Over the winter I was happy to have time to read the book: Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle by Barbara Klinglover and to see the 2009 documentary: Food, Inc. The book and the film both promote buying local produce, dairy and meat plus growing as much food as you can. I agree with this concept and would like my 2010 garden columns to reflect much of this philosophy.
With that enthusiastic goal in mind, my co-worker Sheila showed me the new local Spring 2010 Tree Sale Catalog put out by the Marquette County Conservation District: www.marquettecd.org
There are many trees, shrubs, grasses, berries and wetland plants, a gardener can try that are specific to growing in our climate.
On my list to try are High bush Cranberry (5 plants for $8), Chokecherry (5 for $10) and Wild Rice (qt-$12).
The High bush Cranberry will grow tall and produce clusters of white flowers with bright scarlet berries in September. It can tolerate shade once established and provide a source of food for ruffed grouse.
The chokecherry shrubs will produce a dark purple fruit in August. This is an excellent additional flavoring in winemaking. This plant provides a watershed protection/animal habitat and may do nicely on the south banks of my Chocolay River home.
The wild rice seed is great for duck food and the fully ripened seeds are easy to scatter in the wetland section of the river where I live. I don TMt have a clue how to harvest wild rice, but I can learn.
Other plants to try would be the Blue Crop Blueberry and an early Bloomer Apple Tree.
It TMs great to support the MCCD group as they strive to provide conservation and restoration of resources in Marquette County.
Visit the website and place your order before April 2 or call 226-2461 x 5 for more info.
Donna Campbell/Master Gardener