Before you grow – growing individuals, one plant at a time

Washington County OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers has been building a high bed garden designed to teach horticultural knowledge and skills since 2012. “Garden” It is currently located on 202 Davis Avenue behind the county office building, but must be relocated due to the redevelopment of county-owned office buildings. Plans are afoot to relocate these affected gardens to county land between the County Health Department and the Washington County Youth Center.

The Gardens of Learning Gardens closely reflect the mission of OSU Extension, creating opportunities for people to explore how science-based knowledge can improve social, economic and environmental conditions. Teaching Garden supports this mission by collaborating with youth from the Washington County Youth Center to instill a sense of practical science in the backyard learning environment. Dean Catherine Cress, dean of the College of Food and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University, recently visited the gardens and commented that this is one of the highest beds in OSU! Teaching gardens in the state through the OSU Department of Agriculture.

The garden is a weekly two-week program from March to October. At the beginning of March, the students choose which crop they want to grow and begin to plan for the growing season. According to MGVs, their selection is limited to the right species suitable for local growing conditions. This plan includes planting a variety of plants in a limited area.

This year, one of the three beds is dedicated to pre-harvest crops: lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, onions and peas. When these are collected, the bed is planted with squash, pumpkin, watermelon and pumpkin.

So far this year the garden has produced 2 pounds of peas, 12 pounds of green beans, 15 pounds of onions, 3 1/2 pounds of lettuce, 1/2 pound of broccoli, 5 1/2 pounds of spinach and Swiss chard. , 5 cabbage heads, 38 1/2 pounds of zucchini, 22 pounds of tomatoes, 3 1/2 pounds of cucumber, 4 pounds of pepper, 8 pounds of potatoes and 4 pounds of pepper and more. Some of this product went to the center of minors and the rest was donated to local food warehouses.

In addition to planning, planting, caring for, and collecting plants in the garden, they have completed a number of other projects to improve and maintain the garden. The projects include rainwater harvesting and fertilizer systems, construction of doors, fencing, equipment storage shelves and small asparagus beds. One of the most ambitious projects completed was the construction of a five-story, high-rise bed with five small apple trees and strawberries.

A short lesson on MGVs begins each garden session. Topics included talks – gardening families, planting techniques, general science, invasive plants and plant nutrition. After the lesson, students will explain what changes they have seen since the last session and what they need to complete: weeding, mowing, replanting, watering, “pesting” bugs (organic pest control methods), and special construction or maintenance projects. Then they are driven by MGVs and lose their jobs. At the end of each session, a summary of the day’s activities and what you learned will be discussed.

During the last part of the year, the garden is ‘asleep’, except for a few grains of winter hardy crops, such as spinach, covered with a shiny cap. After a few winters, we got some beautiful spring greens to enjoy in March. There is also a short Harvest Festival marked by enjoying a homemade cake with vegetable products, usually apples, pumpkins, or PURPLE sweet potatoes.

In conclusion, the Teaching Garden serves our troubled youth with the hope of a new healthy, safe and enjoyable pastime for their students to explore in life. As a result, MGVs themselves learn a lot from these students and build impactful relationships that withstand time-tested. To learn more about teaching gardens and how to become a master gardener, please visit our website or call our office: Washington.osu.edu / 740-376-7431.

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Robert Rotwell has been a major gardener since 2013.

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