Here I am writing this week’s column and I am beginning to get a bit stir crazy here in the office. Having been seemingly on the run during the winter meeting season, it is going to take me a few days to adjust back to a normal pace and begin planning for the upcoming crop season.
Before we think about getting in the fields, I have a list of growers who still need to recertify for their pesticide and fertilizer licenses before the end of the month. If you think that you may be one of those growers, please give me a call as soon as possible. Also once again, OSU Extension and the Digital Ag Team on campus will be conduction on-farm research trials to be published in our eFields booklet. If there any growers interested in doing on-farm, field scale trials such as seeding rate, nutrient source, rate, or precision agriculture studies, the soon I know, the better we can plan.
It will soon be time to plant asparagus and strawberry plants. With St. Patrick’s Day Sunday, are you daring enough to plant potatoes yet? Some years they will do well planted this early and may even be about done growing by the time the Colorado Potato arrives. Then some years, we will have a cold wet spell and they may rot in the ground. If you want to give your spring flowering bulbs a little boost, a little fertilizer will help them.
It is nice to see some flowers bloom, and see the grass is starting to green up and talk about planting things. However, I need to also temper that enthusiasm and remind all of us that need to be careful not to go overboard by the recent string of warmer weather. We still have several weeks of potential cold temperatures that could result in damage to plants if we remove winter mulch and covers too early. Normally, we should remove winter mulch as soon as rose growth begins.
Keep in mind that that winter mulching is done to prevent the ground from freezing and thawing, preventing plant roots from damage or even entire plants from heaving out of the ground. Summer mulching, on the other hand, is done to moderate soil temperatures, conserve moisture and reduce weeds. Let the soil warm up in the spring and dry out some before applying a new layer of mulch to garden beds. A two inch layer of mulch should be sufficient.
Lastly, I need to mention that the Small Farms Conference scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled due to an unexpectedly low number of registrations. We will try something next winter to meet the needs of our small and niche producers here in Northwest Ohio. I’ll end this week with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.” Have a great week.