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.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.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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