Gardener's Grapevine 2011.11.23

Written by David Green.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my gardening friends! I hope it is an enjoyable holiday for all. Sunday the church organist played “Count Your Many Blessings.” It is such a simple song, yet so beautiful and appropriate for any time of the year.

There are so many blessings as well as wonders in gardening and nature. One wonder is that plants appear year after year. Even the least experienced gardener has something reappear. The weeds do such a fabulous job for me of showing up year after year. Sarcasm aside, wouldn’t our world be very dull without the changing seasons and the many plants that go with them?

Holly blooms just in time to use in our holiday décor, evergreen stays green all year so the world is not so barren when the hard woods go to sleep, pine cones drop and we use them in our décor. I think my Uncle Dwight would be happier if his pine tree never shed a cone as he cleans up a truckload every year according to my aunt. My point is that nature supplies us with all we need on a continuous basis if we just look around.

Many people think Christmas must come from a store, which is not true at all. You can have all you need to decorate with a little gathering outside and a few common things in your home. For those of you who are like me and born with the gene that is eternally mesmerized by sparkle, break out the glue and glitter and jazz it up. Pine cones are very pretty with fairy dust glitter glimmering on them and a small drill will pierce them enough to put a bit of string on for hanging.

Blessings come in many ways and they surround us. There are two sets of cardinals in the pine tree between the Johnson’s home and ours. The blessing is they raise their young there every year and their beautiful red feathers brighten the dark dreary winter months as they flit about and feed at the feeders.

My father must really like parsnips as he asks me to write about them often. While I have heard they are very delicious I have never actually eaten them, nor do I know how to cook them. I also do not recall seeing him eat them. He says he has and being 20 years my senior, who am I to disagree?

So how do you grow parsnips? Certainly not the way Art and I did the one and only time we tried. They did nothing. Dud seed or dud gardeners…we never found out which, and never tried again. 

With that said, I did a little background work and found that prior to when potatoes became available in the sixteenth century, parsnips were used as a staple in diets in the same way as potatoes are today. They are a winter crop and a root crop. Their flavor progressively improves as winter progresses, especially after their roots freeze. Being that it is a root, my guess would be the fine roots on the ends need to freeze.

Parsnips like rich, heavy soil that is neutral or alkaline. They should be planted as soon as the soil is able to be worked in very early spring, and they grow all year long. They prefer sun to part sun and should be in rows spaced 12-18 inches apart. Seeds should be planted ¾-inch deep and two inches apart. They should be watered well but not frequently as they don’t like wet feet, just damp.

With this being the directions I wish you well. Maybe I’ll give it another try. Just a little note from the sites I obtained this info from: Make sure your seed is not old. Well golly, isn’t that a novel idea! 

  • 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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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • 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.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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