Friday, January 15, 2010

Putting Your Wife to Work on the Daylily Farm

Good Evening Daylily Friends,

Well the weather finally has changed for the better. I'm certain that we have had below freezing temperatures every day since before Christmas. Many nights the evening temperatures were as low as 14 degrees. My water lines froze and for eight (8) days I could not water the Greenhouse. Finally got the problem resolved. My experiment of letting the evening temperatures go into the middle to low 20's in the Greenhouse showed that I have many more dormants in the Greenhouse than I had thought. On the dormants and some of the semi-evergreens the leaves turned yellow. On the evergreens there was some tarnish on the leaves. I will say, however, that after I started watering again, and after the temperatures improved, it was difficult to see how the daylilies were irreparably damaged. As a matter of fact, they were not damaged. Only improved. I'm pleased that I let the temperatures in the Greenhouse go as low as I did. I might add that this morning my wife Diana and I went to the home of our friends Kenny and Jan Poland. They allowed us to visit their horses and gather horse manure. Jan says that her horses produce only the best manure. I'm showing a picture of the horses.

I'm sure that Jan is correct! I used some of the manure from her horses at our Church where we planted daylilies near a newly constructed Chapel. The daylilies that grew were gorgeous and there were no weeds from the manure from Jan's horses.

I'm showing myself and Diana as we loaded the horse manure into my Chevrolet Truck. Notice that I have my Wife Diana "hard at work." She is making sure that we are gathering the best manure, and that we get the Truck full! Indeed, Diana has shown herself to be not only an outstanding vegetable gardener, she is also a good worker on the Daylily Farm. This morning she helped keep the horses occupied when they came over to see what we were doing with their manure. She also opened and closed the gates as we came and left the horse barn. Back at our garden she helped unload the manure and spread it over the new daylily beds. I think she did a good job spreading the manure.

Once the manure was spread over the daylily beds I went to Home Depot to purchase lime and some 10-10-10 fertilizer. I like to spread lime over new beds to help sweeten the soil. I like the 10-10-10 fertilizer because it helps to break down wood chips, and other materials that I have added to the soil. The application of this 10-10-10 fertilizer is not all that I do with fertilizer. When the beds are planted I will then use the Florikan slow-release 15-4-9 fertilizer. In hindsight, it must have seemed strange to the Home Depot employees, seeing me with all that lime and fertilizer here in the middle of January. I might also add that Home Depot always gives me a 10% discount because of my military service.

The next job was to till the daylily beds. I pulled out my tiller and went to work. It took several hours to get the two beds prepared. At first the horse manure was difficult to handle because it smelled so bad. Then, as the day went along, it didn't seem to smell very much. I walked through the horse manure with the tiller for hours with no "ill effects." When I work with the tiller I have a pattern that I follow. No need to recite or explain the pattern, but I make sure that everything is tilled in deep, and that the beds will grow anything. I'm showing a picture of myself tilling the beds.

Once the beds were completely tilled, I then took my rake and smoothed the beds. I know that the rain is coming on Saturday afternoon, and I want the beds to be ready for the rain. You might ask, Bill, why are you preparing the beds now in the middle of the winter? Well, I like the beds to be prepared, and to then rest. I like for the lime and the fertilizer, and the horse manure and the woods chips to be absorbed into the soil. I like for the beds to be "lumus," and full of worms when they are planted with daylilies. I like having beds that have soil that is as good, and even better, than the soil that can be bought from commercial soil producers.

Well the end of the day has come, and Diana was a tremendous help. I really needed assistance! Tomorrow morning I'm going with Diana, Marlee, David and Camilla to the Region 5 meeting at Macon State College in Macon, Georgia. We are leaving at 6:00 a.m. to be there when the meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. I am taking four daylilies with me to sell to help support the AHS National Convention. The four daylilies are: IRISH HALO, EMERALD LACE, KELLEY'S VALENTINE and LITTLE BO PINK. I continue to receive orders for IRISH HALO. Today I received an order from Barry Matthie who lives in Bloomfield, Ontario. Barry will be pleased with his purchase. I must humbly say that IRISH HALO is a daylily that every grower should have. It is as beautiful as can be, with its stunning green edge, and it produces astonishing seedlings. To refresh everyone's recollection of IRISH HALO, I'm showing another picture.

Well it has been another wonderful day working in the daylily garden.


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