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.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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