Friday, May 25, 2012

Dayton "Dirt" - May 18, 2012

The weather has been just about right for planting although the nights could be a little warmer and just a little more rain would be nice. The greenhouse is at its peak inventory right now for most items although we do have plants in production that will be ready for Memorial Day and going on into June. As our newspaper ads have stated “our perennial production house just keeps pumping out more and more gallons of perennials” The new facility will enable us to produce higher quality plants because of the movable roof which keeps the plants cool and at the same time can be used to create 30% shade which keeps the plant roots cooler too. Many of the Rhododendrons are out of peak bloom now when normally they are in full bloom on May 20th. With the early warm weather in March and all the subsequent freezes, I thought at least these freezes could destroy the flower buds on our new blueberry planting so that the plants could put on more growth without the flowers getting in the way; however, I see now that most of the flowers are turning into berries! Today my grandmother, Myrtle Dayton, would have been 108 years old being born in Barberton in 1904. At her last home in Barberton, I can still see my grandmother fussing over her Herbert azalea on the north side of the house and showing off her layering of the plants branches to produce new plants. The azalea is still there on the corner of Park and 7th St. but I wish someone would treat it to alleviate it from a lacebug infestation. As long as the azaleas are out of bloom, they should be treated now with the Bayer tree & shrub protection product. Soon the gardens will be all planted with many gardeners in that age old contest of having the first ripe tomato. There are several enzymes in a tomato that must come together in order to produce that delicious, fresh-picked tomato flavor instead of the flavor of a cardboard box that is hard to swallow from imported winter tomatoes! See you in the greenhouse. Tom

Dayton "Dirt" - May 25, 2012

As the Motown song goes “How I wish it would rain”, I do hope it rains soon even if it is on Memorial Day. At the Seiberling Farms in Norton, I spoke to Chuck Seiberling’s nephew Brad that stated if it did not rain last Monday (which it didn’t) that they would have to start irrigating the sweet corn and other crops from the Hudson Run that courses through the farm. In a word, please be vigilant of watering your new tree, shrub, perennial and annual flowers at least until establishment. Trees and shrubs generally establish themselves over a 3-4 week period and annual maybe in about a week or ten days. Another “watch” is to keep an eye out for chinch bugs on your lawn starting now as the little devils can destroy whole swaths of lawn before you know it. Just take an empty soup can and cut the bottom out of it and press it in the lawn and then fill the can with water. If any of the critters are present, they will float to the top and then you can apply an insecticide to kill them. This Memorial Day is the traditional garden-planting day and we’re well stocked for the weekend but please get here early as some items are already gone and others are in short supply. May 30th or the actual Decoration Day always conjures up memories of reading about the great Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood in 1889 when 2200 people were killed when an upstream dam at a resort called South Fork broke from heavy rain. Heavy rain now would be a welcome although not that heavy. Tom

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dayton "Dirt" - May 11, 2012

This morning it was 39 degrees at the nursery at 5:00 am which is just borderline for a frost when the air is still and able to stratify into its colder lower layers. Our water pump starts to water at 3:30 am and runs through 4 cycles so that any frost would be washed from the plants protecting the flowers and new growth. The greenhouse will be bursting with flowers of every description just in time for Mother’s Day although I must confess I think the perennial house is gorgeous with all its array of sundry goodies. I just wish the Clematis vines would stop growing so much as they have already been trimmed 3 times since early April to make them stocky and full. Outside the greenhouse the Rhododendron Nova Zembla is gorgeous with its fuchsia red flower trusses sitting on the leaves like large jewels. I like the deciduous azaleas too with the sunny colors of yellow and orange that is sometimes mixed on the same plant! The tea roses seem to be budding up well and so far the foliage seems to be nice and clean thanks to my organic fungus control called Bi-Carb that keeps off the black spot and white powdery mildew. It’s almost 6:00 am now and I’ve got to get started cleaning and watering the greenhouse, loading the perennial house with plats, and unloading the huge geraniums in a 12” pot that I have on a wagon. Hope to see you soon. Tom

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dayton "Dirt" - May 5, 2012

Last Sunday morning I recorded 30º F on my thermometer but I’ve heard of different areas going as low as 26ºF. Especially hard hit was the Lake County area as temperatures everywhere fell to 26ºF and froze the flowering azaleas even close to the houses! What makes the cold temperature in Lake County so strange is the fact that Lake Erie is usually a buffer from such cold temperatures in fall and spring but somehow it did not help even one to two miles close to the lakeshore. At the nursery, the rain gauge is filling up although I’m hoping for much more rain. The greenhouses are just loaded with plants of every color and shade in the perennial house and annual flowering house in anticipation of the good weather finally appearing. The azalea and rhododendron are so beautiful in our shade house with splashes of color all over the nursery. After surviving the frosts the past couple of weeks the azaleas in the garden are magnificent from shades of red, purple, white, pink and lavender. The weeds in the garden are another story. Although their not that tall now, it seems that they have survived from endless windy days and our having to prepare for frost in which both take away our opportunity to spray roundup on the little devils. In the greenhouse it’s hard to believe the size of the flowering plants as many of them were so small when they arrived as an unrooted cutting that I had trouble handling them. The geraniums from our stock plants are so big and bushy in the one gallon nursery containers that they look like shrubs just loaded with flowers! It’s time for me to go as a write this blog at 6 a.m. because the greenhouse is already calling. Tom