Gardener's Grapevine 05.04.2011

Written by David Green.

By Jo Erbskorn

I walk around my yard daily in the spring. I know that sounds like a strange thing, but it never seems to stop amazing me how much a plant can change in one day. Sometimes it appears they change while you’re looking at them.

As previously stated, plants throw “babies,” and I consider these free plants either to enhance my garden or to give to friends. Yesterday I think I moved a greenhouse full of freebies. The dog lay on the ground nearby watching everything I did. I’d dig a plant out and walk over to a bed and dig another hole and put it in. She seemed happy to watch and relax in the spring sun…I thought. I heard a noise and turned around. Apparently the dog is not as dumb as we all thought she was, as she was digging my holes for me. This would have been OK except I was moving the bluebells out of my vegetable garden not into the middle of it.

My gardens have been in use for many years. For someone just starting a garden, it can be a great idea gone bad without a little assistance or knowledge. My first garden was in a spot that was used by previous gardeners for years and stripped of every nutrient there ever was. We grew two-foot tall corn and carrots that looked like they had been pounded into the ground with a sledge hammer. It took years to bring the ground back.

The first time I started a flower garden and had to move grass, I really questioned my sanity. It is very hard without a tiller and it takes a very long time to get the grass and roots out. I recently read an article about starting a new garden bed. They suggested using bags of soil with fertilizer in it, laid end to end in the area you want your new garden in. The soil comes in plastic bags. [See the June 6, 2010 Observer “Local Stories” listing on-line].

Slice the bags from end to end, leaving three to four inches uncut at the top and bottom. Plant your plants right in the bags and they are set for the year. If you want, you can cover the exposed plastic with bark or straw to hide it. After the summer you can pull up the plastic if you want to or leave it and use it as a barrier adding more soil the following year.

I found this to be a pretty crafty idea as starting a new garden bed with a tiller does not eliminate the grass issue. Grass and weeds will still pop up for a very long time and make the garden very unsightly. Using a product like Round-up can ruin the soil and take a long while to rejuvenate.

So if you are in the beginning stages of gardening, think about what type of start you want and the amount of time you are willing to invest. If time is in short supply, try container gardening, which I will talk about next week.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017