60822 Creek Road
Niles, MI 49120


​Is it Spring yet??!! The way the weather has been this winter so far it is almost like winter and spring are fighting. December was the bad month so far, at least for my corner of the mitten and then there was also the snow storm on February 9th! It is only February 20th so I know there is plenty of time for winter to show up! We have about no snow on the ground and have had plenty of rain with more to come tomorrow. Spring is around the corner just by looking at what is coming in my mailbox lately. Seed 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 to grow for the Agriculture Department Growing contests that are new in your Program Book. Best pumpkin under 50 pounds, any variety of winter squash and sunflower head with 2” stem plus all the new classes that have been added to the Ag Department for State session. Be sure to check out the Program Book for all the class details and rules. 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! If you plant pumpkins and have enough, be sure to see what Family Activities has for a class using pumpkins as well!

​In my last article I said I would be sharing a different “Myth about Farming” in each of my articles. The next myth is “Food is Expensive”. Americans spend a considerably smaller percentage of their income on food than they did in the 1960s. Americans also spend among the least amount worldwide on food as a percent of income. We spend less of our money on food than people in many other developed nations. Between 10 and 20 percent of the cost of food ever actually reaches the farmer. That means when commodity prices rise or fall, food costs remain relatively constant, buffering consumers from spikes in their grocery bills. That’s not to say that food isn’t difficult for some American households to afford, and nutrition and obesity experts worry about the relatively high cost of nutrient-rich versus calorie-dense foods.

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


Happy New Year everyone! Wow, did 2017 really just end?!! Well I am sure everyone is starting to think about Spring and winter is not even half over! I am thinking of Spring because I am already tired of snow thanks to the great Lake Effect area that I live in. It is December 12th as I write to you and we have already had 2 big lake effect snow storms since Dec 1st, and there is more coming and then 40 degree weather and then more cold and snow just in time for Christmas. 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.

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 the classes from 2017 for all ages (separate divisions for Adults and Juniors) to enter at the 2018 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 took some of the suggestions that were given at the 2017 State Session for possible classes and also ideas from the Illinois State Grange Agriculture contest classes from clips provided to me by Brother Tom Smith of my Pomona Grange. In the coming articles I will be including some items that were in an Article entitled “10 Myths About Farming” which was written by Jenna Gallegos from The Washington Post. Topping the list was: Most farms are corporate-owned. This myth is probably the most pervasive on the list. It is also the furthest off-base. Nearly 99% of U.S. Farms are family owned. The vast majority of these are small family farms, but the bulk of our food comes from large family farms.

​Well that is all for now. Here is hoping 2018 is a great Grange year for all and brings bounty to our Agriculture Neighbors and Friends!