Gardener's Grapevine 2011.12.28

Written by David Green.

Christmas has past and as I clean up the mess from a large family meal and gift exchange free-for-all, I realize how much post holiday waste is generated.

I have noted before that I am not an over-the-top “green” person, but I am environmentally conscious about my carbon footprint. If it is within our ability to reduce, recycle and reuse, shouldn’t we?

I read this week that not all wrapping paper can be recycled because it’s coated in plastic to make the iridescent patterns and colors. My daughter did point out that it usually says on the paper products if it is recyclable.

The reason I am into recycling is because in order to keep our water supply and soils uncontaminated so we can continue to garden, we have to be conscious of what is happening beyond our own little plot of land. I know of people who will dump anything down the sewer drain just to dispose of it. Does it ever occur to them where that goes? Gas, grease, oil, etc…where do they think this goes?  Is it out of sight, out of mind?

Well, with all this thought of recycling comes thoughts of my terrific husband of 26 years lugging a trunk load of paper and cardboard up to the recycling center. Having to work after Christmas does have it’s advantages when everyone else is at home.

My uncle Dwight Houttieker loves the outdoors and particularly gardening. For Christmas he received some great gardening books and spent a lot of his holiday learning new techniques to use in his garden. Gardening books are a great present and they keep on giving long after the holiday. We had a great conversation about greenhouse gardening and the different ways we’ve seen to start your garden early using temporary green housing techniques such as PVC pipes bent to shape a support and heavy plastic sheeting to cover the supports.

It is always nice to talk with other gardeners, especially if they are avid readers. You get ideas and information that you never thought of before. A friend from northern Michigan told me they start plants early using milk jugs. They cut the bottom out of them and put them over the plants while they are small. As the weather warms they gradually take the caps off, then cut the top of the jug off leaving the base as support for the plant. They have had extremely good success with this technique and due to an extended growing season they have more produce.

My aunt and uncle have a lovely enclosed porch they don’t use in the winter and my uncle is going to try using it as a greenhouse to start his plants early. He told me that he has so much more time since retiring and so many ideas on improving his garden. Maybe that is what I need to do…retire.

Unfortunately, gardening takes money to purchase what I need and I’m not old enough for Social Security. Life is so not fair! Guess I’ll keep dreaming of a day when I have unlimited time to play in the dirt. Until then, I will keep reading and picking other gardeners’ brains for ideas.

  • 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
  • Front.sculpta
    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.
  • Shadow.salon
    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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