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      U.P. Gardening Tip - October 16, 2009

      It TMs a busy time for gardeners. The full moon a week ago reminded many of us that it TMs time to harvest and store potatoes, pumpkins, squash, apples, pears, and grapes. Gourds and unhusked corn for fall decorations are also fun. I like to put the inedible foods in my Thanksgiving horn of plenty as a reminder of the year TMs bountiful harvest. As for pumpkins, I always buy more locally grown than I will ever need, just to have them.

      At this moment, my focus is on apples. The last batch of sauce is bubbling on the stove. This weekend, and I TMm late this year, I must take a spade and small pitch fork and turn over my small potato patch. It TMs a dirty job but someone TMs got to do it. I don TMt dare complain because people will offer this advice: For heavens sake, why not just buy sacks of potatoes? They are not expensive. I always tell my critics that- it TMs not the cost that drives me to grow inexpensive vegetables. It TMs the knowledge and practice of growing them that keeps me (and other gardeners) alive and well in the art of sustenance. Ingrained somewhere in my Irish memory, there is a deep respect for growing potatoes as a food source. Perhaps, the great potato famine of Ireland has imprinted itself on my genes. Genetically, I have it in me to keep the art of sustenance alive. I hope my offspring inherit this too. I believe we are all keepers in the art of sustenance. It is inherent in every one of us, gardener or not.

      My fall harvest also includes, grapevines, a recent addition. Very, very soon and hopefully not by moonlight, I will harvest my five Marquette Varietals. The grapes may or may not make an agreeable pinot. If the Campbell Banana Belt Pinot turns, I can at least count on a winter supply of cooking wine. But that TMs ok. Winemaking is an ancient art and easier than-you-think.

      We as a collective community should keep the art of sustenance alive. Let TMs not let local food production slip away to corporate farms and overseas food imports. Simply stated, continue to feed family and friends with the bounty grown with your own hands.Happy Fall Harvest.

      Don TMt forget to visit Hayes Corn Maze is Rock, MI (family fun!) Open until Sunday, November 1st. Visit:

      TV6 Contributor - Donna Campbell, Master Gardener

      Check out our TV6 Family Garden page for daily tips, local growing tips, and news and video, plus helpful links to gardening fun.