Friday, March 28, 2014

Dayton "Dirt" - March 28, 2014

After the cold blast earlier this week things in the temperature department look to be on the upswing so that it’s a wild ride the next several days to set things up for sales as much of the stock is now just shoved in our movable roof structure in order to keep the extreme cold from damaging the plants root systems as they are above ground. Our perennials are mostly planted and seem to be growing well; however, the annual flowers are a little behind because of the delays from vendors of young plants and the winter being so dark before. Surprisingly, the flower bulbs planted last fall are starting to just pop through the ground and normally many would be in bloom by Easter on April 20th. Unless there is a consistent “extreme” warm up (hopefully not) it looks as though the blooming cycle of spring bulbs will be delayed at least one week. Pansies, Violas and Primrose are all available now and just love cool weather but of course not extreme cold such as the super cold nights we’ve encountered this past week. The new Proven Winner hydrangeas we have forced into bloom are growing nicely and should be ready for Easter to be enjoyed indoors and then planted outside when the danger of frost is done. Today it’s nice and a little rain I think would be in order. Hopefully the warmer temps will now give all of us some relief from the high natural gas heating bills and the dry air in our heated homes. Tom

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dayton "Dirt" - March 21, 2014

The first day of spring has welcomed us with some colder and snowy weather with next week not looking like spring weather either. The question now is will March “go out like a lamb”? After a period of shut down production of cuttings from the Dummen Company of petunias because of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus TMV, production is flowing from shipments from Israel. The new crazytunias that were one of the series of virus infected petunias will now be available in our greenhouse although a little later in May. The funky variegated blooms should be a big hit with everyone. The nursery has been wild this past week with the receipt of several shipments, potting perennials, potting annual flowers, transferring our stock geraniums to bigger pots, trimming and cleaning up thousands of perennials from winter storage. Surprisingly, the plants fared well with a double cover of overwintering fabric in the covered polyhouses except there were some minor losses from mice chewing their way through the bottom of pots to get at roots and the tender crown of the plants. While most of the mice fell victim to our traps, there are some that just seem to escape. After a good trimming and cleaning away of the dead foliage from last year the plants are sprayed with a fungicide to kill a fungus called Botrytis that will rot them if left unchecked. This fungus grows well in humid environments with no air circulation which is just the case in the winter storage huts. At the nursery as well as everywhere, spring is almost sure to be about 10 days to 2 weeks off in the temperature department because of the prolonged cold weather. Chores in the landscape yard and garden most likely must be delayed from the “normal” schedule although much trimming may have to be delayed as winter damage just showing up now will not all be evident until even mid-may. We can only hope the insect and mite population did not fare well either. Tom

Friday, March 14, 2014

Dayton "Dirt" - March 14, 2014

While winter weather is no stranger to March and even into April, the long duration of bitter cold has made this week’s past cold snap more aggravating. With the warm up earlier in the week, some watering of the perennials in cold storage revealed only minimal damage and of course some death on the plants near the outer edge of the plastic house. It seems the ground froze hard outside the storage huts and then move laterally to the inside even though the plants were covered with a double layer of overwintering blankets. Another surprise was mouse damage underneath the sealed blankets has been minimal which is probably due to our catching at least 50 mice in mouse traps set in the house’s since covering them in early November with white plastic. The transplanting of rooted cuttings has begun with greenhouse product for transplanting continually coming in. Some shipments have been late, some frozen, some in very good shape. The new self-watering benches that “move” in the greenhouse have increased our planting space by at least 20% that enables us to try out a few new items but as all greenhouse growers know, a greenhouse has to be filled with saleable product in order to be profitable because of high heating costs and other expenses. The insect growth regulator I now favor with the trade name called Enstar seems to be doing a great job of killing the young insects call nymphs while other products mixed in the same spray tank kill the adults. The products used in this combination play havoc with the critters that would run rampant in the perfect environmental conditions of the greenhouse. Spring is only a week away if only it will “act” like spring. Tom

Friday, March 7, 2014

Dayton "Dirt" - March 7, 2014

Are we truly free of the single digit weather? Production is now 1 week behind at the nursery because of delays in the potting of roses and perennials which will spill over into other scheduled procedures. Around the Akron area, I’ve noticed the severe burn on some of the broadleaved evergreens becoming more pronounced. Again, it’s a function of super cold weather, sun, (-12ยบ F), strong relentless winds and no insulating blanket of snow. Damage not showing up as yet may be dead or dying bark on trees and shrubs, dead or damaged Zone 6 and even Zone 5 herbaceous perennials and flower buds frozen on various species of plants such as Forsythia and evergreen azaleas. The warm up is also on its way but it has been painfully slow. An unusually fast warm up as in 2012 would be even worse! Our store officially opened on March 5th, five days after the planned opening again due to inclement weather of predicted heavy snow that was not nearly as prolific as originally forecast. Tomorrow’s seminar is our last of the winter seminar series pertaining to that question on everyone’s mind: “What’s New?”. There is so much new that we’ll only be presenting the highlights as we must keep the seminar to the end time of 1 pm. Last week’s seminar was quite a surprise with over 60 participants showing up on a subject I know little about. Jill Manda of Manda’s Plant Farm was entertaining as well as informative. We’re already planning next years seminars so that if you have any ideas, contact us at Tom