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


MARCH/APRIL 2020 GRANGE NEWS

Is it Spring yet??!! This winter hasn’t been much of a winter in my corner of the mitten this year. We have had very little snow but have made up for it with rain. At least we have had the moisture needed for the crops when the farmers start planting in the spring. The temperatures have been pretty mild most of the winter so far and I really hope it stays that way until Spring gets here. 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. If you have a way to do research maybe you could look into doing some vertical gardening which will help you save on space.

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! Brother Tom Smith shared with me a page from the Indiana State Grange newsletter that listed all the winners in their Ag Department classes from this past year’s IN State Session. Keep in mind they do not have many Granges in their state but they had 54 entries just in their Ag Department. I would be happy if we have 24 entries at our state session this October. Please consider one of the classes if you have never entered in the Ag Department. Agriculture is one of the main reasons the Grange was formed.

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 information though from 2015 is still very important as bees are being killed off too quickly which is very harmful to Agriculture as bees are needed to help pollinate our crops. 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 2020 GRANGE NEWS

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, 2019 is in the books and 2020 has just started! 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 17th as I sit writing this article. We aren’t even to have any snow for Christmas and temps were to be in the mid 40s that week. We will pay for it in January and February I am sure!

​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 a new class as well as keeping a few classes from 2019 for all ages (separate divisions for Adults and Juniors) to enter at the 2020 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 2019 State Session for possible classes and also an idea from the Co Directors of Family Activities!! Any unique container with any type of plant (indoor/outdoor/herbs). Let your imagination wander and have fun! There is also a fun Grange Challenge in the Ag department that could also be used for your Community Service Notebook. Be sure to check the Program Book included in this issue of the MGN for full class listings and details.

​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 2020 is a great Grange year for all and brings bounty to our Agriculture Neighbors and Friends!