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It’s no secret that one of the reasons we all like to visit Holmes County and Ohio’s Amish Country is the shopping.  There are so many unique products and the quality is second-to-none. From handmade furniture to quilts and sporting goods to candles, there are literally thousands of wonderful products available from hundreds of unique stores.

While we all love our visits to Holmes County, it would be convenient to order a gift or purchase a favorite product online once in a while…and we are working to make that possible.

DiscoverHolmesCounty.com is a curated collection of local businesses. These are businesses that we know, that we can recommend as being the best in Holmes County. In many cases, they are individuals and families that we know personally as well. One small goal of the service is to connect shoppers with some of the best products and offer some online shopping. To that end, we have started offering a few select products for sale as of today.

The initial products available are from Hershberger’s Farm and Bakery. Look for an expanded list of products over the coming weeks.  As we learn how to best support our online customers and the Amish Owned businesses, we will add more products. Over time, we may add some additional products from other local businesses.  If you have suggestions on the businesses you would shop from or products you would like to see added here, please email us with your suggestions.

 

When most flowers have given up for the season, hardy mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium) are just getting started with their vibrant display of colors. While technically considered a perennial, many gardeners treat fall mums as an annual using them as potted plants instead of landscape features. However, with the proper care, your mums can provide many seasons of colorful service in your landscaping.  Here are 5 tips from local growers to help you convert your fall mums into perennial performers.

  1. Plant early
    The biggest cause of hardy mums not surviving into the second season is getting them planted too late. To survive the first winter, your mums need time to develop a root structure that is deep enough to withstand the stresses of freezing and thawing in the soil. The sooner you get your mums planted, the better they will be.
  2. Plant correctly
    One of the keys to a healthy start for your mums is getting them planted properly. This starts by selecting the proper location. Mums require at least 6 hours of direct sun per day and prefer full sun. They also like rich, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic to neutral. When you have selected the location, dig your hole twice the width and about 4” deeper than the pot size. Fill the bottom of the hole with potting soil or well-composted garden soil. Set the plant into the hole at the same depth it is in the pot then backfill with garden soil and compact moderately. Water immediately with a water-soluble plant food AND root stimulator. Apply a 3” layer of mulch.
  3. Fertilize early and often
    Another key to successfully overwintering mums is root development. It can be hard for your plants to develop a strong root system while they are primarily focused on blooming. Using a slow-release granular fertilizer as a top dressing after planting can help, but the biggest boost you can provide is using a root stimulator at planting and again after two weeks. Depending on where you live and how early you get your mums planted, a third application at 4 weeks will help as well. Using a water-soluble fertilizer once per week when watering will also strengthen your plants and help to maintain the flowers longer.
  4. Water Frequently
    As a general rule, mums like moist but well-drained soil. The key to strong mums throughout the fall is to water them before they show signs of stress or wilt. Depending on the weather, you may need to water your newly planted mums once a day. When you water, do not water down through the flowers and stems. Instead, apply water slowly at the base of the plant and allow it to soak into the soil.
  5. Mulch
    Before the first hard freeze, you will need to completely mulch each mum plant. Wrap the plant with chicken wire or other “container” and fill the fence with leaves or straw. Your mulch should be twice the height and twice the width of the plant. When you think you have added enough, add a little more. DO NOT trim the mum plant in the fall. Instead, lightly pack your mulch throughout and around all the leaves and stems.

PRO TIP From Hershberger’s Farm and Bakery
To ensure your hardy mums survive the first winter, bring them inside. Store them in the coolest, darkest area in your house.  This will allow the plants to go dormant without freezing.  Plant the mums back into your landscape in early spring using the recommendations above to allow them a full growing season to become established.  

It’s 6AM on a beautiful fall morning and Hershey’s King Buck – aka Big King – is still relaxing in his pasture.  The Hershberger family and staff members have been working since about 3:30 this morning when the first batch of bread went in the ovens, but King was still sleeping then. As the farm comes alive this morning, King and the other horses still have a couple hours to graze until they start the day.

By 9:00 AM King is ready for his “workday” to start. He comes in from the pasture to be fed and watered. He eats about _____quarts of grain for breakfast. It rained overnight and like most horses, King rolled in the wet grass leaving him covered in mud so he will get a bath today.  After a thorough scrub and a shake that you can feel when standing next to him, King gets brushed from head to toe. Each of his feet are checked to make sure his shoes are tight and there are no stones that could make his feet sore.

Between 9:30 and 10AM, King will be led to his custom stall in the petting area, and it’s show time.  There are usually people waiting for him. Some take pictures, some offer carrots, some shriek or giggle and many just stare. But King doesn’t mind. In fact, this is what he loves.

How do we know?  Well, we know because during the off-season, when the petting area is closed, King gets sad. King will stand at the gates of his pasture with his head hung and will even stop interacting with the other horses. To keep King happy, we take him into the petting area and to his stall a couple days each week which seems to keep his spirits up until his visitors are back in the spring.

Throughout the day, King may nicker, or kick at his stall, or toss his head – don’t worry, he is just trying to get your attention.  He has learned that his visitors have treats and making noise oftentimes gets him a treat that may have otherwise gone to one of his neighbors – a pig, goat, alpaca, cow, or goat.

By the time 5PM rolls around, King has a belly full of carrots and is turned back out to pasture with the other horses from the petting area, buggy rides, pony rides, and farming. Most nights this is an actual horse race as the different horses all sprint to get the first bite of pasture grass or to be the first to roll in the dirt. King and the other horses run and play for 10 to 15 minutes before settling down to relax, graze, and sleep for the next 17 hours.

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