From Across the Field – Not So Fast my Friends

I often enjoy a Saturday morning in the fall getting geared up for college football by listening to ESPN’s College Gameday. If you haven’t tuned in, just prior to a noon kickoff each host makes picks of who they think who will win the biggest games of the week. Typically, one of the analysts, either Desmond Howard or Kirk Herbstreit make the first selection only to be rebuked by Lee Corso and his trademark, “Not so fast, my friends.”

I feel that how this spring has been. Just when Mother Nature gives us a couple of decent drying days, she pulls a Coach Corso. There have been a few acres planted across the area, but much of the seed for this year’s crop remains in a bag.

With June in sight, some of the seed will likely remain in the bag unless fields begin to dry and rain is minimal over the next couple of weeks. If not, the current conversations regarding preventative planting and switching some corn acres to soy will continue to strengthen. I look for articles regarding preventative planting to be the theme of next week’s OSU Extension C.O.R.N and Ohio Ag Manager newsletters. With that said, as I look back to planting progress in Henry County from a year ago, there were significant acres planted after Memorial Day.

On the horticulture side of things, peonies should be getting ready to bloom. I remember the peony bushes being a favorite of my grandmothers at her home in Fairfield county. The common garden peony grows to around 3′ tall and about as wide. The foliage is a nice dark green and barring any disease problems in the early spring, looks good all summer long in the perennial border. The blooms normally appear in mid to late May and last for around 2 weeks depending upon the temperature. The flowers are up to 6″ across and come in a wide variety of colors; there are also single and double flowering cultivars. Some peonies need support to stay upright since their blooms can be too heavy. Many cultivars have blooms with incredible fragrance as well. Once the blooms have faded, deadhead the blooms by cutting the bloom stems below the level of the foliage. If plants get lanky or floppy during the growing season, shear the plants about 1/3 of the way back.

Lastly, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the backyard grilling season. Remember to be safe when using either lighter fluid or propane, and always light the grill with the lid open. As for food safety, cooking temperatures should be at or above 160F for ground beef, sausage products, and poultry. Whole muscle cuts of beef, lamb, and pork can be cooked to 145F. At this temperature a pork chop should have a slight blush of pink in the center and will still be juicy and flavorful. In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, I’ll end this week with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr: “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

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