A Garden Walk @ Mari Sunami Community Garden on Thursday June 27th @ 6pm.

I have been collaborating with Community Development for All People on the South Side for the past several years to increase urban agricultural production by bringing the former South Side Settlement House garden, now named Mari Sunami Community Garden back in to production.  It is an exciting project for me due to the location and the history.  A wonderful, large space with full sun and amazing possibilities.

You are invited to attend a garden walk on Thursday June 27th @ 6pm at Mari Sunami.  We will talk tomato pruning, integrated pest management, and summer veggies. Plus any of your questions.  Hopefully this heat goes away by then! The event is free and open to the public so bring your friends and your questions!

The above picture shows the garden looking north getting ready for spring planting.  Plans include soil amendments and a water line in 2024.

Mari Sunami Community Garden can be a little tricky to find.  The above picture shows its location between Innis and Woodrow on the South Side.  CLICK HERE for the Google map link as well.  The address is 248 Stanaford Pl. Columbus, OH 43207

Tomatoes 101 Class at the Mt. Carmel Healthy Living Center @ 3pm on Tuesday June 18th.

I will be teaching an in-person class on Tomatoes 101 in collaboration with my friends at the Mt. Carmel Healthy Living Center at 3pm on Tuesday June 18th.  The class is free and open to the public, but does require registration,  see the link below.  We will talk fertilization, pruning, and trellising so bring your friends and your questions!

The class is free but does require registration.  CLICK HERE for the link to the registration page for the Tomatoes 101 and other classes.

The Mt. Carmel Healthy Living Center is located at 777 W. State St. Columbus, OH 43222.  Free parking is available on site.  Hope to see you there!


If you cannot make the class,  I have a recorded webinar that you can watch whenever you want to learn more about growing healthy tomatoes.

Summer Vegetable Gardening Class at the Grandview Library on Tuesday May 21st, 2024 at 6:30pm

I will be teaching a class on Summer Vegetable Gardening at the Grandview Heights Public Library on Tuesday May 21st @ 6:30pm.  We will discuss what to plant now, our summer weather projections, fertilization, and what bugs to look out for plus your questions.  The event is free and open to the public so bring your friends and your questions!

 

CLICK HERE for directions to the Grandview Heights Public Library.

 

School Garden Week of May 13th, 2024

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!

Send me some pics!  I know we have some growing going on right now!


Guess what?  The online modules to support Growing Teachers Throughout the Seasons are LIVE!! You can access them HERE, or check out the go link  –> go.osu.edu/GTS


Thank You Teachers!  You are Awesome!  I have enjoyed this past school year tremendously working with you and seeing the amazing job you are doing with your kiddos.


CCS GTS Teachers!  It is time to get a last harvest and get your growing spaces cleaned and put to rest for the summer. 

With only a few weeks left in the season it is time to think about harvesting and then cleaning up your indoor and outdoor spaces for the summer.  I highly recommend that you do not garden during the summer in your outdoor space unless you need to do that for programming.  Harvest your produce, pull any weeds, and then cover the raised bed with black plastic.  That will prevent weeds and soil loss so that your outdoor agricultural space is ready to go in the fall when school starts back up.  Enjoy your summer! 


Closing Up Your Garden

Please be sure that all of your garden systems are closed up before you leave for the summer. We are getting closer to the last day of the year and now is a good time to engage your students to assist you with garden clean up.  Here is some helpful information from Katie.

Outdoor Raised Bed:

  1. Harvest all of the remaining produce from the outdoor raised bed.
  2. Remove any weeds that are present.
  3. Cover with black plastic and use landscape pins to pin down the ends, middle, and sides of the plastic.
  4. Add some pavers or large rocks on top of the plastic to keep the wind from pulling the landscape pins out.
  5. If there is an issue with vandalism at your site, you may want to take your white hoops off of your bed and store them in your classroom.
  6. The black plastic is important because it will keep your garden free of weeds and pests over the summer.  Then in August, all you will need to do is roll back the plastic, mix up your soil, and you are ready to plant.  Please be sure to fold up this black plastic and store for use the following May.  This item will not be replaced each year. 
  7. Be sure to clean and fold up your fabric row covers and clips and store them for the following year. These items will not be replaced each year.

 

Row Cover Cleaning:

Row cover can be washed by hand in a sink or large tub of hot soapy water and then rinsed a few times in clear water. Or you can wash it in a washing machine on the gentle or delicate cycle. It’s best to dry it in the sun as it will also help disinfect it and brighten it.


Indoor Grow Stations : Cleaning your AeroGarden

Start by dismantling your garden and cleaning out your indoor plants and any leftover roots. Roots can grow into the filter, so be sure to clean it out and reinstall after you’ve finished cleaning the bowl. If the filter looks too worn, replace the filter to prolong the life of your pump. Be careful not to throw away your filter by accident! It’s easy to do when removing plant roots.

After clearing out the roots, you should clean and sanitize your AeroGarden® hydroponics growing system to help prevent the growth of root pathogens that can destroy your live plants. There are various ways to clean your garden:

If you have a dishwasher:

  • Put your grow deck and bowl in the top rack of the dishwasher.
  • Run through a warm or cold water cycle (do not use a hot water or heat dry cycle).
  • Reassemble to start your next round of gardening.

If you don’t have a dishwasher:

  • Fill the bowl with either water and a ¼ cup of chlorine bleach OR 5 cups of distilled white vinegar (no need to use water if you’re using the vinegar). Vinegar also helps prevent and clean up mineral deposits in your garden.
  • Let the water pump or aerator circulate the solution for 5 minutes.
  • Empty the solution, rinse well, and then fill with clear water (no bleach).
  • Allow the pump or aerator to circulate the clear water for 5 minutes.
  • Empty and rinse once more to ensure that all solution is rinsed from the bowl.

Cleaning the Grow Deck:

Sometimes roots will grow through the nozzles on the grow deck and prevent proper water flow. Separating and cleaning the grow deck of any stray roots can help keep the water flowing efficiently. The grow deck can be separated on almost all AeroGarden® models.

First, remove the grow deck from the bowl of your AeroGarden® and place it upside-down on a flat surface. Locate the tabs on the underside of the deck and push the tabs inward and down. The tabs are flexible and designed to be separated. Use a scrub brush or similar cleaning tool to remove the roots and any other debris from the grow deck. Snap back together in place.

 For your LED light and seed starting trays: 

  1. Clean trays and potting cups with soap and water (they are also top shelf dishwasher safe).
  2. Remove the sides of the LED light and place back into the box with the light panel.
  3. Store all of the potting cups, the timer, plug, and extension cord, trays and lights in a cabinet or storage tote.  If you have any extra potting mix, fertilizer, or seeds please store them with these other supplies.

CLICK for a PDF of the CLOSING THE GARDEN instructions –> Closing Up Your Garden


Harvest Time!

I know that many of you have harvest festivals and taste testing at school.  Make sure that you follow safe harvesting techniques.  Here is a video to guide you.

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

School Garden Week of May 5th, 2024

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!

Send me some pics!  I know we have some growing going on right now!


Guess what?  The online modules to support Growing Teachers Throughout the Seasons are LIVE!! You can access them HERE, or check out the go link  –> go.osu.edu/GTS


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


Outside in the raised beds:

Once we get to the 50 degree days and the plants start to increase their growth rate, we will need to fertilize using either the Shake and Feed or the pink crystals that mix in with water that you got from Katie, not the Aerogarden fertilizer.  Make sure to follow the label instructions. Check for your fertilizers now, and if you do not have any, then contact Katie.

With the warm weather and fast growth,  make sure you are watering as needed, once to twice per week, check and water on Fridays before the weekend!

This week:

  • All the days this week are good for harvesting, watering, and fertilizing your plants.
  • Make sure you keep using the season extension garden cover as we have some cold weather this weekend potentially!
  • Friday  – Make sure you water well on Friday if we do not get lots of rain this week.

 


Inside under LED lights:  

CCS Teachers – Try to plant all of your transplants outside in your raised beds as soon as they are ready to go and have been hardened off.  Great growing weather ahead. 

Here is the transplant video if you need a refresher on transplanting:

 


Inside in the Aerogarden:

Hopefully your tomatoes are doing great and you are getting a harvest with your kiddos.  Let me know if you have any questions or problems.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden tomato 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.

This yellow cherry tomato looks great! Well pruned, fertilized, and pollinated and producing lots of tomatoes.

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


Harvest Time!

I know that many of you have harvest festivals and taste testing at school.  Make sure that you follow safe harvesting techniques.  Here is a video to guide you.

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

School Garden Week of April 8th, 2024

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!

Send me some pics!  I know we have some growing going on right now!


Guess what?  The online modules to support Growing Teachers Throughout the Seasons are LIVE!! You can access them HERE, or check out the go link  –> go.osu.edu/GTS


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

 


Outside in the raised beds:

Once we get to the 50 degree days and the plants start to increase their growth rate, we will need to fertilize using either the Shake and Feed or the pink crystals that mix in with water that you got from Katie, not the Aerogarden fertilizer.  Make sure to follow the label instructions. Check for your fertilizers now, and if you do not have any, then contact Katie.

This week:

  • All the days this week are good for harvesting, watering, and fertilizing your plants.  Make sure to allow the beds to warm up before you pop the top open.  Around mid-day is best.  Check to see if you need to water.
  • The planting recommendations are based on temperature.  Stay inside and safe if there are thunderstorms outside.  Do not harden off plants if there is heavy rain and wind. 
  • Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday – If you have transplants that need to be planted outside, these days are good for hardening off your plants.  Check out the video below for tips.
  • Thursday- A good planting and harvest day.  Water your beds if we do not get lots of rain. Make sure to cover your beds before you leave.
  • Friday  – A good planting and harvest day. We are supposed to have lots of rain this week, but if we do not, make sure to water before you leave for the weekend.

Here is a video that details how to harden off your plants prior to transplanting, to minimize transplant shock.

Once the warmer weather gets here, plus the extra sunlight, we anticipate fast growth of the outdoor veggies.


Since we are in great harvest weather, make sure you are following safe harvesting procedures.  Check out this video for some safe harvesting tips.

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:  

CCS Teachers – Try to plant all of your transplants outside in your raised beds as soon as they are ready to go and have been hardened off.  Great growing weather ahead. 

Here is the transplant video if you need a refresher on transplanting:

 


Inside in the Aerogarden:

Hopefully your tomatoes are doing great.  Let me know if you have any questions or problems.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden tomato planting guide. If you need tomato pods then contact Katie.

I have heard that some schools have tomato plants that are growing very slowly.  If you have a slow growing tomato plant, gently lift up the tray of the Aerogarden to check on root growth.  Take a picture of the roots to email to me and Katie, then gently replace the tray back onto the Aerogarden. We are trying to investigate why some tomato plants are growing slower than others.  One other thing to do is make sure that you shake your fertilizer bottle before you add fertilizer so that the fertilizer is mixed before you add some to the reservoir. 

Basic Aerogarden Tomato Planting

  • Plant just one tomato pod in the Aerogarden Harvest.
  • Keep the small plastic dome on the pod until germination.
  • Remove the small plastic dome after the seed sprouts.
  • Thin to only one tomato plant in the system.
  • Keep the other holes covered with the black or white plastic caps to keep light from entering into the reservoir with the nutrient system.

 

If you started in January you should have some tomato seedlings coming up.  Make sure to thin to one tomato plant per pod and with the Aerogarden Harvest, it is best to only have one in the system although I have seen some teachers do two.  Keep in mind if you keep two growing, they will use up water twice as fast and you will need to check and add water twice as much!

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.

 

Hopefully you have some good tomato growth in your Aerogarden. Once the yellow flowers open up, have your kiddos pollinate them according to Aerogardens instructions.

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

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

Gardening for Conservation Webinar Series with The Nature Conservancy

I will be partnering with The Nature Conservancy for the third consecutive year for some gardening education and outreach.  We have expanded the webinar series to SIX topics of interest.  All are free and open to the public, but do require registration to get the link, so bring your friends and your questions!  I will be talking about ticks, growing your own food, and composting with both my OSU colleagues and TNC friends co-hosting! Registration links are below. 

 

 

CLICK HERE for the event page with more information plus registration or register for the individual classes below!


Registration Link for 4/24


Registration Link for 5/22


Registration Link for 6/26


Registration Link for 7/24


Registration Link for 8/28


Registration Link for 9/25


 

You can also click on the QR to register as well!

Hope to see you there!

School Garden Week of March 25th, 2024

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!

Send me some pics!  I know we have some growing going on right now!


Guess what?  The online modules to support Growing Teachers Throughout the Seasons are LIVE!! You can access them HERE, or check out the go link  –> go.osu.edu/GTS


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


Outside in the raised beds:

Once we get to the 50 degree days and the plants start to increase their growth rate, we will need to fertilize using either the Shake and Feed or the pink crystals that mix in with water that you got from Katie, not the Aerogarden fertilizer.  Make sure to follow the label instructions. Check for your fertilizers now, and if you do not have any, then contact Katie.

This week:

  • All the days this week are good for harvesting, watering, and fertilizing your plants.  Make sure to allow the beds to warm up before you pop the top open.  Around mid-day is best.  Check to see if you need to water.  We have not had a lot of rain in the past week and your raised bed plants might need a drink.
  • Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday – If you have transplants that need to be planted outside, these days are good for hardening off your plants.  Check out the video below for tips.
  • Thursday- good planting and harvest day.  Water your beds if we do not get lots of rain on Tuesday. Make sure to cover your beds before you leave.
  • Friday  – Spring Break for CCS!

Here is a video that details how to harden off your plants prior to transplanting, to minimize transplant shock.

Once the warmer weather gets here, plus the extra sunlight, we anticipate fast growth of the outdoor veggies.


Since we are in great harvest weather, make sure you are following safe harvesting procedures.  Check out this video for some safe harvesting tips.

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:  

CCS Teachers – Try to plant all of your transplants outside in your raised beds and then thoroughly water them deeply before you leave for spring break!  Cover your beds with season extension garden cover after you water. 

Here is the transplant video if you need a refresher on transplanting:

 


Inside in the Aerogarden:

Hopefully your tomatoes are doing great.  Let me know if you have any questions or problems.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden tomato planting guide. If you need tomato pods then contact Katie.

I have heard that some schools have tomato plants that are growing very slowly.  If you have a slow growing tomato plant, gently lift up the tray of the Aerogarden to check on root growth.  Take a picture of the roots to email to me and Katie, then gently replace the tray back onto the Aerogarden. We are trying to investigate why some tomato plants are growing slower than others.  One other thing to do is make sure that you shake your fertilizer bottle before you add fertilizer so that the fertilizer is mixed before you add some to the reservoir. 

Basic Aerogarden Tomato Planting

  • Plant just one tomato pod in the Aerogarden Harvest.
  • Keep the small plastic dome on the pod until germination.
  • Remove the small plastic dome after the seed sprouts.
  • Thin to only one tomato plant in the system.
  • Keep the other holes covered with the black or white plastic caps to keep light from entering into the reservoir with the nutrient system.

 

If you started in January you should have some tomato seedlings coming up.  Make sure to thin to one tomato plant per pod and with the Aerogarden Harvest, it is best to only have one in the system although I have seen some teachers do two.  Keep in mind if you keep two growing, they will use up water twice as fast and you will need to check and add water twice as much!

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.

 

Hopefully you have some good tomato growth in your Aerogarden. Once the yellow flowers open up, have your kiddos pollinate them according to Aerogardens instructions.

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

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

School Garden Week of March 18th, 2024

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!

Send me some pics!  I know we have some growing going on right now!


Guess what?  The online modules to support Growing Teachers Throughout the Seasons are LIVE!! You can access them HERE, or check out the go link  –> go.osu.edu/GTS


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


Outside in the raised beds:

Hopefully you had a chance to plant and harvest last week.  We have some colder weather this week.   I do not recommend any outdoor work this week unless it warms up better than the prediction says.  Lots of opportunity next week to plant and harvest.

Once we get to the 50 degree days and the plants start to increase their growth rate, we will need to fertilize using either the Shake and Feed or the pink crystals that mix in with water that you got from Katie, not the Aerogarden fertilizer.  Make sure to follow the label instructions. Check for your fertilizers now, and if you do not have any, then contact Katie.

This week:

  • Monday – Friday look pretty cold for working in the beds.  We have some overnight lows that are really cold.  Make sure that your season extension garden cover is protecting your plants.

Once the warmer weather gets here, plus the extra sunlight, we anticipate fast growth of the outdoor veggies.

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:  

We should have some good growth in the 2″ pots. You may need to start fertilizing your plants under the LED lights.  Add fertilizer to the bottom watering according to the package directions.  Email me or Katie if you have questions. Here is a bottom watering video to guide you 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.  Collard greens may get too large under the lights so plan on a later transplant date.


Inside in the Aerogarden:

Hopefully your tomatoes are doing great.  Let me know if you have any questions or problems.  CLICK HERE for the Aerogarden tomato planting guide. If you need tomato pods then contact Katie.

I have heard that some schools have tomato plants that are growing very slowly.  If you have a slow growing tomato plant, gently lift up the tray of the Aerogarden to check on root growth.  Take a picture of the roots to email to me and Katie, then gently replace the tray back onto the Aerogarden. We are trying to investigate why some tomato plants are growing slower than others.  One other thing to do is make sure that you shake your fertilizer bottle before you add fertilizer so that the fertilizer is mixed before you add some to the reservoir. 

Basic Aerogarden Tomato Planting

  • Plant just one tomato pod in the Aerogarden Harvest.
  • Keep the small plastic dome on the pod until germination.
  • Remove the small plastic dome after the seed sprouts.
  • Thin to only one tomato plant in the system.
  • Keep the other holes covered with the black or white plastic caps to keep light from entering into the reservoir with the nutrient system.

 

If you started in January you should have some tomato seedlings coming up.  Make sure to thin to one tomato plant per pod and with the Aerogarden Harvest, it is best to only have one in the system although I have seen some teachers do two.  Keep in mind if you keep two growing, they will use up water twice as fast and you will need to check and add water twice as much!

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.

 

Hopefully you have some good tomato growth in your Aerogarden. Once the yellow flowers open up, have your kiddos pollinate them according to Aerogardens instructions.

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

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

Small Farm Conference in Guernsey Co. on April 6th, 2024

It may be a bit of a drive from Franklin Co. but there will be a ton of useful information for small farmers, or those who are looking to start a small farm.

OSU Extension will host the Eastern Ohio Small Farm Conference on April 6, 2024, at the Mid-East Career Technical Center Buffalo Campus, in Senecaville, Ohio! This is an incredible opportunity to hear from a vast selection of producers, professionals, and peers all in one place and just a short drive away.

Conference session topics are geared to beginning and small farm owners as well as to farms looking to diversify their operations. There will be five different conference tracks including: Horticulture and Produce Production, Business Management, Livestock, Natural Resources and new this year- The Farm Kitchen.

Some conference topic highlights include:

  • Raising Meat Rabbits (Kim Ray)
  • Making Goat Milk Products (Radisson Norman & Kirstin Roman)
  • Pastured Poultry (Jessie & Tyler Radcliff)
  • Livestock Handling (Mid-East CTC Students, Garth Ruff, & Brady Campbell)
  • Timber Harvesting and Marketing (Jake Peer)
  • Invasive Species (Carrie Brown)
  • Basics of Growing Paw Paws (Valerie Libbey)
  • Food Preservation Basics (Emily Marrison)
  • Herb Vinegars (Kate Shumaker)
  • Organic Pest Management (Logan Minter)
  • Growing Produce with Hydroponics (Tim McDermott)
  • Starting and Setting Up a Business (David Marrison)
  • Ohio Landowner/Hunter Access Partnership Program (John Morton)
  • Introduction to Bramble Production (Ryan Slaughter)
  • Products from the Hive (Joan Leary)
  • And SO MUCH MORE!

Anyone interested in developing, growing, or diversifying their small farm is invited to attend including homesteaders, gardeners, farmers market vendors, and anyone with a general interest 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. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, 2024 at the Mid-East Career Technical Center Buffalo Campus (57090 Vocational Rd. Senecaville, Ohio 43780). Registration to attend is $100 and includes light breakfast and catered lunch by Hog Hollow BBQ, due by March 28, 2024.

For conference and registration information call OSU Extension Morrow County 419-947-1070 or OSU Extension Knox County 740-397-0401.  You can also register for the conference online at: https://go.osu.edu/2024osusmallfarmconference

 

I will be speaking on hydroponics! I hope to see you there!