Gardener's Grapevine 2011.09.08

Written by David Green.

Labor Day weekend sure had some different weather, didn’t it? From hot with sweat-dripping humidity to cool sweatshirt weather, we seemed to cover it all.

Art and I spent a lot of time at the church on Saturday cleaning and prepping for winter. It led me to think about what to write this week that could help you get ready for winter and a good start to next year.

Many plants and planters have reached their peak or gone over it. As you start your fall clean up, you should think ahead to next year’s garden and planters. Most people reuse planters and some reuse hanging baskets. This is fine as long as they are prepped appropriately prior to replanting.

If you are like me in the spring, it is all about getting to the greenhouse and getting my little beauties in their pots to start announcing summer. I don’t want to be bothered with cleaning out pots and dealing with last year’s mess, I want beauty now! Well, lasting beauty and a healthy, happy, thriving plant takes more than plopping it in the same old dirty pot. 

To prepare pots, dump out all the old soil. Mix up a solution of a very small amount of dish soap and about an eighth of a cup of bleach without perfume to four or five gallons of water. Using a good stiff brush (a toilet brush works well on clay pots if the pot is big enough), scrub the inside and outside of the pot very well. Rinse with fresh water and leave pots in the sun to dry. Once the pots are dry, stack them in the shed for next spring, and you’re ready to go.

When you are cleaning your beds, check to see if any weeds are seeding out. Next year there will be a lot more of them if you leave them in the beds. Weed seed is more diligent than your desired flower seeds and will eventually take over the bed. Get rid of the nasty weeds before winter snow pushes the seeds into the earth for spring sprouting.

I like to take this time in the fall to look at what is going to need to be moved or split in the spring—which plant was an over achiever and which one is too big for its living conditions. Now is not the time to split much of anything, but it is the time to take inventory and jot down notes for spring.

As any gardener knows, plants continue to push their way up out of the earth all spring long, so it may not look overcrowded at first but it will be by summer. It’s easier to get a notebook and make a few entries, just don’t forget where you put the notebook. Mine is on the shelf in the shed next to the spade I use for moving plants. Over the next few weeks I will try to focus on fall, the garden clean-up, and winter preparations.

Congratulations to the Hewitts on East Street for winning Garden of the Month for September. They have a lovely display and always give their home such a welcoming entry year after year. 

  • 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