Timely tips for your garden!
Your Community Gardening Newsletter
June 2019 Volume 7 Number 6
Upcoming Events
Posted by cherylm at Mar 25, 2019.  No Comments .
We are currently accepting applications for the next Master Gardener class beginning in mid to late August 2019.  If interested please email your name and email address to the Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator at scmgvcoordinator@yahoo.com.

June 18, 2019
Summit County Master Gardeners and the Vegetable Gardening Practicum Committee will be conducting a series of free Coffee Chats during the 2019 gardening season the Lakefront Community Center located at 2491 Canfield Road, Akron 44312. Join the discussion at 9 am.  Upcoming chats are: Pruning Tomatoes (A group discussion with Master Gardeners). All are welcome. Coffee will be provided.

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Good Gardens is a FREE educational program for community gardeners and home
gardeners alike. Join local experts to learn about a variety of topics. While you’re there,
check out the community garden for inspiration!
All programs are on the third Thursday of the month from April to October,
6 – 7:30 p.m. in the Goodyear Heights Lodge West Room: 2077 Newton Street, Akron. The May program will be  Good Gardens: Everything Herbs

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Countryside Local Food Swaps are gatherings of cooks, bakers, brewers, growers, and general DIYers; they bring homemade and homegrown items to swap via silent auction style bidding. Countryside Local Food Swaps are held on the third Tuesday of each month, starting at 7 pm (Be sure to register and confirm the date and location as these occasionally do change), at various locations in the Akron  area.   Visit the   Countryside Local Food Swap page  to learn more about the swaps and get answers to frequently asked questions.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Please join the  Meet Me In The Garden  committee for our free gardening programs at F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, 1828 Smith Rd., Akron. Our programs are on Wednesdays and start at 7:00 pm.   The May presentation will be –  Creating Iconic Landscapes , presented by Kyle Lukes PLA, ASLA. Senior Landscape Architect, Environmental Design Group.
  
Anytime
Countryside Conservancy with a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the State of Ohio, and the United States Department of Agriculture under the provisions of the specialty crop block grant provides webinars, visit their  Classes & Events  page.
 
The  Summit County Master Gardeners Tour of Gardens will be held 
Saturday, June 29th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

This self-guided tour features six special private gardens. Ticket holders are also invited to visit the Posie Shoppe, which will be filled with garden items and Master Gardener grown plants. 

Tickets are only $20, but tickets must be purchased in advance. NO TICKETS WILL BE SOLD ON THE DAY OF THE TOUR. 

Patron tickets providing early check-in, grab-and-go snack breakfasts and beverages are also available. 

For more information and links and locations to buy tickets visit our  website .

Get your tickets now! Space is limited and the tour sells out! 
Were you looking for something to do?
  • Continue to harvest asparagus, lettuce, radishes, peas, spinach, onions, beets and carrots
  • Continue seeding corn and beans every few week for a continual harvest
  • Replace cold weather crops that are bolting
  • Weed and thin planted crops
  • Water deeply 1x/week if there has not been enough rain 
  • Fertilize all vegetables mid-month (fertilize corn 2x this month)
  • Stake or cage tomatoes 
  • Monitor regularly for insects and disease problems and take needed measures to control damage
  • Plant cucumbers, watermelons, squashes (including pumpkins), and annual flowers
  • Take time to fully appreciate the long, warm days of summer and the flourishing summer garden!  
The Master Gardener Hotline is OPEN for the season
You can call our Horticulture Hotline to ask a garden-related question and get advice from our experts.
Just call 234-226-6633 .
Hotline Hours: Tuesday: 9:00 am - noon, March through October
You can also get Master Gardener advice online anytime by submitting questions at   Ask a Master Gardener
 
New OSU Citizen Science Program for Youth (3rd – 7th grade): Dandelion Detectives!
The Gardiner Lab  at The Ohio State University is developing a youth-focused citizen science program called  Dandelion Detectives .  The lab is seeking individuals, school groups, and other youth organizations to participate in this collaborative project! Dandelion Detectives aims to measure the value of lawn weeds for bees and other insects by having school age kids (targeting 3-7th graders) monitor an “Observation Dandelion” and collect data about the richness of blooming weeds (or lack thereof) found in their yard. Dandelion Detectives will take place over the summer of 2019 and is open to anyone who has access to a yard.
The project will take ~5 hours to complete and involves: completing a pre and post questionnaire about insects and their importance; observing insects at an “Observation Dandelion” created using simple provided materials and sugar water mixture; and conducting a lawn weed survey. Participating Dandelion Detectives will be able to upload all of their findings to a project website. At the end of the project, students will receive a “Student Scientist” certificate and be invited to attend an optional event in Columbus Ohio where they can meet OSU scientists who study insects and see what their data and participation has contributed to!
Plant Sunflowers for bees!
In lab experiments researchers have found that honeybees and bumble bees suffered lower rates of infection from two widespread parasites after eating sunflower pollen. (For the full article, see Medicinal value of sunflower pollen against bee pathogens ). Both parasites had been linked to slower colony growth and higher mortality rates. The researchers noted however that sunflower pollen is low in protein and some amino acids, and so should be supplements rather than the main source of the bee's diet. They point out that bees do best with access to a variety of flowers.
And be sure to plant open-pollinated varieties of sunflowers that produce pollen . There are a lot of varieties of sunflowers that lack pollen, popular among people who don't want to clean up the pollen mess from cut flowers and for the allergy-prone. Bees need pollen for protein and to feed their larvae.
Plants you should know and avoid!
Plants can't run away from threats, they have to stand their ground. So they have evolved many forms of defenses. Some of these can be toxic to humans and pets. so it pays to be informed and aware.
Poison Ivy: Secretes a sticky oil that causes rash and blisters . Leaves of three, let it be. Don't be a dope, stay away from the hairy rope.
Pokeweed: This plant is "toxic from head to toe". Long clusters of poisonous berries hang from pink stems.
Poison Hemlock: Blooms look like Queen Anne's Lace, but stems are smooth, dappled with opurple spots.
Giant Hogweed: This is he worst!! An invasive plant that can grow 10" tall with large lobed leaves and white, umbrella-shaped flower clusters. Sap causes horrible blisters and burns.
To learn how to identify (and therefore avoid) the first three look them up in the Ohio Weed Guide. For Giant Hogweed see the Factsheet. You might also check out Avoiding Skin Irritations and Injuries Caused by Plants.
There is one born every minute!
Suckers that is. On tomato plants. According to the  OSUE fact Sheet on tomatoes, "suckers
are the new growth that appears in the leaf axile between the stem and a leaf. If left to grow, a sucker can become another strong stem with flowers and fruit. Tomato suckers can directly compete with the main stem for nutrients, water, and sunlight, thus weakening the main stem."

Whether and how much to prune depends on the type of tomato and how you are growing it. According to OSUE, pruning is more critical in indeterminate tomatoes than determinate ones. Determinate tomatoes have short to medium vine lengths and are are heavily branched. Growth stops when they start flowering, and every branch tends to end up with a flower cluster. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow and produce leaves and flowers until the first frost. 

According to Illinois Extension, indeterminate tomatoes "are heavily pruned when trellised, moderately pruned when staked, and lightly pruned when caged." 

Pruning, which in tomatoes involves removing the suckers, can be done in two ways. 

The first is to simply break off the suckers with your fingers. This is preferable to cutting since diseases can be transmitted on your knife or shears. Cornell suggests pruning "tomatoes to one or two vigorous stems by snapping off "suckers" (stems growing from where leaf stems meet the main stem) when they are 2 to 4 inches long." Illinois suggests you should "Limit the branches of indeterminate varieties to two to three fruit producing branches by selecting the main stem, the sucker that develops immediately below the first flower cluster, and another sucker below that. " Illinois notes that you should periodically remove additional suckers that develop on the selected branches.

The second pruning method, according to OSUE, "is called Missouri pruning, which is done by pinching off the growing tip of the sucker just beyond the first two leaflets of a sucker. The advantage of this method is that there is more foliage left for photosynthesis (food production) and better leaf cover to help protect the developing fruits from sun-scald."

Cornell notes that "staking and pruning indeterminate varieties can hasten first harvest by a week or more, improve fruit quality, keep fruit cleaner, and make harvest easier. Staking and pruning usually reduces total yield, but fruits will tend to be larger. Staked and pruned plants are also more susceptible to blossom end rot and sunscald."

Some people prune, some do not. If you have several tomatoes, why not try it both ways and see which you prefer.
Succession Planting
According to Wikipedia, succession planting refers to several planting methods that increase crop availability during a growing season by making efficient use of space and timing. 
Succession planting is easy to do, and can make your garden more productive. It just takes a bit of planning.  
1. Stagger your planting
Instead of planting all your crop at once, plant some of the same crop every 2-4 weeks to give a steady supply.  Here are some crops suited to this approach: Lettuce , Beets , Beans, Green Onions and Cilantro.  

2. Plant cool weather crops spring and fall
For fall planting count backward from your fall frost date (early October for us) using the days to maturity plus time for harvest.
Peas-mid-July
Lettuce-Late July-early August
Kale-1st week of July
Spinach-1st week of August

  3. Follow one crop with another
Plant a quick-growing or early season crop, and then after harvest follow it with another crop.
Radishes followed by onions or carrots
Peas followed by beans
Lettuce followed by Swiss chard

4.Stagger maturity dates
With long season crops, like tomatoes or corn, choose varieties with different maturity dates.
The days to maturity for 'Fourth of July' tomato is 49 days; 'Early Girl' is 65 days; 'Better Boy' is 72 days; and 'Big Mama' is 80 days.

5.Stagger your harvest
You can plant your crop more closely and harvest "baby" vegetables or you can harvest at different times for different uses. Space carrots or onions at half the growing distance and harvest every-other-one just before they start to crowd. Harvest dill or cilantro leaves, then let the seeds mature and harvest those (cilantro seeds are coriander). Pick off  a few beet greens for salad, then let the root mature to harvest later. Harvest only the outer leaves of kale and Swiss chard and let the plant keep growing. 

Thomas Jefferson's only published horticultural work was "A General Gardening Calendar," a monthly guide to kitchen gardening that appeared in a May 21, 1824 edition of the American Farmer, a Baltimore periodical of progressive agriculture. In it Jefferson instructed gardeners to plant a thimble full of lettuce seed every Monday morning from February 1 to September 1. That is succession planting! And if succession planting was good enough for the author of the Declaration of Independence shouldn't YOU give it a try?
Be on the lookout for:
Squash Vine Borers overwinter as pupae or larvae in the soil and emerge as moths when 1000 base 50 degree days have accumulated (late June/early July). (For real-time information on where we stand on Growing Degree Days go to  http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/gdd/ and enter your zip code.) Females are active for about 3 weeks, and lay dull red, 1/25th inch diameter eggs, glued to the leafstalks and stems of squash vines, pumpkins, gourds, cucumbers and muskmelons. 

Winter squash (in particular Hubbard), pumpkins, and zucchini are quite susceptible to borer damage. When the eggs hatch the larvae bore into the stems destroying vascular tissue and causing wilting. The point where a borer enters a stem is marked by a hole with yellow granular or sawdust-like frass (bug poop) coming out from it.
 
As a preventative measure, you should look for eggs during the active period and destroy them. Lightweight row covers can be used to protect plants until the vines come into flower. Row covers used to prevent insects from reaching the crop must be anchored down on all sides or the moths will crawl under them. Be sure to remove covers at bloom time to allow for pollination. If you do get SVBs you can perform surgery on the stem to remove larvae and bury the infested stems to encourage new roots. At the end of the season destroy crop residue to reduce overwintering. For more information see the  University of Minnesota Fact Sheet.

Cabbage worms. You probably don't care if it is a cabbage looper, the caterpillar of the diamondback moth, or an imported cabbage worm (the caterpillars of those fluttering white butterflies), you just don't want them munching your cole crops (kale, cabbage, broccoli, etc.). There are several strategies you can use. Floating row cover can exclude the egg laying adults. Just be sure to bury all the edges. You can inspect the plants frequently, especially under the leaves, for eggs and larvae and remove them. You can plant sweet alyssum and other small-flowering ornamentals around your garden to encourage the tiny wasps that parasitize the caterpillars.   
 
You can get more info on these guys, and how to control them from the   University of Minnesota Fact Sheet.
Quick tips
Permanent Markers Aren't! Try using a No. 2 pencil on your labels.

If you use tomato cages, slice open a section of old garden hose and use it to cover the top ring so that the wire does not cut into the stems of your tomatoes as they grow.  

Speaking of tomato cages, instead of putting your plant labels in the soil, tie them to the tops of your cages, so you will be able to see them when the plants are grown.  

You can make garden scoops, for fertilizer, potting soil, etc. from plastic jugs. Just cut off the bottom diagonally. (Mark the line to cut with a pencil or marker, and cut with heavy scissors or tin snips.) Use different size jugs for different size scoops. With the cap left on it is a scoop. With the cap off it is a funnel. 

Drive sturdy stakes at the ends of rows to keep you from dragging the hose through your plantings. 

Plant some of your parsley in a large, deep pot sunk in the ground. Then you can dig it up and bring it inside in the fall for winter use. Cut it back some when you bring it in. 

Seed packets on a stick don't last, and "permanent" markers fade. For a permanent label save some aluminium pie pans or frozen food trays. Cut out labels of the size you want, and then put them on several sheets of newspaper and use a ballpoint pen and light pressure to "emboss" them with the names of your plants. 
A little bit about growing Eggplant
Although the most familiar eggplants are deep purple elongated fruits with glossy skin, the fruits can be oval, elongated ovals, long and thin, or even small and round. Besides purple, they may also be lavender, white, white with purple speckles or even green or orange.  
Eggplants are a heat loving annual that require a long, warm growing season. Air temperatures below 50˚ F will harm the plant. The fruit will not set if air temperatures dip below 60˚ F. They need two or more months with night-time temperatures near 70˚ F for good fruit production. As they also require warm soil, they benefit from being planted in raised beds.  Set put plants about two to three weeks after last frost average frost date, when all danger of frost has passed, soil temperature is at least 60˚ F, and average daily temperature reaches 65˚ F. Plant transplants 18" to 24" apart in rows 24" to 36" apart. Put row covers in place at planting to control flea beetles.  Eggplants are heavy feeders. Work a complete fertilizer like 12-12-12 into soil before planting. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers.     
Eggplants are indeterminate, meaning they grow, flower and produce fruit over the entire growing season. They cannot be preserved by freezing or canning and picked fruits keep only about a week. Therefore it is better to try to extend the picking season by starting to harvest when the fruits are 3" to 5" long. The immature fruits are the most tender and have the highest quality. Harvesting can start about 65 to 85 days from transplanting, depending on the variety.  Pinch off blossoms 2 to 4 weeks before first expected frost to ripen existing fruit. 
Harvest from the time fruits are one-third grown (3" to 5" long) until fully ripe. Skins should be shiny or glossy, and seeds inside should not be brown or hard. Cut fruits from plant with the cap and bit of stem left on the fruit. Keep harvesting to encourage growth of new fruit. Use care when harvesting -- most cultivars have sharp spines.
For more information see the  Michigan State Tip Sheet, or the  Cornell Growing Guide.  
Some helpful links:

Submit questions online to be answered by Master Gardener Volunteers at   Ask a Master Gardener
OhioLine Yard and Garden  provides fact sheets and information on a variety of gardening topics. 
The  Michigan State Tip Sheets,and the  Cornell Growing Guides  also offer lots of gardening information that is suitable for Ohio gardens.

Buckeye Yard and Garden onLine  provides timely information about Ohio growing conditions, pest, disease, and cultural problems.  BYGL is updated weekly between April and October.