KEVIN YOUNG, DIRECTOR
60822 Creek Road
Niles, MI 49120
269-684-3870
kevin60822@sbcglobal.net


MARCH/APRIL 2019 GRANGE NEWS

Is it Spring yet??!! The way the weather has been this winter so far it is almost like winter and spring are fighting. December wasn’t that bad for at least my corner of the mitten. January was when things got bad! Wow did it get cold. I think we were colder than the northern part of lower Michigan for a change! February hasn’t been too bad except for the 12th when we had freezing rain and everything was covered in ice. Wasn’t a fun drive in to work that morning. It is only February 17th so I know there is plenty of time for winter to show up! We have about no snow on the ground and have some to be coming today though. Nothing to speak though really but we have more scheduled mid week. Spring is around the corner just by looking at what is coming in my mailbox lately. Seed catalogs and hatchery catalogs have been coming for the last week or more! If looking at these types of catalogs do not put you in the mood for Spring I don’t know what would!

This is the perfect time to be planning your gardens for the coming growing season. You need to have time to decide what you want to plant so you can be ready when the ground is ready for preparing and planting in the early summer. You want to look at the different varieties of each vegetable you intend to plant. Of course you have to be careful that you don’t plan too much for the size plot you have for planting. All your plants need their space and overcrowding is not a good thing in a vegetable garden. Many plants can spread out of the area that you think is enough and crowd into another area which causes problems for other plants not being allowed to grow right.

Don’t forget to plan what you would like to grow for the Agriculture Department Growing contests that are new in your Program Book. Be sure to check out the Program Book for all the class details and rules. I have changed a few of the classes from last State Session. I hope we will have a good turn out as this will give everyone in the Grange a chance to show what they can do! 

​​​An update to one of newest classes for this year’s State Session. I received clarification from the Indiana State Grange Ag Director since I borrowed a class from her list. It is the Winter Arrangement class. Sarah said that she should have inserted the word Dried at the beginning of the class. She said most of the previous entries have composed of baby’s breath, hydrangea and ornamental grasses. So if drying flowers is something you do well, here is a class for you. It wouldn’t have to be dried flowers only, I am flexible with this class at this time. 

​If you are looking to do a new planting in your yard this spring, here is something to think about when deciding what to plant. This is from an article from the October 2015 Tennessee Granger which borrowed from the New Jersey State Grange CGA Director. It is entitled Honey Bees.

​Bees of all kinds have been declining in numbers over the past few years. The reasons are many, but one of the most important is the lack of suitable plants from which bees can collect nectar and pollen all season long. About 1/3 of the food eaten by Americans come from crops pollinated by honey bees, including fruits, vegetables and nuts. You can help honey bees and native pollinators by planting bee-friendly plants in your garden. Here is a list of perennials to help get a bee garden started.

​Crocus, White Sweet Clover, Catnip,  Russian Sage, Mountain Mint Snowdrops,  Thyme, Purple Cone Flower, Anise Hyssop, Goldenrod, Autumn Joy Sedum

When a foraging bee discovers plants that are producing nectar or pollen, it returns to the hive to inform the other bees about the source. More bees then join the foraging. Bees prefer to work large patches of the same flower, so planting several of the same type of bee-friendly plants ensures a good source of forage. It is best to leave flowers on the plant until the blooms are spent, allowing the bees to make the most of each flower. Planting perennials that bloom at different times during the year insures a source of nectar throughout the foraging season. DID YOU KNOW: A honey bee visits up to 100 flowers on a single trip outside of the hive.

Well that is it for now. Good luck with your garden planning and happy growing until later!

AGRICULTURE
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 GRANGE NEWS

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, did 2018 really just end?!! Well I am sure everyone is starting to think about Spring and winter is not even half over! I know it is important to have snow during the winter months as that helps to add moisture to our farm fields and also helps to protect the winter wheat during the cold months. So far, we haven’t had hardly any snow in my area of Michigan which seems weird as it is Dec 19th as I sit writing this article.

​Yes, snow is a part of everyday life during winter in our community. And don’t we often wish we didn’t have to live with it, but we couldn’t live without it.

​So while you sit and look at the snow float from the sky, think about what you might want to plant in your gardens or yards this coming spring. Now is a great time to be looking through the seed catalogs and plant books for those special favorites you might want to plant and then share the crops with friends and neighbors.

Here is a good reason to be planning early. Be sure to check out the Agriculture Department in the Program Book. I have added some new classes as well as keeping a few classes from 2018 for all ages (separate divisions for Adults and Juniors) to enter at the 2019 State Session pertaining to Agriculture. I hope all will really look at entering something. If our State Session was during the late Summer or early Fall months, we could do more classes to deal with fruits, vegetables and flowers. But, it is kind of hard to do tomatoes or raspberries in late October. Have fun with these classes as I kept a few of the classes that had entries in the 2018 State Session for possible classes and also some ideas from the 2018 Indiana State Grange Agriculture contest classes from clips provided to me by Brother Tom Smith of my Pomona Grange. The newest class is the Winter Flower Arrangement which I took from the Indiana State Grange Ag Contest. I am not sure what they had for entries in this class as I did try to reach out to the Ag Department Director but didn’t receive a reply as of yet. So I guess it is the designer’s opinion of what to make and enter into this class. You can use fresh or dried flowers and plant materials like straw, twigs, etc. Let your imagination wander and have fun!

Here is a part of a clipping from the October 2015 Tennessee Granger dealing with Honey Bees. Bees of all kinds have been declining in numbers over the past few years. The reasons are many, but one of the most important is the lack of suitable plants from which bees can collect nectar and pollen all season long. About 1/3 of the food eaten by Americans come from crops pollinated by honey bees, including fruits, vegetables and nuts.

You can help honey bees and native pollinators by planting bee-friendly plants in your garden. Here is a list of perennials to help get a bee garden started: Crocus, White Sweet Clover, Catnip, Russian Safe, Mountain Mint, Snowdrops, Thyme, Purple Cone Flower, Anise Hyssop , Goldenrod and Autumn Joy Sedum.
Well that is all for now. Here is hoping 2019 is a great Grange year for all and brings bounty to our Agriculture Neighbors and Friends!