Friday, July 26, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - July 26, 2013

What a difference several miles make! While the Marietta sweet corn in the market has been favorably received by the customers as to it’s freshness, the Seiberling sweet corn is even better! At $4.50 per dozen, the sweet corn is definitely a good value for the dollar. Long gone are the days when I used to sell Seiberling sweet corn for 75¢ per dozen! Chuck Seiberling definitely was correct when he stated that last year’s crop was not as good because of the extreme heat and drought. Everything seems to be growing well especially after the large irrigation pump was repaired by Hunnel Electric in Akron and by Brad the maintenance man. How aggravating it was to irrigate with the smaller recycle pump as the water not being filtered constantly clogged sprinklers again and again. On Wednesday, I spotted a grafted sweet million tomato plant at a friend’s house that was planted in a 16 inch container with tomatoes coming on like grapes on an eight foot plant! The plant had fallen over at least 2 times with some breakage so that it was finally secured with a 6 foot steel fence post! Today is propagation day as time is running out with the days getting shorter. Azaleas, spiraea, franklinia, hydrangeas, etc. will be harvested for cuttings and stuck into a prepared rooting media and stored under intermittent mist until they are rooted. I just wish I could obtain a license for some of the Proven Winner shrubs but as of yet no luck. Happy Harvest! Tom

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - July 19, 2013

The flood waters have receded and now the summer weather begins. I’m somewhat surprised by the reported damage to gardens from the sheer force of the down pouring rain. Do be vigilant now for all newly planted flowers, trees and shrubs as the “normal” watering schedule must resume if the plants are not yet established. Summer color is alive and well with the bloom of hibiscus (Rose of Sharon), myriad varieties of hydrangeas, shrub roses, multiple summer blooming perennial’s clethra and crocosmia. Crocosmia is an interesting perennial in that the blossoms resemble that of a miniature gladiola and are intensely attractive to hummingbirds. In fact, crocosmia sometimes known as Montbretia, grows from a corm very similar to a glad. The variety in bloom at the nursery is a burning red-orange called Lucifer although other colors do exist. A soon-to-bloom summer beauty is the perennial hibiscus with dinner plate size flowers of brilliant red, pure white, lavender, pink and cranberry red! These popular perennials make a great background for a perennial garden or as a stand alone plant in the landscape. Only another 2 weeks and the My Bouquet Roses will be ready with a new bicolor called Double Take that sports a red and white flower. The plants are blooming now but just need one more shaping to mold them into beautiful plants. Remember to place a grub control product on your lawn as soon as possible if you want to be proactive. However, do not use a product containing Dylox as that is only used when grubs are actually active and does not have enough residual to last beyond two weeks after application. This past week has been the OFA trade show in Columbus that shows off all the new perennials, annual flowers, some trees and shrubs and new technologies for production. I’ll be telling you more about the new stuff as time goes on. See you soon! Tom

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - July 12, 2013

In the afternoon of July 10th, the nursery was in the deluge that hit the area with about 3 inches of rain in a little more than an hour. Unfortunately, Van Hyning Run rose 5 feet from its normal water level with the result that the electric motors for the pumps were partially submerged in water so that the next day fans, a propane heater and a small electric heater dried out the motors so that they could be turned on without shorting them out. The change in the temperature and weather is a welcome relief especially with the Blueberry Festival tomorrow. Music, a bake off contest, hayrides, and for sure lots of blueberries will be centered around the Owl Barn Farm Market. We’re still depending upon Marietta sweet corn until Sieberling Farms can supply it which will be around the week of the 20th of July. Unfortunately, the supply may not be uninterrupted as the heavy rainfall made it impossible to plant at least 2 patches. Another problem created by too much rain is that the sweet corn cannot be sprayed for the European corn borer and other insects as the tractor cannot get into the field! The nursery is doing well as all the plants are growing well along with the weeds! Last year the plants seemed to remain on hold with all the extreme heat and drought. Our water quality is primo with all the rain and the flushing out of the polluted creek water we we’re forced to use last year. It’s hard to decide which is worse: to much rain or none like last year. What do you think? We’ll see you tomorrow at the festivities! Tom

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dayton "Dirt" - July 5, 2013

Well the market has finally opened with Marietta, Ohio sweet corn before the local Seiberling corn is ready. Also, now is just the beginning of our blueberry picking that will supply the market this year. The berries are picked from our patch on the other side of the irrigation lake but do not have enough production to open for the pick-your-own crowd. The major reason is that the plants had to be irrigated last year with water from the grossly polluted Van Hyning run that is alkaline and full of salts which resulted in stressed plants. The high coliform bacteria count is countered with chlorine; however, we cannot remove the other impurities from the water that are stressful to the plants. Applications of iron and ammonium sulfate are improving the growth and color of the plants which should provide for a bountiful crop of berries for pick-your-own next year. It’s amazing, but the application of Methyl anthranilate that smells like grapes has kept the birds mostly at bay including even the geese. Finally, the flowers that are long overdue are getting planted around the grounds. Next comes the renovation of many of the other shrub and perennial beds that have had no significant work for 8 years. Sadly the American Elm that was growing profusely on the east side of the Owl Barn was destroyed last Friday by a microburst from a thunderstorm so that an even larger one to start will take its place again. Just be vigilant about various diseases of the lawn and garden as the humidity is high making conditions favorable for mildews, blackspot on roses, various fungal problems of the lawn and so forth. The rain has greatly improved the water quality for irrigation and the plants show it. A once weekly rain is really all that is needed but after last year’s drought, I won’t complain. After a short 1 day delay, the bridge construction near the Norton Middle School began on July 2nd in the closure of Cleveland-Massillon Road which limits access to the nursery when coming from the north. The easiest way to access the nursery and points south is to take Ohio 21 south to Interstate 76-US 224 east and get off at the first exit (exit #14) or Cleve-Mass Road and turn left to come to the nursery and the Owl Barn Market. The bridge over Van Hyning Run will not reopen until the first week of September barring any construction delays. ~Tom