In my twenty-six years of Extension work I have never seen so much interest in gardening. Everyone seems to want to grow their own produce or at least buy produce locally. We all know that local produce has more likely been picked ripe off the vine which means its better tasting and filled with healthy nutrients. Buying local is also good for the economy because it helps to support our local agricultural producers.
Many good things are happening with local fruit and vegetable production. We have excellent family farm producers that grow quality produce right here in our communities. They also produce a product that is safe and wholesome for the consumer. Be sure to support their farm business.
There are also several organized farm markets in the area. Be watching for times and locations. They will be opening in the near future.
The Captina Produce Auction, which is operated by our local Amish Communities, is also providing a great supply of locally grown produce. They will be having their produce auction on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The St. Clairsville Community Garden is already starting to take shape. The garden plots will all be used again this summer and the OSU Master Gardeners will once again have a beautiful herb and vegetable demonstration garden. If you have never visited the garden, be sure to make plans to do so this summer.
Another great thing that is currently happening is thirty-one people in Belmont and Monroe Counties are taking the OSU Extension Master Gardener Program. They are receiving 50 hours of training and in return will provide 50 hours of volunteer education service to their local communities. This education has the potential to provide an enormous amount of impact in the future.
So, with all this interest in gardening where can you go for educational information? You can call the OSU Extension office at 740-695-1455 with all your home, yard and garden questions. We will be starting our Master Gardener Helpline in May so that people will have a specific time that they can call the office or walk in and speak directly to a master gardener. You can also check out the Ohioline at ohioline.ag.ohio-state.edu, your link to Ohio State University information about home, garden, family, youth, agriculture, environment and countless other topics.
Have a great spring and summer and happy gardening.