Friday, June 28, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - June 28, 2013

The produce market in the Owl Barn opens today with Marietta sweet corn! Luckily it became ready right as the market opened! Last Saturday after the radio program, I visited the home of Harold in the Highland Square area of Akron. To my amazement, Harold’s home was like a farm consisting of 5 small city lots and his son’s house. Goats, rabbits, several chickens, raspberries, grapes and a vegetable garden in the middle of a well kept lawn all gave the property a country atmosphere. The cleanliness and well kept buildings and fencing for the animals is a real asset to the area which is dotted with abandoned property. Harold’s prize garden plants are the grafted tomatoes which are growing like they are supposed to with several already large fruits on a vigorous tall plant of at least 6 feet. The storms of the past week remind me of the huge storm that moved south from Lake Erie on July 4, 1969 that caused massive flooding in Northeast Ohio that had not been seen since 1913. The day started off beautiful as I hoed rows of sweet corn most of the day until the black rain-filled clouds moved in about 7 p.m. and turned small creeks and streams into rivers! It seems somewhat sad that the annual flower greenhouse is somewhat empty with only a few geraniums and some small potted herbs and flowers although the hanging basket selection is at least adequate. Color mostly is now from the hydrangeas blooming all under the protection of the shade from the movable roof greenhouse. What a coincidence or was it Providence that Tom Jefferson and John Adams died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence Happy 4th! Tom

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - June 21, 2013

This past week with yet another 2 inches of rain in the area has brought the soil moisture back to “normal” levels and has now set the stage for good growth for the vegetable garden now that the nighttime temperatures have warmed. Timely “to dos” include spraying veggies and flowers with Bi-Carb to prevent powdery mildew, applying a slow-release fertilizer to the lawn, preventive grub control and slug control with the wet weather. I like “Sluggo” for slug control as it’s inexpensive to use and the salt, iron- phosphate is not harmful to domestic animals or wildlife like metaldehyde products. While spider mites are at bay with the cool, wet weather, it’s still necessary to check for the little devils by shaking a mite susceptible plant’s branch on a white sheet of paper to see if any brown specs “run” on the paper. A miticide such as the Bayer Tree and Shrub protection would be in order for mite control among other insects with non-food types of plants. Sadly, many excellent mite and insect controls are not available to the general public because of EPA restrictions or the fact that the manufacturer will not package the product for smaller consumer amounts because of economic reasons. Such is the case with “Solve your Bird Problems” or Methyl Anthranilate for crops such as blueberries and sweet corn. The product is available only in a 2½ gallon jug or larger for more than $300.00! The chemical occurs naturally in grapes and is an irritant to birds. This EPA, FDA approved product can be sprayed right on the fruit and will not alter its flavor for human consumption. I have applied this product this past week to our ready-to-ripen blueberries in order to repel the ravenous robins and even worse - the geese! I hope it works as the blueberries will be safe and the birds will not be harmed. A small unsprayed remote patch of blueberries would be in order so that the birds could get some nourishment especially for robins, cardinals and blue jays. Seiberling Farms has 15 gallons in stock to spray on ripening sweet corn as last year one whole field of about 7 acres was destroyed by birds! Just remember too that it’s great to live in a state like Ohio with its vast water resources as other states have to struggle with low water supplies and wildfires among other weather related problems. Tom

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - June 14, 2013

Another blessing! A decent amount of rain without too much damaging wind was just the ticket for bringing up the ground moisture that we so desperately needed. Our summer crops of trees and shrubs are doing well with the cooler temperatures and the good quality of our irrigation water thanks to rain. One crop that just became available is a fresh batch of Maples in the varieties Tamukeyama, Crimson Queen, Virdis and a few others! So lush is the new growth that we were planning to space them better but when we checked the root systems of these earlier transplanted plants, the roots were almost filling the container 1 month ahead of schedule! Our My Bouquet series of roses are growing nicely and it looks as though they will be ahead of schedule as well so that they will be ready for sale by July 4th instead of August 1st as originally scheduled. Transplanting of perennials, shrubs and ground covers is still going on as the process is sandwiched between all other duties of selling, mowing, weeding . . . At the end of June, the market will be open in the Owl Barn beginning with Marietta sweet corn and tomatoes before the transition to Seiberling sweet corn and produce from the farm. Let us all hope that the summer rains continue so that about one inch falls every week which is ideal for lawns and gardens. Got to go! Tom P.S. Don’t forget to treat squash and cucumbers for mildew with Bi-Carb fungicide.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - June 7, 2013

Yesterday’s rain was a real blessing in that as much as 2 inches of needed rain fell most gently all day! Our irrigation lake has been replenished with fresh water supplementing the recycled water that has collected some salts from the fertilizer leached from the plants. Another exciting piece of news is that more Paw Paws have arrived with any coupons from our garden club newsletter still valid. The back order of these 150 Paw Paws was quite a disappointment even though the trees were ordered in October 2011 for delivery in mid April of 2013! The varieties Overleese, Potomac, Atwood and Taylor are available. Some of these named varieties have been bred and tested by the University of Kentucky for such aspects as taste, vigor, production and quality of fruits and sometimes the longevity of the ripened fruit after picking. The perennial house is gorgeous with all the plants available now from our early spring production. Especially gorgeous are the shade-loving Astilbe with their feather-like blossoms in red, white, pink and peach colors. Other interesting perennials will come on line in about 6 weeks as we ramp up production for our summer program of perennials. The perennial house too is decorated with beautiful hanging baskets of verbena, lobelia, calibrachoa and petunias that add to the splash of color. While the annual flower house is winding down, another crop of beautiful 2 gallon size geraniums just became available for those gardeners that are geranium lovers of the color red. I’ve got to go as there is trimming, fertilizing and weed pulling are calling! Tom