Timely tips for your garden!
Your Community Gardening Newsletter
October 2020 Volume 8 Number 10
Join us for the 2020 Master Gardener
Basic Training Class
Are you a lifetime learner? Want the opportunity to learn from experts? Want to share your love of gardening and horticulture with others? OSU Master Gardeners are plant lovers who receive plant education from The Ohio State University and then teach others about gardening. We are not plant experts going in, and in fact you can begin the training with minimal plant knowledge. The 2020 Basic Training class will be offered on-line via Zoom on Monday and Wednesday nights 6-9 pm beginning Oct. 19. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Summit County Master Gardener Volunteer and to access the application visit our WEBSITE!
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Find us by our user name osusummitmgv and follow us for educational information, gardening tips, and news and events related to the Summit County Master Gardener Program.
Upcoming Events
Friday, October 2, 2020
Springfield Garden Chats "Fall Leafy Greens". Tasty and good for you. From yellow to purple and green in between the colorful fall leaves of the fall vegetable garden. join Dr. Ann Chanon for our chat by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 6, 7, and 8, 2020
"Build Parenting Muscles " The Power Hour is a fun spin on parenting education. We are offering you--parents and caregivers of young children--a series of three one-hour virtual workouts comprised of dialogue and videos to PUMP YOU UP! In other words, we want to help you develop some knowledge, aspirations, strategies to replace those flabby wishes that your children would listen, or obey, with some strategies to gain your children’s cooperation.
6:00-7:00 p.m. October 6th, 7th, and 8th.   Pre-Registration for this workshop is required. Register at: https://go.osu.edu/powerhouroctober

Thursday, October 8, 2020
Join us from 4:00 to 6:00 pm for our fourth annual Savor the Summit Local Food Hero Celebration and Fundraiser. This year’s virtual event will honor ASIA, Inc with the 2020 Liam Murray Local Food Hero award during a brief remote program. An online pie auction and wine pull will be open prior to event day and items won during the auction can be picked-up drive-thru style along with a ready-to-go box of local and seasonal grazing fare prepared by Nosh Creative Catering. Both vegetarian and omnivore options are available.
Tickets available here
Early Bird General Admission (until Wednesday, September 23)- $45
General Admission- $55
VIP Admission- $75
Pie Auction & Wine Pull here

Saturdays, October 3, 10. 17, 24, and 31, 2020
Countryside Curbside Farmers’ Market Pickup. Order online and drive through starting at 9:00am. Our community is in need of fresh, nutrient dense produce and healthy foods now more than ever. To make them accessible with minimal contact, we are using a centralized online pre-order//pick-up system. *Pre-ordering online. https://countrysidefoodandfarms.org/countryside-curbside/ 

Saturdays, October 10. 24, and November 14 and 21, 2020
The Cuyahoga County Master Gardeners are hosting “Saturday Gatherings in the Garden" on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at 10:00 am.
The cost is $5.
Upcoming topics are:
  • October 10 Overwintering Your Patio Plants
  • October 24 Pruning
  • November 14 African Violets and Other Houseplants
  • November 21 What Do I Do with my Holiday Plants After the Holidays?

Visit their WEBSITE for details and registration.

Neither too hot nor rainy, this year’s virtual Farm Science Review from Ohio State University Extension allowed viewers to nestle into a recliner or tractor seat to learn about canning soups, butchering meat on the farm, and operating new technology to better manage their crops. More than 200 free livestreamed and recorded talks and demos
Webinar: Growing Black Roots: The Black Botanical Legacy
This 11-part lecture series presented by Holden Arboretum will cover a broad range of botanical disciplines, delve into the historical legacy of formally trained and self-taught Black Botanists who inspired others to pursue a career in plants, and highlight pathways toward diversity and inclusion in botanical sciences. With this series, the organizers and contributors seek to shine a light on the Black roots within botany, foster a community of Black Botanists, show that diversity is found within this community, and inspire others who may not have considered Botany as a career choice. This lecture series will take place entirely online, with a new speaker on the second Wednesday of the month from October 2020 to September 2021. 
The talks will take place on Zoom with a livestream to YouTube. The talks are free to view, but guests must register in order to view the live talks. 
Click HERE for more information and to register.
Webinar: Genetically Modified Organisms: The Pros and Cons
The Continuing Education Committee of Summit County Master Gardeners is excited to offer you a FREE webinar on Genetically Modified Organisms: The Pros and Cons on Thursday, October 8, 2020 from 10:00-11:30 am by Lee Beers, M.S., OSU, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator for Trumbull County. Click HERE to register.
When will it frost?
With such a beautiful end of September it might seem like the answer might be never. But frost is coming! The Midwest Regional Climate Center’s Vegetation Impact Program compiles tables on freeze dates based on historical information. These tables give probabilities that certain temperatures will occur after certain dates. 

There is a
  • 10% chance it will frost by October 1 - 10,
  • a 50% chance it will frost by October 11 - 20, and
  • a 90% chance it will frost by November 21 - 30.
Based on data from 1981-2010, The earliest first freeze was October 1-10 and the latest first freeze was November 1-10.
Were you looking for something to do?
  • Watch for first frost warnings (average date is 10/18)
  • Complete final harvest of tender crops when cold temps become frequent.  Partially ripe tomatoes can be picked and ripened indoors.
  • Harvest gourds when stems begin to brown and dry.  Cure at 70-80 degrees for 2-4 weeks in a dry well-ventilated location.
  • Harvest pumpkins and winter squash when rind is hard and fully colored.  Store in a cool place until ready to use.
  • After the first frost, harvest parsnips and Brussel sprouts.
  • After a killing frost, do a final garden clean-up, adding plant material to compost pile.
  • Soil can be prepared for spring planting.  Plant a cover crop, if planned.
  • Before the ground freezes, plant rhubarb, garlic and shallots.
  • Evaluate your garden and make notes to help plan next year's effort.
  • Carve your Halloween Jack-O-Lantern!!
The Master Gardener Hotline is Closed until further notice BUT you can email your questions to mgsummitcounty@gmail.com
You can call our Horticulture Hotline to ask a garden-related question and get advice from our experts.
Just call 234.226.6639 
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
Fall vegetable storage
Many Fall vegetables will store for a surprisingly long time if kept in the proper conditions. Here are some examples:

Cold, moist storage
(32 to 40 degrees F, 90 to 95% relative humidity)
 *Beets 2-3 months
*Carrots 2-3 months or overwintered in garden
*Parsnips 2-3 months or overwintered in garden
*Irish Potato 2-4 months. Avoid light, high humidity and good ventilation
*Turnips 2-3 months or overwintered in garden
*Cabbage - 2 months
*Chinese cabbage - 2 months
Cool, dry storage
(32 to 55 degrees F, 50 to 60 % relative humidity)
*Onions and Garlic 6-7 months - cure before storage - needs good ventilation
Warm, dry storage  
(55 to 60 degrees F, 60 to 70 % relative humidity)
*Pumpkins and winter squash 2-6 months depending on variety - needs good air circulation

Basements are generally cool and dry. If storing vegetables in basements, provide your vegetables with some ventilation. Be sure they are protected from rodents.
Home refrigerators are generally cold and dry (40°F and 50-60% relative humidity). Putting vegetables in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator will provide cold and moist conditions, but only for a moderate amount of time. (Unperforated plastic bags often create too humid conditions that lead to condensation and growth of mold or bacteria.)
Fruits and vegetables should always be stored separately. Fruits release ethylene, which speeds the ripening process of vegetables. Fruits are also very susceptible to picking up the taste of nearby vegetables. 

For more detailed information you can check out the University of Minnesota's Harvesting and storing home garden vegetables.
Don't compost those green tomatoes
Make salsa.  Tomatillos are not the only thing you can use to make a green salsa, green tomatoes will work too.  Roughly chop 2 large green tomatoes, one onion, and one seeded jalapeno, and roast them on a foil covered cookie sheet for one hour at 350.  Let them cool, then dump them in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Coarsely process everything, and enjoy.
Freezing raw ripe tomatoes
It is possible to quickly freeze raw tomatoes without blanching them first. Tomatoes may be frozen whole, sliced, chopped, or puréed. Frozen tomatoes are best used in cooked foods such as soups, sauces and stews as they become mushy when they're thawed.

Select firm, ripe tomatoes for freezing, discard any that are spoiled.Tomatoes should be washed before freezing. Wet each tomato with water, rub its surface, rinse it with running water, and dry it with a paper towel. Cut away the stem scar and surrounding area and discard it. Place the tomatoes on cookie sheets and freeze. (Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing.) Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes from the cookie sheets into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly.
To use the frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer a few at a time or all at once. To peel, just run a frozen tomato under warm water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.

For more information check out Freezing Raw Tomatoes from the University of Nebraska.
Be on the lookout for winter annual weeds
As you and the garden start winding down for the year the last thing you probably want to think about is weeding. And it is easy to overlook those harmless little weeds that are showing up. But those may be winter annual weeds. 
Winter annual weeds germinate in the fall and grow slowly throughout the winter. They begin rapid growth when temperatures rise in the late winter and can take over your spring garden if left to their own devices. They flower early in the spring, then set seeds and die, leaving the seeds for next fall.
Chickweed, hairy bittercress, henbit, purple deadnettle, and shepherd's purse are all winter annual weeds. Hairy Bittercress uses what botanists call balistic seed dispersal, meaning it shoot the seeds out. It shoots seed from 2-4 FEET! And touch can trigger the seed to shoot, so if you are weeding in the spring you might get a face full of seeds! 
The trick for dealing with winter annual weeds is the same as with most other weeds, get 'em when they are small, and NEVER let them go to seed.
So do yourself, and your garden, a favor this fall, and pull those winter annual weeds.  
Quick tips
Slicing an onion does not seem like rocket science, but how you do it can make a difference, according to Cooks's Illustrated. The layers of plant cells in an onion run from the root to the stem. So when you cut them cross-wise you separate those layers into small pieces that soften and break down when cooked. Just what you want to puree in smooth soups or sauces. When you cut your onions pole to pole, however, you preserve the cell's structure. That means that the pieces will maintain their shape when cooked. Perfect for onion soup or caramelized onions for hot dogs or sausages.

Now is the best time to add garden beds for several reasons. Not only to let them settle in over the winter and to do the work when the soil was not too wet and the weather not too hot. But also because if now, at the end of the season, when you are worn out, you think you need more beds, you probably do!

According to the University of Minnesota, research has shown that for the average consumer washing produce with tap water is just as effective as washing produce with any produce wash solutions that are on the market.  (Not to mention cheaper, too.)

Leave winter squash on the vine until the stem shrivels. Pick after the vines have dried but before the first frost. The skins should be hard enough to resist the pressure of your thumbnail. Leave about 4" of stem on each squash. 

Speaking of winter squash, large ones like Blue Hubbard can be hard to cut up. The skins are hard and the squash is hard to steady. Cooks Illustrated suggests a different approach. Put the squash in a clean kitchen trash bag and drop it from shoulder height onto a sidewalk or driveway. The squash should break into manageable pieces to get you started.
A little bit about growing Garlic
Fall is the time to plant garlic.  Plant from about the time of first fall frost to early November. If your soil is loose and well-prepared, you can plant in very early spring, but fall plantings usually yield more.  Garlic comes in 2 types, soft neck (which you can braid) and stiff neck. Stiff neck is more winter hardy and may be better for fall planting, which is recommended since spring planting yields small bulbs. Plant the individual cloves 1-2 inches deep, 4-6 inches apart, with the point up. Plant large cloves for larger bulbs. Smaller cloves may be planted closer together and harvested for garlic greens. Do not use supermarket garlic, since it may have diseases, may have been treated to prevent sprouting, and may not be suited to our climate. Garlic likes a good sandy-loam soil rich in organic matter with ample nutrients. Mulch well with straw or chopped leaves after planting. In spring be sure to keep your garlic well weeded and if it is dry, apply 1 inch of water per week. If flower stalks (scapes) appear in the spring, remove them for best bulb size. 

Garlic is ready to harvest when the tops yellow and begin to droop-usually mid-July to August. Dig the bulbs carefully (rather than pulling out by the stems) and place them in a shady spot for a few days to dry. After the bulbs have dried, the tops and roots can be removed with shears to within an inch of the bulbs, but the bulbs should be spread out in a dry spot to fully cure. It is essential that the garlic be well cured before going into storage.

As a side note, OhioLine notes that "When garlic is used in canning pickles, a blue-purple pigment often develops under acidic conditions. This situation is often seen in canned products when the garlic is immature or overdried. This does not affect the taste or edibility of the product."

For more information see new Ohioline Fact Sheet Growing Garlic in the Garden or 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.