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.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.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • 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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