Friday, June 27, 2014

Dayton "Dirt" - June 27, 2014

While the annual flower greenhouse winds down, the perennial tree and shrub department just keeps going. Multiple varieties of trees, hydrangeas and various other shrubs were out on display last Monday from our growing areas. Some stock though will take a bit longer to develop as it must have multiple sheerings to develop a well shaped plant. New perennial plugs (young plants) are arriving in order to restock the perennial house in September and even next spring. Hibiscus, Veronica, Heucheras, Dicentra and so on are all included along with up to 18 other genera.
Constant vigilance is necessary to keep the pesky weeds in check as with the warm humid weather, they do “grow like weeds!” Today is the opening of the Owl barn Market with the first fresh-picked sweet corn from Marietta, Ohio with tomatoes soon to follow. The sweet corn is grown in the flood plain of the Muskingham River with the rich alluvial soil nourishing the nutrient-hungry corn plants. For freshness, the corn is picked at night and then is shipped to northern distributors by noon so that the sweet corn that we offer may in fact be less than 24 hours old.
Soon Seiberling's sweet corn will be available with bicolor (the favorite) followed by yellow and a little later the tender white corn. No doubt, Ohio produce will taste better than California or Florida produce but alas, fresh Ohio produce is not available year round.
The blueberry patch is very close to begin ripening and most of the shrubs are loaded! Just last Saturday I spied a hen turkey and eight very small young running after their mother into the neighboring woods. Unfortunately, turkeys love blueberries too!


Friday, June 13, 2014

Dayton "Dirt" - June 13, 2014

The warmer nights and not so cool days have the vegetable gardens accelerating in growth. Some fungus problems are occurring but seems to be limited as of yet. Fungus problems on Maple trees are occurring with the incident of diseases such as tar spot and anthracnose which is causing leaf drop although in general it is not detrimental to the trees health in the long term. 

 Again for the umpteenth time, gardeners must be proactive in order to control fungal diseases on susceptible roses and vegetable plants that are prone to the white powdery mildew. Bi-carb is organic and very effective, especially against mildew. 

 It was such a pleasure on Monday evening that I was able to speak to a young couple from Wadsworth that was really into vegetable gardening. They were attempting to produce a varied and bountiful harvest on a limited amount of land and then I related to them to read the book American Intensive Gardening by the Poissons in New Hampshire about creating a most productive garden of a continual harvest throughout the year. The authors’ system is the adaptation of the Marais system developed because of the demands of the Sun King, Louis the XIV. Another aspect of successful gardening that I relayed to the Wadsworth couple was the importance of a soil test in order to perform at least a biannual check on the chemical aspect of the soil. In all, I think I talked too much and might have confused them with too much information but it was difficult to contain my excitement when I realized finally that all persons under 40 are not only interested in mobile phones, Facebook and other daily pursuits besides gardening. 

 The focus is, now on the greenhouse pest to control is spider mites. Even though I have not seen any by scouting, I know they are there. The European two-spotted spider mite female is able to lay viable eggs without the “service” of a male so that when the eggs hatch all of the young are males and mate with their mother to produce mites of both sexes! The mite system of reproduction makes it all that much more difficult to control them. 

 In the perennial house, the dinner plate Hibiscus were cut back half way so that better branching will occur but to inexperienced gardeners, the plants appear as “damaged” goods. The knockout roses in the 3 gallon size are just about ready to explode in bloom that will create a sea of red and pink mimicking the tulip fields of Holland in early May.

At the end of June, the Owl barn will open with fresh produce from Marietta, Ohio to be followed by local produce from the Seiberling Farm. Chuck Seiberling and Norma Nice (Chuck’s cousin) will be joining me on the radio program this Saturday on Ready-Set-Grow on 1590 WAKR A.M. The focus will be on what’s going on “down on the farm.” 

The good word for today is that as an author once wrote: “The human race survives because of 6" of topsoil and the fact that it rains once in awhile.”


Friday, June 6, 2014

Dayton "Dirt" - June 6, 2014

Today, June 6th is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that was the beginning of the end of World War II. During these war years, Victory Gardens as they were called sprung up all over the country in order to supplement farm production that was necessary to supply the allies in order to defeat the axis power and to later on to help feed the millions in Europe and Japan after the war. In a way the United States is a strange country in that ounce our enemies are defeated they are then fed and helped to rebuild after the conflict has ended.

The point of the matter is that the “food machine” here is dependent on clean water, goods oil and keeping insects and disease in check. As most of you know, honeybees so necessary to the food chain are in decline from a variety of cause. Invasive species seem to propagate themselves in the country by emerging out of pallets brought in from foreign  shores. Without careful oversight by the general public and the Government, that food machine so vital for us at home and those abroad could be disrupted.

On a lighter note, the rain on Wednesday night was just in time to water thirsty gardens and
the temperatures while cool are not to adverse for heat-loving vegetables and flowers. The
nursery’s new production is now coming on line with a wide array of trees and shrubs as well as perennials. The annual flowers in the south greenhouse are winding down but I must admit that I am not too sorry as having that many flowers to care for is such a lot of work!

The new crop of Knockout roses is just dynamite with the 3 gallon size just loaded with flower buds ready to burst open! Perennials are still going and coming into bloom as their nature dictates. The wide array of creeping sedum is quite interesting as I can imagine them on a bank or rock wall in a kaleidoscope of foliage colors and different colored blooms.

Our email “freebies” and deals to our garden club members seems to have been well received with more to come. In a little over a month the blueberry festival will be here and I’m just hoping between the robins, turkeys and geese there are some berries left for our market!