April is a busy month in the garden with bed prep, planting, and fertilizing to get a great harvest. If you missed last night’s class I have the information in two formats:
Fast social media version with a quick 3 minute review of the highlights.
The full class webinar recording with more detail plus chat Q & A.
Do not forget to register for the upcoming May Update in the Community Garden on Tuesday May 4th @ 6:30 pm held in partnership with the Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden. The class is free but registration is required:
You are invited to a CarmenZoom webinar.
When: May 4, 2021 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: May 2021 Update in the Community Garden
Our monthly seasonal gardening series continues with an April Update held in partnership with The Growing and Growth Collective. We will take a look at what is in harvest right now, what bugs are on the way, what to plant indoors and outdoors as well as take a look at the upcoming weather. The event is free but does require registration so bring your friends and your questions!
The Greenway Community Garden
You are invited to a CarmenZoom webinar.
When: Apr 8, 2021 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: GGC Spring Garden Walk at Greenway
I will be creating monthly quick video updates on what is happening right now in the garden and posting them each month to summarize the monthly virtual garden walk classes in 2021.
This will allow backyard growers, community gardeners, urban farmers and teacher educators to get information quickly or on social if you do not have the time to attend or view the monthly virtual class events.
In this 4-and-a-half-minute updatewe will take a quick look at:
Spring weather predictions
An update on the Over-wintered spinach and kale
What to plant right now under the lights for spring transplanting
Spring will soon be here so it is a good idea to make sure that you have your planting plans ready to go. Here is a virtual class recording of our 2021 growing season introduction held in partnership with the Greater Columbus Growing Coalition to get you started with a look back at last year and a look forward at this upcoming year in terms of weather, what to expect and what to plant now.
#2020 was quite the year. One positive was the number of backyard growers, community gardeners, teacher educators and urban farmers that either wanted to learn how to start growing or to increase their production of fresh, healthy produce. Growing Franklin was there every step of the way with a year long string of content. I am creating this post to assist any new growers as well as the seasoned grower progress through a years worth of content, starting this spring through summer, fall and even winter.
I highly recommend you subscribe!
Link is in the column on the right. ——–>
It is time to get started growing again!
First things first – Time to take a look at our upcoming weather prediction:
There is a greater percentage of warmer than normal and wetter than normal through April. Make sure to take advantage of that. If you can start some cool weather seedlings and protect them with season extension you can get an early harvest of lettuce, spinach, radishes, kale, carrots and bok choi.
The next step is to start planning that spring garden. Here is a virtual class event to help get you started.
When people started to social distance at home it was not just vegetables that they wanted to learn how to grow. Backyard poultry keeping saw a similar jump in popularity. Here is a virtual class recording to help get you started in poultry keeping.
One of the most powerful tools in your toolbox is starting your own seeds. This allows you to grow whatever you want to grow, whenever you want to grow it. The whole seed catalog is available to you. I will be starting seeds any time now for spring transplanting. Want to learn how to start your own seeds? Below is a whole recorded webinar if you want to go in depth, as well as a short snappy video that introduces the topic.
Recorded webinar class:
Quick introduction video:
What if you do not have a spot to garden? Try growing in a container! Container gardening lets you grow just about anywhere and is a great way to get a harvest from a small space.
Once you got some seeds started, depending on how you started them, you may need to pot those up into larger pots to get ready for transplanting. This short video will give you an introduction on how to pot up transplants prior to planting.
Kale is a tasty and healthy spring vegetable. Join me and my OSU Extension Franklin County colleague Jenny Lobb to learn how to make nutritious and delicious kale chips.
Now let’s talk some summer planting. We are big into spring harvest but we need to start thinking about some hot weather crops and how to get ready for them.
I am a huge fan of summer squash and zucchini. Here is a quick 2 minute video made in collaboration with my OSU Extension colleague Jenny Lobb on How to Grill Summer Squash
Tomatoes are the taste of summer. They are also one of the crops that generate the most questions sent to me. I have lots of content to share on how to get your best tomato year. First up is a virtual class recording on Tomatoes 101:
Here are three great articles with pics on some of the most common tomato weather questions:
Let’s take a look at a summer garden in full harvest and talk about summer growing. Here is a tour of my plot at Wallace Community Garden, an actual Victory Garden remnant from the 1940’s
Summer gardening usually means pests, weeds and disease. They can devastate your garden and drive you crazy. Let’s talk about managing pests in the garden:
If you are still hungry after the summer squash video then join me and my OSU Extension colleague Jenny Lobb on How to Grill Sweet Corn
While it is still summer, we need to start thinking about our Fall Garden. Each seasons gardening plans are made one season (at least) prior. So let’s start thinking about our fall garden and what we want to think about planting:
Once you get some transplants for fall, and have your seeds ready to go, it is time to plant the fall garden. Fall garden planting will allow a harvest right through Thanksgiving with some sound timing, the right varieties, and some season extension.
Organic matter is the foundation for great soil health. Fall is the ideal time to get a compost pile started to provide a stream of organic matter to use to get your best harvest. Here is a Composting virtual class event to get you started as a composter.
Fall is also a great time to get some end of season chores done plus get a jump start on next years growing. So when we say End of Season we are talking about the main season but as we will see below, we use all the seasons.
Ohio is a four season growing environment. Picking the right varieties, timing your plantings and using some season extension will allow a harvest all 12 months of the year. Let’s talk growing over winter.
Believe me, you can eat fresh, healthy produce that you grew yourself all 12 months of the year. Here is an update of a January over-wintered planting.
I hope you enjoyed a trip through #2020 growing virtually. Feel free to share. I will be hosting more classes this year to support growers so I recommend subscribing. Feel free to send any questions my way to Tim McDermott.email@example.com or if you are not a Franklin County resident, find the contact for your Extension educator at Extension.osu.edu
We are getting close to the heavy production time for backyard growing, community gardening, back to in-person school and urban farming, so let’s take a look at a few things.
Now that the new season is getting started, I highly recommend subscribing! Link to the right –>
I am already seeing and hearing about seed shortages from online seed companies. Make sure to do your ordering ASAP if you plan to get product that way. I have noticed a good selection, varieity and amount of seed available locally from nurseries.
Cover Crops Update
This is a mixed planting at the demonstration garden at my building on Waterman Farm. It is planted in oats and winter radishes. This should be a winter-killed mix, but is doing good so far as we have not had a very cold winter, plus it is located in a warmer microenvironment. I may have to terminate that via tillage to plant early in the season. This should not be as difficultt as winter rye which can be tricky.
A little frost damage, but otherwise growing very well.
I made a one minute quick video update on the Season Extended Spinach and Kale at my building’s demonstration garden to show you the progress:
Weather Prediction Update
Here is the most up to date temperature and precipitation update from NOAA, made on January 21st. It shows greater than normal chance of warm weather and rainfall both. Take careful note of this. I will use this information to start some seeds earlier than normal to try to get some plants in the ground, potentially under cover, to get an early harvest.
I will be starting some seeds soon to plant in my container garden as well as under cover at the demonstration garden. I will likely start some lettuce, arugula, spinach and bok choi with broccoli, cauliflower and kalettes soon after. Want to learn how to start some seed yourself? Check out these links:
There will be a Virtual High Tunnel and Season Extension School class series starting January 12th that is free and open to the public. Registration link is below. This is applicable for beginner through experienced users.
CLICK HERE to Register for classes. Sessions are free and you can attend as many as you wish.
You have heard me say that fall is a great time to grow. I have a Growing Franklin article on it as well as recorded a webinar if you want to learn more. My community garden has a growing season from April 1 to November 1 and is now done for the year. My container garden however has been producing heavily and I used the outstanding weather this weekend to move it to its winter location as well as plant 4 pots for future production.
The summer home for the container garden is on the south face of my house. Right now my neighbor’s house is shading this spot since the sun is lower in the horizon.
It was not easy to move these. Each weighs about 80-100 pounds and they had to go 30 feet to a different part of the driveway that gets better sun. Still I love my container garden as it allows me to grow all 12 months of the year. If you want to learn how to grow in containers, I did a website post on Growing Franklin as well as recorded a webinar class on it.
Once moved, I harvested the rest of the lettuce and bok choi.
Got four heads of lettuce and eight baby bok choi. I will start some more lettuce under LED lights to plant in a month.
I then pulled out the roots and amended the soil in four of the pots with a slow release organic vegetable fertilizer. I planted spinach in two of the pots as I had great success with that last year. If you want to learn how to Grow Spinach Over Winter you can read this Growing Franklin website post or you can view the Overwinter Growing recorded webinar I did. The other two pots got garlic. One pot hard neck and one pot soft neck to compare how they do in containers. OSU has an excellent Fact Sheet on Growing Garlic, so does our BYGL site.
Back row L to R is softneck garlic, hardneck garlic and Lunchbox pepper. Front row L to R is two pots of spinach direct seeded and a bed that will house lettuce transplants soon. I put bird netting on them to keep the squirrels from digging and will put row cover on as needed.
I left the pepper plants alone as they are still in good production and we have a good chance of warmer than normal temps still to come based on the NOAA/NWS prediction model. They are starting to show some mild yellowing of the leaves and I will need to fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer. I did cover the plants with row cover during the occasional cold snap that is common in fall. I will also use the microclimate benefits of black containers on a black driveway to scavenge extra heat.
Still predicting a higher than normal chance of warm weather through January. Great container garden weather.
It is not too late to plant believe it or not. Make sure to pick cold tolerant varieties and use season extension as needed.
Timothy McDermott DVM
Ohio State University Extension Franklin County
530 W. Spring St. Suite 275
Columbus, OH 43215
614-866-6900 Ext 220