Timely tips for your garden!
Your Community Gardening Newsletter
May 2019 Volume 7 Number 5
Upcoming Events
Saturday, May 4, 2019
World Naked Gardening Day! The title pretty much says it all. Just be sure to use sunscreen and insect repellent.

Saturday, May 4, 2019
Regenerative Gardening Techniques, Hosted by  Let's Grow Akron and the Rust Belt Riders . This event will take place between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM at 5401 Hamilton Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. Please click on the title to see how you can join. Tickets are $25.

May 7 and 21, 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:
(A group discussion with Master Gardeners). All are welcome. Coffee will be provided.

Thursday, May 9, 2019
The Summit Food Coalition Stakeholder Gathering will be held from 5:30 PM  7:30 PM at Akron Canton Regional Foodbank. Click above for details.

Thursday, May 16, 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: Success from the Soil Up

Tuesday, April 16, 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, May 22, 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 –  Your Outdoor Green Carpet , presented by Charles Behnke, OSU Horticulture Educator, Lorain Co., retired.
  
Thursday, May 30, 2019
Cultivate Countryside ; Cheers to the past twenty years - a toast to the next! This inaugural event will bring the best the land has to offer to your table with a gourmet dinner prepared by award-winning chef Douglas Katz of fire food and drink. Click the title above for ticket information.

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 annual Tour of Gardens will be held  Saturday, June 29 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 for early check-in, a grab-and-go snack breakfast,
and exclusive early shopping at the Posie Shoppe 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! 
Veggie Garden Coffee Chats
Summit County Master Gardeners and the Vegetable Gardening Practicum Committee is conducting a series of free Coffee Chats this Spring at the Lakefront Community Center located at 2491 Canfield Road, Akron 44312.

The following is a list of dates and topics, each beginning at 9:00am. Come join us for coffee and a discussion of seasonal gardening topics to help you garden!
May 7 – “Container Gardening” – by Deidre Bentancourt (vegetables) and Toni Bouhassin (flowers)
May 21 – “Gardening for Seniors”- by Karen Thomas
June 4 – “Attracting Blue Birds” by Martha Mertz, Deidre Bentacourt and Cathy Moore

All are welcome. Coffee will be provided.
Were you looking for something to do?
  • Generally, corn can be direct seeded any time after the 2nd week of May
  • Harden off any transplants to be planted later in the garden
  • After May 20th (normally last frost date), plant starts of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, and direct seed beans, squash, melons, potatoes and cucumbers--but watch the weather!!
  • Harvest rhubarb, spinach, lettuce, radishes, scallions and asparagus
  • Plant seeds for your 2nd or 3rd planting of any cold weather crops
  • Thin seedlings, as needed
  • For succession plantings, plant warm season crops where cool season crops have been harvested
  • Also for succession planting buy seeds now to sow later for a fall harvest.
  • Mulch around plants and in rows to keep soil moist and reduce soil compaction
  • Monitor crops for insect and disease problems regularly
  • Erect plant supports, as needed
  • Revel in the sprouting and blooming of nature! 
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 330-928-GROW (4769) 
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
 
2019 is the Year of the Pumpkin
The National Garden Bureau has designated 2019 the Year of the Pumpkin. According to the Bureau:
Pumpkins and other crops in the Cucurbitaceae family originated in Central America, where Native Americans would either roast and consume strips of pumpkin flesh, or dry the skins and weave them into mats. When European colonists arrived in the Americas, they prepared a dish believed to be a precursor of modern pumpkin pie. They cut the top off the pumpkin, removed the seeds, and filled the inside with milk, spices, and honey before baking it over hot ashes.

The popular tradition of pumpkin carving was derived from an Irish custom of carving jack-o’-lanterns out of turnips and potatoes, and placing an ember inside to ward off evil spirits. When Irish immigrants arrived in America in the 1800s, they brought this custom with them and applied it to pumpkins.

Today, pumpkins are a staple for fall decorations and recipes. Eating pumpkin provides numerous health benefits: they are high in fiber, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, B and C while being low in calories, fat, and sodium. Pumpkin is excellent in baked goods, soups, casseroles, pasta, and sauces. Cook with pumpkin throughout the year to support heart health and healthy blood pressure.
How much to plant?
Pam Bennett, the state Master Gardener Coordinator for Ohio offered the following  estimated yields for 10 popular vegetables in an article in Ohio Gardener Magazine:
  • Tomatoes: 1 plant yields 5 pounds.
  • Lettuce: 8 plants yield 1 salad per person per week.
  • Beets: 1 plant is a 1/4 pound root.
  • Cucumbers: 1 plant yields 5 pounds.
  • Zucchini: 1 plant yields 10 pounds.
  • Bush Beans: 1/4 pound of seed produces 12 1/2 pounds of beans.
  • Peas: 1/4 pound of seed produces 10 pounds of pea pods.
  • Corn: 1 or 2 ears per plant; 2 oz. of seed plants a 50 foot row and yields 50 ears.
  • Potatoes: 5 pounds of seed potatoes yields 50 pounds.
  • Peppers: 1 plant yields 5 pounds.
Seeds or Plants?
Which to use?
  • Seeds are cheaper. 
  • Plants can be quicker.  
  • And some crops are better grown one way than the other.
  • Use plants for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, and broccoli.
  • Direct seed beans, beets, carrots, Swiss chard, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach, and squash.
  • To save money choose mainly crops you can direct seed. 
For either of them: 
  • Make sure the soil is properly prepared.
  • Plant when you should based on the crop (look at plant labels or the seed packets.
  • Make sure the soil is not too wet to work.
For seeds:
  • Use the information on the seed packet to determine how deep to plant and whether or not to cover the seed.
  • Press lightly to ensure good soil contact.
  • Water well, but gently, and apply some half-strength liquid fertilizer.
For plants:
  • Look for stocky, full, medium-sized plants. The roots should fill the pots, but should not be pot-bound. Do not get plants that have begun to set fruit.
  • Plant on a cloudy day or in the late afternoon or early evening, to reduce wilting.
  • Make a hole big enough to hold the root-ball.
  • Plant at the same depth the plant was grown (except tomatoes and broccoli, which can be planted more deeply).
  • Firm the plant in gently, to ensure good soil contact.
  • Water the new plants well, but gently, and apply some half-strength liquid fertilizer.
Be on the lookout for Cutworms
Cutworms are the larvae (caterpillars) of night-flying moths in the family Noctuidae. They destroy healthy seedlings by chewing the stem at the soil line. To prevent cutworm damage to your newly set-out seedlings make rings out of strips of paper and place them at the base of the plants so that they stick above the soil line and are pushed at least ½ inch into the soil. Or use paper cups with the bottoms cut out, cut up toilet paper or paper towel rolls, or the paper sleeves from coffee cups. You can even use JUMBO straws, slit length-wise, cut into sections, and wrapped around the stem. These will expand as the plant grows.  
Also be on the lookout for Ticks
The following information is from the Ohio State factsheet Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases. You can also find Tick information from the Centers for Disease Control .

Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that can significantly impact the quality of life and health of humans and pets. Most importantly, some species of ticks may infect the host with any of several different diseases, which can result in mild to serious illness or death. Proper protection from ticks and prompt removal are crucial to preventing infection.

You can help prevent tick bites by doing the following:
  • Apply a tick repellent, making sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. Note that DEET formulations of at least 25 percent are needed to repel ticks. Repellents containing permethrin should be applied to clothing only; do not apply directly to exposed skin.
  • Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to find crawling ticks.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Tuck pants into socks, and tuck shirt into pants.
  • Perform tick checks frequently.
  • Remove ticks immediately.
  • Avoid tall grass and weedy areas; stay on paths.
If you find a tick attached to your skin, there's no need to panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively.
  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
  4. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  5. Save the tick for identification. It is useful to place the tick in a container with hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol; or wrap the tick inside an alcohol wipe before placing it into a container. The alcohol helps preserve the specimen. Take the tick with you to a healthcare professional if you develop flu-like symptoms.
If you experience fever or flu-like symptoms following a tick bite, immediately contact your healthcare professional and emphasize that you recently were bitten by a tick. Save the tick in some type of container and take it with you to the healthcare professional.  It is very important to receive the appropriate antibiotics as soon as possible.
Quick tips
A quick and easy way to test last year's seeds to see if they are still good is to use one of those weekly pill boxes. Put a little moistened potting soil in each compartment, plant a few seeds in each, close the lids and put the container in a warm spot. Keep the lids closed until the seeds emerge, and check each day to see how they are doing. Once seed start to sprout, open the lids. 

Many people keep a compost pail in the kitchen for kitchen scraps. But those scraps can also draw vinegar (fruit) flies. Try putting a zip top bag in your pail and keeping it zipped between additions. You can rinse it out and reuse it after you have emptied it.

Remember what they say about nights in May--Many are cold, but few are frozen. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts. 

When you first hook up you hose this spring, run water through it for a few minutes before you put the nozzle or watering wand on it. That will flush out any crud that might clog up your nozzle or spray head. 

Small photo albums with plastic sleeves or the sheets used to store baseball cards make great organizers for your seed packets. 

To get better germination from your nasturtiums rub a spot on the hard seed coat with an emery board, then soak them overnight in water and place them inside a damp paper towel. Check them every day, and gently plant them out when they just start to sprout. 
 
A little bit about growing  Pumpkins
What better time to try growing pumpkins than the Year of the Pumpkin? Pumpkins are e asy to grow, if you give them plenty of space, good soil and a long enough growing season. Pumpkins like f ull sun and well-drained, loose and fertile soil high in organic matter with a pH between 5.8 and 6.8. Pumpkins are usually grown from seed, (t o grow from seed, look for varieties with fewer days to maturity) but you can use transplants for an early harvest or for long-season varieties. Do not plant pumpkins in the same location where cucumbers, squash, watermelons, melons, or pumpkins were planted in the last two years

Pumpkins are a warm season crop, so w ait until all danger of frost has passed (about 2 weeks after last frost date) and soil is warm enough, at least 68˚ F at 4” deep. Seeds will not sprout if the soil is too cold. Plant seeds 1” to 1-1/2” deep in small mounds or hills spaced 4 to 8 feet apart, depending on the size of the vines. Sow 4 to 5 seeds per hill; thin to 2 plants per hill. Seeds sprout in 3 to 10 days.

Provide plentiful, consistent moisture from sprouting until fruits fill out. Use black plastic mulch to warm soil, help control weeds and retain moisture. Use row covers early in the season but remove before flowering or when weather turns hot. Mound soil around base of plants to discourage squash borers. Fertilize a fter vines start to run or use soil test results

Harvest when fully ripe. Start picking after the vines decline, before frost becomes a danger. Leave part of the stem still attached to the fruit. Before storing, allow cut fruits to cure for 2 to 3 weeks either in the field or in a dry, a well-ventilated place between 75° F and 80° F. Fruits subjected to a hard frost will not keep, so complete harvest before cold weather. Store cured fruit at 50° F to 70° F with humidity between 50 and 70 percent.

For pie, choose varieties based on flavor. For decorations, choose varieties based on size of mature fruit. For seeds, try ‘Triple Treat.’

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.