This time of the year, there is a flurry of gardening activity, especially in those gardens producing fruits and vegetables. The warm season crops continue to produce, while gardeners begin planning for the fall garden - one of the quick to mature warm season crops, or the traditional cool season crops.
While we always want to highlight and encourage locally growing food, the first week in August is a great time to take it to the next level. Visit a local farmers market to support your local producers, swing into a road-side food stand, or celebrate the harvest in your own garden, and share any excess produce with friends, family, neighbors and others in need. Flood social media with these positive photos and use the hashtags #ohiolocalfoods #localfoodsOH
Are you interested in learning more about the fall garden? Check out this blog post with additional links and a table of fall producing fruits and vegetables: https://u.osu.edu/powers-barker.1/2019/07/24/planting-a-fall-vegetable-garden/
To continue to get you into the gardening spirit, here is a virtual-walk through the Heirloom Garden, just outside the OSU Extension Horticulture Office in Lucas County at the Toledo Botanical Garden.
Vining crops like pole beans benefit from structures to support the plant's growth. A bean tee-pee provides that structure for these yard long beans, along with a small place for young gardens to enjoy and explore.
The photo below is another structure that can provide plant support taken earlier this season.
This trellis was hand-made from trunks and branches and supports the cucuzzi gourd. The fruit is an eye-catcher with its mature length, exceeding a yard in length. It produces multiple fruits per vine and the plant has filled in the trellis nicely.
Tomatoes in this garden are staked individually, as shown below. Stakes provide support for the plants to grow upright, rather than left to spread on the ground. This can help with air circulation, and hopefully the reduction of pathogen on plants.
At home where we have lots of tomatoes, we have gone to using staggered stakes with twine weaved back and forth, and have trained the tomatoes to grow between the twine. This practice is called the Florida weaves.
Included in the collection of tomatoes is Amy Szabo's, TBG Horticulturist favorite, the 'Blue Gold Berries.' This cherry tomato is purple and green now, but will turn to an amazing blue to black and yellow combination when ripe.
On the edge of the garden is a trellis for the grapes to grow. This year the hubbard squash began also taking advantage of the support system. This unusual plant combination, when vines collide as I like to say.
Additional plants include several rows of sweet corn.
And what would a garden be without sunflowers!
So take time to celebrate local foods and enjoy the fruits of your labors, or the labor of our local producers. Happy Local Foods Week!