Blog

Administration – Sep ’13 Real Dirt

Contents

July/August Meeting Notes
Good Bye, Hello
New Board Positions Need You!
FALL 2013 MG Class is a ‘go’

Benzie Lighthouse

Benzie Lighthouse

July/August Meeting Notes

Sara Schmuldt

Natural Shoreline Tour,  July 26, 2013
Mike Jones, Benzie Conservation District
Carolyn Thayer, Designs in Bloom

The tour started at Almira Township Public Beach, Lake Ann and ended at a private residence on Upper Herring Lake. The Almira Township Public Beach is a newly planted project using native plants with a sandy beach area incorporated into the plan. Specific plants were identified and explanations of why they were chosen for the location were discussed. The benefits of how native plants and natural shorelines handle storm surges compared to the way sea walls handle storm surges was also discussed.

From Lake Ann we proceeded to a private residence on Big Platte Lake. This was an established, more mature natural shoreline planting. “It was designed for the Benzie Conservation District as a Shoreline Demonstration in 2005.” Originally, this site had lawn from the house to the lake. A variety of trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses were planted along the waters edge, providing beautiful views year around. This planting also provides sustaining wildlife habitat on land and in the water. Note: it looked like the neighbor was getting on board with the natural shoreline concept and doing some themselves!

The next stop took us to Watervale Resort on Lower Herring Lake. Here, coconut logs had been installed as a seawall with plantings on top of the “logs”. This is a huge project and very impressive. Native plants were used for the multiple flower gardens within the resort and above the seawall.

Our final stop was at a private residence on Upper Herring Lake. This site originally had a “failing railroad tie seawall” that was replaced with coir fiber logs (coconut logs) planted with native plants (similar to the planting at Watervale Resort). As the plants mature they will stabilize the shoreline with their deep roots.

This was a well planned, educational and aesthetically enjoyable tour.

Good Bye, Hello

Cheryl Gross and Matthew Betrand

We bid a fond farewell to our leader as Pam Schmidt Bardenhagen, our MSU Master Gardener Coordinator, moves on to work with her family’s agricultural business. Our thanks to Pam for all her efforts and dedication over the past several years helping us all to garden at our very best. Her efforts have made our region more beautiful, bountiful, and vibrant. Please be sure to give her your thanks at any and every opportunity. Fortunate for us, Pam will stay involved with Master Gardeners through our region’s vast horticultural activities. Change and transition can be difficult. After our close working relationship with Pam, who would MSU choose to replace her? The answer to that, couldn’t be better. As you may have heard, our very own, MGANM VP and Spring 2011 MG graduate, Matthew Bertrand, has been selected to be our region’s new MSU Master Gardener and horticultural educator. Congratulations to Matthew on his new post and a warm, welcoming Hello.

bertrand_web_thumbnail

Matthew has over six years experience in horticulture and horticultural education. His experience includes youth gardening, gardening for food production, gardening for nature, and gardening for beauty. His career began as an AmeriCorps member for the Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona bringing youth volunteers to work on farms, demonstration gardens, and demonstration landscapes for water conservation in the Tucson area. Then, he dove fully into water conservation by helping Tucson non-profit Watershed Management Group develop a homeowner landscaping co-op, through which members volunteered for each other to transform their landscapes. During this time, he also worked for a unique non-profit nursery called Desert Survivors, which employed adults with developmental disabilities to grow over 500 species of plants native to the southwestern United States. Through gardening Matthew reveled in exploring all that made the Sonoran Desert unique, and in sharing his passion with his community.

On moving to Michigan, Matthew found work in natural areas management working in southeast Michigan to improve habitat for wildlife by controlling invasive plants. He then moved to Traverse City, Michigan to work as an invasive species specialist for the Grand Traverse Conservation District, where he enjoyed both field work and education. He helped form a unique partnership between nurseries and conservation organizations to improve regional gardens for wildlife by reducing sales of invasive ornamental plants, a partnership that became known as the Go Beyond Beauty program. To learn more about gardening outside a desert climate, Matthew took the Master Gardener program in Spring 2011. The knowledge he gained helped him to manage an 800 square foot garden in which he and his wife grew gorgeous tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, peppers, lettuce, kale, garlic, you name it, much of which they were pleased to put away for the winter. Matthew has five pet chickens for eggs, for entertainment, and to help improve the soils in his garden. Matthew loves gardening, whether for food, to create backyard habitat, to improve water quality, or simply for the sake of living in a beautiful place. He looks forward to inspiring others to take a more active interest in gardening, and to providing resources and support for them to find success in their goals. Matthew begins his new job on September 9, 2013.

NEW Board Positions Need YOU!

At the recognition dinner, as usual, we’ll vote for 2014 board positions. This year, we’re pleased to announce that the board has approved new positions. There will now be three additional full board positions with assigned responsibilities: Communications, Development, and Events. We’ll also have four new advisory positions that reflect MSU’s focus areas — Environmental Stewardship, Food Security and Hunger, Youth Gardening, and Social/Beautification. We’ll share more information in the coming weeks about these positions. In the meantime, please give thought to whom you think might best fill each of these roles.

FALL 2013 MG Class is a ‘go’

The class now has 30+ enrollees.  There was a push at the end to fill spots and many MGs spread the word.  Thanks to all for ensuring a FALL 2013 training class.  We can’t wait to meet our new trainees!


Member Photo Submissions

I stumbled upon this home while yard-saleing in Traverse City. I met the husband, Jerry, who works at Copy Central in town. He was gracious enough to indulge my gardening obsession and took me on a tour. He and his wife have been here nearly two decades and have poured their hearts & souls into their yard. They also love to share their passion, and enjoy giving tours to the occasional lookers-on. If you would like to see this home, I can give you a more specific location. In the meantime, I have a few photos here.
Enjoy!
-Whitney Miller (MGANM “Techie Chick”)

Perennial gardens

Perennial gardens

Homemade waterfall with koi pond

Homemade waterfall with koi pond

Backyard garden with up-cycled garden shed built by the owners

Backyard garden with up-cycled garden shed built by the owners

Inside the potting shed

Inside the potting shed

Coy pond

Koi pond

Home in Traverse City

Home in Traverse City

Home in Traverse City

Home in Traverse City

Home garden in Traverse City

Home garden in Traverse City

Perennial garden

Hummingbird Garden

Hummingbird Garden

The hummingbirds love this garden, which includes bee balm, crocosmia, phlox, native blue lobelia, and lilies. Photo submitted by MGANM member Peggi Tucker.

Tillandsia Silversword

Tillandsia Silversword

“Ahinahina” Bromeliad found only on top of Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. Mature plants take up to 20 years to bloom with a three foot inflorescence. Photo submitted by MGANM member Nancy Denison.

Cordyline fruticosa, Ti

Cordyline fruticosa, Ti

“Hawaiian Good Luck Plant”. Native to parts of tropical Asia, Australia. Used in cooking, flower arrangement. Photo submitted by MGANM member Nancy Denison.

Mednilla Magnifica

Mednilla Magnifica

“Rose Grape” Perennial, evergreen shrub, native to the Philippines. Photo submitted by MGANM member Nancy Denison.

Vriesca

Vriesca

“King of the Bromeliads”

Etlingera "Elatior"

Etlingera “Elatior”

“Torch Ginger”. A coarse herb growing in large clumps of 9-18 feet. Photo submitted by MGANM member Nancy Dension.

Eucalyptus "Deglupta"

Eucalyptus “Deglupta”

Close image of the bark on the “Rainbow Eucalyptus”. Photo submitted by MGANM member Nancy Denison.

Eucalyptus "Deglupta"  Rainbow Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus “Deglupta” Rainbow Eucalyptus

Originally from Indonesia, it is now found on all Hawaiian Islands and other locales with warmer climates and high humidity. Photo submitted by MGANM member Nancy Denison

Alpinia Purpurata, Red Ginger

Alpinia Purpurata, Red Ginger

Introduced as an ornamental around 1928 and is now naturalized. Photo submitted by MGANM member Nancy Denison.

Heliconia "Sexy Pink"

Heliconia “Sexy Pink”

Grows 6-16 feet. Arrived in Maui as a mislabeled rhizome. Photo submitted by MGANM member Nancy Denison.

Heliconia "Citicorum"

Heliconia “Citicorum”

Indigenous to Amazon rain forests. Easily cultivated. Photo submitted by MGANM member Nancy Denison.

Noregelia "Unknown"

Noregelia “Unknown”

Grown naturally in rain forest lower levels on fallen trees or lower branches. Ranges from 4″ to 4′ in diameter. Photo submitted by MGANM member Nancy Denison.

7 month old Dahlia roots, Coastal NC

7 month old Dahlia roots, Coastal NC

In preparation for winter, these Dahlia roots were dug up for protective storage. Photo submitted by MGANM member Whitney Miller.

Hydrangea Macrophylla, "Peppermint Pattie"

Hydrangea Macrophylla, “Peppermint Pattie”

This cultivar was a one time distribution by Better Homes and Gardens through Lowe’s. Grown in coastal North Carolina. Photo submitted by MGANM member Whitney Miller.


Discount for Revolutionary Gardens Conference Available!

As a thank you to Master Gardeners for their involvement with the Botanic Garden, on September 3 at Ciccone’s MG’s enjoy a one day Revolutionary Gardens registration discount opportunity of 10% on individual lectures, the 1-day package or the full conference, a savings of up to $40. MG’s unable to attend the regular September 3 meeting may call Fountain Point at 231.256.9800 to reserve tickets and pay by credit card. Otherwise, bring a check to the meeting. Peter Hatch was just in town getting interviewed by Ron Jolly. So was Warren Byrd. For those who cannot go themselves because of weekday lecture times, this series makes an extraordinary gift to any lover of gardens, horticulture and history and is a doubly rewarding way to make a contribution to your community botanic garden.


Steward–July/August 2013

Contents

Buckets of Rain
Defending our Plants!

Buckets of Rain

Nancy Denison

Buckets of Rain owners in Guatemala

Buckets of Rain owners in Guatemala

Give Chris Skellenger a five gallon bucket and some tubing and he will teach you how to grow your food in a most economical, environmentally conservative method. Give him (and his non-profit Buckets of Rain) a truck, some dirt, seeds and refashioned GM parts bins and he will show the needy how to take a bite out of poverty.

The former owners of North Coast Nursery, Chris and Sue Skellenger, found that winter left them with time on their hands. They decided to use their knowledge of gravity fed drip irrigation and planting to help others learn to grow gardens that would provide food for some of the poorest areas in the world. That’s how 11 Oaks, now Buckets of Rain (BOR), was born. Their first stops were in the dumps of Guatemala and Honduras, followed by Kenya and Lesotho and most recently, Flint and Detroit. Currently BOR is working with the Detroit Rescue Mission and a 30,000 sq. ft. garden, which will grow 75% of the food for the Mission and 25% for the surrounding neighborhood. Many of the residents of the Mission helped with the planting and weeding of the raised bed garden plots earlier this spring. Donations have come from many companies in the Detroit area. Just recently, Chris received a new truck, trailer, and tractor, which were greatly needed. Church volunteers are caring for the Flint garden, also planted this spring.

Buckets of Rain would like the members of the MGANM to know that help is always needed, like most non-profits, in the area of funding, but also help getting seedlings started, space in a greenhouse, and mentoring high school students who are planting seedlings in the spring. If you have connections in the Detroit area, pass the word along to other MG groups, churches, or clubs, to volunteer help with planting, weeding, and harvesting.

The philosophy of doing no harm, being self-sustaining and improving lives by improving diets is right on. Personally, I am so glad Chris and his BOR compadres have come home to aid our very needy neighbors of Michigan and I look forward to volunteering in the near future. Contact Chris at bucketsofrain.org.

Defending Our Plants!

Steve Fouch, L & S Tree Service

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

Planting and caring for landscape plants can be both fun and challenging. There are many insects, diseases and plant disorders that can affect the health and vigor of plants in our gardens, lawns and fruit plantings. This can be frustrating, but following a few tips will improve your chance of success.

1.  Protecting from deer damage: Deer directly feed on plant stems, leaves and fruit; resulting in poor structure, vigor and reduced yield. Male deer (bucks) not only feed on plants but also rub their antlers on the stems of trees to remove the velvet covering. This often girdles and kills the tree. There are numerous materials that can be sprayed on plants to repel deer. Active ingredients include eggs, ammonia, blood meal and other products. They tend to be short lived and must be reapplied after heavy rainfall. The most effective, yet costly method of minimizing deer damage is exclusionary fencing.

2.  Girdling of fruit trees by mice: The easiest method to prevent damage by mice is to apply flexible plastic wraps around the main stem, especially during the first few years. Use white colored wraps. Bury the bottom couple of inches of wrap below the soil surface to prevent it from migrating upward and exposing the main stem to possible rodent damage. After a few years the wraps can be removed, and the trunks painted with white outdoor latex paint to minimize winter injury. Do not use any rigid or dark colored wraps as these can cause physical damage to the tree trunks or increase winter injury.

3.  Grub damage in lawns: Grubs are one of the most destructive pests of turf, feeding on the roots and killing large areas of grass. The life cycle of grubs can last several years in the soil. As the soil temperature increases in the spring, they move closer to the soil surface to feed on the plant roots. The best time to apply grub control pesticides will depend on the predominant species of grub each year. As the soil temperature decreases in the fall and winter, grubs move deeper in the soil profile. New research indicates that keeping your mowing height near 3 inches will minimize the damage caused by grubs. Keeping your lawn dense and vigorous will also reduce grub damage.

4.  Birch Borer: One of the most common tree pests in the landscape is the bronze birch borer, which attacks white birch. Only stressed birch trees can be attacked by this insect. Once the tree is stressed by drought or low fertility, leaf miners will attack the leaves in the upper regions of the tree. When the birch tree has been defoliated for several years, it will be a target of the birch borer. The top third of the tree will be killed first. The rest of the tree will often die soon thereafter. Keeping your trees well watered and fertilized will help to prevent borer damage. Infected trees can be treated with systemic insecticides as a last chance.

5.  Emerald Ash Borer: Damage by EAB in the Northwest Area of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula has reached a peak. Ash trees that have been attacked are easy to see as one drives on roads adjacent to wooded area. Once a tree is affected severely, it cannot be saved. “Tre-Age” is the highest rated material to protect your ash trees from EAB. It is injected into a number of sites at the base of the tree and moves upward through the vascular tissues throughout the canopy. This systemic insecticide kills any borers already in the tree and protects the tree from attack for up to two years.

For more information on EAB and other tree pests contact your local tree care business.


Nourish–July/August 2013

Contents

Growing Minds Need Growing Gardens
Beans

Growing Minds Need Growing Gardens

Sonia Clem

Food Gardens North tomatoes

Food Gardens North tomatoes


Oftentimes we can trace our love of gardens, whether food or flowers, to a specific point in our lives.  Read about the misadventures of a child, and the path she took.  Also, learn more about the efforts of Mike Davis, Kirsten Gerbatsch, Mike Kiessell, Ellen Lapekas, Trina Ball, and so many other MG’s for their heroic efforts in creating community and school gardens especially for children.  Be inspired and stay informed about the creative school gardens and MG-Seeds Demonstration garden project, and get involved if you can, here.

Beans

Michele Worden

Gourmet Bean Blend

Gourmet Bean Blend


So what is a bean? Think you know? “Bean is a common name for large plant seeds used for human food or animal feed of several genera of the family Fabaceae (alternately Leguminosae).” From that point, it gets tricky. It doesn’t help we commonly call things beans that are not beans but look like beans, such as cocoa beans, coffee beans and vanilla beans. It also does not help that botanists keep reclassifying legumes and beans to be in different families and genera. Also, the term bean is sometimes used as a synonym of the word pulse, which is an edible legume. Confused yet? Read on…

First, a clarification: the term “pulse” is usually reserved for leguminous crops harvested for their dry seed such as lentils or mung beans. This excludes green beans and green peas, which are considered vegetable crops. Also excluded in the definition of pulse are crops that are mainly grown for oil extraction (oilseeds like soybeans and peanuts), and crops used exclusively for sowing (clovers, alfalfa).

So here is what I have surmised in my bean research as an overview. The Fabaceae Family (or Leguminosae), commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, is a large and economically important family of flowering plants. This group is the third-largest land plant family and is divided into several large genera.

Beans from the Old World are in the genus Vicia (broad and fava beans, vetch), the genus Cicer (garbanzo beans or chickpeas), and the genus Pisum (peas). Asian beans seem to be in the genus Vigna (mung beans, yard-long beans, black-eyed peas) and Glycine (soybeans) but botanists keep changing their classification. Beans from the New World are the genus Phaseolus, which includes green beans, scarlet runner beans, and lima beans.

For simplicity sake, the remainder of this article will focus on Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean that we plant in the garden in the summer.

Latin Name: Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean

Botanical Family: Fabaceae,

Description: Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean, is a herbaceous annual plant, grown worldwide for its edible beans, which are eaten both fresh as unripe fruit and as dried seeds. It is considered a vegetable. Phaseolus vulgaris includes string bean, field bean, flageolet bean, French bean, garden bean, haricot bean, pop bean or snap bean. Kidney bean, navy bean, and wax bean are types of Phaseolus vulgaris named for their fruit and seed characteristics.

All varieties bear alternate, green or purple leaves, which are divided into three oval, smooth-edged leaflets. The white, pink, or purple flowers give way to pods 3-8 in long. The pods may be green, yellow, black, or purple in color, each containing 4-6 beans. The beans are smooth, plump, kidney-shaped, and range widely in color, and are often mottled in two or more colors.

Common beans are classified into bush and pole (running) varieties. Bush beans are short plants, growing to approximately two feet in height, without requiring supports. They generally reach maturity and produce all of their fruit in a relatively short period of time, then cease to produce. Gardeners may grow more than one crop of bush beans in a season. Pole beans have a climbing habit and produce a twisting vine that is 6-9′ in length.

There are many varieties of beans that are cultivated primarily for a dried seed product such as kidney beans, pinto beans, and cranberry beans. Green bean varieties have been bred especially for the fleshiness, flavor, or sweetness of their pods. Haricots verts, French for “green beans”, may refer to a longer, thinner type of green bean than the typical American green bean. The first “stringless” bean was bred in 1894 by Calvin Keeney, called the “father of the stringless bean”, while working in Le Roy, New York.

Origin: Beans are one of the longest-cultivated plants. The oldest-known domesticated beans in the Americas were found in Guitarrero Cave, an archaeological site in Peru, and dated to around the second millennium BCE. Phaselous vulgaris was grown by native peoples from Chile to the northern part of what is now the United States.

Phaseolus was first seen by a European when Christopher Columbus, during his exploration of what may have been the Bahamas, found them growing in fields. Five kinds of Phaseolus beans were domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples: common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) grown from Chile to the northern part of what is now the United States, and lima and sieva beans (Phaseolus lunatus), as well as the less widely distributed teparies (Phaseolus acutifolius), scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) and polyanthus beans (Phaseolus polyanthus). These beans were taken back to Europe where they became staples in European cuisine. Cannellini beans in Italian cooking are actually Phaseolus vulgaris from the New World.

Cultivation (how and where grown): The common bean is a warm season crop and can be planted directly into the garden when the soil temperature is above 65 F. Beans germinate very quickly, usually in 3-5 days. Harvest can occur in 50-75 days, depending on the variety. Beans are legumes, so they acquire their nitrogen through an association with rhizobia: species of nitrogen-fixing bacteria that attach to the roots of the plant. Legumes are often used in agriculture as the next crop to replenish soils that are low in nitrogen when crops are rotated.

As the bean pods mature, they turn yellow and dry up, and the beans inside change from green to their mature color. As a vine, bean plants need external support, which may be provided in the form of special “bean cages” or poles. In more recent times, the so-called “bush bean” has been developed which does not require support and has all its pods develop simultaneously (as opposed to pole beans which develop gradually). This makes the bush bean more practical for commercial production.

The commercial production of beans is well distributed worldwide, with countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, South and North America all among the top bean growers. Brazil and India are the largest producers of dry beans while China produces, by far, the largest quantity of green beans.

Fun Facts: Beans are a heliotropic plant, meaning that the leaves tilt throughout the day to face the sun. At nighttime, they go into a folded “sleep” position.

Phaseolus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Common Swift, Garden Dart, Ghost Moth Hypercompe albicornis, Hypercompe icasia, the Nutmeg and various caterpillar species.

Nutrition: Beans were an important source of protein throughout Old and New World history, and still are today.

Fresh beans have higher values for vitamin C and vitamin A. In general, the common bean is high in starch, protein and dietary fiber and is an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folate. Beans also have significant amounts of fiber and soluble fiber, with one cup of cooked beans providing between nine and 13 grams of fiber. Soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol.

Culinary Uses: Green beans, wax beans (yellow) and purple beans are delicious fresh or steamed. They can be used in sautés, stir-fried or baked in casseroles. Shelling beans are beans removed from their pods before being cooked or dried. Fresh shell beans are nutritionally similar to dry beans, but are prepared more like a vegetable, often being steamed, fried, or made into soups.

Dry beans will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but as time passes, their nutritive value and flavor degrade and cooking times lengthen. Dried beans are almost always cooked by boiling, often after being soaked for several hours. While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, soaking beans removes 5 to 10 percent of the gas-producing sugars that can cause flatulence for some people. The several methods include overnight soaking, and the power soak method, in which beans are boiled for three minutes and then set aside for 2-4 hours. Before cooking, the excess water is drained and discarded.

In Mexico, Central America and South America, the traditional spice to use with beans is epazote, which is also said to aid digestion. In East Asia, a type of seaweed, kombu, is added to beans as they cook for the same purpose. Salt, sugar, and acidic foods such as tomatoes may harden uncooked beans, resulting in seasoned beans at the expense of slightly longer cooking times.

Dry beans may also be bought cooked and canned as refried beans, or whole with water, salt, and sometimes sugar.

Medicinal Uses: Herbal medicine websites say that beans are a diuretic and that bean pods are effective in lowing blood sugar levels, if eaten in large quantities, to treat mild cases of diabetes. A bean pod diet for this purpose would mean eating 9-16 lb. of pods per week be cooked like vegetables. Bean pod tea is useful for dropsy, sciatica, chronic rheumatism, kidney and bladder problems, uric acid accumulations, and loss of albumin in the urine during pregnancy. Externally, bean tea promotes healing of ulcers and sores. Prolonged use of the decoction made from the beans is recommended for difficult cases of acne. Bean meal can also be applied directly to the skin for moist eczema, eruptions, and itching.

My favorite varieties: Dragon’s tongue (purple spotted), Beurre de Roquencourt (yellow wax), purple-podded pole bean.

Impact on Culture: “Beans, beans the musical fruit” is a popular children’s rhyme. Many edible beans, including broad beans and soybeans, contain oligosaccharides, a type of sugar molecule, which are digested in the large intestine by bacteria. A by-product of the digestion process is gas and flatulence.

Beans, squash and maize constitute the “Three Sisters”, planting companions that provide the foundation of Native American agriculture. In the “Three Sisters”, the tall cornstalks act as support for the beans, while the squash provide a living mulch for the roots of the corn.

Appearance in Literature: Jack and the Beanstalk is a famous fairytale.


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