ve been to a lawn and garden store, it’s the one they call, “that bushy leafed weed that Roundup doesn’t kill.” Yes, that’s correct, Roundup doesn’t kill it and it’s seemingly everywhere again this year.

Marestail has been plaguing farm fields and landscapes for the Continue reading

Vinegar: Is it a “Safer” Herbicide?

“Rain makes grain” is an ages old saying you might hear any time two or more farmers are gathered and a mid-summer shower pops up. While that adage may be true, it’s also common knowledge that rain makes weeds!

This year’s frequent spring rains have created lots of very healthy, rapidly growing weeds in the landscape. Along with those weeds come calls from homeowners asking for ‘safe’ ways to control them. One product that is frequently asked about for control of landscape weeds is vinegar. A simple question regarding vinegar commonly evolves into a conversation about toxins, pesticides, the legality of its use, and exactly what ‘safer’ means.

Let’s begin by saying that vinegar does have some weed control properties, and presently there are three vinegar products labeled in Ohio. “Labeled” means they are legal for use to control weeds, but only one of the three in Ohio is labeled as an herbicide. For some it may be hard to imagine, but common household vinegar is not “labeled” or legal for use as an herbicide in Ohio.

Regardless, when we take a look at what happens when vinegar is applied to a weed, we realize the acetic acid in the vinegar ‘burns’ Continue reading