February’s List for the Garden

Submitted by Faye Mahaffey

OSUE Brown County Master Gardener Volunteer

Rain, Snow, Ice, and Wind! Welcome to winter in Ohio! The last snowfall was so light and fluffy that moving the 4 inches of new snow could have been done with the leaf blower!

Saturday was Groundhog’s Day and the prediction is for an early spring! Groundhog Day comes from our agricultural past and marks the halfway point to the Spring Equinox. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac website, Groundhog Day always falls on February 2. Today, most people know about the legend of the groundhog: If he sees its shadow on this day, there will be more wintry weather; if it doesn’t, then Spring is right around the corner! How often has the groundhog really predicted the coming of Spring? According to researchers, the groundhog has accurately predicted the coming of Spring only 39% of the time.

If an early Spring is right around the corner, I had better finalize my raised bed plans, make my materials list, and order seeds!

It’s time to review our checklist of gardening tasks for February which include:

Whole Garden:

  • There’s still time to look through catalogs and place orders.
  • Thoroughly clean any flats or pots for seedlings.
  • Set aside a potting area for seed starting and gather the necessary equipment.
  • Sow those seeds that will need 10 to 12 weeks indoors before they can be transplanted outside.
  • Make sure your bluebird boxes are clean.
  • Continue looking for plant damage in your landscape.
  • Test seeds left over from last year for viability.

Trees and Shrubs:

  • Prune off broken twigs and branches on shrubs.
  • Brush off excess snow to avoid breakage.
  • Force branches of spring-blooming shrubs and trees once buds have begun to swell (pussy willow, forsythia, apple, cherry).

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Plan your vegetable seed-sowing strategy.
  • Begin sowing leek seeds indoors.
  • Prune fall-bearing raspberries in late February.

Well-known gardening author Margaret Roach (awaytogarden.com) writes in her February garden chores that we must not rush to start our seeds, but instead spend our time mapping out the vegetable garden. Make a list of what you want to grow and how much of each plant you want to grow.

Roach’s gardening mantra this year is “Be thoughtful, keep weeding” with the “thoughtful” part standing for “thoughtful organic gardening” as in thinking carefully before any action is taken. Many gardeners are guilty of spraying first before they have identified the problem or pest.

Roach also asks if polka-dots are dominating your garden – lots of “onesies” (a single plant of each kind, instead of an impactful group or drift of each variety). Last year she forced herself to divide plants and repeat sweeps elsewhere – rather than buy so many new “one-ofs”. She suggests making a list of the large clumps of perennials in your gardens and then dividing them. I guess this is the year I finally divide my daylilies.

Ready to think about your flower and vegetable gardens and the health of your soil?  Plan to attend the gardening seminar on Thursday, February 21 at the Mt. Orab campus of Southern State Community College from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Room 208. James Morris, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator and Community Development Educator for Brown County OSU Extension, will talk about soils as well as soil testing. Remember that all seminars are free and open to the public. Please remember that in case of wintry weather, you should check SSCC’s website, www.sscc.edu, or call 937-444-7722, for any campus closures. If the campus is closed, the seminar will be canceled and rescheduled.

Are you ready to dig in the dirt? It won’t be long now!


Winter Extension Programming

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

February 5, 2019

Winter is a busy time for farmers and Extension Educators alike. There are several upcoming programs in Highland County and in the region that may be of interest to many farmers. For more information about any of the programs outlined below, contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.

  • Regional eFields Meeting at the Clinton County Extension Office–February 13, 2019, 9:00AM – 12:00PM.  Clinton County Extension Office.  This meeting is open to anyone interested in on-farm research results from this area and around the state. Go to osu.edu/eFields for more information.
  • The seventh Beef Quality Assurance Training will be held at Union Stock Yards in Hillsboro, OH, on February 13, 2019, at 6 PM. A meal will be served at 5 PM. To attend, you must RSVP in advance to Union Stock Yards (937-393-1958) or to the Highland County Extension Office (937-393-1918).
  • Highland County Fertilizer and Pesticide Recertifications: 
    • February 19, 2019, Ponderosa Banquet Center, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Fertilizer Recertification – Private and Commercial, and 6:30 pm Pesticide Recertification (Core, 1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6) Private Applicators Only
    • March 4, 2018, Ponderosa Banquet Center, 10:00 am to 11:00 am Fertilizer Recertification – Private and Commercial, and 11:30 am Pesticide Recertification (Core, 1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6) Private Applicators Only.

Registration details will come in the mail from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Registration for OSU Extension Pesticide and Fertilizer and your renewal application for ODA Pesticide/Fertilizer must both be completed. Meals will be included at each recertification training at Ponderosa.

  • Ohio Intensive Soybean Management Workshop–February 19, 2019, Clinton County Extension Office, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM, Cost $35.00, contact Clinton County Extension Office at 937-382-0901 to register. Guest speakers include Dr. Mark Loux, Extension Weed Specialist, Dr. Leah McHale, Soybean Breeding and Genetics Specialist, and Dr. Anne Dorrance, Field Crop Extension Pathologist. CCA Credits will be available for Certified Crop Advisors as well as Private and Commercial Pesticide Applicator Recertification Credits.
  • The topic of the Highland County Monthly Extension Programming for February will be Maple Syrup Production. The program will be held on February 27, 2019, at 10 AM. The program will be held at Ponderosa Steakhouse in Hillsboro and is free to attend. Attendees are encouraged to purchase lunch on their own at Ponderosa. Please RSVP to reserve your seat by calling 937-393-1918. Attendees will learn about the process of producing maple syrup and marketing.
  • Southwest Ohio Corn Growers Annual Meeting, March 12, 2019, from 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM at the Fayette County Fairgrounds. Pre-register by calling the Fayette County Extension Office 740-335-1150 by March 5, 2019. The speaker will be Ben Brown, Program Manager for Farm Management at The Ohio State University, and he will discuss the Farm Bill and farm outlook.
  • The Highland County Extension Office will be hosting a tour of the OSU Meat Lab in Columbus, Ohio, for those who are interested in beef and meat production on March 19, 2019. The tour will coincide with the meat class on campus, so attendees will be able to see the lab on a harvesting day. The tour will be held in the morning and space is limited. Please call the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918 for additional information and to reserve your place for the tour.
  • Southwestern Ohio Beekeeper School will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2019, at the Oasis Conference Center in Loveland. The cost is $35 and includes a continental breakfast and buffet lunch. Classes will be offered for beginners to moderately experienced beekeepers. Vendors will be onsite to sell equipment. Registration is limited to 350 people. Registration is available online. The registration link and class descriptions can be found at osu.eduor the event page http://go.osu.edu/swohbeeschool.
  • The topic of the Highland County Monthly Extension Programming for March will be Storytelling for Video Production. The program will be held on March 27, 2019, at 10 AM. Attendees will learn about the different kinds of documentary films and how storytelling impacts the audience’s perception of videos. The program will be held at Ponderosa Steakhouse in Hillsboro and is free to attend. Attendees are encouraged to purchase lunch on their own at Ponderosa. Please RSVP to reserve your seat by calling 937-393-1918.
  • Small Farm Conference and Trade Show will be held on Friday, March 29thand Saturday, March 30th at the OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio.  The conference is designed for small farm owners wanting to learn more about how to make their farms work better for them. Many topics will be offered to help landowners expand their operations. Landowners can attend workshops and seminars taught by Extension professionals and industry leaders on a wide variety of agricultural enterprises.  Attendees will also get to meet various vendors at the trade show.  The trade show will be open part of the day on Friday, and all-day Saturday.  For full details, please go to osu.edu/OSUFARMConference2019.