Friday, June 25, 2010

Dayton "Dirt" - June 25, 2010

I’m getting excited about my annual “shopping” trip to Holland, Michigan to visit Walters Gardens that has 900 acres or more under the cultivation of perennials.
It’s always a thrill to take a look at all the facilities and growing fields to see what’s going on and especially what’s new.

I remember my dad and I taking our first tour of the nursery in 1982 when Dennis Walters gave us the tour.

Mr. Walters was so very friendly and kept asking us after an hour of the tour if we had any more questions or wanted to see more.

He did show us 20 acres of daylilies that were all sold to the marketing company Wayside Gardens while inside this processing building, workers were assembling bags with two oriental poppy roots in each bag for a total of one million poppies!
Walters has a fantastic website too with color photos and descriptions of most of their inventory.

After my tour and a little study, I’ll be able to dream about all the new stuff for 2011 like the new Itoh peonies that have colors of yellow, orange, pinks, reds and purples like the tree peonies only they die down like garden peonies and can be grown in full sun!

I already ordered these plants last January to sell in 2011!

Keep an eye on my blogs for the new developments…


Friday, June 11, 2010

Dayton "Dirt" - June 11, 2010

Today would have been my mom & dad’s 61st wedding anniversary but unfortunately, my dad passed away 6 years ago.

I remember this day (in 1972) also because Hurricane Agnes was in the North Atlantic and was absorbed by a low pressure cell over Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania which flooded the region and gave us such cold rainy weather that about a thousand pepper plants I planted were stunted and never did grow.

In fact, on June 15th, in Hartville, it actually frosted and did damage to the truck farms in the area.

Remember on Saturday, June 12th at noon, we’ll have the Rose Lady and Mimi Zak to touch on some rose highlights and answer your questions. I think you’ll like the rose samples displayed from Mimi’s magnificent rose garden.

Its back to work for me as all this rain has made the garden grow but the weeds too!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dayton "Dirt" - June 4, 2010

While Memorial Day signals the commencement of summer, there are still 3 weeks left until the summer solstice.

With the long warm days, our gardens seem to grow wildly as compared with the slow start from the somewhat cold early May.

As I have said before, Memorial Day need not be the end of the vegetable garden planting as successive crops can be planted to keep the harvest going later in the summer and into fall.

An interesting book to read is American Intensive Gardening by the Poisson family as it describes the family’s trials and errors to create the most productive garden in the cooler New England climate of New Hampshire.

Be sure to keep an eye on trees and shrubs you planted early in spring.
Two simple rules are as follows:

1. Container grown plants – water twice weekly by soaking thoroughly. A good rule of thumb is that for every “gallon” of the container in which the plant was grown, give it at least that amount in gallons in any one watering.
2. Balled and burlapped trees and shrubs – soak thoroughly once weekly unless the plant is a Rhododendron or Azalea on of the family I which case the watering frequency is twice each week.

Remember that rainfall counts as watering only if you are sure that the rainy period resulted in one inch of rain or more in a 24 hour period.

Most importantly do bypass a softener when watering your plants if you have a well because most softeners use a sodium exchange type system which is not good for plants.

Although I don’t like hot weather, I still remember shoveling snow in February and I can tell you I don’t miss the snow shovel as this past winter was just a little tiring with the seemingly endless snow storms.

Happy Growing,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dayton "Dirt" Green Blog - June, 2010

With the news filled every day about the ruptured well spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, the thoughts that run through many of our minds is what is the true cost of oil.

In a laissez-faire economy, resources are allocated and used according to the economic principles of supply and demand which seems to be a very efficient system that Adam Smith described as an “invisible hand” in his book The Wealth of Nations.

It seems to me that the resulting cost of the oil to run our economy is skewed because of the subsidies provided by the US taxpayer and costs that cannot even be calculated.

For example, the US Six Fleet in the Persian Gulf is mainly there to secure the oil interests of the United States.

The cost of this naval flotilla is not cheap and there is the more important matter of the servicemen and women lost in the first Persian Gulf War under the first President Bush and other lives lost due to our presence in the region to protect oil interests

Another cost not calculated is the long term damage to wildlife and wildlife habitats such as in the Exon-Valdez spill some years ago in Prince William Sound in Alaska and now the even bigger disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Then, the economic damage from the livelihoods lost of those of us in the tourism and fishing industry is not calculated.

Finally, how much of the clean up costs for these disasters will be on the backs of the U.S. taxpayer?

In a recent broadcast on National Public Radio, the company that actually drilled the well in the Gulf will attempt to legally limit its liability to twenty seven million dollars.

What kind of people are the board and top executives that they are not willing to take responsibility for the disaster and step up to the plate to do the right thing?

In summary, the “invisible hand” described by Adam Smith does not allocate these calculable and incalculable cost to the price of oil and its extraction.

If the costs could be truly allocated by the “invisible hand” as described by Adam Smith, it might be that the costs of alternative energy sources might well compete with “cheap” oil.

This recent disaster has made it all even more imperative that the United States must get rid of oil as the main source of energy to power our economy and the sooner the better!