Gardener's Grapevine 2013.04.10

Written by David Green.

I’ve had spring fever very bad for the last week, and today is such a teaser. It’s such a beautiful Sunday afternoon, even the dog doesn’t want to be inside.

As I look the garden situation over I am once again amazed at how well everything survived this past winter. I didn’t lose a single rosebush, which is amazing as at least one usually says it’s had enough.

As I sit writing this, I am contemplating planting the peas this afternoon and wonder what else would be able to get going. I Googled cool weather planting and came up with quite a lot that can be planted right now. We would have to have a very long cold snap for any harm to come to items planted now. Peas were at the top of the list of cool weather veggies to start. Radishes love cooler temps and if planted now will allow for more than one harvest this summer. Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage should be planted when the temps stay above 50.

Lettuce, spinach, collards and kale are all cool weather plants and tend to lose quality in overly hot weather. Plant onion sets as soon as the soil is thawed in the spring. Carrots can be sown early in the spring along with potatoes, if the ground can be worked up. The potatoes will grow and yield a larger crop if given the advantage of going in early. Beets and swiss chard are both hearty enough to start at early spring thaw. Reading all this just makes me want to go  play in the dirt.

Last fall I wrote about assessing your gardens and jotting down in your garden journal what needs split or moved. If hostas are on that list, see if the nubs are starting to stick out of the ground. I bet they are, as mine are. Once they start poking through, it is an ideal time to split them. Remember that the nubs sticking up are always going to show in the center first so start spading quite a ways away from your showing nubs. The outer leaves form last and you will have quite an odd looking plant if you only take up the center.

Once the entire plant is out of the ground, lay it aside and spade down the center to split it. If it’s a large plant, cut the halves in as many sections as you want. Remember that a hosta will round itself out no matter what it looks like when you plant it.

Once split, put the sections in the ground wherever you want them and water well. If there is more than what you want or need, plop it in a pot with soil, water it well, and give it away.

One advantage we have of living on Main Street is that I can put plants out by the road with a little identification stick and they will disappear quicker than pancakes when the kids come home. I love to share with others and it makes an easy way to share my love of gardening.

  • 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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