From Across the Field 10-19-2017

With the rain last week crop harvest slowed to a standstill for a few days, but has since returned to stride. Looking forward, a dry second half of October would certainly help in moving this harvest along. As expected, yields have been wide ranging for both soybean and corn across the county.

I had the opportunity to spend the weekend down in Monroe county, on the Ohio and West Virginia border to celebrate a friend getting married. While driving down the roller coaster that is state route 78, for maybe the first time I recognized just how vibrant the fall colors were through eastern Ohio. That was something that I certainly took for granted having been raised in that part of the state.

When I returned to my home south of Napoleon late Sunday I realized I had also had taken the wall of corn around my house for granted and it made an excellent windbreak from the brisk fall winds that pass through central Henry county. I have a feeling that I have only experienced a taste of what may be a bone chilling experience, my first NW Ohio winter.

Speaking of winter there are a few things that homeowners can do in preparation for a frost in the coming weeks. If you haven’t done so already, continue mulching; make the final harvest from any garden plants; empty the rain gauge; bring in any houseplants; and drain any water hoses. It is also a good time to winterize hand held or back pack sprayers and check the antifreeze in any motorized vehicles. Fall is also a great time to fertilize your lawns as the grass builds a roots system, but more on that next week.

Even though lawns maybe done growing, it is time to consider what to do with the backbones of most fall gardens, in that of hybrid mums. They provide a display of color in gardens during the fall season. Mums come in a variety of colors as well as flower shapes and sizes. They can be used in beds and containers, growing best in full sun and well-drained soil. Once mums finish blooming in the fall, leave them alone. However, don’t forget to continue to water them in order to help establish the root system. Remember, they are a living plant and even though the top looks dead, the roots continue to grow. Mulch the plants after the ground freezes and cut them back to the ground in the spring. Despite all the good care that they might receive in the fall, not all cultivars are reliably hardy for overwintering in our area. However, they do a great job of filling in holes in the fall garden.

I’ll end this week with a quote for Thomas Edison who said, “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless”. Have a great week.

Garth Ruff,

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator

OSU Henry County Extension

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