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.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016