It’s time to get your hands dirty and start growing! The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and OSU Extension Offices are kicking off the second year of the Victory Gardens Program. Due to high demand, the program is expanding from 10 to 25 counties across the state, with 8,300 seed packets available free to the public to get people planting.

“We have seen a revived passion for planting through our Victory Gardens Program, which has expanded to 15 additional counties this year,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “Our Ohio Victory Gardens are meant to be enjoyed by everyone, from urban apartment dwellers, to those living in the country, and everyone in between. We hope this will inspire a new generation of gardeners who will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor for years to come.”

“We are excited to expand our partnership with ODA on the Victory Garden Program. Last year, we had an overwhelming positive response to the program, so this year, we will be expanding the seed distribution initiative to 25 Ohio State University Extension county offices,” said Dr. Cathann A. Kress, Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Victory Garden Seeds are available daily at OSU Extension in Fairfield County located at 831 College Avenue, Lancaster.  Seeds will also be distributed at the Pickerington Community Garden site,  Wagnalls Memorial Library and Cornersmith’s in Canal Winchester.   Planting resources and other information about gardening can be found at the Ohio Victory Gardens website





Crabgrass Control in Your Lawn

Some of the earliest emerging broadleaf weeds have begun to emerge.  The biggest problem with weeds in turfgrass is reduced aesthetic value, although some weeds can out compete turfgrass when management is reduced.  Smooth and large crabgrass, yellow foxtail, and annual bluegrass are the most frequent annual grass weeds in turfgrass. 

Smooth crabgrass emerges in the spring before large crabgrass.  Smooth crabgrass emergence begins slowly when soil temperatures in the upper inch of soil reaches 54F for seven days and moisture is available.  This 54F soil temperature occurs many times when the dogwood begin to flower and the forsythia flowers begin to fade.  Visit this website to track soil temperature for your area: .

Waiting to apply crabgrass preventer until just before emergence will ensure control of smooth and large crabgrass later into the season.  Peak crabgrass emergence is from mid-May to July 1st.  Crabgrass preventer must be applied before plants emerge, otherwise it will not be effective.  After applying the crabgrass preventer irrigate the lawn to get the herbicide incorporated into the soil.

If crabgrass densities are high, a postemergence herbicide application may be required.  If you have used preemergence crabgrass preventer for many years and have successfully controlled the crabgrass, it may be wise to stop applying the crabgrass preventer and scout to see whether any crabgrass will emerge.  If it does emerge then apply a postemergence herbicide.  Crabgrass can be controlled with some postemergence herbicides, but timing and rate are very important to effectively control crabgrass.  Effective postemergence herbicides include Dimension, Methar 30, Acclaim Extra, MSMA Turf Herbicide, and Drive 75 DF, but some of these may be difficult to obtain.  When applying postemergence herbicides be sure to obtain thorough coverage and do not mow for two days before and after the herbicide application.

Source: OSU Buckeye Yard and Garden Line

A Few Tips to remember on Pruning Those Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood from last year’s growth are the earliest to flower – before July. Those that bloom later in the season – after July – are flowering from blossom buds on new wood that is growing during the current year.

If you feel uncertain about which variety you have, a safe rule for all types of hydrangeas is that no pruning is better than the wrong type of pruning.  A simplified approach, suitable for all types of hydrangeas, is to limit pruning to:

Winter-killed wood — Remove all dead branches in the spring before or as the buds are opening. Test the stem for life by scraping the bark with a knife. If it’s not green underneath, it’s dead and should be removed.

Rejuvenation — Old wood dies back on even the healthiest hydrangeas. In the early spring remove dead or very old stems by cutting them at the base of the plant. This will stimulate new growth and produce a more vigorous bloom set later in the summer.

Dead flowers —Removal of old dried flowers, known as dead-heading, is the safest pruning and can’t be done incorrectly (however you don’t even HAVE to do this!).

Source: University of Minnesota Garden Newsletter

Don’t Let Spring Yard Cleanup Kill Your Cows?

It’s the time of year when lots of people are outside trimming, pruning and generally cleaning up in the yard and around the farmstead. Most cattlemen are aware that often times various ‘trimmings’ can be toxic to cattle. Unfortunately, in a progressively urbanizing state like Ohio, neighboring homeowners don’t always realize that vegetation they may consider to simply be “organic matter” or “feed” for some critters, may actually be deadly to them. It’s just one reason it behooves farm owners, and especially cattlemen to establish acquaintance with neighbors, sharing with them seasonal concerns.

Perhaps during this time of year, the greatest risk may come from those who need a place to discard their yew bush trimmings. As little as one half pound of yew trimmings, consumed by a 500 pound calf can be fatal. The most common symptom of poisoning from this evergreen ornamental bush is sudden death within 24 hours. Occasionally death may be precluded by respiratory difficulty, shaking or muscle weakness. There is no known antidote for yew poisoning, so prevention is critical.


Poison Hemlock can be controlled in the Spring

Poison hemlock remains one of the more persistent and prevalent poisonous weeds that we deal with in Ohio.  It’s most typically a biennial plant (sometimes perennial), emerging from seed in year one and developing into a low-growing rosette by late fall.  The rosette overwinters and then resumes growth in the spring of year two.  Stem elongation initiates sooner in spring than many other biennials, and this is followed by continued growth and development into the often very tall plant with substantial overall size.  Flowering and seed production occur in summer.


Failure to control poison hemlock occurs partly because, while it often grows in edges and fencerows around crop fields, no one really pays much attention to it until it does reach this large size when it’s less susceptible to herbicides.  And everyone is busy getting crops planted  in spring anyway so control of hemlock gets low priority.  Stages in the poison hemlock life cycle when it is most susceptible to control with herbicides are:  1) fall, when in the low-growing rosette stage; and 2) early spring before stem elongation occurs.  It’s most easily controlled in fall, but several products can work well in spring.   Simply use a broadleaf killer like 2,4-D or dicamba on it before you mow the first time.

Source: Mark Loux,  Curtis Young  C.O.R.N. Newsletter  AGCROPS.OSU.EDU