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?

  • 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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