We Grow Scientists on May 1st, 2024: Part of COSI SciFest!

The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will host “We Grow Scientists” on May 1, 3-7 p.m., at Waterman Farms. This day of hands-on activities will showcase the many STEM fields CFAES has to offer, including a look at the Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Complex. This free event is a part of the COSI Science Festival.

Check out the flyer below for more information.

CLICK HERE for the link to learn more about the event including food, parking, and more.  Hope to see you there!

Gardening for Conservation Webinar Series with The Nature Conservancy

I will be partnering with The Nature Conservancy for the third consecutive year for some gardening education and outreach.  We have expanded the webinar series to SIX topics of interest.  All are free and open to the public, but do require registration to get the link, so bring your friends and your questions!  I will be talking about ticks, growing your own food, and composting with both my OSU colleagues and TNC friends co-hosting! Registration links are below. 

 

 

CLICK HERE for the event page with more information plus registration or register for the individual classes below!


Registration Link for 4/24


Registration Link for 5/22


Registration Link for 6/26


Registration Link for 7/24


Registration Link for 8/28


Registration Link for 9/25


 

You can also click on the QR to register as well!

Hope to see you there!

School Garden Week of March 18th, 2024

This is a weekly look at what is happening in the school garden to assist teacher educators engage their students in agriculture.  It can be used by garden students of all ages however!

Send me some pics!  I know we have some growing going on right now!


Guess what?  The online modules to support Growing Teachers Throughout the Seasons are LIVE!! You can access them HERE, or check out the go link  –> go.osu.edu/GTS


First up a weather report to get us through the week for planning on our season extension:


Outside in the raised beds:

Hopefully you had a chance to plant and harvest last week.  We have some colder weather this week.   I do not recommend any outdoor work this week unless it warms up better than the prediction says.  Lots of opportunity next week to plant and harvest.

Once we get to the 50 degree days and the plants start to increase their growth rate, we will need to fertilize using either the Shake and Feed or the pink crystals that mix in with water that you got from Katie, not the Aerogarden fertilizer.  Make sure to follow the label instructions. Check for your fertilizers now, and if you do not have any, then contact Katie.

This week:

  • Monday – Friday look pretty cold for working in the beds.  We have some overnight lows that are really cold.  Make sure that your season extension garden cover is protecting your plants.

Once the warmer weather gets here, plus the extra sunlight, we anticipate fast growth of the outdoor veggies.

Have questions about how your plants are doing or if they are big enough to harvest?  Just send me questions and pictures to mcdermott.15@osu.edu


Inside under LED lights:  

We should have some good growth in the 2″ pots. You may need to start fertilizing your plants under the LED lights.  Add fertilizer to the bottom watering according to the package directions.  Email me or Katie if you have questions. Here is a bottom watering video to guide you if you have questions. 

All of the seedlings we are planting now can will be able to be transplanted outside later on, or if you want to let them grow indoors until they are harvested you can do that too.  Collard greens may get too large under the lights so plan on a later transplant date.


Inside in the Aerogarden:

Hopefully your tomatoes are doing great.  Let me know if you have any questions or problems.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden tomato planting guide. If you need tomato pods then contact Katie.

I have heard that some schools have tomato plants that are growing very slowly.  If you have a slow growing tomato plant, gently lift up the tray of the Aerogarden to check on root growth.  Take a picture of the roots to email to me and Katie, then gently replace the tray back onto the Aerogarden. We are trying to investigate why some tomato plants are growing slower than others.  One other thing to do is make sure that you shake your fertilizer bottle before you add fertilizer so that the fertilizer is mixed before you add some to the reservoir. 

Basic Aerogarden Tomato Planting

  • Plant just one tomato pod in the Aerogarden Harvest.
  • Keep the small plastic dome on the pod until germination.
  • Remove the small plastic dome after the seed sprouts.
  • Thin to only one tomato plant in the system.
  • Keep the other holes covered with the black or white plastic caps to keep light from entering into the reservoir with the nutrient system.

 

If you started in January you should have some tomato seedlings coming up.  Make sure to thin to one tomato plant per pod and with the Aerogarden Harvest, it is best to only have one in the system although I have seen some teachers do two.  Keep in mind if you keep two growing, they will use up water twice as fast and you will need to check and add water twice as much!

The Aerogarden website has a tremendous amount of content to assist with maintenance of the units, troubleshooting problems, or how to take care of the plants in the system.

 

Hopefully you have some good tomato growth in your Aerogarden. Once the yellow flowers open up, have your kiddos pollinate them according to Aerogardens instructions.

Do you need seeds or seed starter for your project?  Contact Katie.

Any questions about your growing?  Email me at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

Small Farm Conference in Guernsey Co. on April 6th, 2024

It may be a bit of a drive from Franklin Co. but there will be a ton of useful information for small farmers, or those who are looking to start a small farm.

OSU Extension will host the Eastern Ohio Small Farm Conference on April 6, 2024, at the Mid-East Career Technical Center Buffalo Campus, in Senecaville, Ohio! This is an incredible opportunity to hear from a vast selection of producers, professionals, and peers all in one place and just a short drive away.

Conference session topics are geared to beginning and small farm owners as well as to farms looking to diversify their operations. There will be five different conference tracks including: Horticulture and Produce Production, Business Management, Livestock, Natural Resources and new this year- The Farm Kitchen.

Some conference topic highlights include:

  • Raising Meat Rabbits (Kim Ray)
  • Making Goat Milk Products (Radisson Norman & Kirstin Roman)
  • Pastured Poultry (Jessie & Tyler Radcliff)
  • Livestock Handling (Mid-East CTC Students, Garth Ruff, & Brady Campbell)
  • Timber Harvesting and Marketing (Jake Peer)
  • Invasive Species (Carrie Brown)
  • Basics of Growing Paw Paws (Valerie Libbey)
  • Food Preservation Basics (Emily Marrison)
  • Herb Vinegars (Kate Shumaker)
  • Organic Pest Management (Logan Minter)
  • Growing Produce with Hydroponics (Tim McDermott)
  • Starting and Setting Up a Business (David Marrison)
  • Ohio Landowner/Hunter Access Partnership Program (John Morton)
  • Introduction to Bramble Production (Ryan Slaughter)
  • Products from the Hive (Joan Leary)
  • And SO MUCH MORE!

Anyone interested in developing, growing, or diversifying their small farm is invited to attend including homesteaders, gardeners, farmers market vendors, and anyone with a general interest in small farm living.

Attendees will have the opportunity to browse a trade show featuring the newest and most innovative ideas and services for their farming operation. The conference provides an opportunity to talk with the vendors and network with others.

The Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, 2024 at the Mid-East Career Technical Center Buffalo Campus (57090 Vocational Rd. Senecaville, Ohio 43780). Registration to attend is $100 and includes light breakfast and catered lunch by Hog Hollow BBQ, due by March 28, 2024.

For conference and registration information call OSU Extension Morrow County 419-947-1070 or OSU Extension Knox County 740-397-0401.  You can also register for the conference online at: https://go.osu.edu/2024osusmallfarmconference

 

I will be speaking on hydroponics! I hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

School Garden Week of March 11th, 2024

This is a weekly look at what is happening in the school garden to assist teacher educators engage their students in agriculture.  It can be used by garden students of all ages however!

Send me some pics!  I know we have some growing going on right now!


Guess what?  The online modules to support Growing Teachers Throughout the Seasons are LIVE!! You can access them HERE, or check out the go link  –> go.osu.edu/GTS

We will have printed guides available in the next couple of weeks.  We have two professional development opportunities to sign up to learn how to get GTS into your school. Both will be at my building, 2548 Carmack Rd. Columbus, OH 43210. (SEE MAP)  Both require registration as space is limited.

CLICK HERE for April 2nd, 4:30 – 6:30pm

CLICK HERE for April 11th, 4:30 – 6:30pm


First up a weather report to get us through the week for planning on our season extension:

 


Outside in the raised beds:

This is a good week to both harvest some produce, and fertilize.  Once we get to the 50 degree days and the plants start to increase their growth rate, we will need to fertilize using either the Shake and Feed or the pink crystals that mix in with water that you got from Katie, not the Aerogarden fertilizer.  Make sure to follow the label instructions. Check for your fertilizers now, and if you do not have any, then contact Katie.

This week:

  • Monday – Friday look pretty good to get outside to harvest or harden off transplants for planting.  If you start Monday or Tuesday, you should be able to plant by Friday.  See the video below!
  • Friday – Make sure your beds are covered before you leave for the weekend, it looks like some overnight cold is expected.

If you did not get a chance to plant spinach and kale last fall,  you will have an opportunity to plant this week.   If you need spinach and kale seeds please contact Katie. 

We have been getting some questions about hardening off seedlings.  Check out this video that discusses the process.  Lots more great videos in the GTS Online modules at THIS LINK

Have questions about how your plants are doing or if they are big enough to harvest?  Just send me questions and pictures to mcdermott.15@osu.edu


Inside under LED lights:  

We should have some good growth in the 2″ pots. You may need to start fertilizing your plants under the LED lights.  Add fertilizer to the bottom watering according to the package directions.  Email me or Katie if you have questions. Here is a bottom watering video to guide you if you have questions. 

All of the seedlings we are planting now can will be able to be transplanted outside later on, or if you want to let them grow indoors until they are harvested you can do that too.  Collard greens may get too large under the lights so plan on a later transplant date.


Inside in the Aerogarden:

Hopefully your tomatoes are doing great.  Let me know if you have any questions or problems.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden tomato planting guide. If you need tomato pods then contact Katie.

I have heard that some schools have tomato plants that are growing very slowly.  If you have a slow growing tomato plant, gently lift up the tray of the Aerogarden to check on root growth.  Take a picture of the roots to email to me and Katie, then gently replace the tray back onto the Aerogarden. We are trying to investigate why some tomato plants are growing slower than others.  One other thing to do is make sure that you shake your fertilizer bottle before you add fertilizer so that the fertilizer is mixed before you add some to the reservoir. 

Basic Aerogarden Tomato Planting

  • Plant just one tomato pod in the Aerogarden Harvest.
  • Keep the small plastic dome on the pod until germination.
  • Remove the small plastic dome after the seed sprouts.
  • Thin to only one tomato plant in the system.
  • Keep the other holes covered with the black or white plastic caps to keep light from entering into the reservoir with the nutrient system.

 

If you started in January you should have some tomato seedlings coming up.  Make sure to thin to one tomato plant per pod and with the Aerogarden Harvest, it is best to only have one in the system although I have seen some teachers do two.  Keep in mind if you keep two growing, they will use up water twice as fast and you will need to check and add water twice as much!

The Aerogarden website has a tremendous amount of content to assist with maintenance of the units, troubleshooting problems, or how to take care of the plants in the system.

 

Hopefully you have some good tomato growth in your Aerogarden. Once the yellow flowers open up, have your kiddos pollinate them according to Aerogardens instructions.

Do you need seeds or seed starter for your project?  Contact Katie.

Any questions about your growing?  Email me at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

Online Fruit Pruning School on Thursday March 14th, 2024

There is an upcoming webinar on pruning that should be of interest to growers of fruit trees, grapes, and raspberries.  The event is free but requires registration to access the zoom link.

 

Click HERE to register. 

Click here to view, download, and print the flyer –> Pruning 2024

Please direct questions to sherman.1473@osu.edu

Spring Gardening Basics Class at The Urban Farm Church on Wednesday March 20th, 2024 @ 6pm

Spring Gardening is here!  We are getting some sun and some nice weather.  Right now is the time to start thinking about planning and planting.  What seeds can we put outside and what do we need to start indoors under lights for transplanting?  What about soil testing? What can we do right NOW! All this will be addressed at The Urban Farm Church on 3/20 at 6pm.  This class is free and open to the public but does require registration (so they know how many snacks to make!) so bring your friends and your questions!  If the weather is nice we can do a little garden walk too!

CLICK HERE to Register

It is leafy green and brassica time!

You can also use the QR code to Register

You can learn more about The Urban Farm Church HERE plus find directions to the class (lots of free parking!) HERE

Seed Starting for Your Spring (and Summer!) Garden Class @ the Mt. Carmel Healthy Living Center on Tuesday February 27th, 2024 @ 2pm.

One of my favorite local partners that I do programming with is Mt. Carmel Healthy Living Center in Franklinton.  I have a class on Seed Starting coming up on February 27th, 2024 @ 2pm at the center.  While the class is free and open to the public, they do ask for registration to ensure enough space.  They offer a ton of other programs as well.

 

Click HERE for the registration link for their classes,  you will need to scroll down a little bit to click on the Seed Starting class.

Bok choi seedlings looking ready to transplant.

 

Here is the address of the center plus contact information if you have questions about the program.

Click HERE for a map to the center,  note the parking garage right next door for easy parking.

Thanks and hope to see you there!

2024 Beginning Farmer Series

Are you a beginning farmer trying to nail down all the resources and information you need to be successful? This series is designed to introduce you to some of the most important topics and resources of which a farm should be aware. OSU Extension, USDA and Farm Credit staff will present critical information on each of these topics allowing attendees to build relationships with these critical partners.

 

This series of events is free and open to the public but we do ask for pre-registration for planning purposes.  You can click the QR in the flyer or THIS LINK to register.

Click here to view, print, or download the flyer –> 2024 Beginning Farmer Series

Urban Agriculture Critical Infrastructure Grant RFP Due Soon! Apply by February 1st!

I want to remind everyone that the newly established Franklin County Urban Agriculture Critical Infrastructure grant is accepting applications until February 1st!

To apply for the grant or to get more information (e.g. application questions, scoring criteria, and eligibility requirements), please visit Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District’s website. Additionally, Franklin Soil & Water Conservation District posted the Grant Info Session recording on YouTube!

This grant aims to address a significant funding gap that small growers face when looking to scale up their operations. The current City-County Community Garden Grant continues to be very successful in its purpose, however, the total request amount for this existing grant is capped at $3,000 per applicant and it is only available for nonprofits – so another source of support is needed for local growers who have outgrown the Community Garden Grant and want to scale up their operations. Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District will also provide technical assistance, education, and key third party connections to grantees while ensuring equitable support for socially disadvantaged growers, including BIPOC growers, women growers, and low income growers.

 

 

CLICK HERE to learn more about the grant.