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.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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