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.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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