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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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