The mild fall and winter has been a busy one in several areas of the
In order to continually close-in on our goal of making
the nursery more and more "green", we’ve installed the final phase of our
ebb and flow benches in the perennial house and annual flower house so that
almost no run-off water leaves the property to pollute creeks and streams.
A "passive" system of ventilation in our greenhouses is in line with our
belief that one of the best ways to cut down on pollution and "create" more
energy is from the energy no longer used that would normally power
energy-hungry exhaust fans. Instead, roll-up sides will be doing the
ventilation which use no energy.
Another energy-saving "growing system" we are
incorporating into our production methods is for growing annuals "cold" so
that we can continue to reduce our use of natural gas.
For many annuals that are grown in a 4", 6" or larger
pot for sales in late May and summer, the annual flowers may be heated in
March and early April for only two to three weeks and then placed outside to
finish "cold". The plant quality is better with a more compact hardened-off
plant that our customers should love as they will be able to plant this
group in mid to late May without the worry of a late frost or light freeze
because varieties of cold-tolerant plants will be able to withstand
temperatures as low as 28º F without damage.
The last ventilation project completed this year is the
replacement of 3ft wide ridge vents with 7ft ridge vents in the perennial
house as during warm spring and hot summer days the perennial house would be
a full 5º - 10º F warmer than the outside air that makes for an
uncomfortable atmosphere for customers and plants alike!
The new larger vents not only will remedy the problem
of "extra" heat but should result in better plant quality as well.
Water quality for water that is used for irrigation,
outside and inside the greenhouses has been an ongoing concern especially
since we recycle our water. Very simply, many plant diseases may be
"recycled" along with the water as well as leachates of fertilizer that are
in the water that create a prolific bloom of unwanted algae species.
In 2006 we installed a gas chlorinator in our outside
irrigation system which is working very well to eliminate algae and certain
diseases which can build up in recycled water. The well water that is used
in the greenhouse is now treated with chlorine to kill algae and many
pathogens that would lower plant quality for our customers.
Many problems had to be overcome such as large storage
tanks to hold the chlorinated water for a time so that a chemical reaction
between the chlorine gas and minerals in the water such as iron could occur
and then the resulting precipitate could settle to the bottom of the storage
tanks before the water is used. The final stage in filtration is removing
any remaining iron in the water in order that it does not stain pots or
greenhouse self watering benches. Therefore, the remaining iron is removed
from the water by means of an extremely fine 5 micron filter.
For better and faster customer service many of our
sales will be performed on a handheld scanner that will enable a plant tag
to be scanned outside even 500 ft away from the store. The hand-held device
will enable a preliminary invoice to be transferred to the software systems
server via radio signal which will result in less waiting for customers and
more accuracy since nothing has to be hand written. The hand-held device
will also result in less waiting for customers when lines are backed up in
spring as one of the nursery staff will be able to pre-scan material on
customer wagons and give the customer a numbered code that will bring up a
pre-entered invoice that was again relayed to the computer by a radio
The final fall and winter effort has been the ongoing
endeavor at Wolf Creek Gardens that will be a showcase for much of the plant
types we offer when the first phase is open in the spring of 2008.
The garden has had roads installed for maintenance and
customer viewing paths, boulder walls to contain steep hillsides, water
lines extended for irrigation and plantings of European Beech varieties,
Eastern Redbud, Dogwoods, Viburnum and of course, Dayton Nursery’s specialty
of Rhododendrons and Azaleas in an open shade area in the eastern part of
We have a lot of catching up to do in 2007 in order to
open the garden in spring 2008. Plans for 2007 include the addition of a
"sunken" parking lot to keep vehicles hidden from the garden view and the
filling of some low wet areas to accommodate the planned plantings of
perennial gardens, rose gardens and spring flowering bulb gardens.
Keep an eye on the progress as our vision of Wolf Creek
Gardens is beginning to "bloom and grow".