Friday, June 23, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - June 23, 2017

Sadly in the afternoon on Sunday, June 18th, our nursery cat L.B. died after having a seizure and then lying down with heavy labored breathing. The past year he had trouble from an animal bite from which he recovered but then in March slowed down from eating which caused him to lose weight and become lethargic. A visit to the vet last week revealed he had bad teeth and an overactive thyroid which caused weight loss. After a shot of antibiotics and a topical treatment for the over active thyroid, L.B. seemed to eat more and maybe was on his way to better health. This spring, some customer’s were concerned that he was being starved or mistreated because of his appearance. One suggestion was offered that he should be euthanized. I was offended by that comment as L.B. sill came out to eat something and would purr when I picked him up and stroked and petted him as he looked excitedly out the window. L.B. came to the nursery by accident in December of 1997 and decided to adopt us as his family. After almost 20 years, he survived the busy road, prowling coyotes, other wild animals, fertilizer and insecticide bags that he used as a bed sometimes and a wolf that a customer brought into the store. He could not survive his old worn out body of almost 20 years. I buried him on a well-drained site on a hill in the shade garden where sometimes he would roam. This gentle, loving cat will be missed for years by all at the nursery.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - June 16, 2017

As the summer solstice approaches with the long days of summer , growth of the vegetable garden and the weeds is prolific.  Besides hoeing and pulling weeds, newspaper used as a mulch as well as corn gluten will inhibit the weed growth that will easily take over a garden quickly.

In Avon, Ohio the large wholesale nursery called ‘Willoway Nurseries’
uses rice hulls as a mulch on top of their container-grown plants which does an excellent job of inhibiting weeds.  A few years ago, Willoway had significant problems with production as many plants were stunted and yellow from a chemical herbicide toxicity which effected their switch to the non-chemical rice hulls.

At the nursery here, coco weed discs are employed that eliminate the use of chemicals for weed control.  These discs fit right into our program of sustainable, environmentally friendly growing practices and prevents a buildup of herbicide residue in our recycled irrigation water.

Soon it will be time to pot the small azaleas into 1½ gallon pots for next spring’s sales and future larger plants.  These plants too would be treated with coco discs preventing any toxicity from herbicide use that sometimes would occur.

Hopefully the ideal wish of one inch of rain per week will occur over the summer instead of the hot, dry summer of last year.  How sad it will be for some of the television weather folks if needed rain fails on a weekend to spoil someone’s barbecue!  They will have to learn to live with the consequences.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - June 9, 2017

The heat of summer has finally arrived even though according to the calendar it is late spring until the summer solstice.  What good fortune in that the irrigation pond is brimming with rain water of such good quality that the plants will definitely show it.  For the hot days, potting up new arrivals of perennial plants and shrubs in the afternoon is a welcome chore as it keeps us largely out of the hot sun.

Long overdue maintenance has been in full swing this past week including but not limited to pulling weeds, spraying weeds, mowing, trimming and cutting back shrubs and trees in the landscape.  Persistent rain and wind has delayed this overdue chore so that it now is only being performed.

The greenhouse flower house really have run low now although many flowers are used to brighten up the landscape for the summer. Many trees and shrubs will be shifted to larger containers while new product constantly becomes available beginning in late June. One such plant is the creeping phlox which has been sold out since late last May.  Another group of purple and pink will be available about July 1st as we actually rooted the plants from cuttings in mid-March.  The large pots of flowers along the driveway are growing profusely with the warm weather and the warmer nights which definitely will aid in the growth of heat loving vegetables.

Timely to-dos are:
1.    Apply bicarb to ornamental and vegetable plants prone to powdery mildew.
2.    Apply a product now containing acephate to azaleas to kill lacebug which are very active and will require a follow up spray in about 10 days.  A trade name of the product is called Bonide Systemic Insect Spray that can be applied with a hand sprayer or hose-end sprayer.

Happy gardening!


Friday, June 2, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - June 2, 2017

With June already here the rain department is still producing an excess of water. Reports have been coming into the nursery of garden seeds failing to sprout and garden plants somewhat at a standstill. While temperatures have warmed to a more normal range, soils are devoid of much needed oxygen that roots must employ for respiration and growth. 

Root diseases such a Phytophthora and Pythium just love to grow and infest plant roots as the saturated soil provides a pathway for infection of the stressed plant roots and a favorable environment as well.

Flowers too have suffered with the wet weather as growth is slow due to cool nights and constant rain. Constant rain will leach nutrients out of the soil for flower and vegetable plants so that additional fertilizer will be needed for pots or plants in the ground to supplement the leached away fertilizer.

Better weather is sure to come. Let’s hope the rain subsides but does not shut off completely!