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Time to be ruthless


Fri, May 31st, 2002
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by Virginia CooperMonday, June 3, 2002

The hardest thing about gardening - after you actually get yourself out there and get a few seeds in the ground - is to take charge of your seedlings and thin them ruthlessly.

The little notes on the back of the seed packages are there to help you carry out this heinous task. Those sweet unsuspecting seedlings must be routed out by their roots. Be ruthless! The more room you give the remaining survivors the better they will grow! And what to do with those innocent victims of gardening crime? Eat them with relish!

What, you say, by the time you get those once firm and joyous little lettuces to the kitchen, they have gone into a state of shock? Turned into sad pathetic wilted remains of their former selves?

The remedy is simple. Any green can be easily resuscitated by first soaking in a basin of lukewarm water for about ten minutes then follow with a dip into very cold water for another ten minutes. This not only washes away any sand and soil, but returns those greens to their crunchy best.

And there is good science behind this phenomenon. The warm bath opens the pores, or stomata, of the leaves. Once the pores are open, they absorb water into their tissues. The cold water bath closes down the leaf pores and seals in the water. This trick also works well to revive cut flowers.

Questions From the Neighborhood
Dear Virginia,
I love Brussels sprouts but the past several years have had a very difficult time with them, they never develop good sprouts until after frost. I was reading a gardening book this afternoon, and the problem seems associated with club root, a fungal disease. I garden in a raised bed garden that is used annually for my favorite vegetables. Is there any way I can rid the soil of the fungus associated with club root so my Brussels sprouts will grow this year? I should mention that last year I planted the sprouts in a totally new location, and they did not do well there either. Thanks for any help you can give me. MG, Lanesboro

Hmmm.
It took some looking to find any information on club root fungus, also known as 'finger and toe disease'. It typically is not troublesome in this area. However, Rodale Press' Organic Plant Protection had the following information:

'Plants [Brassicas - cabbages, broccoli & Brussels sprouts] affected with club root have yellowed leaves that wilt on hot days and may recover at night. Eventually, t .....
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Third Annual Bluff Cuntry Bird Festival

Fri, May 31st, 2002
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Monday, May 27, 2002

Baltimore orioles, orange as oranges, began to appear at our feeders in the Big Woods on May 8. Scarlet tanagers, pure red with coal black wings, came May 10. Since then up to ten orioles and five tanagers have been coming ..... 
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A Tale of Three Shrews

Fri, May 31st, 2002
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Monday, May 6, 2002

Of Minnesota’s six shrew species, at least two are widespread throughout the southeastern Bluff Country counties. By far the largest and most frequently seen is the Short-tailed Shrew, Blarina brevicauda. Both scientific (b ..... 
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Prairie Notes

Fri, May 31st, 2002
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Jo Anne AgrimsonMonday, May 27, 2002

Mondays have a reputation for being difficult, but I never knew how difficult until a few weeks ago. On Mondays I often make a mental to-do list on the twelve-mile drive to work, then climb the three fligh ..... 
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The Farm Journal

Fri, May 31st, 2002
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Monday, June 3, 2002

My brother and his wife have been helping clean out their neighbor’s farmhouse. There were lots of old things. My brother thought that I would be interested in seeing a few of the magazines they found. Among the most inter ..... 
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Just another cat story

Fri, May 31st, 2002
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Monday, May 13, 2001

This is another cat story.

Yes, another stray wandered on to the place. We usually find them in the ditch or huddled in the bushes meowing hysterically.

My wife heard this little orphan mewing as loud as ..... 
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Fri, May 31st, 2002
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Fri, May 31st, 2002
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Fri, May 31st, 2002
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