Gardener's Grapevine 2012.06.20

Written by David Green.

Wow, what a hot dry week. We’ve done a lot of watering and it is still so darn dry. Sunday morning’s light showers did not do a lot due to the depth that the ground is dry.

This past Friday my son Nicholas came home for the Father’s Day weekend. He and our daughter wanted to go to the zoo in Toledo. We went on Saturday and what a beautiful day it turned out to be. Very hot, but a nice family day out and the zoo has never been nicer. The benefactors keep that zoo so very clean and attractive. I love to go to the arboretum and walk in the gardens. Most people don’t even do that when they visit the zoo. It’s all about the animals.

There were a lot of young animals, a giraffe, elephant, birds, and three baby lemurs that were so funny I could have watched them for hours. They move very fast and do antics that are funnier than most comedians.

The zoo impressed me with the level of conservation and willingness to reduce the carbon footprint. They have recycling containers all over for plastic bottles, their animal waste is composted and they have solar panels all over the parking lot, hundreds of them. It is refreshing to see a business that is as dedicated to the earth as it is to making money. If you haven’t been to the zoo I would encourage you to go, you won’t be disappointed.

In the vegetable garden this week we have peas growing like gangbusters but only because we keep watering them. The cooler evenings and nights always help. Lack of water can dry them up very quickly. The pea pods are slowing down and the shell peas are just beautiful. I picked the first batch on Saturday and they were so good steamed for Sunday dinner. If the potatoes were ready we’d have had creamed peas and new potatoes. My grandmother Katherine always makes them and they are so yummy.

The raspberries are producing and it looks like a good year. We’ve only picked enough to put on a bowl of cereal, but I know in a few days it’s going to be a crazy mess to pick. I have found that the easiest way to freeze raspberries at home is to rinse them well and lay them on paper towels to dry then put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Transfer them to a Ziplock bag or freezer container in about two hours and they will last for a year in the freezer. Fresh raspberry crisp or cobbler is awesome. 

Haven’t the strawberries been nice? Ours are not filled out enough to get very many, so we bought ours this year. They are nice but also a bit pricey. I don’t always realize the price of fresh produce because I either grow ours or purchase it locally and there are not all those fuel prices added in to get it here. The strawberry prices I did notice.

Dad came home with some beautiful blackberries, I’m not sure where they came from though. We moved all our blackberries, so this year we won’t have any. When you see produce along the road, stop and shop. It is usually from our area, priced more reasonably, and it helps our local growers keep going. I don’t normally sell our produce, but I do share it. Isn’t that what gardening is all about?

The old farmer’s saying goes, “Knee high by the 4th of July,” meaning it will be a good corn crop if it’s that high. What does waist high before then mean? That’s how tall our first planting is and every time I look at it I can taste some yummy sweet corn with real butter and salt dripping off it.

Keep watering, weeding, harvesting and caring for our world, the bounty is great.

  • 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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