New to vegetable gardening? While we would love to announce an in-person class this spring or remind you to visit your local library for books, we currently cannot due to the COVID-19 pandemic. OSU Extension, Lucas County is committed to serving you during this time as our physical office(s) are closed.
An important seasonal topic that can continue during the COVID-19 pandemic is growing and eating fresh local produce! Whether you grow a garden or not, our local farmers and producers are also available to supply you with fresh produce during the growing season.
Vegetable gardening offers easy access to fresh, in-season produce for all ages and abilities. Every year we promote:
- It’s OK to dream big and start small. Whether you grow in containers on a patio, in a school or community garden plot or in your front or back yard, make the best choices for your growing space, interest and goals.
- Learn about the plants you would like to grow.
- Be familiar with potential challenges and possible solutions.
- Know your local resources. (see information below)
- Use food safe practices in the garden, from the garden to the kitchen and in the kitchen.
- Enjoy! Enjoy yourself and your fresh produce.
- Share your garden story with us and share your extra produce.
While vegetable gardening is a timeless topic, that is great for all ages, we will note a few things special to the 2020 growing season:
- Please respect social distancing and other recommendations from the Ohio Department of Health. This is especially important at community places such as stores to purchase supplies and also when visiting and working at community garden sites.
- Follow all previous recommendations for food safety. Although Covid-19 transmission from food has not been shown, everyone should continue to follow good hygiene practices (i.e., wash hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, refrigerate foods promptly) when handling or preparing foods.
- Most likely, different services, local as well as national and international will disrupted due to COVID-19. For example, we encourage having a soil test done but sites like the University of Massachusetts Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory share the following message: “All onsite work at the Soil & Plant Nutrient Testing Lab has been temporarily suspended due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. We are not accepting new samples for analysis at this time. Current turnaround time is not known.” Here is a link to the OSU Extension FactSheet on Soil Testing and includes a list of both private and public labs – some of the labs are accepting soil samples. Please reach out directly to the labs for their current hours and services provided.
Please follow us on Facebook @OSUExtensionLucasCounty for updated information in Lucas County and our webpage calendar for timely gardening tips.
For local questions:
The Horticulture Hotline is a resource for residents from Lucas County, from the newest of new gardeners to those with green thumbs and years of experience. We can answer garden-related questions, from plants, to maintenance, to pest identification (weeds, insects and diseases) Horticulture Hotline, email@example.com Office Phone, 419-578-6783
- Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, programming involvement include Master Gardener Volunteer Program, Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Program, Master Urban Farmer Program, Horticulture Hotline, Author of weekly garden column in the Toledo Blade (published on Tuesdays). Amy Stone, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 419-574-0986
- Family and Consumer Sciences (example Gardening Across the Lifespan, Food Safety, Home Food Preservation, also follow blog posts on Live Smart Ohio). Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, email: email@example.com phone: 419-574-0983
- Community Nutrition Education, Suzanne Saggese, Program Specialist, Community Nutrition (EFNEP & SNAP-Ed), email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 419-574-0985
- 4-H Youth Development (Spin Clubs on specific topics like gardening and related topics), Elliott Lawrence, 4-H Youth Development Educator, email: email@example.com phone: 419-574-0980
An American Timeline: Home Gardening in the US
Food Safety for Consumers, Specialty Crop Producers and Marketers during Covid-19
Fresh, Safe Garden Produce https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/food/powers-barker-1osu-edu/fresh-safe-garden-produce/
Gardening for All Ages blog post https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/mind-and-body/powers-barker-1osu-edu/gardening-for-all-ages/
Handling Covid-19, Guidance for Community Gardens https://fcs.osu.edu/sites/fcs/files/imce/PDFs/COVID/OSU_Community%20Gardens_COVID-19_042120.pdf
Make Your Garden Grow: From Plant to Plate links https://lucas.osu.edu/makeyourgardengrow
Making Gardening Accessible for All blog post https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/05/07/making-gardening-accessible-for-all/
OSU Extension FactSheet on Soil Testing and includes a list of both private and public labs – some of the labs are accepting soil samples. Please reach out directly to the labs for their current hours and services provided. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1132
Responsible Restart Ohio, Ohio Department of Health https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/responsible-restart-ohio/
Socializing May Be Postponed but Gardening Isn’t article https://www.toledoblade.com/a-e/peach-weekender/2020/03/25/growing-season-still-on-the-way-coronavirus-gardening/stories/20200324099
The University of Massachusetts Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory https://ag.umass.edu/services/soil-plant-nutrient-testing-laboratory