Winter Gardening Update and 2021 Weather Predictions for Spring

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.

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.

CLICK HERE for a link to how to manage Over Wintered Cover Crops

Season Extended Over Wintered Greens

Did you all plant Spinach to Grow Over Winter?  It is really fun to have a harvest in the middle of winter. Here is a quick video on how it is done. 

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:


Intro to Zoom plus a Look at 2021 in the Garden with The Greater Columbus Growing Coalition on February 4th at 7pm.

The kickoff to the 2021 growing season will be a virtual class held in partnership with the Greater Columbus Growing Coalition to talk a little Intro to Zoom plus review the 2020 growing year and take a look at our 2021 growing year.  It is time to get ready to grow!



The class is free and open to the public so bring your friends and your questions.  Registration to the webinar is required and the link is below.


Hi there,

You are invited to a CarmenZoom webinar.
When: Feb 4, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: GCGC Virtual Class

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Any questions about this webinar should be directed to the webinar organizer.






The Fall Container Garden

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.

How to Over Winter Vegetables Virtual Class Event in partnership with Franklinton Farms on Tuesday October 6th, 2020 @ 7pm.

There will be a free virtual class on How to Over Winter Using Season Extension and Low Tunnels held in partnership with Franklinton Farms on Tuesday October 6th, 2020 @ 7:00 pm.  This class is free but registration is required, see the link below, so bring your friends and your questions.


Hi there,

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Oct 6, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Can You Dig It! Fall Gardening Series Class #6: How to Over-Winter Spinach and Kale, Wednesday September 30th, 2020 @ Noon

The Can You Dig It! Fall Gardening Series that is a partnership with OSU Extension Franklin County and OSU University Libraries continues on Wednesday September 30th @ Noon to talk about planting over-wintered crops using season extension.  What could be better than harvesting your own fresh vegetables in February?  The class is free but registration is required (link below) so bring your friends and your questions.



There is Still Time for Fall 2020 Planting

Fall is a great season for planting and harvesting fresh local produce.  I did a Fall Planting Virtual Class Webinar recently that has all the details.  Here is an update on where we are right this mintue and what you can still plant for a later harvest.  The one month shows an average chance for temperature or precipitation away from normal.

One month climate predictions for September

I also use the three month climate predictions when I do my planning.  It shows that we have a decent chance of some warmer weather deeper into fall.  That will be great for a longer harvest of both summer and fall season vegetables.

Three month climate predictions through November

So what can you still plant?  Lots of stuff,  especially if you can do some season extension.  Remeber seeds are cheap, vegetables cost money. 

Do you have a seed start station?  Then you can start transplants indoors to get them ready for fall planting later when you have space open up.  Want to learn more about seed starting?  Check out Growing Franklin for a Seed Starting Video or a Seed Starting Virtual Class Webinar.  (or both!).

I will be starting lettuce and bok choi every 2-3 weeks under the lights for transplants out in my community garden and container garden.

My fall growing is more in my container garden.  Container gardening really exploded in popularity this year as more people wanted to get into growing.  I love my container garden and it is my primary garden starting in fall as my community garden gets mowed on November 1st.

L to R: Bok Choi seedlings, last planting of basil, a dozen heads of Salanova lettuce that will be harvested in rotation to allow the rest to expand and last about 2-3 weeks of lettuce.

Want to get a container garden started for fall growing,  Check out No Garden, No Problem – Container Gardening Website Post as well as Container Gardening Virtual Class Webinar for all the details on getting your container garden up an going this fall.

While it is too late to start broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage from seed, contact your local nursery or greenhouse to see if they have some for sale. I started these cauliflower seedlings around August 1st and transplanted them next week for a fall harvest.

So what can you still plant outside?  There are lots of choices, especially if you can season extend with row cover. All these can go in direct seeded in your garden right now.

  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Turnips
  • Leaf brassicas like kale, collards, mustards and bok choi
  • Arugula
  • Green onions
  • Carrots
  • Beets

Row cover is a spun fabric that is permeable to air and water. It provides frost protection to allow a crop to grow longer in cool weather.

What about spinach?   Looking at the soil temps it is a little too warm this minute to plant spinach,  They like cool soil temps for good germination.  You can try a little bit for a later harvest but spinach is really cold tolerant.  I will wait until later.

Once we get closer to October 1st I will get planting on my Overwintered Spinach Under Row Covers.  Do not forget to continue to harvest and manage your current crops!  We have weeks of great growing weather ahead.

CLICK HERE to check out the NOAA Climate Prediction website.


2020 Urban Gardening Grant RFP is OPEN on August 28th

The RFP for the 2020 Urban Gardening grant opens on August 28th.  This grant is a partnership with the City of Columbus, Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and Franklin County to fund community gardening and urban agriculture.   To view the details, please visit the grant page at the Columbus Foundation



CLICK HERE for the link to the 2020 Urban Gardening Grant page.

Can You Dig It! Fall Gardening Series Class #5: Late Summer Walk in the Community Garden Virtual Class Event on Wednesday August 26th @ Noon

The Can You Dig It! virtual gardening series, a partnership between OSU Extension Franklin County and OSU University Libraries, continues with our 5th class of the year,  a virtual late summer garden walk to talk weather, harvest, fall planning, pests, weeds, disease and answer your questions about your own gardens.  This class is free, but registration is required so bring your friends and your questions.

Wallace Community Garden, original Victory Garden remnant.


CLICK HERE to register for the zoom link.  There is no cost for the class, but registration is required.  Hope to see you all in the garden!

Free Fall Vegetable Garden Seed Distribution on Sunday August 16th and Monday August 17th

There will be a free fall vegetable garden seed distribution at the Kunz Brundige Franklin County Extension building at the dates shown below at the listed times.

For questions contact Mike