Gardener's Grapevine 2012.08.15

Written by David Green.

This past week has been a rather challenging one in my life. I have been a nurse for 25 years this year. I consider myself an old dog when it comes to OB/GYN, as I’ve spent most of my career in that area.

Our office switched over to electronic medical records this week and what a headache. After eight hours I was brain dead and it took all I had to drive home.  Change is hard and scary. I, as well as most people, like what I know because a certain amount of peace and comfort comes with routine. Such is the same in gardening.

A lot of gardeners do the same things year after year as it works for them and it’s their comfort zone. With the weather the last few years, and especially this year, we are all forced out of our comfort zones in the gardening world. I realized this with my peas. I read an article that said get your peas in the ground as soon as possible in the spring, even while the earth is still thawing. As global warming gives us hotter, longer summers, our pea planting is required sooner than ever. Next year I will try to get them in the ground in February or March.

At church today Judy Heiney asked me if it is too late to prune roses. I had to stop and think about this. The answer is “no.” Basically, in our area it’s OK through August and possibly early September. As the nights get colder they need to be left alone to get ready to go dormant in winter. 

Roses love to be pruned and even if it’s not done correctly they will grow back. It’s hard to kill them with pruning. First, make sure all your tools are clean and sharp. Dirty tools can give a rose a disease and that may very well kill it. I wash all my tools with Dawn dish soap, rinse them well and lay them in the sun to dry.

Prune from the base of the plant opening up the center to encourage good air flow. This will help avoid fungus and disease. Make a 45 degree cut ¼-inch above a bud nodule. Clean, smooth cuts are best. Ragged cuts stress the plant. Remove any dry, diseased, damaged foliage and discard it in the trash. Do not throw it on ground as it will damage or reinfect the plant.

When you stop pruning for the season, stop feeding also. The plant doesn’t like to go dormant on a full stomach. Speaking of which, if your potted plants are looking less than awesome it may be due to a decrease in food. Most potted plants are in soil that automatically feeds the plants for three months. So if you planted your pot in May, the food in the soil has been all used up. A good fertilizer will perk it up. 

The reason for the roses going crazy right now is due to the weather. They love rain and cooler temps. So do I, but until I get a handle on this new form of charting, don’t look for me to be blooming. A smile is about it.

  • 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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