School Garden Week of November 14th, 2022

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!

First up a weather report to get us through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend:

It was 70 degrees just last week but we have cold weather for quite a bit. I do not see a window to pop the top and check plants for a little while.

 

Outside in the raised beds:

I have been getting questions about what can still be planted outside.  We are likely done with planting in the raised beds. (See Below for a potential!)  Many folks have stated that they did not get good germination.  The warmer than normal weather made germination tricky unless the beds were watered daily until sprouting.  The heavy rain we had the other day may cause some delayed germination under cover that we will find when we are able to pop off the covers.  Make sure that when we get to the cold weather you do not uncover your beds on a cold day so that you do not shock your seedlings.  It should be above 45 degrees minimum to pop the top and it is better done around the middle of the day so you can re-cover, and build heat back up for the overnight lows. I do not see many good chances in this weather forecast.  Keep those beds covered tightly so they will maintain a beneficial microenvironment under them.

I know that some of you did not get a chance to plant outside due to many reasons.  While it is unlikely we can plant, there may still be a chance.  When you get your bed set up with soil added, but have no plants,  place the row cover and plastic over the bed to keep the soil warm.  I will be watching to see if we get a tiny planting window and will let you know.  Right now the days after Thanksgiving break look to be close to 50 degrees so if the soil is warm,  we may still plant.  

 

Inside under LED lights:

I think that planting under LED lights can be done, but only if you are able to take the plants home over Christmas break.  With the 9 day break coming up,  if you have plants in your rooms under lights, the ideal situation would be to take them on a little field trip back to your house so you can keep an eye on them.  If you cannot take plants home over the upcoming Thanksgiving break then I recommend that you bottom water them with one to two inches of water in the bottom most tray. Take them out of the top spacer tray,  put them in the bottom tray with 1-2 inches of water.  Leave them in the water in the bottom tray until you return from break. They will slowly take up the water over the break and hopefully if nothing goes wrong, they will be growing and much bigger when you return. Consider adding fertilizer to the water as well due to the long length of time away.  And enjoy the holiday break!!

This is bottom watering technique. The pots you have (I have six packs) are placed in an inch or so of water (with fertilizer if needed) for a half hour or so to take up water from the bottom. This fully hydrates all the soil in the pot. After a half an hour or so, take the pots out of the water, drain the water our of the bottom tray and place the spacer tray and pots back in the main tray to drain.

 

For the upcoming break, I would add even more water to the tray than this. This tray has about a half inch of water, I would add at least one inch to one and a half inch of water for a 9 day break. If you can check the plants over break that would be even better.

 

Inside in the Aerogarden:

With the long holiday break upcoming we are getting questions regarding how to maintain the systems.  Ideally you would take them home with you.  They travel very well.  I place mine in a brownie pan or similar to catch any tiny spills then bring them back the same way.  If you want to leave your units at the schools, I am not sure they can do OK with no water for the 9 day break from 11/19 to 11/27.  I think they would need a mid-break check and water add.  Make sure to add the fertilizer as needed as well.  If you absolutely have to leave them alone for 9 days make sure to add the water to the line,  have the caps secured over the open holes, and have the timer good.  Add fertilizer if it will need added while you are gone.

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.  CHECK IT OUT if you are having problems.

As always, if you have questions, feel free to email me at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

School Garden Week of November 7th, 2022

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!

First off.  Winter is Coming!

Make sure that you cover your beds Friday before you leave.  

Outside in the raised beds:

I have been getting questions about what can still be planted outside.  You can still direct seed spinach, kale, and cilantro right now and water daily until you get good germination.  Cover the beds before you leave on Friday.  This is a good week to thin your baby seedlings if they got planted too thick.  Water a few hours before you thin in order to make it easier to pull the extras. Because we have very cold weather coming, if you want to get seeds in the ground,  earlier is better. We will likely not have another chance to plant after Thursday this week.  Make sure that when we get to the cold weather you do not uncover your beds on a cold day so that you do not shock your seedlings.  It should be above 45 degrees minimum to pop the top and it is better done around the middle of the day so you can re-cover, and build heat back up for the overnight lows.

Inside under LED lights:

You can still plant lettuce and bok choi under LED lights for maturation indoors or potential transplanting out under season extension.  Do you have seedling ready to get planted or are getting close?  Check out this video to get you started seed starting:

I planted Bok Choi last week and they were up by the weekend.  I waited until the first true leaves came out then I thinned to one per cell.  I am using 6-packs, but the technique is the same in a 2″ pot.

Water a few hours before so the seedlings slip out easier.

 

Thin to the strongest seedling.

Inside in the Aerogarden:

You can still start lettuce and herbs in the Aerogarden.  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.  CHECK IT OUT if you are having problems.

As always, if you have questions, feel free to email me at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

 

School Garden Week of October 31st, 2022

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!

Happy Halloween.  Here is hoping for a safe and happy trick or treating experience tonight for the kiddoes.

I get lots of questions about the hardiness zones for plants for central Ohio.  The map has recently been updated.  Here is the new USDA Hardiness zone map:

Here is the map magnified to Ohio:

The map is interactive.  If you would like to access the map CLICK HERE.

 

Outside in the raised beds:

I have been getting questions about what can still be planted outside.  You can still direct seed spinach, kale, and cilantro right now and water daily until you get good germination.  Cover the beds before you leave on Friday.  This is a good week to thin your baby seedlings if they got planted too thick.  Water a few hours before you thin in order to make it easier to pull the extras. We had a little rain overnight but are still pretty dry.  Our only chance of rain on the 10-day is next Sunday.  Make sure to keep watering your seedlings or new transplants as needed.  For season extension this week.  You can leave row cover alone covering your plants no problem.  For plastic cover, you may need to uncover this week at some points.  The weekly forecast calls for cloudy, but warm.  If it gets sunny and warm it can overheat.

Inside under LED lights:

You can still plant lettuce and bok choi under LED lights for maturation indoors or potential transplanting out under season extension.  Do you have seedling ready to get planted or are getting close?  Check out this video to get you started seed starting:

Check out this video to get you started transplanting:

Inside in the Aerogarden:

You can still start lettuce and herbs in the Aerogarden.  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.  CHECK IT OUT if you are having problems.

You are also welcome to email me with any questions at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

School Garden Week of October 24th, 2022

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!

We have a warm start to the week this week.  I recommend uncovering any beds that have season extension over them.

 

If you have just recently planted or are going to plant in the next couple of days I would make sure to water your baby seedlings.  We do have a chance of rain on Wednesday but we are still pretty dry out there and the 10 day does not have a bunch of rain in the forecast.

Outside in the raised beds:

I have been getting questions about what can still be planted outside.  You can still direct seed spinach, kale, and cilantro right now and water daily until you get good germination. You can keep your raised beds uncovered this week,  we do not have big cold coming.  Cover the beds before you leave on Friday.  This is a good week to thin your baby seedlings if they got planted too thick.  Water a few hours before you thin in order to make it easier to pull the extras.

Inside under LED lights:

You can still plant lettuce and bok choi under LED lights for maturation indoors or potential transplanting out under season extension.  Do you have seedling ready to get planted or are getting close?  Check out this video to get you started:

Inside in the Aerogarden:

You can still start lettuce and herbs in the Aerogarden.  Their website has great care instructions if needed for the seed pod crops.

 

As always, feel free to email me with any questions.   mcdermott.15@osu.edu

School Garden Week of October 17th, 2022

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!

Seeds are coming up!  I had an opportunity to plant with 100 third grade gardeners at Summit Rd. Elementary a couple weeks back and we have some serious germination.

Photo credit: C. Comer

The spinach is coming up which I am happy for as it is a finicky germinator.  The lettuce is coming up thick!

 

Photo credit: C. Comer.

This lettuce is pretty closely planted.  It needs some thinning.  It should be watered a few hours prior and then thinned.   A great job for student gardeners.  I recommend spacing to about 3 inches, which is approximated by the length of an elementary pointer finger for reference for students.  If you paper towel planted, you are spaced already.

If you have not yet direct seeded in the garden you can still plant many things: spinach, kale, lettuce, carrots, bok choi, and cilantro would all do fine planted now.  The soil temperatures at Waterman Farm here on campus, found at this link (plus the other research stations across the state) shows we are at mid-50’s right now, which is fine for cool season planting.

 

 

We have some cold nights coming up.  I recommend that you cover your new plantings outside with row cover or plastic overnight this week.  Row cover should be fine to leave in place during the day but you may need to vent plastic during the day as it may become too hot under it if it gets sunny.  

For indoor planting you can plant lettuce, bok choi, kale, or other leafy greens under the LED lights for potential transplanting or sending home with the students.  For your Aerogarden, you can still start leafy greens and herbs now.  If you get to winter break and you have good growth in your hydroponic systems, the smaller systems can be taken home and plugged in to continue to provide a harvest.  For any questions regarding your school growing feel free to email me at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

 

High Tunnel Soil Borne Disease Testing

We have numerous high tunnels in Franklin County at both community gardens and urban farms.  USDA ARS (Agricultural Research Service) based in Wooster is now accepting samples for free to test the soil in high tunnels for the presence of soil borne disease.

CLICK HERE for the submission form and more information. –> Soil_submission_form_2022

Questions? Please contact Anna Testen, anna.testen@usda.gov or 330-641-2862.

Growing Over Winter Garden Walk at Greenway Community Garden on Wednesday October 5th @ 6pm.

You are invited to the Greenway Community Garden this Wednesday for a garden walk with some of my favorite people: The Growing and Growth Collective.  We will be talking about Growing Over Winter.  Lots to still plant but not alot of time to get those seeds and plants in the ground!  We will be talking season extension, cover crops, and what you can plant right NOW. This event is free and open to the public so bring your friends and your questions to The Greenway Community Garden at 1652 Greenway Ave. Columbus, OH 43203.  LINK TO MAP.

 

Grow Your Own Fresh Vegetables All Winter Long

One of my favorite ways to grow is over winter,  under season extension.  My favorite veggies that can handle the cold are spinach, kale, bok choi, and believe it or not, cilantro!

Check out this recorded webinar class on Growing Over Winter to help get you started.

Garden Walk at Franklinton Farms on Wednesday September 14th, 2022 @ 6pm.

We have a new date for our Garden Walk.  It will be on Wednesday September 14th, 2022 @ 6pm.

Franklinton Farms is a nonprofit ~2 acre scattered site urban farm. Over the past three years, with the support of a Warner Grant for Sustainable Agriculture through OSU, Franklinton Farms has been trialing a few different, low-cost ways to improve production of lettuce in our increasingly hot summers. We’ll share with you what we’ve learned over the past three years, showing our techniques and sending you home with a supplies and equipment list so you can more successfully grow lettuce in the heat.    This event is free and open to the public so bring your friends and your questions.

We will meet in the parking lot at the main office at 867 W. Town St. then walk over to the plot at the corner of  Walnut, Rich,  and Martin.  Hope to see you there!

Rescheduled!! Garden Walk at Franklinton Farms


The garden walk at Franklinton Farms on Tuesday August 30th @ 6pm is cancelled and rescheduled.  New Post Coming Soon.  Besides talking about planting, harvesting, and what is going on now we will share a little bit about some of the on-farm research that we have been doing together the past three years on some new and interesting methods of growing leafy greens in hot weather.  This event is free and open to the public so bring your friends and your questions.

We will meet in the parking lot at the main office at 867 W. Town St. then walk over to the plot at the corner of  Walnut, Rich,  and Martin.  Hope to see you there!