Delaware Master Gardener program offered


By Rob Leeds - Contributing Columnist



It is that time of year again if you wondering how to grow bigger, more beautiful flowers and vegetables, have issues with your trees, need an insect identified or just want a healthier looking lawn the OSU Extension Master Gardener help line is not open.

No question is too small; call 740-833-2030.

The Master Gardeners will try to give answers over the phone, direct you to valuable research based sources of information or send you University material. The best part is: The service is free.

The Master Gardener Help Line invites walk-ins too. The Help Line is located at our office: 149 North Sandusky Street, Delaware. Bring in fresh samples of your mystery plant, bug, fungus or flower. If the volunteers can’t give you an immediate answer, they will research your issue and get back with you later.

The Ohio State University Extension Master Gardeners here in Delaware County are trained in researching scientifically based sources to answer your questions Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., April through October, by calling the number above.

The Delaware County Master Gardener Program is an educational outreach program sponsored by the Delaware County Commissioners and Ohio State University Extension.

The more than 100 active members are engaged in programs ranging from the Habitat for Humanity, administer annual programs such as our plant sale which is scheduled for July 22 and 23, and giving educational talks to local groups, write articles, and support demonstration and community improvement projects.

They also work with different schools around the county educating children on the benefits of growing your own food, and helping to educate and establish gardens for them, the Delaware County Fair, help homeowners with soil sample results, designing and maintaining the Extension and Commissioners Gardens, landscaping projects, and educational opportunities for gardeners of all ages.

Master Gardeners enjoy the advantages of comprehensive horticulture training, future possibilities for continued education, and opportunities to serve their community with their knowledge and efforts. If you would like to know more about our Master Gardener program and how to become a Master Gardener please contact our office.

How do you know you are applying the right fertilizer at the correct amount? You might waste quite a bit of money on unnecessary fertilizer or wrong fertilizer. Now is the perfect time to get your soil tested; it is an excellent measure of soil fertility.

It is a very inexpensive way of maintaining good plant health and maximum plant productivity. The standard soil test provides the status of phosphorous (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), pH, cation exchange capacity, lime requirement index and base saturation. Additional tests are also available for iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), soluble salts and nitrates.

Here are some tips to get the right sample:

• Remove the top debris, residue, or turf thatch from the soil surface before taking the sample

• Sample gardens, trees, shrubs, flower beds, and orchards 6–8 inches deep.

• For the lawn, lift the sod and sample 3 – 4 inches deep.

• Take soil cores or slices from as many places as possible to cover the entire sampling area by going zigzag – mix together and get enough to measure a little over a cup for the sample to bring in to the office.

• Sample when soils are suitable for spading or plowing.

You will receive a detailed soil test report and recommendations from a certified Master Gardener along with appropriate fact sheets.

It normally takes a week to 10 days to get a report back from the lab and the cost is $20 per sample. Call the OSU Extension office if you have questions and we will be glad to help.

By Rob Leeds

Contributing Columnist

Rob Leeds is OSU Extension Educator Ag/NR, Delaware County.

Rob Leeds is OSU Extension Educator Ag/NR, Delaware County.