Morel Time

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

Chanterelles are bright yellow to orange and found from June to September under hardwood trees. Photo courtesy of B. Bunyard.

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 timeframe and habitat that are poisonous. Proceed to Continue reading

The Spring 2023 Master Gardener Newsletter is here!

‘American Gold Rush’ Photo: Intrinsic Perennial Gardens

Inside this issue:

  • Perennial plant of the Year
  • Connie’s Corner
  • Give back hours recap
  • Upcoming MG events
  • February updates
  • MGV efforts at Wagnalls
  • This years’ All America flower winners
  • Cooker Lunch & Learns scheduled
  • Angiosperm & Gymnosperm
  • A Tomato Tale
  • Planting at the right soil temperatures
  • Spring cleaning pesticides and fertilizers
  • Plant damage in March
  • Gardening with Less Water by David A
  • The rose garden at the Palace of Gold
  • See what’s happening in and around the garden

Find it all linked here (PDF)

Seed Starting Class with the Fairfield County Master Gardener Keith Eichhorn

Want to learn the easiest ways to start seeds with out breaking the bank?  Learn more about when to start those seeds and the tools you might have around your house to get started.  Master Gardener Volunteer Keith Eichhorn will be leading the discussion on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at the Fairfield County Ag Center beginning at 2:00 p.m. The meeting is free and open to all those interested.  This is part of the Fairfield County Master Gardeners Spring Educational Series.  For more details or to reserve your seat, call OSU Extension in Fairfield County at 740-653-5419.

Apple Tree Selection Assistance

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

January is a common month where gardeners with cabin fever start itching to garden and thumbing through seed and nursery catalogs. Once you start browsing all the options on the market of things to grow from vegetables to fruits to flowers, it is astonishing how many different varieties of plants there are to choose from. Even just narrowing it down to your favorite green bean variety can take up an afternoon!

A common type of fruit crop that often comes up in my interactions with landowners is apples. Sometimes the landowner already has apple trees growing and needs help with management and sometimes they are starting fresh and wondering what to plant. The latter is easier for me to provide advice. Today I will share some of that advice with you.

It is important to note that like many parts of Ohio, Noble County soils tend to be heavy and don’t provide ideal drainage for fruit trees, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow them successfully!  You will want to Continue reading


Do you have a New Year’s Resolution to spend more time in your garden? Want to attract more bees and butterflies to your garden? What plants will help me to do that?  Are some plants better than others to plant to attract pollinators in the garden?  Want to learn more about the Power of Pollinators in your garden?  Make plans now to attend Gardening for Beauty, Bees and Butterflies Master Gardener Program on Tuesday January 24, 2023 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at  Wagnall’s Memorial Library, 150 E. Columbus Street, Lithopolis, OH 43136.  This program is free and open to all interested gardeners and their friends. Program will be presented by Fairfield County Master Gardeners Dana Raines and Kay Sargent in conjunction with Wagnall’s Adult Garden Club.    Please call the Wagnall’s Library at 614-837- 4765 to reserve your seat today!!

Please note the Beauty, Bee and Butterflies Program will be repeated on Saturday January 28, 2023 from 10:00 to 11:30 am with the Wagnall’s Teen Garden Club. Please call the Wagnall’s Library 614-837-4765 to reserve your seat for the Saturday, January 28 program too!  Presented by Fairfield County Master Gardeners Dana Raines and Kay Sargent in conjunction with Wagnall’s Teen Garden Club


Houseplants Care During the Holidays

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

Have any pests hitched a ride into your home on a holiday plant?

Over the Christmas holiday we’ve been taking special care of our houseplants. Well, specifically one really big houseplant. Well actually, it’s more of a gigantic floral arrangement. The plant I’m referring to is our live Christmas tree. While it is a live plant, it is gradually dying, like flowers wilting in a vase. But we’ve been doing our best to keep it well watered to keep it vibrant through the New Year. Afterwards it will be recycled as a birdfeeder, and we will hang birdseed ornaments and garland with fruit and popcorn to provide a snack for songbirds and enhance bird watching from our front window.

While sweeping spruce needles up off the floor recently, I noticed some webbing on the lower bows of the tree- a telltale sign of spider mites. These mites are common, and my house is the perfect environment for them. They thrive in warm, dry locations that have plants. They were likely on the tree when we got it and they became more active when we brought it inside the warm house. I began to get concerned for Continue reading

What to do with Autumn Leaves

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

The task of leaf gathering and disposal is underway. Leaf litter may seem like a nuisance, but the litter is a valuable resource that I hope you will consider recycling.

Leaves contain valuable nutrients for soil health. Healthy soils provide plants and animals with healthy habitats. Keep the nutrients held within fallen leaves in use by reincorporating them into your landscape in the form of compost or mulch.

It is important to take care of the leaves that fall on your property. Leaf litter can smother your lawn by reducing light infiltration, which can create patchy lawn growth in the spring. Leaves should also be Continue reading

Stink Bugs are Back

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

Stinkbugs are entering homes now in search of a place to overwinter until Spring.

It’s stink bug season again!

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is causing frustration for home owners and farmers across America. These shielded, flying, stout, and brown insects are thought to have invaded the US from Asia in the mid-90s. Since the first one was positively identified in 2001 by Penn State they have spread across the country and now pose threats worth $21 billion to specialty food crops annually. They cause damage to many food crops including fruits, vegetables, and grains.

There are many different kinds of less common stink bugs in our region that including beneficial, predatory stink bugs. Stink bugs do not create structural damage to homes, nor are they a problem if consumed by pets, and they do not bite. However, they are a severe annoyance and threat to Continue reading

Caring for Chrysanthemums

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

Now that September is here, many people are shopping for fall mums to add to their seasonal décor. While many folks consider chrysanthemums annual plants that you buy and then throw away before winter, they are actually hardy perennial flowers that can be kept over in the garden for a period of about three years before it is recommended to rotate to another plant to reduce the pressures of insects and disease. If you are up for a little extra work to keep your chrysanthemums thriving in the garden, you may be pleasantly surprised to see them come back next growing season.

Mums can be planted essentially anytime from the beginning of spring to six weeks before frost as long as soil conditions offer enough moisture and fertility for good growth. Chrysanthemums can be started from seed, cuttings, or purchased in pots and transplanted. However, potted mums that are already flowering will likely not survive through Continue reading