Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Darke SWCD and City of Greenville Host Successful Home Gardener Workshop

Sam Custer, OSU Extension Darke County, talks to attendees
at the Home Gardener Workshop about soil sampling techniques.
On Monday, September 16, 2013 the Darke SWCD and City of Greenville hosted a Home Gardener Workshop in the Darke County EMA Conference Room. The workshop was attended by 35 registrants interested in home gardening practices. Topics covered at the workshop were soil sampling, no-till gardening and cover crops.

The first speaker of the evening was Sam Custer, OSU Extension Darke County. Sam talked to the group about properly pulling soil samples from the garden. Sam advised the group to take their samples in the fall because the labs aren’t as busy analyzing farm samples and that they pull samples every two to three years.

“Take samples in a zigzag pattern throughout the garden. Ideally pull 15 cores, but up to 25 or 30 cores can be used. The key is don’t rush and send in only four,” said Custer to the audience Monday evening.

The second speaker was Alex Johnson. Alex covered his experiences with no-till gardening. Alex talked with the group about his reasoning for eliminating tillage. He also showed photographs of his garden, which was lawn last fall. And finally Alex talked about the no-till seeder he developed. The seeder allows for uniform depth and spacing in his garden. After the workshop, Alex demonstrated his no-till seeder to those interested. Alex spoke about the challenges and planning that goes into using no-till in the home garden.

The final speaker of the evening was Greg McGlinch, Darke SWCD. Greg talked about his experiences with cover crops in his garden and on the farm. He went over some of the basics of cover crop varieties and the benefits and challenges each have. Greg shared his reasoning with the crowd for using cover crops by asking these two questions, “Is a factory productive if it is only open five months out of the year? What about our soils?” Greg talked about how the audience can utilize cover crops to improve both their soil and plant health in the garden.

All attendees received a free sample of Darke SWCD’s cover crop blends available, either the fall or winter mix. Darke SWCD is currently offering their cover crop blends to the public in a one pound bag for $3.00. The blends available, while supplies last, are the Fall Mix and Winter Mix. The Fall Mix is an oat/radish blend and the Winter Mix is a Cereal Rye/Radish blend. For more information on the Home

Gardener Workshop presentations or cover crop seed, visit the newly launched Darke SWCD website ( or call the office at 937-548-1715, Ext. 3.

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