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Published: 4/30/2011

Plenty of online help available for gardeners

BY BARBARA NORTHRUP
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

These April showers we’ve had hopefully will bring about, not only May flowers, but little seedlings that will soon grow and show up as honored guests at your dining room table.

We have a great growing season in store, and in this column we will be covering a myriad of topics. In addition to gardening tips, we will discuss how to select healthy plants, how to identify weeds, potential diseases, tips applicable to the current season, and sharing your harvest with others.

OSU Extension Lucas County’s From Plant to Plate has a Web site where you can find a lot of information on vegetable gardening. You’ll also find information for food preservation; food safety; brochures with specific information on vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, easy-to-grow herbs, and simple tasty recipes featuring fresh garden vegetables.

From Plant to Plate was designed by Master Gardener volunteers (and also staff members), Patrice Powers-Barker, and Lee Richter as part of the Master Gardener Specialization in Backyard and Local Foods.

This column space would never be enough to share all of the information available as part of this local program. There is, however, a simple solution that allows you to obtain as much information as you would like, and probably more than you’ll ever need.

 Visit lucas.osu.edu, and click on the From Plant to Plate index on the left to find various subtopics with information from both OSU Extension and other Extension offices across the country.

Take some time and review some of the recipes, perhaps it will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Recipes to try now to get a jump on your spring production include spinach strawberry salad (I just made it last weekend for Easter), microwave spinach crustless quiche, colorful quesadilla, radish celery salad, Asian radish salad, along with a spring radish spread.

Plant to Plate Pointers is a bi-weekly newsletter with timely tips on what might be going on in your garden, along with recipes for vegetables currently in season. You may subscribe to this newsletter online, or by calling our office.

Recipes for Your Local Produce feature recipes which may involve a little bit more time. Recipes include: green bean and potato salad; stuffed eggplant; fennel citrus salad; roasted radishes and root vegetables. The source for most of these recipes is the USDA’s Web site: fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov.

Victory in the Garden is a challenge from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D.,Toledo) to “help feed the hungry one garden at a time.” Register your garden by visiting victoryinthegarden.osu.edu, or by calling our office. On the Web page you’ll also find a link for donation sites that are happy to accept fresh produce for distribution.  We ask that you keep track of how much produce you donate (by pounds) and let us know so we can have a running tally.

Food Safety includes how to assure your local produce is safe, and how to effectively (and inexpensively) sanitize your kitchen.

Other online resources include ohioline.osu.edu, which includes fact sheets on gardening, and nutrition information. Bulletins also are available by different topics in much greater depth.

Barbara Northrup is an information associate with OSU Extension Lucas County. If you have questions, call the OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Horticultural Hotline at 419-578-6783. Volunteers are on hand Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Questions also may be e-mailed to mastergardener.ag.osu.edu and answered in a future Plant to Plate column.



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