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!