Gardener's Grapevine 05.04.2011

By Jo Erbskorn

I walk around my yard daily in the spring. I know that sounds like a strange thing, but it never seems to stop amazing me how much a plant can change in one day. Sometimes it appears they change while you’re looking at them.

As previously stated, plants throw “babies,” and I consider these free plants either to enhance my garden or to give to friends. Yesterday I think I moved a greenhouse full of freebies. The dog lay on the ground nearby watching everything I did. I’d dig a plant out and walk over to a bed and dig another hole and put it in. She seemed happy to watch and relax in the spring sun…I thought. I heard a noise and turned around. Apparently the dog is not as dumb as we all thought she was, as she was digging my holes for me. This would have been OK except I was moving the bluebells out of my vegetable garden not into the middle of it.

My gardens have been in use for many years. For someone just starting a garden, it can be a great idea gone bad without a little assistance or knowledge. My first garden was in a spot that was used by previous gardeners for years and stripped of every nutrient there ever was. We grew two-foot tall corn and carrots that looked like they had been pounded into the ground with a sledge hammer. It took years to bring the ground back.

The first time I started a flower garden and had to move grass, I really questioned my sanity. It is very hard without a tiller and it takes a very long time to get the grass and roots out. I recently read an article about starting a new garden bed. They suggested using bags of soil with fertilizer in it, laid end to end in the area you want your new garden in. The soil comes in plastic bags. [See the June 6, 2010 Observer “Local Stories” listing on-line].

Slice the bags from end to end, leaving three to four inches uncut at the top and bottom. Plant your plants right in the bags and they are set for the year. If you want, you can cover the exposed plastic with bark or straw to hide it. After the summer you can pull up the plastic if you want to or leave it and use it as a barrier adding more soil the following year.

I found this to be a pretty crafty idea as starting a new garden bed with a tiller does not eliminate the grass issue. Grass and weeds will still pop up for a very long time and make the garden very unsightly. Using a product like Round-up can ruin the soil and take a long while to rejuvenate.

So if you are in the beginning stages of gardening, think about what type of start you want and the amount of time you are willing to invest. If time is in short supply, try container gardening, which I will talk about next week.

  • Front.web
    NICE WORK—A spider remains at the center of a web, awaiting visitors, during a moist morning last month. The was built in front of Eagle Funeral Home in Morenci.
  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • 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.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.