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.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
  • Front.sculpta
    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.
  • Shadow.salon
    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.
  • Front.bank.2
    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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