Planting has started at The Urban Farm

The 2017 growing season is underway.  I had started a ton of seedlings to have as teaching tools for the many seed starting workshops that I have done in the last month or so. ( 10 classes on seed starting this season).   The first seeds were sown under the lights in my office seed start growing station in January.

Lettuce and Broccoli starts on 1/23, germination occurred two days after sowing.

At about a week or so of age, when the seedlings were at the true leaf stage of one or two leaves, I divided them and transplanted into cell packs.

11 days from sowing.


The seedlings were allowed to grow in 1″ cells for another couple weeks.  We had a really nice warm up lately and I knew I was going to be out of the office for a while for a conference so I took them to The Urban Farm to transplant.  I picked a bed to use that was close to the parking lot to make use of the nice warm microclimate that the blacktop would provide.  I had looked at the forecast to see the 60 degrees was going to go back to closer to normal.  The first thing to do was terminate the cover crop to get a planting area.

Turned winter rye under with a garden fork. At this stage will provide a nitrogen boost.


The soil was awesome at this point.  It had broken down further, was very friable and a nice dark color.  Extremely easy to work, I could plant with my fingers and did not need a trowel.

I spaced the plants for planned harvest.  The lettuce was on the edge and was on about 7″ centers.  The broccoli alternated with lettuce on 10″ centers.  As I harvest lettuce every other head, the remaining heads have room to get bigger, and when the lettuce comes out completely the broccoli can have that whole side of the bed to expand.  The leaves will quickly make a canopy over the soil making a nice microclimate to shade the soil to conserve moisture and help prevent weed germination.  Basic bio-intensive principals.

The whole bed was covered with medium weight row cover.  This will allow water, air and 90% of sunlight to penetrate to the plants while providing frost protection as well as predator (deer and rabbit) protection in this time of little forage.

Row cover loose on top of the seedlings. I will raise it up with hoops when I get some free time!


Now I need to see how the seedlings grow.  If you remember back when the growing medium was added I had concerns of chlorosis as the pH of the growing medium was a little too sweet.  The cover crop and ammonium sulfate should have corrected it, but I want proof before the May 1st target date.  If everything goes well we should be able to start private sales of this produce in a few weeks.

Seed Starting with the Logan Hocking High School Nursery and Greenhouse Program

Mr. Delong invited me to come speak to the students on seed starting to the LHHS FFA Greenhouse and Nursery Program.  Seed Starting is one of my favorite things and one of the things that anyone can do at home to tremendously maximize food production for their family.

I brought a bunch of seeds for cold weather specific vegetables and herbs.  I know the 60 degree weather has folks thinking tomatoes, but we are not there yet.

The students planted seed of all of the varieties in flats, watered the flats and put them under the lights.   Germination will be about 3-5 days for most of these plants.

photo credit: A. Delong


A week later I went back.  I brought some seedlings I had planted prior as the student seedlings were only a week old.  Good timing for thinning, but seedlings need to be at the true leaf stage to transplant and these seedlings were at the seed leaf stage.


I will head back in a couple weeks to continue the process.  The students will be growing some transplants for use at The Urban Farm. I am grateful for that.  Whatever we cannot sell from the farm goes right into The Southeast Ohio Regional Kitchen for donation to hungry folk.

Right now the seedlings need to get a little older, then transplanted into cell packs and left to be watered and fertilized for several more weeks.  If you are interested in seed starting, I have a Seed Starting Workshop at Bishop Educational Gardens coming up soon.

Hocking County 2017 Ag Days

Ag Days will be held at the Hocking County Fairgrounds on the weekend of April 8th and 9th.   Extension will have several events, programs and presentations during the festival.

First up is the Pie Baking Contest

Do you have what it takes to take down the CHAMP????

2016 Champ Anna


Do you have what it takes?

The Hocking County 4-H Youth Board will hold a Pie Bake-Off on Saturday, April 8 as part of Ag Days. Pies should be brought to the Youth Center, located on the Hocking County Fairgrounds before 9:15 AM on April 8. Judging begins at 9:30 AM with 1st, 2nd and 3rd places being awarded. All pies must be in a disposable container. The winning pies will be auctioned at 10 AM.  All types of pies will be accepted. Please call OSU Extension at 740-385-3222 for more information. All pies/proceeds benefit the Hocking Co. Youth Board.


Two other events on Saturday at Ag Days are:

  • Hocking County Farm Bureau  Workers Comp credits are available by attending a two hour presentation in the Soil and Water Room from 10 – Noon
    • First Hour 10 – 11 “Updates on The Veterinary Feed Directive”
    • Second Hour 11-12 Ag Safety.
    • Anyone can attend either or both hours,  for full credit for Farm Bureau, both hours need attended.
  • Pollinators for Vegetables – For kids of all ages
    • 1 – 2pm,  at the Children’s Education Garden.   We will be planting some seeds for both veggies and pollinators and have some pollinator seed packets to hand out as well.


Hoping that we do not have a blizzard for Ag Days like last year!!  Looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Save The Date!! “Tick Prevention” at Hocking Valley Community Hospital 4/3/17 at 6pm

With spring upcoming and people starting to head back outdoors it is time to think about protection from ticks.  Ticks are a major vector of many diseases affecting humans, companion animals and livestock and the prevalence of these diseases has been rapidly increasing over the last decade.  On Monday, April 3rd at 6pm at Hocking Valley Community Hospital I will discuss tick diseases, identification and prevention methods.  The class is free and open to the public.

How to identify which tick is important,  different ticks carry different diseases and all ticks carry more than one disease.




We will discuss lifecycles.

Source: CDC


And go over how to protect yourself, your family, your pets and your livestock.   Ticks are tough to repel, many of the most common products are ineffective.

We will discuss what works and what does not work.


Space is limited to about 20-25 and classes at HVCH generally fill up.  The class is free so bring your friends and your questions.

Contact information:

Class instructor is Tim McDermott, DVM from OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Office. Call (740) 380-8336 or email to RSVP.