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

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

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

 

School Garden Week of December 19th, 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 serious cold coming up over break!  Make sure your beds are covered!  If you have plastic then add the plastic over the row cover.  If you have extra row cover then place that over the first layer and feel free to double up.


For GTS participants – You should have gotten an email from Lauren about the November survey.  Let us know if you did not.


Holiday break is coming up in a little over a week.  Indoors under LED lights:

  • BEST OPTION: Harvest and share with your students.  Send me pics if you are unsure if they are harvest-ready.  My email is mcdermott.15@osu.edu
  • Transplanting outdoors is possible but since we are late in the season and it is cold outside with no chance to harden off the seedlings, there is a significant chance they do not survive the transplant process.  That said,  you may want to try transplanting if you have no other option. Pick the warmest part of the day and recover the row cover immediately.
  • If you are harvested and done, then clean out the pots and tray with soapy water and unplug the lights so that it is good to go in January.
  • You can send the plants home with the students if you put them in different pots like milk cartons or styrofoam cups.  DO NOT SEND HOME THE GTS POTS!  They stay with the system.
  • Here is a timer video to help you navigate programming your timer for when you return.

 

 

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.

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

Have a safe and restful break.  See you next year!

School Garden Week of December 5th, 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 have gotten some very valuable feedback from the focus groups last week.  This will be a long email as a result.  First thing to address is that you are supported by me for your growing not only at school but at home as well.  I add more content than just the weekly updates and will be adding content such as events, videos, and supportive articles all year long.  The best way to get that content is to subscribe.  Use the email that you would check and use the most, like your home email.  You will get an email each time I post new stuff.  The button is on the right side —-> if you are on a computer and at the bottom if you are using your phone. 

 

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

I see a good time window in the middle of the week to check on the outdoor plants. See the raised bed planting recommendations below.

We had lots of questions about when to harvest.  Since everyone plants a different times it can be difficult to give advice without seeing the plants.  Feel free to email me pics and I will help you with your harvest questions.  Send them to mcdermott.15@osu.edu

There have been great suggestions from the focus groups on things you want to learn about,  keep them coming!  Like more Videos!  I have lots to share:

The hydroponic industry in Ohio is a huge part of our agriculture industry.  If you want to share a kid friendly video of hydroponic crops being grown at OSU as part of teaching then check out the video below from our Extension Today partnership with NBC4 filmed at Howlett Greenhouse:

The Extension Today playlist of kid safe videos about growing, harvesting, preparing and preserving fresh produce has a ton of content.  While all of it is not specific to GTS,  you may find it interesting.  CLICK HERE FOR THE EXTENSION TODAY LIST OF OVER 50 VIDEOS.  Lots of topics,  less than 5 minutes long each.

 

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:

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. We have such a time window this week starting tomorrow.  Plant a little patch of spinach and kale seed outside.  While it may not work, the hope is we get some germination so the kiddos can harvest spinach and kale next week.  Cover tightly with the row cover after to keep the soil warmed. 

 

Inside under LED lights:  

Some folks are just getting started with planting inside under the LED lights. I think that more planting under LED lights can be done, but only if you are able to take the plants home over Christmas break.   If you have questions, please email me, and send me pics as well. Happy to assist.

This is fertilizer for use for under the LED lights, not the hydroponic system. It could be used outdoors in a watering can next spring as well. It is a water soluble vegetable fertilizer.

Here is a pic of the label the fertilizer from the package. Use for fertilizing the plants under the LED’s every two weeks when you bottom water. 1/2 tablespoon fertilizer to 1/2 gallon water.

At the focus groups we sent home some fertilizer to use for potted plants under the LED lights.  I would use the fertilizer this week when you bottom water.  There was a little bit of fertilizer in the seed starting soil, but it gets used up so we need to continue to feed the plants.  Let me know if you have questions regarding fertilizer use.  If you need some contact Katie.  She will have some for the folks attending the last focus group that night.

 

Inside in the Aerogarden:

How did everyone’s hydroponic units do over break?  Hopefully they came through fine and you have had a bunch of growth.  If you are not able to take your Aerogarden home over break, then make sure to plan some time to clean it before you leave on December 20th so it is ready to plant tomatoes when you return after January 4th.  We will want to plant tomatoes immediately on return from break to maximize our chances of a healthy harvest.  If you need materials, contact Katie.  Any questions about your growing come to me.  My email is below.  Aerogarden has great videos in the link below to assist in maintaining their systems.

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.

Any questions about your growing?  Email me at 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

 

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.

Fall Vegetable Planting Time is Now

Looking for a fun outdoor activity this Labor Day?  Now is a good time to get some vegetable seeds in the ground for a fall harvest.  Right now you can plant direct seeded in the ground:

  • Lettuce
  • Leafy brassicas
  • Radishes
  • Green Onions
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Turnips

If you can find some cabbage or broccoli transplants at the nursery they can go in the ground as well.  In two weeks plant another short row of lettuce and radishes to extend your harvest even longer.  I would wait on planting spinach right now,  still a bit too warm for that finicky crop to germinate.

Check out this video on Planting the Fall Garden for even more information and enjoy the holiday weekend!

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!