Gardener's Grapevine 2012.07.11

Written by David Green.

Is everyone enjoying this crazy weather? Isn’t it out of control? This past week has been absolutely insane in the weather department and working in Maumee gives me a pretty wide access to the way weather is fickle and interesting. This week I’ve seen everything imaginable—a tornado in Springfield Township that shut the Interstate down, golf ball size hail in Toledo, 100+ degree weather everywhere, pounding rain here and complete drought a mile away.

Last week I wrote this article while on the side porch watching my husband work in the sunshine. If you remember, it was about the terrible stress the corn was experiencing from the drought. I literally sent the article to the Observer’s editor and the sky opened up in a deluge of pouring rain. I sat on the porch laughing, and Art looked at me like I was a nut (which I am) and asked what was so funny. I said if I’d known that writing about the need for rain would produce it, I would have done it sooner.

I was at the church yesterday looking the landscape situation over. To be honest, if my Aunt Pat Houttieker didn’t water it, I’d be in trouble. My work schedule makes it very challenging for me to get up there. She’s doing a great job and it’s no little feat.

We have a large planter at the main entrance. Every summer I fight with this planter so it looks nice as it gets too much sun. The plants in it fry in the sun no matter the amount of water used. This year I put more drought tolerant plants in it and they are still drying up and looking scraggly. I read where you can put a brown, non-reflective mat under the pot to keep the cement from reflecting the heat back up to the plants. Well, it’s definitely worth trying and might not look as bad as a bunch of cactus planted in the pots which seems to be the direction I’m going to be forced to go. Gardening challenges are either fun or hair-ripping frustrating. This one is becoming the latter.

On the Fourth we stayed home, grilled lunch, and enjoyed it with my father Bill Wollter and mother-in-law Betty Erbskorn. The conversation turned to the state of the crops and the poor corn crops. I mentioned that I felt bad for everyone involved, as it is going to drive food prices even higher.

My dad said that we might see the availability of beef rise as farmers cut their herd due to a decrease in availability of grain and then decrease, as the availability is not there due to the previous herd decrease. My husband added that maybe the corn stalks could be chopped for silage and still be used for feed. I have no idea if that could be done or not without ears on the stalks. My knowledge of farming is not very vast.

I am amazed at the absolute science involved in today’s farming operations. From soil testing to plant knowledge and hybridization, it is a complete science lesson all in one farm. Not to mention these farms involve hundreds to thousands of acres of land. I hope the corn can be used for something and keep our farmers from falling on hard times. Farmers are our original Americans and if not for farming, our great country would have failed long ago. Everyone thinks politicians run this country. Think again…who’s feeding the country?

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