Friday, June 24, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - June 24, 2016

Here we are in the long days of summer that conjures up images of picnics, swimming and wonderful Ohio sweet corn! The owl Barn Market will open this weekend with “maybe” some Marietta sweet corn that is picked at night in order to be shipped to distribution early in the  morning. Marietta tomatoes too will be the standard in the market until the northern Ohio ones become available.  **update - no sweet corn until next week

The approximately 2 inches of rain last week certainly helped to end the mini-drought but even with all the rain, another inch would have helped ever more.

At the nursery, about 25 varieties of daylilies are in bloom or coming into bloom with the varieties Stella Supreme, Happy Returns, and Stella d’oro showing the most color. Garden phlox too is popping out in color with shades of pink, coral, white, purple and magenta. Summer is the time that the perennial garden seems to come alive! Other activities this past week at the nursery have included the potting of no less than 2,000 of our evergreen azaleas for next spring sales and the cleaning, additional plantings and trimming of the somewhat neglected Wolf Creek Gardens for the Master Gardeners tour going on Saturday. While the garden is in no way “manicured”, its natural setting of woods and open exposure does much for the ambiance.

Soon it will be vacation time as sales at the nursery will wind down for summer although even more trees will just be ready to sell for the July 4th weekend.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - June 17, 2016

So far, June has been a very busy month for not only sales but attacking weeds on the grounds with not only Glyphosate (Roundup) but old-fashioned hand pulling. One such weed that has taken hold in some areas is a vining weed commonly called Bedstraw that winds it’s way along the ground and onto shrubs. When pulled, the foliage and stems feels like trying to pull apart velcro. This nasty weed has even found its way into the production greenhouse!

Flower planting has been the mode for this week too with all kinds of geraniums, calibrachoa, petunias, sunpatiens and argyranthemum being planted. It would be unimaginable for a summer without flowers at the nursery. Over a hundred gorgeous and heavily budded Hydrangea  ‘Bloomstruck’ are just about ready for sale. Although the plants were potted up in late March, rooting into the potting mix is slow so that even though the plants look great they cannot be sold as the root ball will fall apart at planting should they be sold before they are ready.

Free fertilizer seems to be a big hit in the greenhouse and as always everyone is welcome to fill up containers of the 20-10-20 liquid feed fertilized with iron.

Well, it’s back to work as there is so much to be done and so little time.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Dayton "Dirt" - June 10, 2016

Soon it will be the summer solstice with its long days pushing growth on all kinds of plants. The vegetable gardens will make phenomenal growth with maybe the first ripe tomato appearing by August 1st. There are 15 elements at least that must come together to accomplish that fresh-picked tomato taste that cannot be found in those that are greenhouse grown or shipped thousands of miles. The Cleveland area was once known as a major area for tomato production in winter with acres of  plants growing in glass greenhouses. Sadly, the energy crisis of the mid 1970's and the resulting spikes in fuel to heat the energy inefficient houses all but shut down the greenhouse tomato industry.

At the nursery, more shrubs and trees from the production area are becoming available. This week, perennials from Michigan have arrived that will be potted up next week and will not be available for sale until April of 2017. Early planning is necessary to have a steady supply of some plants as their development sometimes is painfully slow.

Flower beds around the nursery are just being worked up in order to plant annual flowers at the nursery. Sweet Peet again will be worked into the beds to give them that consistency of “chocolate cake”.

In Akron, one of our customers that gardens to the “max” spent thousands of dollars on just bed preparation and drainage before planting roses, annuals and shrubs. The results are evident with healthy growth and  vibrant and prolific flowering of the plants. As the search for a vaccine for tuberculosis began at Rutgers university in New Jersey, one scientist believed and was later provedcorrect, that the answer would  come out of the soil. So too is good gardening: The answer is in the soil!