Timely tips for your garden!
Your Community Gardening Newsletter
August 2019 Volume 7 Number 8
Upcoming Events

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.  
 
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Join Let’s Grow Akron for Pressure Canning Class at 10:00 AM at Summit Lake Community Center, 380 W. Crosier, Akron. For more information call 330-745-9700.
 
Wednesday, August 7, 2019Friday August 9 th and Friday August 23rd, 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: August 9 th will be  Honeybees  by Mike Conley, Urban Honeybee and August 23 rd will be Invasive Weeds/Species  by Lee Paulson and Deidre Betancourt.  All are welcome. Coffee will be provided.
 
Wednesday, August 11, 2019
Summit Food Coalition recognizes the challenges present in our current food system lead to inequities in job opportunities, access to nutritious foods, health outcomes, environmental quality, and neighborhood livability. Transforming the food system requires collaboration across sectors on clear actions for the benefit of the system as a whole. Join us on August 7 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM to learn how Columbus and Franklin County developed a Local Food Action Plan outlining strategies to transform their local food system in 2016, and the outcomes emerging since its implementation. Joining us to share their stories are Jill Clark, PhD, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University; Brian Estabrook, Food Systems Planner for Franklin County Economic Development & Planning Department; and Ariel Miller, Chair of Franklin County Local Food Council. Please click here to RSVP.

Wednesday, August 11, 2019
Join Crown Point Ecology Center at 3220 Ira Road in Bath for a 2 hour cooking class on Napali Outdoor Cooking , followed by a sit-down meal of the recipes prepared in class. Feel bring to bring your own beverages of choice!
Class taught by Hema Gajmer.  
 
Thursday, August 15, 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: Sketching in the Garden
 
Tuesday, August 20th, 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, August 28, 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 –  Healing Gardens , presented by Karen Kennedy, HTR, Horticulture Therapist, Teacher at The Horticultural Therapy Institute and HT Consultant.
 
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 .
Were you looking for something to do?
  • Continue to water and weed as needed
  • Mid-month sow lettuce, turnips, spinach, radishes and kale for fall harvest
  • Harvest vegetables regularly for maximum flavor and nutritional value
  • Can, freeze or dry vegetables to preserve for winter use
  • Clean up the garden as plants die back
  • Consider planting some cover crops in the bare spots
  • Prepare any new sites needed for a future vegetable garden
  • Continue to monitor regularly for insect and disease problems
  • Enjoy the continuing warm weather and the ripening fruit and vegetables
Corn Fun Facts
We all look forward to the first local sweet corn, whether we grow it ourselves, get it at farmers' markets, one of the many local growers, or at the grocery. But did you know that only 5% of the corn grown worldwide is sweet corn. The other 95% is field corn, also called dent corn or flint corn. Field corn is a high starch, low sugar corn used for many culinary and industrial products as well as for animal feed. Cornmeal, grits, polenta, cornstarch, corn syrup (not to be confused with high-fructose corn syrup), popcorn, bourbon, snack foods, plastics, cosmetics, insulation, soaps, chemical solvents, and pharmaceutical products are just some of what we can get from field corn.

But back to sweet corn, according to Cooks' Country magazine, look for ears that plump and feel heavy for their size. The husk should be deep green, and the silk should be dry. To preserve the corn's moisture shuck the ears just before cooking. To avoid overcooking they suggest bringing the water to a boil, salting it, dropping the corn in, covering it and turning off the heat. Then just let the corn sit until tender-crisp, about 10-15 minutes. 
The effect of heat on tomato blossoms
Tomatoes are native to the tropics, and like warm weather, just not too warm. The University of Delaware Extension explains "Tomato plants can tolerate extreme temperatures for short periods, but several days or nights with temperatures above 90F (daytime) or 72F (nighttime) will cause the plant to abort flowers and fruit. At these temperatures the pollen can become sticky and nonviable." So the bloom isn't pollinated, and the bloom dies and falls off. The same thing can happen later in the year when nighttime temperatures are below 55F.
All we are saying, is give bees a chance!
The US Forest Service has determined that lawns can provide good habitat for native bees, assuming two things. First, that they are allowed to contain pollen and nectar sources like clover and dandelions. And second that they are not mowed too often. Lawns mowed every two weeks instead of every week showed a marked increase in the number and diversity of bees. So give yourself and the bees a break, and put off mowing for a little while longer. Instead of the roar of the lawnmower, sit back with a cold beverage and enjoy the hum of the bees. There are about 500 species of native bees in Ohio. To learn more about them check out the Ohio Bee Identification Guide.
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
 
Plant now for a fall harvest
Think your garden is winding down for the year? Think again. Now is the time to stick in a few late season crops. Many vegetables that are harvested in cooler weather taste sweeter. Also, planting later in the season can help you outsmart pests, who may be done reproducing at that point.  Also, you get to extend your growing period a bit and fill in some of those empty spots you may have.   
 
Fall harvest planting is based on the growing period of each vegetable, the harvest period, and on the expected fall frost date. The growing period is easy to find on the seed packets. For us, the frost date is usually mid to late October. 
 
To determine when to plant your crop take into consideration that plants grow more slowly as day length shortens in the fall, so add about 14 days to the estimated days to maturity for each variety. Also, add in a harvest period. Finally, consider whether your crop can take any frost. Collards will, beans won't. Many people think that the flavor of some cold-tolerant fall vegetables is improved by a light frost. 
 
Some crops to consider are arugula, beets, collards, kale, lettuce, mache, mizuna, pac choi, radishes, snap peas, spinach, turnips and Swiss chard. Check the maturity dates and choose varieties that mature more quickly. 
 
You can also start several different types of herbs outside in containers in late summer, and simply move them inside when the weather becomes too cold, for a winter herb garden!
Rain Barrels--how safe is the water?
Rainwater seems like the most safe and natural thing to put on your garden. But as it falls on your roof, into your gutters, and then into your rain barrel it washes all sorts of stuff in along with it. In addition to dirt and perhaps chemicals from your roof, it also washes in biological material. Droppings from birds, squirrels, raccoons and anything else that flies or scampers over your roof will end up in the water in your rain barrel. This is not a problem if you are only using the rain barrel to water ornamental plants. But for edible plants and herbs it can be a food safety issue. 

Rutgers University notes that caution is warranted when using harvested water to water a vegetable/herb garden to reduce the risk of exposure to a harmful contaminant like  E. coli. They offer the following "Best Practices: 
  • Rain barrel users should make sure to clean the barrel with a 3% bleach solution before collecting water to irrigate a vegetable/herb garden. Household, unscented bleach with a 5–6% chlorine solution can be added at the rate of 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops) of bleach per gallon of water. A typical 55 gallon rain barrel would need approximately one ounce of bleach added on a monthly basis. During periods of frequent rainfall, bimonthly treatment may be necessary. Wait approximately 24 hours after the addition of bleach to allow the chlorine to dissipate before using the water. Note that household bleach is not labeled for use in water treatment by the Food and Drug Administration although it is frequently recommended for emergency disinfection of drinking water (USEPA, 2006b).
  • When using harvested water to irrigate a vegetable garden, care should be taken to avoid getting water on the plant itself. Harvested rainwater should only be applied to the soil, possibly through drip irrigation. A watering can may be used, as long as the water does not get directly on the plant.
  • Water should be applied in the morning only. Produce harvesting should not take place right after watering in order to benefit from leaf drying and ultraviolet light disinfection.

And obviously, you should never drink the water from your rain barrel. 

Here is the link to the Rutgers Factsheet.             
Be on the lookout for hornworms
According to Joe Boggs at the Buckeye Yard and Garden onLine (BYGL, see link below) two types of hornworms may be found feeding on tomato plants: TOMATO HORNWORMS (Manduca quinquemaculata) and TOBACCO HORNWORMS (M. sexta). The caterpillars are called "hornworms" because of the prominent horn-like projection rising from the upper surface at the end of their abdomen. 


Both hornworms will feed on tomatoes as well as several other closely related plants in the Solanaceae family including eggplants, peppers, potatoes, tobacco, and certain weeds. Backyard vegetable gardeners need to be alert for the symptoms of feeding activity by these luminous green caterpillars which includes missing leaves and stems, hunks bitten out of developing fruit, and frass (poop) on leaves and the ground beneath infested plants.

Tomato and tobacco hornworm caterpillars are the larvae of hawk or sphinx moths. Indeed, tomato hornworms eventually grow up to become the 5-Spotted Hawkmoth; the "quinque" in the specific epithet refers to the five spots on the moth. The caterpillars can grow to a truly impressive size of 4" in length and 1/2-5/8" in diameter. However, despite their size, these cleverly camouflaged caterpillars may go undiscovered for weeks owing that to their coloration and white markings. 

The caterpillars can be controlled through hand-picking; however, both caterpillars are also subject to the attacks by several predators and parasitoids. Paper wasps, yellow jackets, and other wasps will grab them, chew them up, and take the remains to their nests to feed their larvae. The tiny parasitoid wasp, Cotesia congregata (Family Braconidae) inserts its eggs into the caterpillars and the resulting wasp larvae consume the hornworms from the inside out. Just before the hornworms die, the full grown wasp larvae erupt through the skin of the caterpillar to form oval, white, silk pupal cocoons. 
Rows of these white cocoons sprouting from tobacco and tomato hornworms are a well-known and a welcome sight to home gardeners. Of course, the parasitized caterpillars should be left alone. They will do little to no feeding, and the wasp cocoons represent the potential future demise of numerous other hornworms. 
Quick tips
Got Corncobs? Make stock!
Put 8 corn cobs, kernels removed using your method of choice and cut into 3" pieces; 1 onion roughly cut; 1 stalk of celery, cut in thirds; 4 crushed garlic cloves, and 1 bay leaf into a stock pot or Dutch oven. Add water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer at least 30 minutes, up to an hour. Strain the stock and set aside. You can use the stock after 30 minutes, but letting it rest for at least an hour will impart more flavor.
Use the stock as you would any vegetable broth or look on the internet for a recipe for Tennessee Corncob Soup.
 
Basil will root in water. Cut off a growing tip and put in a glass of water on the windowsill. Once it roots, pot it up and you can have a nice new plant for the garden or for your kitchen window sill long after the frost has killed the ones in your garden.  

Beet greens are pretty, tasty and nutritious. But once you have harvested your beets they should be removed right away. The greens pull nutrients and moisture from the beets (their roots). The same goes for turnips and carrots, too. All will keep much better with the greens removed. 

A little bit about harvesting Garlic
It has been a long haul, but the garlic you planted last fall should be about ready to harvest. They should be ready in July or August. You can tell for sure when the tops start to dry. The leaves should be yellow, not brown. That is the time to DIG up the bulbs. Do not try to pull them, the stalks can be damaged or break off and leave the bulb behind. Place them in a shady location and allow the garlic to dry a few days until the skins start to become papery. Move them indoors to a cool, dry spot for curing if the weather is rainy. Spread them out to ensure good air circulation. Continue to dry or cure them until tops are completely dry and bulb skin is papery. You can braid"softneck" varieties. Or you can cut off the tops and the roots, leaving an inch of both, and store the bulbs in mesh bags in a dry area. Garlic stores well under a wide range of temperatures, but sprouts are produced most quickly at temperatures at or above 40 degrees F.   The mature bulbs are best stored at 32 degrees F. The humidity in storage should be near 65 to 70 percent at all times to discourage mold development and root formation. Cloves should keep for six to seven months. "Softneck" varieties have strong flavor and good storage qualities, "hardneck" varieties have milder flavor and winter hardiness.

For more information see the BRAND NEW OSUE FactsheetMichigan 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.