May 11, 2011

Written by David Green.


It is Mother’s Day, and  what a beautiful day it turned out to be. The forecasters were calling for rain all week and instead it was sunny and perfect.

Have you noticed how full of blooms the magnolia trees are? Sharon and Larry Bruce have the most beautiful magnolia I have ever seen and it is really in spectacular bloom this year. Sharon said that when magnolias are loaded with blooms it means we will have lots of rain. Guess she got that right.

I’d like to talk about container gardening which can be used to plant vegetables or flowers. If you live in an apartment with a terrace and it gets even partial sun, fresh veggies are yours with a little work. If you live in a home that takes all the property space, container gardening may be for you. If you have a large garden and have certain vegetables that you use frequently, having a few containers of them on the patio may make your life easier.

To begin, choose what you want to grow. If you’re planting vegetables, usually plant one type per container. The exception is carrots and radishes, which may be planted together. Pick your container and potting soil to fill it. Your container should be as wide as the plant will get and at least half as deep as the plant will be at full height. These dimensions can be obtained on the plastic insert in the plant seedling or on the package of seeds.

When I buy potting soil I try to buy it with the fertilizer included. One company makes a moisture retaining soil that is wonderful if you are short on the time needed for watering. It is about the same price as buying them separately and less work all season. You will also need something to put in the bottom of the pot to increase drainage, such as rocks. About one inch is sufficient, and some people experiment with other things like styrofoam peanuts or anything small that is not biodegradable. Place the rocks in the bottom of the pot and fill the pot two thirds full of soil.

If you are planting tomatoes or peppers, place one seedling in the center of the pot and fill in and around it with soil, stopping within an inch of the top of the pot. Prior to putting your seedling in the pot use your fingers to break up the bottom of the root system; it helps the plant to spread it’s roots out. Water your plant thoroughly and place it in a sunny spot.

Other than watering occasionally and feeding if you opted for soil without fertilizer, you’re good to go. If you are planting a climbing flower or vegetable, think of something to use for a brace to climb on. I often use a tomato cage, and if using seeds like peas, plant them around the perimeter of the container letting them climb the tomato cage. I like to turn the cage upside down and bury the first ring in the soil for stability and twist the legs together at the top or bend them down for safety.

  • 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.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.

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