Gardener's Grapevine 2012.02.15

Written by David Green.

Last week I wrote about starting plants inside for outdoor use in the spring and summer. After I wrote that article I got to thinking about my first grade teacher, Mrs. Alice Sutton. Her husband was the town’s veterinarian when I was a child and they both were nature lovers.  Our church yard and landscaping are cared for with an endowment made by Mrs. Sutton in her husband’s memory.

For those of you who never met this powerhouse little lady, you missed out. When I was in her class I learned many things including how to read, and I can’t imagine a life where I was unable to read. I adore snuggling up with a soft blanket, a cup of tea and a good book.

She also taught me to start plants in a cup and what was going on each step of the way. We started pumpkins in clear plastic cups. You could see the seed germinate and sprout, and see the sprout push upward through the soil. My pumpkin went home to our family garden on my Uncle Papp’s (Eldredge) farm. We got some very nice pumpkins for halloween that year.

Teachers give us lessons that stay with us forever and we should thank teachers for all they give us. Today teachers carry an even heavier load of not only educating our young people, but also making sure they learn many things that aren’t taught at home anymore like manners, social graces, nutrition and respect for others. Our teachers give so much and many people do not realize that. I read that there are many children in this country who go home on Friday and don’t know if they will eat again until Monday at school. A little knowledge of gardening and freezing could help solve this problem.

Once plants are in cups and growing, they need transplanting. Transplanting does not necessarily mean moving them to the garden. It means removing them from their current container to another location. After germination when the plants have two good strong leaves, they must be transplanted. Most seeds are so small that many plants wind up in the same container, and if not separated will not grow properly as they have to be able to stretch their roots out and crowding stunts them.

Gently remove the contents of the original container to a place that you can work the plants loose from one another. Using the leaves to lift the tender plants, separate them. Plant one plant per container, being sure to cover the roots completely with growing medium or soil. The same type of soil used to start the seed is fine, but use new soil as the original soil is probably completely wiped out of nutrients.

Water and fertilize the seedlings using house plant fertilizer at half strength. Don’t overwater or let the tender seedlings dry out. Keep newly transplanted seedlings in the shade for a few days and away from direct heat or anything that will dry them out. These seedlings are like an infant that is beginning to be mobile and needs to be protected from potential harm.

  • 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.
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    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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