Gardener's Grapevine 2011.11.02

Written by David Green.

Halloween is over and the next thing coming at us is the holiday season. Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season. It’s such a fun time of year with all the preparations and goodwill.

Soon we will be going into our cold snaps. This past week we had our first killing frost and the darn stuff got my basil plants before I could get that final harvest! Oh well, we have a lot of pesto in the freezer…but it’s so yummy, the more the merrier.

Now, since we’ve had a killing frost is the time to really clean up. I also clear out the old raspberry canes so they have room for the new shoots in the spring. My dad cleaned up all the leaves in the yard and an hour later the wind made it snow leaves again. If we let them go they move on down the street, but that doesn’t make us very good neighbors, so we clean them up. Something to think about is putting up Christmas lights. While we still have some warm days its a good time to get them in place, so when it’s closer to Christmas you can turn them on and not freeze.

David Green e-mailed me an interesting article from Michigan State University that talked about powdery mildew. It is now becoming a problem with impatiens. Powdery mildew is not new to gardeners, it has been causing problems for years with other plants. It loves to overtake the tall phlox and can cause quite a mess. It makes the plants look awful, like someone dumped baby powder all over the plant.  

You should pull your impatiens and turn them over. If you see something like baby powder on the underside of the leaves throw the plants in the trash. Do not put them on the compost pile as the mildew will spread and when the compost is spread in the spring you will be infecting all your plants with it.

It would be advisable to get rid of the soil they were in also, dig down a few inches and dispose of it. Once powdery mildew is on your property it is difficult to get rid of, so start as soon as you find it. I plant very few annuals and even fewer impatiens but it did surprise me to hear that the mildew now likes them also. Impatiens grow best in shade to part shade and that is normally a moist environment so it makes perfect sense.

After the first hard frost it’s time to think about pruning trees. The sap has slowed for winter and it is not as hard on the tree as when it is in full production. A good pair of loppers and a telescoping saw work great. Barrett’s Garden Center’s tree expert told me that fruit trees should be pruned in late November when we’ve had a few good hard frosts and should be pruned so the tops are flat to make for easy picking. I have five fruit trees and am grateful we do not have an orchard. It can be mighty cold out there in November.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • 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.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

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