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Columns

Harden off tomatoes before transplanting outdoors

Here in western Montana we usually transplant our started tomatoes about May 10-21 as weather permits. Direct seeding may be done with the earliest varieties, but there is no guarantee of a crop. This year has been cool, with frosts still threatening in mid-May, so tender plants like tomatoes are going into our gardens a bit later than in years past. Sow your tomatoes inside during March, or buy locally grown starts.  (Germination temp is 60-90 degrees, 75-85 is ideal; germination time is 5-14 days.)   Plants should be hardened-off before transplanting. A good way to do that is to expose the plants to outside conditions gradually, beginning with about two hours of shade, increa...


New congressional health care plan: a devastating blow to Montana’s public schools, students New congressional health care plan: a devastating blow to Montana’s public schools, students

Today, as every day, teachers called the names of more than 140,000 students, as they took attendance in Montana’s 821 public schools. For the thousands of children who file into our classrooms, school is more than a place to learn. In-school programs and practices ensure children across the state stay...


Gardening with my gloves off Gardening with my gloves off

Lately my hands have taken a beating and I’ve got no one to blame but myself. It happens around this time each year. Spring has sprung and all that jazz. With spring comes gardening and gardening comes with a cost – to my poor bare hands. Simply put, gardening involves dirt and dirt is, well, ...


Cool spring weather makes May primary planting month

It looks like this year May is going to be our primary planting month, due to the cold spring. Some general duties to perform: mulch berries, hill leeks, watch for pests such as cutworms, pea weevils, root maggot flies, aphids, powdery mildew. Watch for frosts before putting out tender plants or have row cov...


Quist falling victim to fake news Quist falling victim to fake news

I am the Missoula County Clerk and Treasurer, so I know a little bit about taxes. In a world where the President Trump constantly attacks journalists and news organizations as “fake news”, one reporter, Tom Lutey, is doing little to lend credibility to his profession when he wrote: “Quist h...


Summer reading program starts June 12

POLSON – Can you believe our 70 and 80 degree days? It seems like we went from winter straight to summer (with a little spring thrown in too). Well, these summer temperatures have got us thinking about our Family Summer Reading Program that begins June 12 at 10 a.m. Kendra has some really great program...


Emojimania Emojimania

You could say it started with the simple, round smiling yellow face back in the historic happy hippy days of the 1960s. It’s when Yellow Smiley was first created. Love, peace, smiles and all that jazz. For decades, Smiley was just Smiley – the iconic symbol that communicated happiness in any a...


Onions can be planted outside starting mid-April Onions can be planted outside starting mid-April

Onions regulate their growth by day length. Short-day varieties grow best in the South; here in the north we grow long-day varieties of onions. When the days reach 14 to 16 hours long, the long-day onions begin to form bulbs. The greater amount of growth prior to bulbing determines the ultimate size of the o...


Right of way Right of way

I’ve never claimed to be a great driver. Good, perhaps. Careful, for sure. My family would tell you I am cautious – sometimes to the point of being jumpy at the wheel. By jumpy I mean on the lookout for surprises, aka accidents waiting to happen. Pedestrians who come out of nowhere. Squirrels ...


Ideas, volunteers welcome at animal shelter Ideas, volunteers welcome at animal shelter

I am thrilled with the opportunity to serve Lake County’s wonderful residents - both our people and our animals. I have spent the better part of 22 years in Western Montana since coming here to study Wildlife Biology at UM. My wife and I were married just down the road near Ninepipe Wildlife Refuge,...


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