The class is free but they ask for registration if possible. Walk ins are also welcome. Bring your friends and your questions!
Click HERE for a copy of the flyer –> Gardening Year Round
While these classes are to support the South Side community of The Buckeye ISA, they are free and open to the public so bring your friends and your questions. Families with children that want to grow their own food may be eligible to enroll in the Buckeye ISA and get materials and educational support.
Click HERE to print the flyer –> 2019 Spring Gardening SS ISA
The next week has a period of intense cold coming to central Ohio. Grower’s who planted spinach under low tunnels using row cover should make sure that they have a second layer of frost blanket covering the planting and that the row cover is weighted securely against wind shear.
While there is a good chance that a full harvest amount of spinach is present, we have not had a warm enough day to break the micro-climate to check. Be patient, there is usually a chance for a significant harvest in February.
The period of warm and wet weather we had earlier in winter provided a chance to get good growth on winter cover crops. If you were unable to get cover crops planted this year, as you make your 2019 planting plan, try to add cover crops into your rotation to keep a living cover on your ground. It adds organic matter, prevents soil erosion and builds fertility.
The winter rye mix will require intensive management in the spring.
Right now is a good time to start seeds if you have a seed start station. You can start the following:
Central Ohio Weather Update
The three month forecast for temperature and precipitation is calling for colder and dryer than normal weather. There is a 65% of an El Nino weather phenomenon to form in spring. That will certainly affect backyard growers, community gardeners, and urban farmers in Central Ohio.
Keep an eye on Growing Franklin for further updates as we progress through the growing season.
It is not too late to plant a fall cover crop. Keeping the ground covered and alive over winter is one of the top soil health priorities for the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer. The recent spell of warm weather last week has kept soil temperatures fairly high for this time of year. Soil temperatures in central Ohio were around 63 degrees as of 10/14/18.
There are several species of cover crops that can still be planted in central Ohio. What you want to plant depends on what outcome you are looking for. Cover crops are tools in your soil health toolbox, you use what is needed for the task and what will accomplish your goals.
Some cover crops will achieve a modest amount of growth and then will die when winter temperatures go below freezing. These still provide many soil health benefits, but do not provide as much organic matter in terms of biomass.
Some cover crops are cold tolerant and will persist through winter’s cold, starting regrowth once temperatures and sunlight increase in early spring. These have their own management challenges.
It is important for the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer to prioritize soil health. Soil Health = Plant Health = People Health.
Planting a cover crop now will increase your soil health, add organic matter, prevent erosion of nutrients and give your 2019 garden a jump start that will pay off with increased fresh, local produce.
Click Here to download flyer –> End of Season
For the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer, there is still time to put seeds and plants in the ground. There are many choices available in vegetables and cover crops to take advantage of the cooler fall harvest weather and utilize the abundant rainfall and still optimal soil temperature, especially if the grower has the ability to utilize season extension.
Those who followed the Fall Vegetable Planting timeline are harvesting basil, lettuce, radishes, green beans and summer squash now. Monitor for frost closely and be ready to use season extension to protect tender crops.
There are still some choices to direct seed, these will need season extension to allow harvest into November and later:
There are several pests to continue to monitor for this time of year. Slugs will be numerous if organic matter levels are moderate to high. Deer are a serious threat due to decreasing amounts of fresh forage. They will consume nearly all fall planted vegetables without protection. The Cabbage White butterfly can persist in the environment deep into fall and their larvae can eat large amounts of foliage.
Spinach that will be grown overwinter in low tunnels under row cover should be planted withing the next couple weeks from direct seed. Check out this Growing Franklin post for a documentation of that process.
It is important to keep something growing all year long and avoid bare ground. This is especially critical over winter to avoid loss of fertility and organic matter from erosion. There are still several choices available including grasses such as rye or oats, legumes such as crimson clover or vetch and brassicas such as forage radishes. The choice of what to plant depends on what the goal is, what crop will follow and the grower’s ability to manage the crop in the spring.
This past weekend I prepared the area that had previously grown cucurbits into a seedbed.
I had used woven plastic landscape fabric as mulch and weed suppression for my winter squash and pumpkins. This was my first foray into using this method and I was impressed by how effective it was. The only drawback was that after removal the ground had reverted to its base state as a heavy clay soil. I think it is imperative that I cover crop following plasticulture to improve soil health going forward.
There is still time to plant cover crops. I planted a mix of winter rye, hairy vetch, crimson clover and forage radish. This mix will require intensive management in spring, but will persist over winter and provide multiple soil health benefits.
To find out about cover crops, fall vegetable planting as well as many other topics there will be a class on Fall Garden Projects to Benefit the Spring Garden at Grandview Heights Public Library on Tuesday October 16th, at 7pm.
It is common to not really want to think about additional work at the end of a gardening season, especially one that had as many heat and water challenges as this season did, but fall is the best time to do many things in the garden that if you wait for spring, you lose your best chance.
The best things to do in Fall to prepare for Spring include:
Lets go over them one at a time.
A great place to read about cover crops is from SARE, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. They have a Learning Center Online with great information and free publications.
Try to spend some time this fall working on making your garden better for next year. What worked for you this year and what did not? Take pictures with your phone to document the garden so you can use that for crop rotations. I try to add a new plant species each year and get rid of one that was not successful.
In spring time when you want to get planting you will be happy to have a new garden with great soil, some compost to add, and clean tools. That way you can start planting right away.
SUPER FUN BONUS SECTION: Want to make an easy cheap compost pile you can move anywhere?
There will be a class on projects that can be done in the fall that will make your spring garden easier to start and more productive during the season. Topics will include soil health, composting, garden expansion, cover crops, soil testing and more. Bring your friends and your questions to this free event presented in partnership with The Grandview Heights Public Library.
Click HERE for flyer to download and print –> GV Library Fall to Spring Garden
The most recent edition of OSU Agronomy’s C.O.R.N. newsletter published by my Extension colleagues gave the September and October weather predictions that will impact harvest of agronomic crops. The backyard grower, community gardener, and urban farmer can use this data to make plans for season extended plantings by applying frost dates and predicted temperatures and rainfall amounts into the planting schedule.
September/October Temperature and Precipitation Forecasts
(credit Jim Noel, C.O.R.N Newsletter, 2018-28)
What does this mean for plantings?
El Nino Update (8/9/18)
El Nino winters in central Ohio average warmer than normal temperatures with less than normal snowfall. Current the National Weather Service has an El Nino Watch in place.
The 56th annual Farm Science Review is only about a month away. There are many activities, events, educational presentations and displays over the three days of activity that the backyard grower, community gardener and urban farmer can use in their production.
Below are the activities at the Small Farms Area as well as across Arbuckle at The Gwynne Conservation Center. Both educational programs are included in admission including a tractor ride over to The Gwynne.
The Gwynne Conservation area is a short shuttle down the road from the main site. This natural area has educational programming with workshops in multiple locations as well as food sales and restrooms. Shuttles run all day long of the review each day to take patrons back and forth to both locations.
CLICK for Printable Flyer of the Small Farms Area activities for 2018 Farm Science Review –> FSR-2018-Small-Farms
CLICK for Printable Flyer of Gwynne Conservation activities for 2018 Farm Science Review –> Gwynne FSR Brochure – 2018