Gardener's Grapevine 2012.02.22

Written by David Green.

On Saturdays I try to spend time at my grandmother’s house quilting. We make a quilt for our church Christmas bazaar in December, which is a yearly event. It takes a long time to sew an entire quilt, and can take months or even the entire year to complete. A lot of the time it’s Gram, my Aunt Patricia Houttieker and myself sitting around the frame sewing.  Three generations talking and sewing like in times of old. 

I reap so much of the past from these sessions like family history, ideas about all sorts of things, and lots of personal opinions. Personal opinions always make me laugh later when I think back on them. What one person thinks, another may not, and we are much more open in our current era about what we think than people were in the past.

My grandmother pointed out while we were quilting, that my great-grandmother would host quilting at her home, and when her sister-in-law left she would take out her stitches and replace them with smaller tidier stitches. My opinion on this is wow, there are no quilts in our family with her sewing on them. That’s sad, but to my great-grandmother that was not an heirloom, it was a functional thing that needed to be as perfect as possible. Now those long ago beautiful quilts are coveted keepsakes that our family cherishes.

My point in all this is that in gardening we all have our opinions on what works and what will still be here in the future. For everyone, that is a different footprint we all choose to make. Most trees take generations to mature, so our vision is not in full fruition until many years down the road, when future owners of the property may wonder why in the world anyone would put a tree there and cut it down. Or they may cherish it and nurture it. It all depends on opinion and outlook. This spring, take a look around and think of who put what in your yard and why. Do you like their vision?

To continue with starting your plants indoors, plants started indoors have never been exposed to the ever-changing harsh environment of the outdoors. While the weather may seem fine to you, to a new seedling it is like throwing a newborn to the elements. It may or may not make it. 

To insure a healthy plant, take your plants outside in the warmth of the afternoon and put them in the shade away from the wind. Bring them back inside prior to the temperature changing for the evening. Leave them out there for a few hours longer each day, gradually exposing them to a little more sunshine until they are okay in complete sunshine. This process usually takes about two weeks and the plants are ready to be transplanted to their permanent living space in your garden. If freezing temperatures are forecast, continue the process until the threat of frost is gone. 

When transplanting seedlings potted in organic containers, cut the top of the container down to soil level to prevent the air from drying the container out and wicking all the moisture away from the seedling. Also, cut or punch small holes in the bottom of the container so the roots can grow outward. Sometimes these containers don’t completely break down and can inhibit root growth, so the holes help the roots grow naturally. If you use toilet paper rolls there won’t be a bottom, so the roots will be free to grow at will.  

There is no greater thrill than seeing your plants succeed. My uncle is currently growing a bean plant in his kitchen that has two blooms already. Obviously, you can be successful. Go for it, and inexpensive food is yours for the picking.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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