The Dig – What we are all about!

Victory Gardens originated during World War I, an answer to a severe food shortage at the time. People were encouraged to find any usable space, plop in some seeds and contribute homegrown fruits, vegetables and herbs to the effort. The idea was wildly successful, growing an army of amateur gardeners and serving to boost morale and patriotism.

While we’re not in wartime, we can all commiserate the past few months have been tough, mood-boosters are welcomed. So the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio State University are reviving the effort and once again inspiring people to get their hands dirty, realize the fruits of their labor and share with others if inspired.  We believe a good day in the garden is good for the soul.

What’s in your Yard?

Winter can sometimes be a good time to see what is growing in your yard.  Check out this great BYGL Alert to read all about it! Go out to your yard during this warmer spell and see what you find!

Can you take clear images? Check out this cool app that is your one stop for identifying insects and plants! iNaturalist App

How Do You Define Victory? 2021 Victory Gardens

By Marcus McCartney, OSU Extension Educator, Washington County

How do you define “Victory” as a gardener?

Whether you are new or an experienced gardener, how do you personally define success as it relates to your garden?  New gardeners may define success as simply starting a garden for the very first time.  The initial effort and time invested defines success for them. Maybe it’s eating the very first fruit or vegetable you grew entirely by yourself (self-fulfillment).  For our experienced gardeners, maybe victory or success is defined as successfully growing a new variety or species, or reaching a certain poundage of potatoes or tomatoes, or canning 15 dozen jars of green beans or salsa.  However, you define victory, it’s important set goals and try to reach those goals.  If you met your 2021 gardening goals, kudos to you and I tip my hat!  If not, then it’s fun and important to troubleshoot and figure out why or what went wrong which lead to not meeting your goals.   For me, my personal gardening goals were different this year than years past.  I’ll explain how I defined victory shortly, but first, what is a victory garden?

ODA and OSU Victory Garden Program

Victory Gardens originated during World War I as an answer to a serious food shortage. The idea was very successful, resulting in an army of amateur gardeners and serving to boost morale and patriotism. Although there’s no food shortage today, ODA and OSU Extension revived this effort to encourage people to plant seeds, realize the fruits of their labor, and share with others if inspired.  Washington County was only one of 25 counties to receive vegetable seeds.  Over 1,500 seeds were distributed in Washington County and Wood County WV this past spring by the OSU Extension office.

My Victory Garden

For my victory garden, I wanted to do something different and creative.  I wanted to demonstrate that gardens can be a reflection of your imagination and do not have to be traditional squares or rectangles.  Gardening is a healthy activity, but it should also be fun!  Creating around gardening only encourages and empowers individuals to grow plants, tend to the Earth, and eat fresh tasty nutritious foods for themselves.  From the first moment I started running rope and spray-painting lines in my backyard, these gardens already started to gather attention from neighbors and eventually the community.  The effect of my effort encouraged others to try gardening using unique designs, and creating awareness about our OSU and ODA Victory Garden outreach effort.


Victory Garden design

For Scale – 55 properly spaced pepper plants were planted in the “H”

V in Victory Garden in Snow

Victory Garden in Snow

How I do I define Victory

This year, the single most important factor which determine success or victory for me, was not growing plants or producing a large yield; it was growing the next generation of gardeners by developing an interest and enthusiasm for fruits and vegetables, and the appreciation of the amount of hard work it requires to produce such fruits and vegetables.  My son, Allister, was involved from the start; from planning, to plowing, to planting, to watering, to harvesting, and to cooking.  He wanted to be victorious just as much as I did.  I gave him complete ownership of the garden and constantly reinforced the concept these were his gardens.

My victory was seeing my son’s smiling face selling his produce at the Rivers City Farmers Market, and the time we spent together as a family.  We created lots of fun memories and hopefully these memories will grow into knowledge for my son, and just as important, spending time together with his dad.   And that’s how I defined victory in 2021.

Farmer's Market

Allister McCartney (6) at his River City Farmers Market Stand – Allister’s Tomatoes & More (ATM)

Get Involved

We would love to hear about your garden victories!  You can post your story and pictures in the comment section of this article on our OSU Extension Washington County Facebook page:

Be on the lookout in 2022 for free Victory Garden Seed samples in early spring.  To inquire about receiving seeds, you can contact the office at 740-376-7431 or sign up to receive our OSU Horticulture email listserv.  To sign up, please call the office or email Peggy Bolen at

About the Author:

Marcus McCartney is the OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator for Washington County.  He has been with extension since 2014.  Marcus received both his bachelor’s and Master’s degree from West Virginia University Agriculture Education

Growing Over Winter Virtual Class on 9/30 in Partnership with Grange Audubon Center Blog Post by Timothy McDermott

16- September – 2021 – Original Blog Post Here
I will be speaking on Growing Over Winter in partnership with one of my favorite central Ohio places, the Grange Audubon Center.  This virtual event takes place at 6:30pm on Thursday September 30th.
Ohio is a four-season growing environment. Did you know with a little planning, wise variety choices, and a little season extension fabric you can harvest your own fresh vegetables from January to March.  No outdoor space available? We will also talk about indoor hydroponics and how you can grow indoors in the winter as well.
There is registration required.  Register at THIS LINK.
See you then!
Posted by  at 

Foodie Webinars!!!

OSU Extension’s Food Preservation Team has posted webinar recordings on a variety of these topics from 2020 and 2021 at

There are also two more 2021 webinars that people can tune into live:

  • Preserving Hot Peppers – September 14th
  • Canning Winter Squash – September 28th

Attendees can register for these webinars at

Hurry up and check them out!

For more tips and ideas on what to do with the food from your garden, check out our Cook’ N Can It! page!!!!



Drum roll for Victory Gardens in OHIO!

As we continue to roll into late summer it has been so nice to see fellow Ohioan’s and their Ohio Victory Gardens that have been shared with us to date!

The Director of Ohio Dept. of Agriculture, the Dean and other leaders at the Ohio State University – College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and Extension have all been hard at work!

Keep them coming folks!

Send your Ohio Victory Garden photos to us via email at




In July 2019, Franklin County Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) sowed Victory Garden Seeds donated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and OSU Extension in 12 raised beds. Many who joined were novice vegetable gardeners who were excited to be able to grow for our community especially in a difficult year in which many of us were in enforced isolation due to Covid-19.

In 2021, Franklin County MGVs continue with an expanded plot in which the produce will be grown exclusively for food pantries. We work with community gardeners, including board members of Sprouting Spoons, a 501c3 non-profit organization promoting food security in Columbus, Ohio. We also hope to work with veterans who have expressed interest in our 18 raised beds and 7 in-ground rows.

Many of the seeds we sowed came from ODA donations earlier this spring. These included cool-season crops such as cucumbers, beets, radishes, and lettuces.

Gardening-related issues such as when to plant, when to fertilize, how to control pests, and what do the plants need to thrive are researched and information is shared with all participants.

As of the end of July, we have donated 277 pounds of produce to the Church of All People Free Store as well as Volunteers of America, which serves 63 male veterans. Church volunteers exclaimed “This is great! And we’ll be sure to get it to everyone right away! Thank you!” The veterans were “thrilled” and plan on coming to help work the plot. We look forward to making connections with so many more people through our simple act of growing to share.

Author: Yen Hanes