Friday, July 29, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - July 29, 2011

The weather, although a bit on the hot side, has been ideal for growing because of enough timely rain and warm nights.

I’ve noticed in the farmer’s fields that the soybeans and field corn seem to be making up for some of the lost time from the cold wet spring.

The nutsedge and crabgrass seems to be abundant in lawns with the ample moisture. The Ortho company does offer a crabgrass and nut grass or nutsedge killer that works as a post emergent to kill the unwanted invaders.

Spider mites are going to town with the extreme heat which they love. Unfortunately, some customers are coming into the nursery are using carbaryl or Sevin as an all purpose spray . Sevin will actually cause spider mite populations to explode as the mite’s predators are killed of with no effect on the mites themselves.

A control for mites is a drench or a spray of Bayer’s Tree & Shrub Insect Control which contains a miticide.

Lawn diseases are popping up too which include dollar spot, brown patch or rhyzoctonia and more rarely pythium which rots the crown of the grass. Almost all lawn diseases can be controlled by a broad spectrum fungicide by Bayer. However, pythium is a special case and can be controlled by a sprench with Agri-Fos which is mono and di-potassium salts of phosphorus acid.

In the Owl Barn market more and more produce is becoming available. I just picked 5 bushels of tomatoes from our early patch planted on April 28th. The early sweet corn ‘Ambrosia’ is still “in” while my favorite bicolor, ‘Temptation’ is not far behind.

Construction on our new perennial plant production house starts in two weeks and will be finished about Thanksgiving which right now doesn’t seem so far away.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - July 22, 2011

Last week’s Blueberry Festival and opening of the Owl Barn seemed to go smoothly except for the fact that we picked and sold all the blueberries that were ripe in the patch!

Sweet corn is always a big draw at a produce market but the cool, wet spring delayed planting and thus the harvest until today.

The Seiberling Farm is our source for much of the fresh produce in our market including sweet corn.

The farm is 125 acres of very productive land with almost 100 acres dedicated to sweet corn.

Some of the varieties we will be offering are Bodacious, Ambrosia and Temptation.

These newer varieties have a sugar enhancing gene which slows down the conversion of sugar to starch in the picked sweet corn ear.

It used to be that sweet corn had to be eaten quickly or it would have a flat, starchy flavor.

With the new varieties, freshly picked ears will still be sweet after 3-5 days if kept in the refrigerator.

The hot weather has made it rough on everyone including plants.

It’s no exception at the nursery as we’ve been watering in the middle of the day to cool them off.

The rain was welcome on Monday night although we did not need all of it at once.

It has been a strange year for weather indeed!

The nursery looks good and so does produce for the market!

See you soon.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dayton "Dirt" - July 9, 2011

As if there’s not enough to do already at the nursery, we’re building yet another greenhouse.

The greenhouse is one similar to the one we have now that we call the Cravo house as it is made by the Cravo Company from Ontario, Canada.

This greenhouse is different in that the movable roof allows for maximum ventilation and yet can be partially closed in summer to create 30% shading on any crop grown which keeps the from “baking” in the hot summer sun when black pots are above ground.

We expect the house to be finished in early November in order that perennials can be planted inside beginning in late February to be sold in late April through spring.

The Cravo with its ideal ventilation and shading will enable us to grow higher quality perennials than in an conventional greenhouse.

Another aspect of the Cravo house I do like is the ability to open the roof fully to let the rain come in when necessary.

The falling rain and general greater openess of the roof and sides will inhibit the prolification of spider mites and other insects as they sometimes can get out of control in a conventional greenhouse.

The never ending work is still continuing in the Wolf Creek Botanical Garden with the planting of some new trees and five gigantic Boursault and English Roseum Rhododendron.

The shade perennials are increasing along with the extension of one of the trails to the northeast toward Van Hyning Run.

Don’t forget about our Blueberry Festival on July 16th that will coincide with the season opening of the Owl Barn Market.

Its time for me to go. See you at the festival!


Dayton "Dirt" - July 2, 2011

The long 4th of July weekend is just about the latest to plant heat-loving vegetables such as cucumber, squash, sweet corn and beans to continue a plentiful harvest in late summer and early fall.

Another timely “to do” is to trim all Chrysanthemums including Dendranthemums which include the Igloo series of mums in order to make them compact for fall blooming.

Early July is a great time too to trim various evergreens including Azaleas in order that they can form flower buds this summer for their spring show.

In about 3-4 weeks, the first ripe tomatoes should be coming on line but it looks as though our “tunnel tomatoes” that were planted in late April will be ready in about 1-2 weeks.

We planted the tomato plants in a fabric pot called a smart pot that tends to root prune the root system as it grows outward which results in a more extensive root system to promote growth. The size of the pots are the equivalent of a nursery trade 10 gallon size that’s about 13 inches wide by 13 inches deep. The potting soil is our own tree and shrub planting mix that can be supplemented with more calcium from gypsum or calcium sulfate. Finally, the nutrients and water are supplied by a drip irrigation system that we must turn on every day regardless of the weather as the plants require large amounts of water.

The smart pot system is one you can use at home to grow plants on the patio or deck as long as you are willing to fertilize and water them regularly.

Most of the annual flower greenhouse will be closed after this week; however, we will still be supplying liquid fertilizer for free for flower and vegetable plants as long as you bring your own jug.

Happy 4th of July.