Gardener's Grapevine 2012.03.21

Written by David Green.

It’s a wet, drab Sunday afternoon. Art assured me last evening that it wouldn’t rain. Now I have a wagon full of brush and rainwater. Apparently he wasn’t cut out to be a weatherman.

Yesterday afternoon I cleaned up the vegetable garden, pruned, and moved and tied up the raspberries. My dad came home and said he knew of better things to do on a Saturday afternoon. Really, dad? Better than playing in the dirt until all your muscles scream for mercy and you look like you took a dirt bath? What could possibly be more fun? Certainly all the scratches from the prickly canes qualify as fun.

My Uncle Dwight is the first person I know of to can something this year. He canned horseradish from our garden. He retired this past year and has always been a big gardener. He and my aunt taught me to can when I first got married.

He showed me his plant starts and they look great. He has some very nice tomato plants he started from seed. They are about 3-4 inches tall with nice sturdy stems. He also started a bean plant indoors, which produced two beans so far. My aunt laughingly said she’d stir-fry them for him if he wants.

As I’ve said before, it is extremely hard to start tomatoes from seed, and my uncle makes it look so easy. He is trying the toilet paper roll starters that I talked about a couple of months ago. Using the center of toilet paper rolls to start plants, and then transplanting them while they are still in the rolls made a lot of sense to me. I can’t wait to see his results. Like everything else, I bet it works great for him. He just has a green thumb gardener’s touch.

Art planted peas yesterday and he probably will have a great harvest with our weather the way it is. I hope the freezing weather is past. I always worry about that one last bad frost on tender new leaves, but hopefully we won’t get one.

Lori at the library said she couldn’t help it, she uncovered her plants and is taking her chances…true gardeners just can’t help themselves! As Art and I were working in the garden, we talked about how we had tried the garden mounding idea last year and how we felt about it. We both felt it worked really well. It made it easier to pick and maintain and there were fewer weeds. I do know we have cleaned up fewer weeds so far. Art has a bad hip and repeated bending is hard, so this has made gardening a bit easier on him.

What you do is till the garden and mound the rows up. It looks like we have a bunch of graves in the garden. The following years you are not supposed to have to till it again, just reuse the mounds. Art did till between the mounds to re-pile the dirt up and to plant the peas in the lower area, since they will harvest earlier than the rest. The idea is to use the lower areas as pathways.

Art was concerned with water shedding off the mounds last year so this year we are going to run a soaker hose or drip irrigation hose down the rows on the mounds. We had a nice harvest but he thinks the harvest will improve with increased water. Whatever makes him happy and keeps him out of trouble works for me! After all he’s the engineer in the family. My happiness is in seeing a plant from seed to full fruition and knowing I did that. Spring arrives this week. Enjoy.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • 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

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