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Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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March 6, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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March 6, 1997
 

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The Intrepid Gardener I It's feeding time in the garden by Patti Babcock Our gardens are awakening from their winter hiberna- tion. Dormant browns are turning pristine green. It's time for sleeping plants to live, to grow and to eat. Like the bear emerging from his winter den, the renewing plants have voracious appetites. As their caretakers, we need to assure their health and happiness by feeding them a nutritionally balanced diet. We don't need a horticulture degree to select the right fertilizer, but knowing how to read the package labels is essential. A 16-20-0 fertilizer was suggested for our area by Linn Mills, horticulturalist for the University of Nevada Reno, when he spoke at the February meeting of the PV Garden Club. Great, but what does that mean? The first number always refers to nitrogen (N), the second to phosphorus (P) and the third to Potassium (K). Nitrogen is called "the building block of life." It is essential to the plant's life, produces rapid vegetative growth and colors the leaves green. The new spring growth is dependent on a good supply of nitrogen available to the root tips where the plant feeds. Caution. Overfeeding can be hazardous to your plant and will result in fewer flowers, poor root growth and foliage that is susceptible to disease. Phosphorous is the "fuel" It promotes strong roots and stores and transfers energy within the plant. It also allows the plant to absorb other vital nutrients. Too much phosphorous will give you abundant roots and sparse shoots. Potassium promotes health. It helps plants cope with stress caused by desert winds, cold, heat, drought and pests. An overdose can interfere with the plant's ability to utilize calcium and magnesium. Mother Nature has blessed our desert soils with an abundance of potassium. That's why you see the zero in Mill's recommended fertilizer. I do add some to my plants in the form of diced banana peels. My roses appreciate it. In addition to the three nutrients above, plants need sulphur, magnesium, iron, calcium, and micro nutrients, chlorine, manganese, boron, zinc, copper and molybde- num. I add sulphur, purchased by the bag from local nurseries, to help combat our alkaline soil and reduce the pH. I apply Epsom Salt to provide magnesium, about + cup per rose bush in spring and fall. I also add it to my planting/ fertilizing mix. Iron is also purchased locally by the bag and added to my mix. When I need faster results, I apply a liquid iron- zinc chelate. The chickens contribute to the calcium in the form of egg shells added to the compost. I also add crushed oyster shells, the same stuff I give the chickens, directly to my beds especially where I plan to raise tomatoes. Adding the calcium eliminated the tomato blossom-end rot that plagued my fruit the first year. During the growing season, I feed selected plants periodically with Miracle-Gro. It is a 15-30-15 and also contains all of the micro nutrients. You may have your own preference or ask any of the local nursery people for recommendations. In addition, I use generous amounts of compost which also contains required nutrients. One current source of fertilizer is manure. The PV Kiwanis, Pahrump Dairy, and Valley Sand and Gravel are jointly sponsoring "March Manure Madness Month" The manure is available just west of Blagg and Basin. You can Smoke Signals Indian Trading Post Authentic Indian Jewelry  and Home Decor.  Watch Batteries Replaced Open 7 Days a Week 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Near 160 & Basin) I i Bishop Veterinary Hospital  Tonopah Clinic L Dr. Lind will be in Tonopah l  March 19 J''r I1 Front downstairs office-42 Belmont St. II I Appointments/Info, Call 482-6453 after 5 p.m, I I Dr. Linda will be in every other Wednesday ][ I 8 a.m.- 1 p.m.: Dogs, cats and other small animals, [I [ including spays, neutering, dentistry, minor surgery, etc. II I 1:30 p.m.- 3:30 p.m.: Horses, cows, e...tc. II "ltNi ]' M m,,- "''Tonopah5:30p.mto7:30p.m. , 1 [ Round Mountain: 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. I| [ Same dates as Tonopah Clinic ]1 pick it up or have it delivered. A donation is appreciated as this is a fund raiser for the PV Kiwanis' community projects. Local garden guru, Phil Richards, says manure should be used sparingly and always composted first both to prevent it from burning the plants and to leach the salts. Desert soils are salty so Richards questions the advisability of adding more. Composting where plenty of water is used will help eliminate the salt. Soil tests will provide detailed information about your dirt's nutritional needs. Our Agriculture Extension Office does not offer soil testing, but can provide you with the address of h California firm. There are also numerous do- it-yourself kits available at nurseries and through mail order catalogs. Start feeding your ravenous plant family balanced meals today, and you'll delight in a garden of rainbow colored flowers, bountiful shrubs and tasty fruit and vegetables from spring through fall. For more desert gardening tips, look for our special "Spring Gardening Section" next week, March 13. I Home Tips READER RESPONDS - Re: using those cylinderical potato chip containers to store spaghetti: Following the first time you printed this idea, I covered two of them with a nice kitchen pattern on contact paper and gave one to a friend. Then I put the spaghetti in and found it just long enough that the lid wouldn't stay on. My friend and I had a good laugh over that! A nice idea, but no bananas[ P.S. I've found that when using my food dehydrator to do fruit, if I move it into my home/work area, it takes the chill off the room and gives off a pleasant aroma at the same time. Bernard H., Ketchikan, Alaska BAG STORAGE - Using an attractive empty tissue box, stuff the bottom of a plastic grocery bag into the box leav- ing one "handle" out to loop the next bag through. Stuff each bag in the box, leaving one handle out, and repeat the same way until the box is full. Leave the last han- dle out to grab like a tissue. The next bag handle will come up ready to use the next time. I have cute bag containers in the laundry room, kitchen, bath and in the car (for yard sales). Frieda C., Crawfordsville, Ind. QUALITY FURNITURE- LOWEST PRICES/ CHAIRS AUDIO POSTER BEDS TABLES TVNCR STANDS PIER GROUPS CHINAS ENT. CENTERS BOOKCASES COFFEE-ENDS ENT. WALLS COMPUTER FURN. ROCKERS PICTURES DESKS BAR STOOLS DRESSERS SOFA/LOVES LAMPS HEADBOARDS MATTRESSES MIRRORS NITE STANDS ANTIQUE REPRODUCTIONS EASTER HOME DECOR ACCESSORIES AVAILABLE PLUS MUCH, MUCH MORE! I.AS VEGAS PRICES! 1201 S. HWY 160, PAHRUMP, NV 89048 1-701-751-2760,1-888-2-OAKBARN O Amateur radio club meets Free classes from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays at the Pahrump Senior Citizen Center every week. For fur- ther information call 727- 6399. Pahrump Demo Club meets There is a meeting of thf [ Pahrump Valley Democratic Club on the second Monday of each month at the Bob Ruud Community Center. Contact Ray Langford at (702) 727-9694 for more in- formation. Nature field trip Desert Springs Na- ture Club will conduct a field trip to Ash Meadows, primarily to observe ducks, this Monday, March 3. For further information contact Beth St. George at (702) 727-4346.