Friday, May 31, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - May 31, 2013

The killing frost was devastating last week for many gardeners and bigger operations too. At the nursery the temperature dipped to 32ยบ F at 6 a.m. before it began to rise just a half hour later. For the protection of the new growth of the plants outside our movable roof greenhouse, a constant washing with water with the irrigation system saved the day. The 20 HP electric pump at full capacity will move 670 gallons of water per minute and deliver 50 lbs. of pressure to the highest sprinklers which are at least 40 feet above the pump level. The water is distributed throughout the property through a system of pipes and electronic valves that one may compare to a spider web. The large delivery pipes of a six inch diameter and four inch are secured by strategic placements of concrete where the thrust of the water flow might break them apart even though they are at least 30 inches under the ground. Others not as fortunate to have an irrigation system and too much to cover lost many tomato and pepper plants and will have to start over. The scenario is not all dire though as there is plenty of time left to grow as it is still May and not a later frost like that which occurred on June 15, 1972 in many out laying areas. The nursery has been very busy as the greenhouses still have plenty of nice product except that the selection of plants is beginning to wane especially in some varieties of the vegetable plants. I am really learning to appreciate our new weed discs on many of the plants as they have reduced weeding to a minimum compared to last year. I don’t mind weeding but it sometimes can be overwhelming. Pray for some soaking rain. Tom

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - May 24, 2013

Here we go again with the weather; hot and humid for a few days then cool and cloudy with cold nights! Some rain has fallen but we still need a lot more. The greenhouses are still well stocked with vegetable plants and flowers of every size and description for the holiday weekend but then after that supplies will start to run low. The rhododendrons are blooming in the garden and in the sales area which makes for quite a show. The perennial house is especially gorgeous at this time of year as many of the plants are blooming their heads off. I especially like the Summer series of Delphinium with the light blue, deep blue, pink and white flowers on this gorgeous upright perennial. Soon the sedum on the green roof of the Owl Barn will be blooming giving the appearance of the coat of many colors. Our next goal is to renovate all the landscape beds and plant flowers everywhere for the summer. At least the flowers outside don’t require the maintenance to keep the bugs and disease at bay as they do in the greenhouse. I’m constantly looking for bugs and disease in order to decide what action I have to take next. Enjoy the holiday weekend and keep smiling. Tom

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - May 17, 2013

The warmer days and nights has finally brought on planting time for heat loving flowers and vegetable plants although vigilance is in order because of the spector of a late frost. The azaleas are at their peak of bloom in the garden and elsewhere in the nursery resulting in a kaleidoscope of color across the land. The greenhouses are a little too warm and sunny so that today we must put on another layer of white shade compound in order to block and reflect the ultraviolet rays that heat up the greenhouse. It’s so strange that only 30 days ago the sun was a welcome stranger especially after a cold, dark March. It’s okay now to put down a weed and feed on the lawn as the weather has pushed most broad leaved weeds into growth. Preen is also a good weed preventer for the flower garden especially when just planting annual flowers. After the Preen’s application it’s wise to mulch annual flowers with a thin layer of Sweet Peet in order to keep the plants roots cool and moist and additionally to feed the flowers. Sweet Peet is superior as a mulch as it does not starve plants for nitrogen as mulch does when it decays. In the greenhouse our Calliope geraniums and New Guinea Impatien hanging baskets are especially gorgeous. The New Guineas thankfully do not contract the lousy downy mildew disease so that they work well in part shade as a substitute for Impatien wallerianna. Come on in and take a walk around and enjoy the spring show. Tom

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - May 10, 2013

Mother’s Day is already approaching and the nursery is at peak inventory for the most part. May is the most beautiful month in Ohio as the kaleidoscope of color from blooming trees, shrubs, and other flowers is like one big parade marching along. The azaleas are blooming everywhere in the sales area and on the grounds at the nursery. Another one of my favorites is creeping phlox that is extremely winter hardy and drought tolerant. The masses of color the phlox provide along the ground are in contrast to the color show of 20 feet high put on by the flowering crabapples. Wolf Creek Gardens is coming into it’s prime too with blooming azalea soon to be followed by at least 14 different varieties of rhododendron. The azaleas I transplanted from my uncle’s house a few years ago are spectacular with the fiery red blooms on the gigantic bushes of 7 by 7 feet! The sweet smell of the French lilacs and fragrant viburnum is in the air lending to the ambiance of an Ohio spring. Stop by the nursery and bring Mom too to walk around but be prepared to linger for awhile as there is so much to see you may even lose track of time which wouldn’t be a good thing if you’re on lunch hour at work! Tom

Friday, May 3, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - May 3, 2013

With the arrival of May, it’s amazing how everything has “popped” so quickly. Many of our perennials and annuals that were somewhat behind have literally exploded into growth so that the selection for this weekend will be better then I had originally expected. The Garden Treasure roses seem to be a hit as we did force some bloom on the plants by placing them in the heated greenhouse. I especially like the Pieces of Eight variety that opens yellow and then quickly acquires a burning orange edge. The azaleas are starting to show some color but it’s strange that they seem ahead of the Redbud trees that are only just now coming into bloom. No doubt everyone will want to get started planting annual flowers but, again, it’s very early for many flowers. Even hanging baskets should be brought inside when temperatures fall below 55 degrees or more at night. Tropicals should be kept indoors too on cool nights as most will “shut down” when temperatures fall too low. Besides the cool weather, vegetable plants such as potatoes, beans, sweet corn, peas and a few others can be planted as long as the garden is well-drained. Got to go. Happy gardening. Tom