Friday, June 26, 2015

Dayton "Dirt" - June 26, 2015

With the holiday looming, planting, weeding, trimming and propagation of various shrubs and perennials goes on and on.  A larger project of the extension of our movable roof greenhouse will have to wait another year as many smaller projects of an irrigation nature and improvements in the landscaping of the grounds still need accomplished.  Then too, the cold winter delayed construction on more ebb and flow benches (self-watering benches) in the production greenhouse so that they must be completed at least before Thanksgiving.

The market is now open for business with the introduction of sweet corn next week and tomatoes around the fourth of July from Marietta, Ohio.  A new upright cooler and the moving of the compressor of the walk-in cooler to the outside of the owl barn will enable the building to remain cooler and thus keep the produce fresher.

The blueberries in the field will be quite the challenge as turkeys, geese, robins, bluejays, blackbirds . . . are all waiting for the berries to turn blue.  The geese and the turkeys seem to be the biggest challenge as they are quite aggressive and can devour a whole branch of berries with one stroke of their beaks.  Fortunately for this year so far, water has been in good supply with the more than adequate rainfall.  The water quality in the irrigation pond has actually improved with the large addition of rainwater so that the supplemental water from Van Hyning Run, that is always of poor quality, that was pumped into the irrigation lake is now very much diluted.

As many of us look forward to this July 4th holiday, so did our third president, statesman, farmer, architect, philosopher and author of the Declaration of Independence as it seemed he waited to die on July 4, 1826 as some of his last words on that day was “Is it the fourth yet?”


Friday, June 19, 2015

Dayton "Dirt" - June 19, 2015

No shortage of rainfall here in June when normally the average for the month is just about 3-3½ inches.  For sure any gardener even with limited experience knows that in the vegetable and flower garden, powdery mildew, black spot on roses, brown rot (botrytis) and lawn disease can or will appear.  Weekly application of Bi-Carb fungicide will keep mildews and brown rots at bay especially if applied before the occurrence.

In the veggie department, squash, melons and cucumbers are all susceptible to powdery mildew so that preventive sprays make good sense.  Tomatoes are susceptible to early blight which will attack and kill them especially if nights and days are cool.  Sprays of copper and chlorothalonil (Fungonil) are effective control as long as they are applied at the first sign of disease.

At the nursery flower planting on the grounds has been delayed with the heavy rains.  Beds that were rototilled last Friday filled with water so that again they must be worked before the planting can begin.  Our new Hosta selections for this year have just become available as they were only potted early this spring and some time is needed for the plants to root in.  Even more Butterfly bushes are now done “cooking” so that Purple Haze and Blue Chip Jr. are added to the growing list of varieties.

 No doubt the sweet corn and other crops at the Seiberling Farms are growing like mad so that soon the market will be open in late June although it will start out with fresh sweet corn from Marietta, Ohio.   The farm in Marietta where the sweet corn is grown operates on a system of picking the sweet corn at night so that it is delivered to distributors by 10 to 11 a.m. that same morning to guard its freshness.  How strange that Marietta sitting at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers is of such as different climate that the growing season is at least 2 weeks ahead or more of our season here in the north of the state!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Dayton "Dirt" - June 12, 2015

This past week has been one of a restock of the shrub sales yard with much of the stock coming from Lake County.  Much of our spring potted stock is normally ready but with the later planting this year due to severely cold weather, availability has been slower so that much of the stock won’t be available until the week of June 21st with many trees following a week later.  Already, over 1000 hosta “plugs” have arrived from Holland, Michigan to be potted and availability on these won’t be until April of 2016 since the plants are quite small.  June is a good month to plant small hostas for our production in that they are able to become well established before another hard winter.

While stock in the annual flower house dwindles, quite a number of shade hanging baskets of non-stop begonias remain as they were initially slow to grow.  Gorgeous rose-like blossoms of iridescent red, yellow, orange, apricot, pink and white just about cover the lush foliage.

A roundup spraying in the garden has devastated the weeds including the dreaded garlic mustard that if left unchecked will choke everything in its path.  The Mountain Laurel in the garden are at peek bloom in varying shades of pink.  With the return of hot or some say warm weather, the perennial greenhouse and annual flower greenhouse have been sprayed with another coat of white wash material that blocks and reflects the sun which lowers the temperatures inside the house.

 Even though vacation time is soon, the work still has to be done.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Dayton "Dirt" - June 5, 2015

What a deluge we received last Saturday and Sunday of maybe up to 4 inches of rain for the week.  The irrigation lake is full and the lower collection pond is completely full.  With the water table replenished after the May dry spell, ground water will alone replenish the lower collection pond for at least one week so that it may be pumped up to the irrigation lake for storage to replace water used in irrigation of the nursery stock.

I just finished applying 150 lbs. of ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 to all the rhododendron, azalea and blueberries in the ground, in the field and garden before the second rain we received on Saturday afternoon.  Ammonium sulfate is a strong acidifier of the soil but must be used sparingly as the salt index is quite high compared to that of Holly-tone which has a salt index of 6 compared to 21-0-0 which is 69 for a salt index which is more likely to burn plants.

Our next batch of up to a thousand various hydrangeas will be ready in a couple of weeks and will fill our somewhat empty movable roof greenhouse called the Cravo house which is the name of the manufacturer.  While the greenhouse sales are winding down we are ever wary of keeping control of spider mites and thrip insects in the annual flower house and perennial house.  Then too are diseases such as powdery mildew that can appear out of nowhere with the high humidity.

This week and next the theme at the nursery will be flower planting and weed control!  More flowers will be planted in more areas this year for a benefit dinner on July 16th for the Ronald McDonald House.  The dinner will be sponsored by the Summit County Farm bureau and cost $100 per person for which a gourmet dinner prepared by an expert chef will be served outdoors complete with wine from Wolf Creek Winery, hordeuvres and educational talks on water conservation.  Anyone is welcome to reserve a spot and tickets may be purchased by contacting the office of the Summit County Farm Bureau at 330-456-4889 or 800-654-5158.  Hope to see you there!