Well, I played an April Fool last weekend and didn’t realize I did it: Thanks to a reader of my column last week, I mistakenly included the comment that it should now be safe to plant most of our garden. NOT REALLY!

I think you would all agree Mother Nature gave a real April’s Fool this past week with below freezing temperatures. Certainly not gardening weather.

NOW is NOT the Time to plant sweet corn and especially tomatoes and beans. These are sensitive plants and do not do well and do not tolerate cooler temperatures and are easily damaged if not killed by frost.

Add to that list vine crops such as cucumbers, melons, squash and pumpkins. They are very sensitive and do not like cold weather at all.

So, I apologize that I may have led you astray and say thanks to my reader for finding my miscue.

Tomatoes and other sensitive and very sensitive vegetables are warm-season plants and should be planted only after danger of frost has passed unless you are prepared to protect them in the event of a frost. This can be as late as May, so watch the weather outlook in the weeks to come.

Since we are talking vegetables, I wanted to announce Clinton County Extension is your source to get free garden seeds through the Victory Garden program.

History tells us that Victory Gardens originated during World War I, an answer to a severe food shortage at the time. People were encouraged to find any usable space, plop in some seeds and contribute homegrown fruits, vegetables and herbs to the effort.

The idea was wildly successful, growing an army of amateur gardeners and serving to boost morale and patriotism.

While we’re not in wartime, we can all agree the past few months have been tough and a positive mood-booster like gardening is welcomed.

So, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio State University Extension are reviving the effort and once again inspiring people to get their hands dirty, realize the fruits of their labor and share with others if inspired.

We believe a good day in the garden is good for the soul. So, get your garden on as some say and get inspired to plant a garden in 2021.

There are lots of ideas on how to put a garden out. Keep in mind, the basic tools you need are some garden gloves, a place to plant your plants, seeds to grow, and some tools to use for digging in the dirt.

The place could be an in-ground garden out in your yard, a container big enough to accommodate the plants you want to grow, or a raised bed garden.

The seed packets that are available this year will contain sunflowers ( All sorts Mix) along with two other seed packets selected from the following: Detroit Dark Red Beet, Poinsett 76 Cucumber, Green Ice lettuce and Champion Radish.

There is a wealth of gardening information to be found at the following Victory Garden website: https://u.osu.edu/ohiovictorygardens .

This website is filled with details on seed distribution, advice, and resources on every aspect of planting and harvesting produce.

Seeds will be available to pick up April 5-8 at the Clinton County OSU Extension Office, 111 S. Nelson Ave., Wilmington, from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3:30 p.m.

For more information contact Tony Nye, at (937) 382-0901 or email me at [email protected].

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

And there’s no foolin’ Mother Nature

Tony Nye

OSU Extension