We’ve had a beautiful week for harvest! There are a lot more “empty fields” than last week this time! Of course, there’s still more to go …
Please continue to make Safety a priority on your farm operation! Some simple ways to reduce the risk of an injury during harvest include getting enough sleep; planning out your day’s activities and setting a pace to get things done; taking short breaks during the day/getting out of the machine to stretch, walk around, revitalize; maintaining three points of contact when mounting or dismounting equipment (1 hand and 2 feet or 2 hands and 1 foot); avoiding that jump off the last step and being aware of possible changes in ground elevation or rough terrain when dismounting; maintaining eye contact and communicating your intentions when working with others around equipment; being more aware when working in early morning and late evenings when daylight is less as well as making sure equipment has adequate lighting; and using safe travel routes between fields, taking into account potential problems with traffic and narrow roadways.
Auglaize County’s Soil Health and Cover Crop Field Day will be held next Monday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wapakoneta FFA farm on Redskin Trail, north side of Wapakoneta. This Field Day will allow you the opportunity to observe cover crop plots seeded with an inter-seeder when the corn was in the five- to six-collar stage and to engage in a discussion on soil health. This event is free, but registration is requested by this Friday, Oct. 21. You can register by calling 419-739-6580.
For those of you not in the fields, fall can be a good time to do some Landscape Maintenance. Take advantage of the autumn sunshine and spend some time in your annual and perennial beds. Many pest problems and diseases encountered this season may survive until next year either on or in plant debris. Cultural practices completed prior to the beginning of winter can ensure a healthier landscape for next spring.
Annuals should be pulled out of the ground with the roots included. Dead stems and foliage should be pruned on most perennials and wildflowers. Of course, this task is garden specific as some people prefer to leave certain herbaceous ornamentals such as tall grasses uncut to enjoy their winter interest. Seed heads of yarrow, Echinacea, and rudbeckia and other perennials are also important food sources for many of our overwintering bird species.
Fall is a great time to divide perennials and plant new ones. Applying 2-inchs of organic mulch to these newly planted perennials will help retain the soil temperature to encourage root growth and prevent heaving of plants over winter’s freeze and thaw cycles. Tender bulbs and tubers such as tuberous begonias, cannas, and dahlias should be dug up and stored after the first frost.
Fall is also an excellent time to do corrective pruning of your trees and shrubs. Corrective pruning includes removal of dead, damaged, or diseased branches and the elimination of limbs that may be causing structural problems such as branches that may be rubbing, those that are growing back to the center of the tree, and those with abnormally narrow crotch angles. As the leaves drop from these woody plants, it’s easy to inspect and identify canker formations, rubbing branches, and splits or cracks in wood.
Well, the kids are making progress on the house, but there’s still a ways to go! Stanley’s goal is to have them in by Thanksgiving. We’ll see!
The writer can be reached at the OSU Extension office (937-498-7239) or by email at [email protected]