The year is 1066 A.D.
Welcome to the Medieval edition of On Fertile Ground!
Introduction: In the era of knights and castles, where chivalry and honor reigned supreme, the summer season brought with it the need for noble caretakers to ensure the immaculate condition of the grand medieval lawns. These lush stretches of green were not merely decorative, but also provided a resplendent backdrop for tournaments, gatherings, and courtly dances. To maintain the verdant splendor, medieval gardeners employed a variety of techniques and practices, combining their love for nature with a sense of duty towards their lords and ladies. Join us on a journey through time as we delve into the art of summer lawn care in the medieval period.
1. The Essence of Greenery: In the medieval era, a well-maintained lawn was a symbol of wealth, power, and prestige. The perfect expanse of green was meticulously cultivated and showcased the noble household’s capability to harness the beauty of nature. A verdant lawn was a testament to the lord’s authority and the harmony between humanity and the natural world.
2. The Gentle Art of Mowing: Maintaining the perfect length of grass was paramount to the medieval lawn care regimen. A noble lawn required skilled hands and the use of traditional scythes, which were honed to razor-sharpness. These dedicated mowers meticulously trimmed the grass to an even height, employing careful precision to achieve a uniform appearance. The cut grass was then collected and repurposed as bedding for animals or used in the creation of natural fertilizers.
3. The Aromatic Power of Herbs: Medieval gardeners understood the value of fragrant herbs, both for their culinary and ornamental qualities. Alongside the vibrant green grass, carefully cultivated beds of aromatic herbs, such as lavender, thyme, and rosemary, added color and fragrance to the medieval lawn. These herbs were known to ward off pests, provide healing properties, and contribute to the overall sensory experience.
4. The Battle Against Weeds: In their noble quest to maintain a pristine lawn, medieval gardeners faced an eternal struggle against the encroachment of weeds. Hand-weeding, known as “cleansing,” was a painstaking task, requiring the careful removal of unwanted plants without disturbing the surrounding grass. The removed weeds were disposed of to prevent their reseeding and infiltration.
5. The Healing Touch of Water: Water, the lifeblood of the medieval garden, played a crucial role in summer lawn care. Skilled gardeners diligently ensured that the lawn received ample hydration, either through the construction of elaborate irrigation channels or by utilizing the labor of dedicated water carriers. The gentle application of water was crucial to maintaining the lushness of the grass and protecting it from the scorching summer sun.
6. The Dance of Nature: Beyond mere maintenance, the medieval lawn was also a space for leisure and revelry. It hosted lively dances, tournaments, and courtly gatherings. To prepare for such events, gardeners meticulously manicured the lawn, removing any imperfections, and creating an inviting atmosphere fit for noble pastimes. Flowers, particularly those with vibrant hues, were cultivated to enhance the visual appeal and add splendor to the festive occasions.
Conclusion: In the medieval era, the art of summer lawn care combined the practical and aesthetic aspects of maintaining a pristine lawn. It required dedication, skill, and a deep appreciation for the delicate balance between nature and human intervention. The medieval gardeners’ tireless efforts ensured that the noble lawns remained resplendent and provided an enchanting backdrop to the grandeur and pageantry of the time. Today, as we admire our own well-tended lawns, we can still draw inspiration from the noble traditions of the past, honoring the enduring legacy of medieval.
Got moles? Most of us do!
Today, we embark on a perilous journey into the heart of a domestic predicament that has plagued mankind for centuries: the humble mole invasion in our pristine yards. These elusive underground dwellers have turned our beautifully manicured lawns into mole metropolises, prompting a crusade for their elimination. Join me, dear reader, as we delve into the treacherous world of mole eradication.
Moles, those mischievous little architects of the underground realm, have become renowned for their ability to dig intricate tunnels that rival the intricacy of a tangled Christmas light string. It’s as if they’ve enlisted the help of a mole-sized engineering firm to design their subterranean kingdom, complete with a mole hotel, a mole shopping center, and even a mole amusement park!
Now, you may ask, “But how does one combat these furry subterranean overlords without resorting to drastic measures?” Fear not, my friends, for I have spoken to lawn warriors to bring you the finest strategies for mole elimination.
1. The Subterranean Soap Opera: Moles, it seems, are also sensitive to vibrations. To capitalize on this weakness, install speakers in your yard and broadcast dramatic soap operas at full volume. Or try solar or battery-operated ultrasonic device.
2. Aromatherapy: Moles have a delicate sense of smell, so why not put it to good use? Planting an array of aromatic herbs like mint, lavender, or even the potent durian fruit near their tunnels might cause them to reconsider their real estate choices. Try ½ cup of castor oil and ½ cup of liquid dish soap in a jar, shake and pour a few tablespoons of the mix into a gallon of water and pour down their holes.
Good luck and may the mole eradication gods smile upon you!
Plant and weed identification
Interested or wish there was an app for your smartphone that could identify not only beneficial plants but also weeds? I’ve been using one called “Picture This” for about a year in my consulting business and I really like it. Seems accurate at least 2/3 of the time. Clients can email me pictures of weeds they are trying to control. Trying to describe it to me on the phone was of little help. They can send me a picture and I can incorporate it into Picture This. And in 5 seconds I can have an answer for them! Works on plants and flowers you wonder about too! I think there is a 7-day free period, then you can buy by the month or the year or just use it once and cancel.
June Quick Tips if you need something to do!
Move houseplants outdoors.
Plant and seed vegetable gardens.
Monitor evergreens for bagworms.
Continue with weed control on your lawn. I’ve been pleased with my granular product results,
but liquids can do an outstanding job too!
Mulch beds for weed control and moisture retention. Keep mulch away from tree trunks and
bases of shrubs.
Ag sector: dry weather
It’s crunch time for weed control in our crops. We are in a bit of a dry spell as I type this.
Herbicide stewardship is still important, don’t cut corners. Use best management practices when applying all herbicides but especially those with 2,4-d and dicamba. 2,4-d Ester is great for cold weather but will volatilize when hot out even if it says Low Vol Ester! Watch for sensitive crops downwind.
When is it too hot to apply your Herbicide? I use a 150 number. Add up temperature and humidity. Is it 150 or over, no do not spray. The label is the law and always consult with your Agronomist, but it’s a good rule of thumb. Example today is 83 degrees and 42% Humidity. Add them up, that comes to 125. Should be okay, better if humidity was higher. Humidity is very important when spraying. Low humidity causes droplets to evaporate faster, increasing drift and reducing uptake.
Here is when it’s advisable to spray at different temps when it’s hot out.
70 degrees. Spray between 35% and 80% humidity.
75 degrees. Spray between 40% and 83% humidity.
80 degrees. Spray between 45% and 84% humidity.
85 degrees. Spray between 50% and 85% humidity.
Our Champaign County wheat crop will soon be flowering. This is the stage at which wheat is most susceptible to infection by Fusarium (aka Head Scab). Right now, we are in a dry period which means head scab development has been low. If it stays like this, fungicides may not be as warranted as in other years. And do monitor for Cereal Leaf Beetle.
Corn Report: Ohio is 10% Excellent and 71% Good. Kentucky is 13% Excellent and 63% Good.
Indiana is 11% Excellent and 61% Good. Ohio wheat is 72% Good to Excellent.
Soybean Report: Ohio is 45% emerged. Kentucky is 51% and Indiana is 63% emerged.
Question or comments? Email me at DaveCaseAg@gmail.com
A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Dave Case majored in Agronomy and Ag Econ with an emphasis in Weed Science. Dave’s career spanned Champaign Landmark, Crow’s Hybrid Corn Company and 30 years with Bayer CropScience. In 2018, Case formed Case Ag Consulting LLC. He is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Agricultural Fraternity. He is on the Board of Directors of the Agribusiness Association of Kentucky, Chairman of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Educational Trust Foundation and Secretary of the Alpha Gamma Rho Alumni Board. He is on the Board of Directors of the Champaign Family YMCA, Champaign County Historical Society Agricultural Capital Campaign Committee and is a Trustee for the Champaign County Farm Bureau. Dave and his wife Dorothy live on a small farm south of Urbana where they raise goats, cattle, chickens and various crops and they donate all profits to Pancreatic Cancer Research. Dave can be reached at DaveCaseAg@gmail.com.