Friday, August 27, 2010

Dayton "Dirt" Green Blog - September 2010

In August I wrote no blog as I was on vacation out west visiting the National parks.
These vast expanses of land were only preserved by the wisdom of men such as Grover Cleveland, George Grinnell and Theodore Roosevelt among others to save these wondrous "cathedrals" of the United States for use and enjoyment for "generations yet unborn" as Teddy put it so well.

It disturbed me greatly on my tours of the Rocky Mountain areas of the millions of acres of trees that are dying or dead leaving the mountain sites brown or barren where once there had been a verdant green forest of pine, spruce and fir.

On a tour of Glacier National Park, I asked the park ranger about the dying trees as I observed larvae of an insect getting ready to pupate on a spruce tree in which the tree's new growth was mostly chewed off.

She replied that the insect was called the spruce bud worm and attacked the native spruce and fir.

The other problem insect she said were pine bark beetles that bore into pines and destroy them.

Both insects, while native, have been around for a millennium on the trees but have only recently gotten out of control decimating the forest.

The ranger went on to say that the winters are warmer than normal and former droughts weakened the trees making them more susceptible to insect attack.

Fire will for sure decimate the insect population along with the trees.

The new school of thought is that the insect explosion might be caused by humans because of fire fighting efforts of the last 100 years that suppressed the natural fire cycle in the forest which, while destructive, seems to be a cleansing, effect with the end result of a rejuvenated forest.

I think the forest ranger is correct as Yellowstone Park seemed to be the least affected by the ravaging insects because of the massive fires through the park that burned in 1988.
Now the new trees are 8-15 feet tall and standing like soldiers in millions.

The insects do not attack young vigorous trees and I'm sure that millions, if not billions, of these nasty critters burned in the fires along with the trees.

For sure fire will sweep through the dead, dying and healthy trees of the parks that will result in the land having a barren, sterile appearance.

However, in time, new life will come again to blanket the valleys and mountains with lush green forests.

The only downside is our generation will be gone before that rejuvenation results in massive tall trees.

Sometimes interfering with Mother Nature such as fire suppression is not a good idea.


Dayton "Dirt" - August 27, 2010

A week from today starts our annual fall sale for which many trees, shrubs and perennials will be 50% off the list price.

It has been a little slower this summer probably due to the high temperatures so that the fall sale selection will be better than ever.

Do remember though that not everything will be on sale as some items we buy and display for fall but are actually for next spring's sales.

Look on the website to get an idea of current inventory and the 50% off sale list about September 1st to take a look to see if there is something that you would like at the 50% off savings.

The first four days of the sale will only be open to our Garden Club members in order that they get first dibs on the stock.

After the four days, the sale will be open to everyone although if you are not currently one of our Garden Club members, you may sign up the same day and receive the 50% off discount.

Keep in mind that the inventory online is not perpetual and sometimes changes rapidly even in one day so be sure to call or e-mail ahead if there is some special item you want that is showing low numbers in our inventory.

Hope to see you next weekend!


Dayton "Dirt" - August 22, 2010

This week the construction starts on our new greenhouse that will enable us to grow more annual flowers to stock our retail greenhouse next spring.

I became very frustrated as some plants were in short supply and the quality on many declined as everyone tries to cut corners in the new economy. We sent product back to our suppliers that was only marginally saleable. I was so fed up in May that I decided to do something about it and take more direct control of our supply by building the new greenhouse with heat retention curtains which will enable us to start growing in mid January without transferring large amounts of cash to the gas company!

The greenhouse will be more automated and should elevate the level of quality of what we grow now as well as elevate the quantity so we are not at the mercy of outside suppliers.

We're still tweaking the produce for sale in the Owl Barn Market to ensure high quality and freshness as well as providing more variety as it comes out of local farms. I'm looking forward to the apple crop that isn't far away so that we can stock up on a kaleidoscope of various apples.

See you soon,

Dayton "Dirt" - August 15, 2010

The middle of August is most likely the time when your pulling a lot from your garden as far as the heat-loving vegetable group; that is tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, beans, cucumbers and squash.

One of the questions we have had periodically is if the our produce is organic. My answer is no as we deal with a variety of farms including Amish growers and all of them are not strictly organic.

At least one of our produce suppliers does have a GAP rating (Good Agricultural Practices) that is certified by the State Department of Agriculture.

These good practices include:

- control of soil erosion
- Minimal pesticide use
- Control of runoff water
- Low water usage from drip irrigation

These points are just some of the major ones that a farmer must satisfy through rigorous inspection in order to be granted the GAP certification.

We will have some produce in the future that will be certified organic but I must say that I don't think we will be totally organic.

With our fall festival coming up on September 18th, I'm excited in that we'll be able to showcase the new Owl Barn and all the bounty of surrounding farms.

While Wolf Creek Gardens is still coming around, we will make even bigger strides in late September and October in tweaking the plantings as we have a small lull in the amount of projects that have to be done at the nursery.

One of the fall projects in Wolf Creek Gardens will be an addition to the blueberry patch that I think will be open for limited picking next summer.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Dayton "Dirt" - August 6, 2010

Shortly we'll begin construction on our new greenhouse to supply us with small potted flowers and some earlier hanging baskets.

I was not pleased with some of the greenhouse product we received from some of our vendors that have supplied us for 25 years or more.

The product was sometimes substandard quality or non-existent - another result of the "new" economy.

The new greenhouse will not supply all of our needs but will greatly supplement what we are able to grow now.

Since the growing year has been running ahead, please keep an eye on the grubs waiting to destroy your lawn as the egg hatch from European Chafer and Japanese Beetle is about to begin.

By the first of September, any grub infestation should be noticeable as the grass will begin turning off color in patches and the soil will actually lift up when the infestation is severe.

If you detect more than 3 grubs per square foot, apply a product such as Dylox but do not apply "Grub-Ex" with the active ingredient imadocloprid or Merit as it is too late.

Dylox is relatively safe and will do the job quickly once it has been watered in.

Our fall festival is getting closer so make sure you mark your calendars for the entertainment and hayrides to come!

See ya soon,