From Across the Field – Playing Catch Up 9/4/19

Over the long weekend I had the opportunity to return to Morgan County to spend time with the family preparing for the county fair. The fair has always been a huge part of our Labor Day week, especially since my father has been on the fair board since my brother and I were done exhibiting Jr. Fair projects. I think for the first time maybe ever, we will not have any fair entries as our antique tractor is buried in the back of the hay barn.

As I drive around the county crop conditions look pretty good if I could just turn back the calendar to August. Talking to colleagues across the state they have been fooled by some earlier planted fields that are beginning to reach maturity as they forgot about the few timely planted fields, and that most are still looking dark green. Surprisingly the fields I have been have low disease prevalence, even though there are signs of plant stress in some fields.

In the next week or so I will be conducting our annual soybean weeds survey, where I drive the county and evaluate weed stands. Last year giant ragweed was the primary pest. Primary weeds of concern are still waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, due to the large number of seeds that they produce. If growers suspect that they have populations of these plants in the field give me a call. I can help confirm the identification of the weeds and then we can develop a management plan.

Even though our days are getting shorter there are a few things that we can still do in the garden. I did mention a couple weeks ago that it will soon be time to plant spring -blooming bulbs but I want to explain a little more today. Planting can occur from September until the soil freezes.  Daffodils, however, are best planted in September or early October because they require a longer period for root development. In the event that bulbs are obtained at an inconvenient time for planting, store them in a cool, well-ventilated area.

Choose a planting site in full sun, but with protection from the hottest midday spring sun.  Planting under or near large deciduous trees that cast filtered shade works well. Plants in full sun bloom earlier than those in partial shade. A few plants that withstand partial shade include some daffodils, tulips, hardy lilies, crocus and some windflowers.

Recommended planting depths for hyacinths are 6″ deep; tulips, 6″ – 8″ deep; and daffodils, 6″ – 8″ deep. Smaller bulbs in these groups and the minor bulbs are planted shallower. Large bulbs should be spaced 4″ – 6″ apart and small bulbs 1″ – 2″ apart. For greater effect, plant in clumps or irregular masses rather than individually. I’ll end this week with a quote from Paul Samuelson: “Good questions outrank easy answers.”  Have a great week. Go Bucks!

Sept. 17/19 – Farm Science Review

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