Guest Editorial Week of 6/15/20

Melissa Martin

It’s a good time to plan a garden party in Ohio
According to news outlets, people are planting. Why? Humans want to become more self-sufficient because of the pandemic.
The 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020 coincided with the coronavirus outbreak, which may have factored into the seed-buying craze. Whatever the reasons, growing vegetables is a good thing. By the way, tomatoes are classified as a fruit.
“The victory garden movement began during World War I and called on Americans to grow food in whatever spaces they could — rooftops, fire escapes, empty lots, backyards. It maintained that there was nothing more valuable than self-sufficiency, than working a little land, no matter how small, and harvesting your own eggplant and tomatoes,” according to a recent article in The NewYork Times.
So plan a plant palooza with your spouse and kids. Younger children love playing in the dirt—teens, not so much. Don’t forget the sunflower seeds and herbs. Dance in the dirt. Talk to the tomatoes. Converse with the cucumbers. Laugh with the lettuce. Can you dig it? Argh—a poor pun indeed.
Newbies can visit YouTube and view gardening videos for helpful hints. And great-grandparents are full of gardening wisdom.
I encourage gardeners, both new and seasoned, to purchase plants locally from family owned greenhouses. Start with places in your county, then expand your radius in other Ohio areas. Gardening gals and guys can also order plants online at a few Ohio gardening centers.
According to the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association, production agriculture is listed as essential, and nursery and greenhouse production is federally classified as agriculture. Visit
Check out the Backyard Garden Guide – Ohio Magazine at “Ohioans enjoy a reasonably long vegetable-gardening season, starting as early as March and stretching on through late November. But success has as much to do with when you plant as it does what you plant.”
Ohio Farm Bureau is a grassroots membership organization that works to support Ohio agriculture and the state’s food and farm community. Our Ohio Weekly, stories and information about Ohio agriculture, can be heard on 21 radio stations throughout Ohio. Visit
OSU Extension continues teleworking arrangements during Stay Safe Ohio order. For questions, contact your local OSU Extension office. Visit for office phone numbers and a direct link to each office’s website and staff directory.
Let’s get serious about weeds. These pesky plants will crash the party. Dandelions get my dander up! So grab a hoe and go. “A weed is but an unloved flower,” surmised Ella Wilcox. Hmm. Let a dandelion farmer fancy the dandelions—not me.
Another idea is to learn about Ohio’s bees, butterflies, and beneficial bugs. Invite pollinators to your garden party. What about backyard birding? Birds eat insects, so invite our feathered friends to the juicy jamboree. Make a toad house and invite these amphibians to the shindig.
Ohioans, go party with the peppers! Waltz with the worms. Tango with the turnips. Cha-cha-cha with the cabbage. Can-can with the carrots. Giggle with the garlic. Rumba with the rutabagas. Yak with the yams. No masks required for veggies and fruits.
“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. ” –May Sarton

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio.


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