Page 6 The INDEPENDENT, March 19, 2009 Food for Thought By Schann Nelson OSU Master Gardener or dead leaves or wayward guests. Yummy fresh greenness! One fun project: Try sweet peas or nasturtiums in a hanging basket! Begin with a good quality potting soil. Pour or scoop enough to fill your pot into something you can mix in. Add a scant teaspoon of dry gel-crystals and a tablespoon of slow re- lease fertilizer designed for flower production, for every 10-inch basket. Mix your amendments in thoroughly, fill the basket and press soil down firmly. Press only 4 or 5 sweet peas or a trio of nasturtium seed into each basket. These seeds are large enough for small fingers to handle – a basket or two should be growing well by Mother’s Day. Last summer I learned NOT to put sweet peas and nasturtiums in the same pot. They have very different requirements for sun and water. I also learned to greatly reduce the number of seeds per pot! Notes: I wear nitrile gloves in an attempt to keep a bit of moisture and prevent the bro- ken nails and skin that otherwise result with my dry old skin. Be sure that no chemicals have been used if you are harvesting from a ‘lawn’. ALWAYS get permission to hunt or gather from landowners. I once grew a couple of ‘Italian Salad’ type dandelions that indeed had most im- pressive long thick smooth dark leaves. I still let a couple grow in the garden every year in case I have a yearning for their bitter greens. These dandelions are also the best ones for making wishes! If you must begin planting outside, stick to cold weather stuff (spinach, radishes, hardy greens and brasicas) for another month or more, depending on your eleva- tion. Planting in a pot ensures good drainage, can limit mollusk access, and allow you to move them into the sun or out of the wind. It’s not too late to start brasicas (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) indoors to set out next month as four-week-old starts. This works well for lettuce or mixed greens, as well. I like to start some kind of lettuce mixture in a flat. Working with baby plants, instead of seeding directly in the ground, allows me to control the spacing between plants and apply mulch between plants. Lettuce can be an attractive landscaping choice in a perennial bed and is available now in an enormous variety of color and texture. Cabbage and cauliflower, in particular among the brasicas, are almost architectural wherever they are found. Tell everybody that it’s a Vitamin D Drill! Rush outside and enjoy light and heat on the rare occasions they appear from the heavens. Get your vitamin D every day! Say hello to the congregations of Box Elder bugs on the sunny side of a wall. (they’re harmless and pretty!) It’s only March! The cloud forest needs-wants- should stay damp and wet until June. Box Elder bugs Tomorrow is the vernal equinox. Hard to believe that the hours between sunrise and sunset are equal to the hours be- tween sunset and sunrise, but true. Under our cloud ceiling, which can seem to hug the ground so intensely that it is dif- ficult to distinguish the air from the rain, the days are long and dark indeed. Welcome to the temperate cloud forest! Thankfully, even in the most urban areas of our state, one can see and feel the rich interconnected web of life, the sur- rounding and supporting environment. Open spaces and wetlands have been preserved to support native and migra- tory animals. Invasive non-native plants are being identified and sometimes con- trolled. It seems appropriate to contemplate and celebrate the determination to pre- serve this little corner of the earth in this sesquicentennial year. Our piece of earth, trade center and inspiration for millennia, continues to sup- port an ecosystem that could continue for millennia to come. Rural communities across the state have learned to survive with the land over generations. Family farms and forests, as well as native communities, provide a practical wealth of un- derstanding about living with the land. By sustaining these communities and con- tinuing to protect fragile habitats, Oregon supports a number of culturally rich, di- verse urban communities alongside some of the most primitive and spectacular natural features in the world. Oregon may have more defined, relatively intact habi- tats than any other state. Anyone can drive in a single day from the Pacific Ocean, over the coastal cloud forest, across the broad fertile valley, up across the range of volcanoes into the high desert OR up the Gorge, over a pass and into real moun- tains. Across the state, rural towns, like ours, continue to support access to and un- derstanding of our own state treasure of remote areas, where the impact of mankind is not overwhelming. Here in the cloud forest it’s still COLD and WET! The flowers beginning to ap- pear are not delicate – many of the early spring bulbs positively laugh at snow! When night falls or the weather is dark and wet, Crocus, Tulip, Daffodil bow their heads, tighten their petals and go to sleep. Trust that the sun will appear again, and when it does, our lovely spring flowers will burst forth in all their glory. Even now, Hellebore is scarcely interrupted by the chilliest dampness, while violets, hardy geraniums and the tougher sedums and sempervivans have never completely stopped doing their thing. I was pretty discouraged last month by the economics of growing your own food. Of course it’s not really about economics, though that continues to gain appeal, it’s about joy. Certainly eating food you grow or gather is joyful in the eating. It’s a bit harder for me to get to the joy of the work involved in planting, harvesting and (es- pecially) preserving, but I do enjoy the quick hunt for a fresh herb. Bitter winter cress is starting to pop up, so I was successful last week for the first time this season. These little guys are quite good, crunchy and slightly bitter, if you can get to them before they send up the bloom stalks. N EHALEM V ALLEY B IBLE C HURCH I’ve finally fig- Gary Taylor, Pastor ured out how to Grant & North Streets, Vernonia harvest wild cress 503 429-5378 efficiently enough Sunday School 10:00 a.m. to accent a pizza Morning Worship 11:00 a.m. or salad. I wiggle Nursery available my (gloved) finger Wednesday Service 7:00 p.m. under the base of the rosette of V ERNONIA F OURSQUARE C HURCH leaves and pull Carl Pense, Pastor the whole thing 850 Madison Avenue, Vernonia up with my left 503 429-1103 (non-dominant) Sunday Worship Service: 10:30 a.m. Children’s Sunday School hand. Before let- ting go, I clip off C HURCH OF J ESUS C HRIST the roots and dirt OF L ATTER D AY S AINTS with a pair of scis- sors, then drop Marc Farmer, Branch President the leaflets into a 1350 E. Knott Street, Vernonia 503 429-7151 strainer. After a The leaves of this cress form tight, ground- quick rinse, I Sacrament Meeting, Sunday 10 a.m. Sunday School & Primary 11:20 a.m. hugging rosettes before sending up bloom spread them on a Relief Society, Priesthood and stalks. Illustration shows plant after blooms towel and pick out Young Women, Sunday 12:10 p.m. have gone to seed. any remaining dirt Church Directory S EVENTH D AY A DVENTIST F IRST B APTIST C HURCH Gary S. Walter, Pastor 2nd Ave. and Nehalem St., Vernonia 503 429-8301 Morning Worship, 11:00 a.m. Sabbath School 9:30 a.m. 359 “A” Street, Vernonia 503 429-4027 Sunday School 9:45 a.m. Sunday Worship Service 11:00 a.m. Wednesday Prayer Meeting 7:00 p.m. A SSEMBLY OF G OD S T . M ARY ' S C ATHOLIC C HURCH Wayne and Maureene Marr 662 Jefferson Ave., Vernonia, 503 429-0373 Sunday School 9:45 a.m. Morning Worship 11:00 a.m Rev. Luan Tran, Administrator 960 Missouri Avenue, Vernonia 503 429-8841 Mass Sunday 12:00 Noon Religious Educ. Sunday 10:30 a.m. V ERNONIA C HRISTIAN C HURCH V ERNONIA C OMMUNITY C HURCH Sam Hough, Evangelist 410 North Street, Vernonia 503 429-6522 Sunday School 9:45 a.m. Morning Worship 11:00 a.m. Every Wednesday: Ladies' Bible Study 9:30 a.m. Ladies’ Worship 10:00 a.m. Children’s Choir 3:00 p.m. Family Bible Study 7:00 p.m. Grant Williams, Pastor 957 State Avenue, Vernonia 503 429-6790 Sunday Breakfast 9:00 a.m. Morning Worship 9:45 a.m. Children and Nursery 10:00 a.m. Youth Group 6:00 p.m. Preschool Mon. & Wed. 9:00 a.m. Wednesday Prayer 6:00 p.m. Tues. & Fri. Adult Volleyball 7:00 p.m.