Friday, June 26, 2009

Dayton "Dirt' June 26, 2009

Now that the summer solstice has come and gone, it seems a bit sad that the days will become shorter day by day. The good news is that for at least the next two months, the temperatures and day length will be agreeable to the growth and thriving of gardens.

I’m looking forward to July 4th in the celebration of our democracy allowing for our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, and while our democracy is based on majority rule, our enlightened forefathers were wise enough to put into place the protection of minority rights.

Many of our forefathers were gardeners and farmers and no more than Tom Jefferson with his orchards, vegetable and perennial gardens at this Virginia home, Monticello. Jefferson was so interested in botany that he spread plant samples sent by Lewis & Clark from the Louisiana purchase on the floor at the White House so that he could study these more easily.

Right now you should be enjoying some of the “fruits of your labor” from your own garden.

Another item to watch are your first early blueberries from a variety called Earliblue that you may have planted. When the berries begin to ripen, you must net the bush as the birds will out maneuver you to help themselves to the fruit! Be sure to peg down the net to the ground as the birds can become quite aggressive to feed on the berries.

Look on our gardening calendar and there you’ll find lots of things to do with your blueberries on our web link to

Japanese beetles can be a killer for July and sprays or dusts of Carbaryl (Sevin) are usually effective to keep the eating machines off your plants.

Don’t let the weeds get ahead of you.

Happy Gardening,


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dayton "Dirt' June 19, 2009

June 19, 2009

Right now you should be thinking about planting another patch of vegetables especially beans, corn, cucumbers and squash to get the garden “going” later into the summer and early fall.

I was surprised when an organization in Wadsworth to which we donated tomato plants for planting and harvesting by economically disadvantaged families had said that the man that would plow and prepare the ground was concerned about the “late” planting (June 15th) as it was already June!

I laughed when I heard this statement as I have planted many vegetable gardens between June 1 and June 21 with great success. Again, it is some ancient mentality that some of us have that everything should be done by Memorial Day in the garden.

A the nursery, we’ve been transplanting trees and shrubs for a while now but next to be transplanted are our “starts” of Azalea and Rhododendron from our greenhouse that we rooted from cuttings last summer. These transplants will be ready to sell in a small size next spring after they have over wintered at the nursery.

Again, please perform the root wash on Rhododendron, Azalea, Pieris japonica and Blueberries (just as we do when we transplant them) as it is a sure way to foster good root growth of the plants. For more detailed information as to what a root wash is, take a look under gardening tips and look up the instructions for Rhododendron-Azalea planting.

I’m excited too as our new crop of blueberries that we transplanted in March is growing like weeds!

These plants still need time to root out into the new soil and to branch out again after a final trimming we will give them in late June.

I recall my early years of gardening of hoeing, weeding, hilling up the rows of potatoes and waiting for the first harvest of warm season vegetables.

One of my fondest memories is when my grandmother and her friend from Barberton, Mrs. Postek were digging in one of my rows of Pontiac Red potatoes and started screaming. When I ran to them to see what was the problem, they had dug out a huge potato that weighed in at 2 3/4 pounds! My grandmother was no novice at gardening in that her city lot was like a food factory providing many meals of fresh and canned vegetables for the family table.

Its no wonder with the money she was able to save that she had $5,000 in the 1930’s to lend a close neighbor in order to keep the neighbor’s house out of bank foreclosure.

See you soon,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dayton "Dirt' June 12, 2009

Now that the spring blooms have ended, June opens up with the splashes of color from the perennial garden which include Salvias, Shasta daisies, Dianthus, Delphiniums and so on.

A well-designed perennial garden will “move” with the seasons just as flowering shrubs will when properly arranged.

The well-designed perennial flower garden has a certain rhythym in which colors, textures and foliage all compliment each other in a kaleidoscopic display.
Perennial gardens can have many functions from attracting birds and butterflies to providing a fresh bouquet of cut flowers for the dining room or kitchen table.

In order to achieve success with a new perennial garden, preparation is everything:

* The area should be free of weeds before any preparation should begin.

* The perennial bed should be planned so that the area will be well defined whether it is a rectangular bed or irregularly shaped island.

* Raised beds of soil are excellent to provide drainage especially in winter when a too wet soil can cause damage to plant crowns.

*Incorporation of a compost of material such as Sweet Peet will greatly improve soil tilth and microbial activity so necessary for good plant health.

Sweet Peet in addition will supply the plants with an organic source of nutrients and is beneficial to use as a mulch when finished planting.
With these important initial steps completed before planting perennials and of course a well-designed plan, your enjoyment and success is all but guaranteed.

If you need help, come in and ask to see Maggie, our perennial expert, or better yet call ahead with an appointment if you need some extra help so that she can set aside the time for you exclusively.

June’s alive too with flowering shrubs from Weigelas, roses, Endless Summer Hydrangea and Maximum types of Rhododendron.

Again, when proper planning is involved, the landscape will move seamlessly from spring to summer to fall with sights that will delight and stimulate the mind.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Dayton "Dirt' June 5, 2009

Its been quite cold for this time of year and the cold nights will temporarily slow down the growth of annual flowers and heat-loving vegetable plants.

The good news is that rainfall is adequate to keep these growing and lawns lush and green.

Just a reminder:

* Apply a weed & feed to your lawn now if you have not done it yet
* Spray the lower branches of Dogwood and Rhododendron for borer now if you did not do it at the end of May
* Apply Merit to your lawn in mid-June through July to prevent grub damage this fall
* Deadhead spent blooms of Rhododendron by removing the whole stalk with your thumbs and forefinger
* Trim spring flowering plants to shape such as Azalea, Rhododendron, Lilacs and fragrant Viburnum
* Keep up sprays of fungicides such as Bi-Carb on tea roses to prevent black spot
* Use Osmocote fertilizer on your annual flowers for a constant feed all summer
* Use Neem Oil to combat bugs on flowers and vegetable plants
* Plant cucumbers and squash from seed until July 1st in order to get a continuous harvest as late as possible
* Watch out for slugs on your flowers and especially Hostas with the wet weather. Sluggo, which is nothing more than a salt (iron phosphate), is safe for pets and the environment.

Get going because June is the best growing month!

See you soon,

P.S. Check out our Knockout rose selection and the Knockout rose bed that we planted in November in our parking lot island. Even though I only threw them some fertilizer and trimmed them in March, they're blooming their heads off!