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End of the Season


Sun, Oct 1st, 2000
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By Virginia CooperMonday, October 2, 2000

Its been a great gardening year, a little wet for a while, but still quite beautiful when we count our successes and not our failures. This is my last column for the season. I hope everyone has learned something new this year. In every article I have tried to stress the importance of fertile soil as being the key to a healthy garden.

Fertile Soil

Fertile soil is a soil rich in organic matter or humus. Humus is basically the same thing as compost, broken down organic material. This organic material can be anything from raked leaves, straw, pulled weeds, kitchen waste like your coffee grounds, egg shells or potato peelings. If it comes from the plant kingdom it can be composted. Some serious composters will even seek out commercial sources like the leftover corn waste from ethanol production. But in order for this organic material to be available to your plants it must be composted.

Making Compost

This can be as simple as just having a pile in the corner of your garden where you throw pulled weeds, spent plants and the occasional kitchen scraps. It can be a bin of some sort to help keep the pile from spreading out all over or a fancy thing from a garden catalog. You can build a pile all at once or add a little at a time all year.

My grandfather always had three piles going. Three bins lined up made of scrap wood. One was for woody scraps, as they take longer to decompose, and the other two were non-woody materials, one was currently being added to and the other was full and cooking.

It is important that your pile be made up of a variety of materials, ideally a mix of greens and browns. Moisten the materials as they are placed into the pile or bin. Oxygen and water are critical elements in the composting process. Research suggests adding soil or compost starters is not essential, as the organic matter naturally contains the decomposing bacteria. Avoid over chopping composting materials or packing of the pile, which restricts oxygen infiltration. Active compost will heat to 120 to 160 degrees in the center of the pile. This desired heat stimulates the bacterial process and helps sanitize the interior of the pile. In Minnesota, avoid turning compost piles in the fall. This allows valuable heat to escape, and may stop the processing as we move into the cold winter. Small piles, which freeze in the winter, may need turning in the spring to start the .....
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This work is not for the birds

Sun, Oct 1st, 2000
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Monday, September 4, 2000

I stand on the roof of our workshop holding the end of a rope. My husband has tied the opposite end around his waist so he doesn't slip as he hammers nails into our new metal roofing. Although I am alert to the danger ..... 
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In the Lands of the Pte Oyate

Sun, Oct 1st, 2000
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Monday, September 25, 2000

Sunlight shimmering, my wife Connie and I wrestle with the wind as we set up our campsite. Howling out of Nebraska, the stiffly blowing southern gale threatens to rip the ground cloth from our hands while we fumble w ..... 
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Assignment: Manhattan

Sun, Oct 1st, 2000
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Monday, October 2, 2000

Its not every day that Im given an opportunity to go to a star-studded gala at Radio City Music Hall filled with famous celebrities and rock n roll stars. But a couple weeks ago, such an invitation came my way, and t ..... 
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The Bat

Sun, Oct 1st, 2000
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Monday, September 25, 2000

There have been radio programs, comic books, and television shows featuring people who have, for reasons of their own, assumed some of the characteristics of the little brown bat. As far as I know, all these attempts ..... 
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Survivors

Sun, Oct 1st, 2000
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Monday, August 28, 2000

This is a story about survivors.

No, it is not about the gameshow/psychodrama that was recently portrayed on CBS, where neurosis is a developmental skill highly valued by artificially created tribal groups.
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Sams bath

Sun, Oct 1st, 2000
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Monday, September 18, 2000

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, a day that you might expect to enjoy in June rather than September. My dog, Sam and I took a walk through the woods while my wife was entertaining some of her friends out on the d ..... 
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Journal Profile # 80

Sun, Oct 1st, 2000
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Name: John Goutcher
Home: Preston
Age: 60
Profession: Retired High School Educator/Administrator
Family: Wife Shirley, Son
Jeff, Daughter Jennifer
Personal Hero: Moses, he took a large grou ..... 
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Corn Bake

Sun, Oct 1st, 2000
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Saute 1 small onion, 1 green pepper, 1/4 cup margarine and 1/2 tsp. salt. combine with 1 can creamed corn, 1 can whole-kernel corn (juice too), 1 small box Jiffy corn muffin mix (8 1/2 oz. size) and 3 well-beaten eggs. Mix and put into a large, grea ..... 
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