CFAES sustainability news, Feb. 1, 2021

Educator tackles food insecurity in county

Youngstown Vindicator, Jan. 31; featuring Robin Adams, OSU Extension, Mahoning County

Improved soil health linked to nitrogen fertilizer efficiency

Ohio’s County Journal, Jan. 28; by Jordan Wade, Steve Culman, Cassandra Brown, OSU Extension

Gardening: By giving soil proper care, gardeners can enjoy the fruits of their labor

Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 31; by Mike Hogan, OSU Extension, Franklin County

Global pandemic doesn’t stop water quality research

Ohio’s Country Journal, Jan. 21; featuring Chris Winslow, Ohio Sea Grant, Stone Laboratory

What to do with a Christmas tree after Christmas? A quick Q&A with 3 experts from CFAES

Sales of real Christmas trees “are booming as pandemic-weary Americans seek solace,” said a recent headline in the New York Times.

That’s good news for Christmas tree growers, like these in Ohio. But in the interest of recycling and reducing solid waste, what are some good green options to do with a Christmas tree after Christmas?

Here are suggestions from three CFAES experts.

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O-H, tannenbaum! CFAES expert shows you how to plant your own live Christmas tree

Here’s a pro tip: If you’re planning to decorate and later plant a live balled-and-burlapped Christmas tree, dig the hole ahead of time before the ground freezes hard. That means, in Ohio, you can do that as soon as right now.

Another option: Make a pile of leaves or straw in the spot where you want to plant your tree. Doing that can keep the ground from freezing—and the hole from filling with water—before you plant.

Want more pro tips? Watch this video by Paul Snyder of CFAES’ Secrest Arboretum. It’s an easy-to-follow 10-minute how-to on what to do.

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Take 1:55 to learn to make your own kale chips

Got lots of leafy green kale? Discover a good, simple way you can eat it in the new CFAES video above.

“Kale is a healthy fall vegetable that can keep growing deep into cold weather,” says Tim McDermott, who produced the video with Jenny Lobb. Both of them work for OSU Extension, CFAES’ outreach arm.

“Kale chips are a crunchy snack that are easy to make, are full of vitamins, calcium, iron, and fiber, and are a delicious way to enjoy your harvest.”

Read more on growing food in fall in a previous post with McDermott.

Got a garden? Lean on your land grant

Lots of Ohioans started gardening this spring, some for the very first time, possibly including you. In a time of pandemic and staying at home, gardening gets you out into fresh air and sunshine, keeps you socially distanced, and yields healthy food for your family.

Call it, yes, a victory garden—one that stretches your food budget, limits your time in the grocery store, and helps ease the strain on food supply chains.

So how, now that your garden is growing, can you keep it strong all summer long?

Tim McDermott, an agriculture and natural resources educator with CFAES’ OSU Extension outreach arm who runs the Growing Franklin food-growing blog, shares his top six tips, especially for beginners.

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3 ways to keep learning about gardening

Check out CFAES’ Agriculture and Natural Resources Madness series on Tuesday, April 28, for three sessions related to gardening and landscaping:

  • “Gardening for Pollinators” at 9 a.m.;
  • “Landscape Insects: Bagworms vs. The Tent Builders” at noon; and
  • “BGYLive! Ornamental Horticulture Updates” at 3 p.m.

All of the webinars are free and open to the public.

Find details and the links for watching.

Tips for gardening with physical limitations

If you’re thinking about planting a vegetable garden, whether during the coronavirus shutdown or any other time, but are challenged by a physical disability, check out an upcoming webinar from CFAES called “Gardening With Physical Limitations.” The program will offer tips and strategies. It’s from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, April 9. Registration is free, open to everyone, but is limited to the first 500 people.

Dig further details.

Something to do while you’re staying at home

The video above, by CFAES horticulture educator Pam Bennett, is seven years old, but the suggestions are still good today. Now’s the time of year to get your garden ready for spring, and, with Ohio’s coronavirus “stay at home” order about to begin, you might have some time for a good head start.

Bennett is also the program director of our state Master Gardener Volunteers program, and if you’re interested in joining and serving with the program at some point down the road, you can learn more about it here.