School Garden Week of February 6th, 2023

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!

For GTS participants, keep an eye open for the January survey from Lauren.

 

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

 

Outside in the raised beds:

So we finally have a little nice weather to pop open the row cover and see what we have growing.  Feel free to send me pics!   It is best to open the covers closer to the middle of the day when it is a little warmer, and then close the covers up tight after you view plants or take a harvest in order to build the heat back up under the cover to protect the plants.  You will need to make sure the row cover is in place Friday for sure as we get cold again this weekend.  Make sure you do not have plastic over your row cover if you were using that to provide extra protection as we will have needed rainfall for the plants and the rain will pass right through row cover, but not plastic.  If you have extra spinach and kale seeds and did not have a chance to plant last fall, you could direct sow some seed outside under the row cover this week as well.  That will give you a chance at a spring harvest to share with your kiddos.

 

Inside in the Aerogarden:

Last month we planted tomatoes in the Aerogarden.   Follow the instructions for tomato planting carefully.  Make sure you are checking water levels and fertilize as needed.  Make sure you check water levels each Friday before you leave school so that the water level does not drop too low over the weekend.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden planting guide.

 

Tomatoes are growing fast in the Aerogarden right now. Make sure to check your water level and fertilize as needed to keep the plants healthy. Keep your lights about 1-2″ from the leaves to avoid leggy plants.

Aerogarden Tomato Guide  –> tomato_planting_guide

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. Make sure to check your water level every week one or two times and add as needed.  Add fertilizer when needed according to the directions.

 

Inside under LED lights:  Review the video below to make sure you are thinning your seedlings under the LED lights as well as for the planting technique for broccoli if you need a refresher.  

This month’s seed starting under LED lights is broccoli.  You start it the exact same way as you did the other seeds indoors.  Plant 2-3 seeds then thin to one per pot.  Review the seed starting video below. Let Katie know if you need more seeds or seed starter mix or fertilizer.

 

This is 5 week old lettuce. I can harvest outer leaves to eat or wait until it gets bigger and harvest the whole head. It can stay in this pot for another couple of weeks, but I need to water pretty frequently since it is getting big.

 

The lettuce started last month is looking good.  You can harvest the larger leaves off the plant to taste with your students,  you can harvest the whole baby head of lettuce to taste with students, or you can let it grow a little bit longer.  Make sure you continue to fertilize every two weeks as they grow.  The bigger they get the more you will have to water.

If you have kale, spinach, or bok choy in the little pots and they have a few true leaves growing, you could potentially transplant them outside this week since we have a nice little period of warm weather.  They need hardened off, or acclimated to the colder weather a little bit before transplanting.  You could place the plants outdoors for a few hours each day and then plant on Thursday.  Friday make sure your row cover is covering your bed as we get cold.  You could potentially plant your lettuce plants outside under the row cover, but we do have some cold left this winter and lettuce is not as cold hardy as spinach, kale, and bok choy. Make sure to harden off your lettuce transplants before you plant them for at least 2-3 days.  If you need some space under your lights you may want to try planting a few out in the raised bed however.

Any questions?  Feel free to email me at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

Food Systems Webinar Series from CDFA

Check out the upcoming CDFA Food Systems Finance Webinar Series! They are very excited to kick things off on Tuesday, February 28 at 2:00 PM ET with our first installment – Bonds & Food Systems. The series will consist of five free webinars featuring programs and case studies, as well as traditional financing tools available for food and agriculture-related businesses and projects. Each webinar is designed to complement our recently released CDFA Food Systems Finance Best Practices Guidebook by expanding upon the tools outlined in CDFA’s toolbox approach. Please feel free to share this series with your network. We hope you are able to join!

The webinars are free, but registration is required.

 

  • February 28, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Eastern – Bonds & Food Systems

  • April 25, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Eastern – Access to Capital Tools & Food Systems

  • June 27, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Eastern – Targeted Tools & Food Systems

  • August 29, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Eastern – Investment Tools & Food Systems

  • November 28, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Eastern – Restoring Local Food Systems Through Finance

School Garden Week of January 30th, 2023

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!

For GTS participants, you should have gotten an email with a link to the December survey from Lauren.  Please respond if you have not yet done so.

 

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

 

Outside in the raised beds:

That weather report has cold temperatures all week.  I recommend that you leave the row covers alone and not try to get under to see the plants this week.  The snow cover is our friend,  providing a little more insulation and then watering the plants when it melts.  There is one day predicted to over 40 degrees but it will be so cold the night before and the night after that the row cover likely will be frozen and so I recommend waiting until next week when we warm up. I do not think you need plastic on top of the row cover right now although it is not a problem this week.  Next week we have warmer temperatures and rainfall predicted so you will need to make sure you remove the plastic on top of the row cover if that is what you have currently covering your raised beds.  You will only need row cover and that will allow the rain to water your plants.

 

Inside in the Aerogarden:

This month we are planting tomatoes in the Aerogarden.  If you planted herbs in the Aerogarden last semester you will need to clean out the unit before you plant your tomatoes so you can start fresh with a clean Aerogarden.  Follow the instructions for tomato planting carefully.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden planting guide. If you need tomato pods then contact Katie.

When you start your Aerogarden with the tomato pods you will place the little clear plastic cap over the pod until it germinates.  Remove the plastic cap once the tomato seedlings have germinated.  The cap is like the cover for the LED seed starting, it keeps the humidity correct for germination and then removed when the seeds sprout.  For the holes with no tomato pods in them, make sure to place the flat black or white caps over them to prevent light from entering in the system, which may cause algae to grow.  Email Katie if you need hole covers.

It may not look like it but my lights are only a few inches from the lights. As the plants get closer I will keep the lights about 1-2″ from the tops of the plants to make sure the tomatoes stay bushy and not get too tall. That is the guidance that is in the Aerogarden tomato guide. See the link below.

 

Aerogarden Tomato Guide  –> tomato_planting_guide

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. Make sure to check your water level every week one or two times and add as needed.  Add fertilizer when needed according to the directions.

 

Inside under LED lights:  Review the video below to make sure you are thinning your seedlings under the LED lights

This month’s seed starting under LED lights is lettuce.  If you did not get a chance to plant spinach or kale you can seed start them as well this month.  If you and your kiddos really liked the bok choy and you have the space under your lights and have some bok choy seed left then you can plant that as well.  If you do not have space to plant all of those,  and remember that we will be planting broccoli in pots in February (on pg. 3 on the GTS manual it states broccoli in March,  on pg. 30 it states we start broccoli in February – pg. 30 is correct,  we start broccoli in February and I will remind you all of that) so we need to plan on a little space for them.  Prioritize spinach and kale if you do not have any outside in the raised bed since the kiddos will be tasting them in the next two months. Email questions to me at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

 

This lettuce seedling was planted 3 weeks ago, is growing under my LED lights at 15 hours per day. I thinned to one seedling per pot. I am fertilizing it by bottom watering every two weeks.

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

We have been creating videos to support this project and have 4 done so far at our OSU Extension County YouTube channel.  Lots of questions about seed starting under the LED lights.  Check out the video below for a super quick, kid-safe (can show in class to your kiddos) seed starting video using the materials you have for the pilot:  The same technique as for kale in the video below works for spinach, kale, lettuce, and bok choy.  

 

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

School Garden Week of January 23rd, 2023

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!

For GTS participants, you should have gotten an email with a link to the December survey from Lauren.  Please respond if you have not yet done so.

 

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

 

Outside in the raised beds:

That weather report has cold temperatures all week.  I recommend that you leave the row covers alone and not try to get under to see the plants this week.  The snow cover is our friend,  providing a little more insulation and then watering the plants when it melts.

 

Inside in the Aerogarden:

This month we are planting tomatoes in the Aerogarden.  If you planted herbs in the Aerogarden last semester you will need to clean out the unit before you plant your tomatoes so you can start fresh with a clean Aerogarden.  Follow the instructions for tomato planting carefully.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden planting guide. If you need tomato pods then contact Katie.

When you start your Aerogarden with the tomato pods you will place the little clear plastic cap over the pod until it germinates.  Remove the plastic cap once the tomato seedlings have germinated.  The cap is like the cover for the LED seed starting, it keeps the humidity correct for germination and then removed when the seeds sprout.  For the holes with no tomato pods in them, make sure to place the flat black or white caps over them to prevent light from entering in the system, which may cause algae to grow.  Email Katie if you need hole covers.

In this pod all three of the seeds that came with the pod sprouted. Two of the seedlings needed to be thinned, or removed so that the pod is not too crowded. You can take scissors and very carefully trim off the seedlings you do not want, leaving the stockiest best looking seedling. Be careful you do not cut the one you want to keep. Do not try to pull them out or you may damage the one you want to keep. Send me pictures and questions if you have them.

 

This pod has been thinned down to one seedling and is good to go.

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. Make sure to check your water level every week one or two times and add as needed.  Add fertilizer when needed according to the directions.

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

Inside under LED lights:  Review the video below to make sure you are thinning your seedlings under the LED lights

This month’s seed starting under LED lights is lettuce.  If you did not get a chance to plant spinach or kale you can seed start them as well this month.  If you and your kiddos really liked the bok choy and you have the space under your lights and have some bok choy seed left then you can plant that as well.  If you do not have space to plant all of those,  and remember that we will be planting broccoli in pots in February (on pg. 3 on the GTS manual it states broccoli in March,  on pg. 30 it states we start broccoli in February – pg. 30 is correct,  we start broccoli in February and I will remind you all of that) so we need to plan on a little space for them.  Prioritize spinach and kale if you do not have any outside in the raised bed since the kiddos will be tasting them in the next two months. Email questions to me at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

We have been creating videos to support this project and have 4 done so far at our OSU Extension County YouTube channel.  Lots of questions about seed starting under the LED lights.  Check out the video below for a super quick, kid-safe (can show in class to your kiddos) seed starting video using the materials you have for the pilot:  The same technique as for kale in the video below works for spinach, kale, lettuce, and bok choy.  

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

OSU Extension to host Mid-Ohio Small Farm Conference – March 11th, 2023- in Mansfield, Ohio

Ohio State Extension announced plans to host a Small Farm Conference in Mansfield Ohio on March 11, 2023. The theme for this year’s Mid-Ohio Small Farm Conference is “Sowing Seeds for Success.”

Conference session topics are geared to beginning and small farm owners as well as to farms looking to diversify their operation. There will be five different conference tracks including: Farm Office, Horticulture and Produce Production, Livestock, Agritourism/ Marketing, Natural Resources.

Some conference topic highlights include: How to purchase our family farm, food animal processing, bee keeping, sweet corn, blueberry and pumpkin production, small ruminant nutrition, agritourism laws, fruit tree pruning and cut flower diseases.

Anyone interested in developing, growing or diversifying their small farm is invited to attend including market gardeners, farmers market vendors, and anyone interested 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. – 3:00 p.m. at the Mansfield OSU Campus in Ovalwood Hall, just minutes from I-71 and US Rt 30.

For conference and registration call OSU Extension Morrow County 419-947-1070, or OSU Extension Knox County 740-397-0401. Please follow this link to register for the conference: https://go.osu.edu/2023osusmallfarmconf 

 

Click here to view, print, or download the flyer –> Small Farm Conference Brochure 2023

School Garden Week of January 16th, 2023

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!

This weeks update will have similar material as last week as I know that some of you are in various stages of getting back in to your planting and growing.  Send me any questions you have as we get started.

I have heard back from teachers who lost their plants and some that their cold hardy kale, spinach, and cilantro did just fine.  Let me know how your plants did good or bad and let me know any questions at mcdermott.15@osu.edu.  I am going to discuss a whole bunch of planting scenarios below.  Email me if you have a question about what to plant right now.

 

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

This week looks like you have a chance to pop the top on the row cover to check your plants with your kiddos on Thursday.

Outside in the raised beds:

This week has some favorable weather for outdoor growing.  If you pop the top on Thursday to check your plants, make sure to cover the beds with the row cover right after as we have cold coming this weekend.

If your plants did not make it then do not worry!  We will be able to still plant and get a harvest in other ways. Let Katie know if you do not have any more spinach or kale seed but still need to plant spinach and kale.  We will be watching for a planting time outside in the raised bed.

If you still are getting your raised bed set up, let me know so we can talk about an individual plan for you at your school.

Otherwise keep the row cover on top of the raised bed and only check when temperatures get close to or above 50 degrees.

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:  

This month’s seed starting under LED lights is lettuce.  If you did not get a chance to plant spinach or kale you can seed start them as well this month.  If you and your kiddos really liked the bok choy and you have the space under your lights and have some bok choy seed left then you can plant that as well.  If you do not have space to plant all of those,  and remember that we will be planting broccoli in pots in February (on pg. 3 on the GTS manual it states broccoli in March,  on pg. 30 it states we start broccoli in February – pg. 30 is correct,  we start broccoli in February and I will remind you all of that) so we need to plan on a little space for them.  Prioritize spinach and kale if you do not have any outside in the raised bed since the kiddos will be tasting them in the next two months. Email questions to me at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

We have been creating videos to support this project and have 4 done so far at our OSU Extension County YouTube channel.  Lots of questions about seed starting under the LED lights.  Check out the video below for a super quick, kid-safe (can show in class to your kiddos) seed starting video using the materials you have for the pilot:  The same technique as for kale in the video below works for spinach, kale, lettuce, and bok choy.  

 

Example: There are 32 pots in the tray.  You could plant 8 lettuce, 8 kale, and 8 spinach now.  Then plant 8 broccoli in February.  Or substitute some bok choy in for some of the kale and spinach.  Let me know 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.

Inside in the Aerogarden:

This month we are planting tomatoes in the Aerogarden.  If you planted herbs in the Aerogarden last semester you will need to clean out the unit before you plant your tomatoes so you can start fresh with a clean Aerogarden.  Follow the instructions for tomato planting carefully.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden planting guide. If you need tomato pods then contact Katie.

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.

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

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

Marketing 101 for Urban Farmers on Thursday February 2nd, 2023 at 6:30pm

There is an upcoming opportunity for Urban Farmers hosted at OSU Extension Franklin County.  See the details below. There is a cost of $10 per person.  For any questions contact Mike Hogan at hogan.1@osu.edu 

 

CLICK here to view, download, or print the flyer –> Marketing Urban Farming_Franklin Co Training

School Garden Week of January 9th, 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!

I hope everyone had a safe and restful break.  The weather was unlike anyone had ever seen in the time frame.  It went from 60 degrees to 5 degrees in a matter of hours, stayed cold for days, then back to 60 degrees.  That may have been stressful for your plants.  I have heard back from teachers who lost their plants and some that their cold hardy kale, spinach, and cilantro did just fine.  Let me know how your plants did good or bad and let me know any questions at mcdermott.15@osu.edu.  I am going to discuss a whole bunch of planting scenarios below.  Email me if you have a question about what to plant right now.

 

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

 

Outside in the raised beds:

Hopefully everyone’s plants made it through the cold snap.  The snow would have helped.  It is a very good insulator.  I recommend you resist the temptation to check on them until about Wednesday or Thursday when we have a warm-ish day.  Once it gets close to 50 degrees you can carefully check under the row cover to see how they did.  If you have a layer of plastic on top of your row cover from over break,  you can remove the extra plastic layer tomorrow.

If your plants made it then great!  We have favorable weather for growing for the next couple of weeks in the forecast.

If your plants did not make it then do not worry!  We will be able to still plant and get a harvest in other ways. Let Katie know if you do not have any more spinach or kale seed but still need to plant spinach and kale.  We will be watching for a planting time outside in the raised bed.

If you still are getting your raised bed set up, let me know so we can talk about an individual plan for you at your school.

Otherwise keep the row cover on top of the raised bed and only check when temperatures get close to or above 50 degrees.

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:  

This month’s seed starting under LED lights is lettuce.  If you did not get a chance to plant spinach or kale you can seed start them as well this month.  If you and your kiddos really liked the bok choy and you have the space under your lights and have some bok choy seed left then you can plant that as well.  If you do not have space to plant all of those,  and remember that we will be planting broccoli in pots in February (on pg. 3 on the GTS manual it states broccoli in March,  on pg. 30 it states we start broccoli in February – pg. 30 is correct,  we start broccoli in February and I will remind you all of that) so we need to plan on a little space for them.  Prioritize spinach and kale if you do not have any outside in the raised bed since the kiddos will be tasting them in the next two months. Email questions to me at mcdermott.15@osu.edu

We have been creating videos to support this project and have 4 done so far at our OSU Extension County YouTube channel.  Lots of questions about seed starting under the LED lights.  Check out the video below for a super quick, kid-safe (can show in class to your kiddos) seed starting video using the materials you have for the pilot:  The same technique as for kale in the video below works for spinach, kale, lettuce, and bok choy.  

 

Example: There are 32 pots in the tray.  You could plant 8 lettuce, 8 kale, and 8 spinach now.  Then plant 8 broccoli in February.  Or substitute some bok choy in for some of the kale and spinach.  Let me know 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.

Inside in the Aerogarden:

This month we are planting tomatoes in the Aerogarden.  If you planted herbs in the Aerogarden last semester you will need to clean out the unit before you plant your tomatoes so you can start fresh with a clean Aerogarden.  Follow the instructions for tomato planting carefully.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden planting guide. If you need tomato pods then contact Katie.

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.

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

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

Attention Ohio Food Producers – Ohio CAN

This looks like a great opportunity. Producers can sell food to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.   Try the QR code in the pic below or if that does not work,  open the PDF of the flyer at the bottom to get more information.  You can also click HERE for the press release as well as HERE for the website page with more information.

CLICK HERE to view, print, or download the flyer –>  Ohio CAN One Pager