Timely tips for your garden!
Your Community Gardening Newsletter
April 2019 Volume 7 Number 4
Upcoming Events
April 9 and 23, 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, April 18, 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

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
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?
  • Apply fertilizer based on soil test recommendations
  • Prune back old perennial growth before new growth has started
  • Plant tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds indoors early in the month
  • Begin cleaning up the garden and preparing the soil for future planting as soon as the soil is workable. But WORKABLE is the key! Your soil should not be too wet (or too dry). If you work the soil when it is too wet, you will damage the structure and can end up with concrete. To test your soil's moisture, dig down a bit and take a handful of soil and squeeze it. If the soil remains in a tight ball when you release your grip, it is too wet, if it crumbles when you release your grip or when you poke it gently, it is dry enough to work.
  • Harvest radishes, spinach, lettuce, beets and asparagus as they become ready
  • Continue succession planting of onions, beets, lettuce, spinach and carrots
  • Appreciate the awakening spring garden!
Free Coffee Chats
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:
April 9 – “Totally Tomatoes” by Lee Paulson (“The Big Tomato”)
April 23 – “Square Foot Gardening” by Geoff Kennedy
May 7 – “Container Gardening” – by Deidre Bentancourt
May 21 – “Gardening for Seniors”- by Karen Thomas
All are welcome. Coffee will be provided.

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
Vegetables for shade?
We have all heard it before. Vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of sun a day. And generally speaking, the more sun the better. That is because fruits and roots require a lot of energy to produce. And plants get that energy from the sun. For the plant, and for the gardener, sun = sugar. But not all gardeners have that much sun. Are they doomed to a vegetable-less existence? Maybe not!

First some definitions. According to the University of Illinois Extension:
Full Sun : is six or more hours of direct sunlight per day. This doesn't have to be continuous; you could have four hours in the morning, shade mid day, and four hours in the afternoon. As long as it is direct full, sun.
Partial Sun or Partial Shade : Partial sun means the amount of sun isn't full sun, yet not partial shade. Most references put this between 4-6 hours of sun a day. Partial shade means the amount of sun is less than partial sun, but more than shade, so we will define it as 2-4 hours of sun per day.
Shade : Shade by definition is lack of sunlight, but in gardening terms this means less than two hours of sunlight a day.
Unfortunately, not all sources use the same terminology. Some use light shade instead of partial sun. For our purposes, we will focus on plants that you can grow in 4-6 hours of sun per day.

Based on a variety of extension sources some vegetables can TOLERATE partial sun or light shade. The key word here is tolerate, because the plants will be less robust when grown in light shade rather than full sunlight. The plants may be leggy and the leaves may be thinner. But they will be tasty even though their growth is not as luxurious. The list includes lettuce, spinach, arugula, endive, cress, radicchio, Swiss chard, collards, kale,mustard greens, radishes, green onions, parsley, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, rhubarb, carrots and turnips. Lettuce, spinach and radishes may actually benefit from shade during the heat of the summer. Note that none of these crops are grown for their fruit. Fruit production just requires too much light.

The motto of both Lawrence University and the vegetable gardener is Light, more light. But if you have a shady spot in your garden give some of these shade tolerant vegetables a try.
Be on the lookout for
Pests. It may seem early, but our little friends will soon be waking up. Two of the keys to Integrated Pest Management are forecasting and scouting. Forecasting is having an idea about the life cycle of the pest, to that you know when to look for it. And scouting is just that, spending time in the garden looking for evidence of pest activity. You can download a Timetable from the University of Wisconsin on when to expect pest damage by clicking HERE. Just remember that Wisconsin warms up later than we do, so factor that into your scouting.

Pollinators.  Bees are waking up, and they need food. In addition to honey bees there are bumble bees and a number of native solitary bees, like mason bees. Mason bees are small solitary bees that nest in hollow twigs. They are great pollinators. But they need nectar and pollen early in the season, so leave a few dandelions for them. One bite in every three we eat needs an animal for pollination. And these include essentials like COFFEE and CHOCOLATE! And bees are some of the best pollinators.
For more information check out the  Ohio Bee ID Guide.
Quick tips
Seed radishes and beets along with your lettuce. The shallow-rooted lettuce will grow near the soil's surface while the radishes and beets will push down into the soil. These root crops will naturally break up the soil, adding air and water space. Plant roots will provide a place for necessary soil microbes to live. Place onion sets among your greens for the same effect. If your greens die back or bolt, you can reseed another crop while allowing the root crop to fully mature.

If you are gardening with a child, write the child's name or initials in the soil. Have the child use their fingers to write their name or initial be making a shallow furrow about 3 fingers wide. Then sprinkle radish or carrot seeds in the furrow, cover lightly and water in. Soon the child will get to see their name magically appear in the garden. 
Beet and Swiss chard "seeds" are actually clusters of seeds. So sow them sparingly, one at each spacing, and then thin them to a single plant when they emerge. Also, if you have heavy soil, cover the seeds with a light potting mix to make it easier for the seeds to break through. 
Save those Styrofoam egg cartons from your Easter eggs and use them to start some seeds. Just be sure to poke some drainage holes in each compartment.
A little bit about growing Herbs
Based on last season's Herb Survey, we know that herbs are popular. They are also easy to grow. There are so many different varieties of herbs, and some of them require special conditions for best growth. So be sure to read your seed packets or plant labels. But there are some general rules. Most annual and perennial herbs grow best in six to eight hours of full sun. And herbs will grow in any good garden soil. Herbs grow best when soils have adequate organic matter. Although many of the herbs will live in poor ground, for the healthiest plants and best harvest, they need good soil to thrive. Most herbs like a soil pH of 6.3 to 6.8 

Good drainage is also critical especially with many of the perennial herbs. But timely watering is also a key to producing good herbs. Many of the perennial type of herbs, once they become established, can tolerate soils that may tend to dry out between watering. Annual type herbs tend to do better when watering is done regularly. This will allow the herbs to produce abundant leaf growth that is high in flavor oils. Mulch helps to conserve soil moisture and also reduce weed growth.

Herbs don’t like to be fed too much. Over-fertilization tends to produce excessive foliage that is poor in flavor. But inadequate fertilizer can severely limit new growth, lead to to insect and disease problems, and increase the susceptibility of tender perennials to winter injury. Balance is the key. Stop fertilizing perennial plants in early fall to avoid having tender new growth going into winter. And perennial herbs will need time to build up their reserves before winter so try not to harvest any later than a month or so before the first expected fall frost (mid-October).

The high concentration of essential oils in healthy, actively growing herbs repels most insects. The best defense against pests is preventative cultural management, such as good sanitation, removal of weak or infested growth, and proper spacing. Scouting for pests is a good way to catch problems early. Aphids can be a problem in crowded conditions with rapidly growing, tender plants. Just wash them off with a hose. Parsley and dill can sometimes be afflicted by Parsley Worm. 

Which is actually the caterpillar of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly

So our advice is to just plant enough to share!
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.