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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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