December on the Farm — Corn harvest is in winding down with long hours in the field until complete. The grain is in the bin waiting to be fed to livestock or sold to an elevator, processing plant or ethanol plant — So when the work is done in the fall, what do farmers do in the off-season?
It all depends . . . . . There’s always repairs and maintenance on feeders, waterers, bins, out-buildings, fences, machinery, etc. This time of year is also many farmer’s ‘year end’, where financial statements need to be completed, income tax forms prepared. Visits with lenders or farm management personnel are a necessity plus reviewing and analyzing the past year and making plans for the new year. Delivering grain to be sold, continuing education to learn new and better things and how to apply them. Keeping abreast of changes and how they affect the farm. Seminars and trade shows also bring new ideas and products — It’s also the time of year for a little ‘time off’ to recharge both physically and mentally for the year ahead 🙂
THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH: (excerpts from Mark & Ben Cullen’s Newsletter)
Order seed catalogues. Veseys 2018 catalogue is available online — www.veseys.com
Save your real Christmas tree to stand in your garden for the winter. Hang suet on it and let the birds forage. Apply Wilt-pruf to broadleaved evergreens like boxwood, holly and the like to prevent winter desiccation (apply when temperatures are above freezing). Use Wilt-Pruf on your Christmas tree to help it retain moisture longer.
Drop by Wright’s Feeds ‘N Needs for many great gift ideas for the farmer, gardener, hobby farmer, birder, horse-lover, hiker and of course the home handy ‘man’ or ‘woman’ on your Christmas list. Workwear, boots, jackets, parkas, socks, hats & gloves plus much more for the farm, garden and home to bring a smile to your special someone this Christmas.
Start your amaryllis bubs now to make sure you are ready for my 2018 amaryllis photo contest. Every year we host an amaryllis photo contest on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MarkCullenGardening/). Start your amaryllis now and take photos when the fabulous blooms are at their peak. You can view last year’s Mark Cullen’s contest entries here.
Pick up a Poinsettia plant to brighten your holiday home. Poinsettias may be popular in the winter but they cannot stand freezing temperatures. In the walk from the store to the car, be sure to wrap your plant in a plastic bag. A good store will provide you with cold protection, no questions asked. Choose a bright room in the house but do not place the poinsettia in direct light. Remove the decorative wrapping (it looks good but it hinders proper air flow and water drainage). Unlike many other plants, the poinsettia’s soil will need to stay slightly moist. Watering will depend heavily on your home’s climate.
Cyclamen is another great winter plant that is often forgotten. This delicate flower-producing plant is a winter treat. Temperature and water are the most important factors in keeping a cyclamen healthy. Ideally, temperatures don’t go below 4°C or above 20°C. Proper watering is essential. They are a bit fussy. Always water from below and water thoroughly. Leave the plant sitting in water for about 15 minutes. Remove and allow excess water to drain away. Too much water, or water on the surface, can cause mouldy soil and stem rot. Fertilizing is moderate: half-strength fertilizer for flowering plants will do the trick. No more frequently than once every two months.
Feed the birds. If you stopped feeding your wild birds in the summer, now is a good time to fill your feeders. Clean them before you set them up and start with Wright’s Premium Wild Bird Seed — Birds love it and it is great value! Also available are sunflower seed, safflower seed, peanuts (both in and out of the shell), nyjer seed, suet, corn cobs and lots of feeders for all types of backyard birds.
Christmas wrap. The first gifts that you should wrap for the Christmas season are your evergreens. Wrap two layers of burlap around upright evergreens, especially junipers and cedars (which are very susceptible to salt burn). One layer prevents wind damage, the other snow and ice. The yew hedge gets wrapped with a double layered piece of burlap, supported by 2″ x 2″ stakes hammered into the ground. This is a gift to yourself.
Relax, enjoy and indulge. Our long Canadian winter provides lots of time to be alone and to work off the excess of the holiday season.
NEW GARDEN “How-To” VIDEOS
Last month, Mark Cullen & son, Ben, had a great time shooting new videos in the garden. Introducing 3 new gardening videos that will inform and entertain you.
Check them out:
ORDERING FOR YOUR BACKYARD POULTRY FLOCK: Our 2017 Backyard Flock day-old birds and Ready-To-Lay pullet orders are finished for this year
— Watch for new order form, delivery dates and price list in February 2018.
For feeding your feathered friends, we have all the bird feeders, feed, peanuts, suet and other backyard wildlife supplies to keep them visiting your back yard.
Follow this link: ‘YOUR BIRDS & WILDLIFE’ to visit our page where you’ll find valuable information on both hosting and deterring backyard wildlife.
For those who enjoy seeing deer graze on their property, Wright’s Feeds ‘N Needs manufactures their own custom Deer Mix that will attract deer to visit plus we stock whole corn, grains, deer & salt blocks.
***Sorry, our custom deer mix is available only in fall & winter seasons when there is less access to food for deer in the wild.
News and Events:
December 6: THEE Parade of Lights
December 6: Brock Youth Centre EDGE Program Meet & Greet
January 16 and 26: Environmental Farm Plan Workshop
January 31, February 8 and 14: Growing Your Farm Profits Workshop
Local 4H leader wins Syngenta 4H Arbour Award
— ‘Livestock Lane’ is an idea that Mary Ann Found put in place almost six years ago, with a primary focus on agriculture education. This is the primary reason why she received the Syngenta 4H Ontario Arbour Award-the highest honour a 4H volunteer can receive in Ontario.
The award recognizes the dedication and hard work that volunteers contribute as 4H leaders. Mary Ann is a retired school teacher, and never stops teaching children about agriculture. From talking cows, to a wide variety of workshops, Mary Ann is creative in her teaching methods. Congratulations Mary Ann! To learn more about Mary Ann and about the Syngenta 4H Arbour Award read the 4H Ontario press release.
Durham150.ca: Durham Tourism, in partnership with Central Counties Tourism, will be launching Durham150.ca–a collaborative online resource that highlights local events and initiatives happening throughout the region this year, in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary as a nation. Featuring the best of what the region has to offer, Durham150.ca will provide a platform for local tourism stakeholders to share their Canada 150 events and initiatives, and the stories behind them–from family fun and festivals, to arts and cultural experiences, and so much more. Set to launch on June 7, Durham150.ca, will be an online resource to learn about all of the celebrations and experiences taking place across Durham. To learn more about Regional initiatives, please visit www.investdurham.ca.
The new 2017 Durham Farm Fresh brochure is available!: This brochure features helpful resources and references for Durham residents, including a map of Durham that outlines where to find seasonal Farm Fresh products at farms and farm markets across Durham Region. The brochure is available to download online, and is also available at different locations across the region, including The Regional Municipality of Durham Headquarters in Whitby. For more information, visit Durham Farm Fresh.
2016 Agriculture Census data available: The 2016 Census of Agriculture is now available and provides an overview of the nation’s agriculture industry and farm operators and families. Learn more about the 2016 Agriculture Census.
The Durham Region 5 Million Trees Program is part of the Durham Community Climate Change Local Action Plan, with the goal of increasing forest cover in the region by approximately 2,800 hectares. To be eligible, landowners must have 2.5 acres of non-agricultural land to plant. Forests Ontario plants the trees at a highly subsidized rate and checks their survival at various intervals in the following few years. Learn more about Durham Region’s 5 Million Trees Program.
The On-Farm Childcare Program, offered by Durham Farm and Rural Family Resources (DFRFR), is designed to provide quality child care for farm families who reside in Durham where at least one of the parents’ primary source of income is through a farm operation. The program operates from May to September and allows parents to concentrate on farm work during peak times, without having their children in the workplace. Learn more about the On Farm Childcare Program.