Gardener's Grapevine 2012.08.01

Written by David Green.

Sometimes when I write this article I feel like the local farm report for crops. If you consider I know next to nothing about actual crop farming, it’s kind of a comical thought.

This summer with the drought I guess the crops are on all our minds, even the people who have never set foot on a farm. I work with people who don’t even plant a flowerpot and they talk about the drought’s effect on the crops and food supply.

This weekend Art and I made a trip to Angola, Ind., to see friends. The crops weren’t looking too bad, there were ears on the corn and it looked to be pretty tall in most places. Granted, none of the fields anywhere look topnotch.

I am a big fan of farmer’s markets. Some communities have massive ones. When we are in Kalamazoo on a Saturday we try to go to theirs, as it is awesome. Not only do you get fresh fruit and vegetables, but also a wide array of other things related to nature are on display like potted plants, seedlings, cut flowers, baked goods, skin care products made from plants and many more items. All are from small businesses that are able to display all their wares and discuss them. I saw an ad on TV this week for farmer’s markets and they said, “be a localvore” meaning eat locally grown produce. I thought that was a really good word.  Eating locally grown produce helps support people in our own towns. 

Have you looked at your hostas? Do they have brown burnt leaves? Well intense heat with no water will do that. I did a little reading on what to do to improve the looks of them without killing them or damaging their health. Most of what I read is that a hosta’s strength comes from its root system not its leaves. You should trim off the damaged leaves down by the base and leave the good ones. You can even prune them all the way back to the ground and leave no leaves and the plant will still come back in the spring. It will not put much effort into becoming larger, but will not die either. They truly are the wonder plant that anyone can grow. 

Are you pruning your roses? With the recent shift in weather, my roses are trying to rebound. A pruning off of the dead heads and hips will encourage new growth and give you new blooms (if it’s an ever-blooming variety).

With the weather change a lot of pruning, weeding and attention needs to be given to our gardens. Don’t grumble either, because with the drought you’ve had a reprieve from doing much weeding this summer. I can tell all of you not to grumble, but if you were in our garden Saturday you would have heard a lot of grumbling as I pulled out an enormous amount of weeds.

We are starting to get a lot of tomatoes and I was hoping for a big mass of green beans. The beans had lots of immature ones and masses of blooms but not many mature beans. Isn’t it hard to be patient for something so yummy! Guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with some more BLTs…what a sacrifice! (that was sarcasm–I love them!)

  • 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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