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PI ClrP It&apos;lfli tlf 111 ltdP Thursday, April 9, 2009 16 C nty News Kimball, MN Mr. Potato Head Recession gardening Hard times seem to be prompt- ing many of us to plant our first gar- den. From the White House to your house, this may be the year to grow your own. Do you want to plant a garden this summer? If so, I think you are smart! Not sure where to start? I'm Mr. Potato Head and I'm here to help! This is the first of a series of articles that will be in the Tri-County News this spring and summer that will be designed to help you grow, cook and enjoy your own vegetables. If you have been gardening for years, some of this information may be old news. But for those of you who may be planting your first garden, it is important to begin with a little planning. Here are some tips to get you started: Where? Choose a garden site that is mostly level and gets lots of sun (8 - 12 hours a day). Avoid things like big shade trees, areas where kids play and your septic system drain field. It is also usually better to keep your garden out of your neighbor's yard. Figure out about how much "terri- tory" you want to plow up. Remem- ber, it might be best to start out small and grow the size of the garden over time. Most of us (except mel are full of ambition as we start our gardens. By the time it gets to be July, a really big garden might become too much work. Try to keep the size of your garden reasonable and it will seem more like "fun" and less like "work". Besides, we can grow tots of stuff in a small space. How? Take five minutes and draw out your garden on a piece of paper. It is best to plant most vege- tables in rows. Leave enough space for you to walk between each row, about two feet Usually is enough. Vine crops like melons, squash and cucumbers don't grow in rows; plan a four-foot square area for each )lant of this type that you want to Ill plant. If you want corn, remember that it will get tall. Plant the rows further apart and try to put it some- where where it won't shade the rest of the garden. The soil should be turned over by hand with a shovel or with a tiller. It is best to break up the soil with a rake to make a smooth, clump-free seed bed. Seeds can be planted using your plan and according to the direc- tions on the seed packet. What? You can grow the things you like if you plan for them. Start your planning with the "cool sea- son" crops like lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and radishes. These are the seeds that can be planted as soon as the ground can be tilled. Warm- season crops like tomatoes, egg- plants, and peppers can be, planted when the ground warms up, usually around mid to late May. It is eas- iest to buy "transplants" for these warm-season crops. Tender crops like melons and squash will be the last things to plant in the garden. When? You can buy your seeds now,'but be careful not to buy more than you need. Soils should not be prepared for planting when too wet or too dry. If soil sticks to your shoes or shovel, it is too wet. The cool- season crops can go in first, warm- season crops need warm soil, so plan on waiting a couple of weeks to plant them. Next time: Don't have space or time for a regular garden? Think buckets, baskets, pots and barrels; container gardening might be for you. Do you have a gardening ques- tion Or suggestion for Mr. Potato Head? Contact him at <tricounty. potatohead@gmail.com>. Mr. Potato Head is Stearns County Master Gardener and Kimball resident Rick Ellis. 1.1 billion new dollars in hands of Minnesota workers u,,,m ; VJ LEI'DER Two million Minnesota working families to benefit from making work pay tax credit The United States faces the most severe economic and financial cri- sis in generations. Tragically, much of the damage has fallen principally on Main Street. To help middle- class families get back on their feet and restore some fairness to the tax code, President Obama, in Feb- mary signed one of his signature issues into law - the Making Work Pay tax credit. As a result, families across the country are seeing more money in their paychecks. This is one of the fastest and broadest tax cuts in American history. April 1, the Obama Adminis- tration is releasing a state-by-state analysis to show the impact the Making Work Pay tax credit is hav- ing across the country. In Minnesota, that means two million working families will collec- tively get $1.1 billion in hand to help them weather the current economic storm. This reflects the Administra- tion's strong and sustained commit- ment to the middle class. Nationally, the credit pro- vides more than 110 million work- ing families - about 95 percent - the tax relief they need right now and will give nearly 00 billion dol- lars to America's working families. The Republican alternative budget, announced today, would roll back these tax credits in 2010, thereby increasing taxes for the same 95 percent of working families. IRS guidance asks that, byApril 1, employers must have instituted the lower withholdings for their employees. Restoring fairness to the tax code and providing tax relief to working Americans The Making Work Pay Tax Credit aims to help middle class families who are being squeezed by rising costs and stagnating wages. For 2009 and 2010, the "Mak- ing Work Pay" tax credit provides a reflmdable tax credit of 6.2 percent of earned income up to $400 for working individuals and $800 for married taxpayers. Families should see at least a $65 dollar per-month increase in their take home pay. The credit will phase out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income in excess of $150,000 for married couples filing jointly and $75,000 for other workers, and thus is fully phased out for taxpay- ers with modified adjusted gross income in excess of $190,000 for married workers and $95.000 for other workers. Getting needed cash to working families In an effort to get much-needed cash to hard-working Americans as quickly as possible, in late Febru- ary, the Presidem announced the IRS would issue a new set of with- holding tables, <www.irs.gov/pub/ irs-pdfln1036.pdf>, structured to get the tax credit to America's workers "in cash over the course of the year. By reducing required withholding amounts, workers' take:home pay is increased immediately. The typical American family will have about $800 extra cash over the next year delivered to them in their paychecks to spend and to help the economy get back on track. Carl iaeson, DVM Liz likes lilies Easter festivities are upon us, and as my family and I took in the Kimball Easter Bunny appear- ance/egg hunt party last Sunday, I thought about Liz the cat, who just last week suffered severe toxicity from ingestion of lily leaves. Eas- ter lilies, along with other mem- bers of the lily family and numer- ous other ornamental plants are toxic to pets, especially cats with their natural curiosity of anything new in their environment and affinity for nibbling leaves. Liz was hospitalized with us while being treated for acute renal failure (sudden inability of the kidneys to filter out waste from the blood which normally comes out in urine) secondary to the toxic effect of these plant leaves, which may actually have been jack-in- the-pulpit. She was vomiting, lethargic, had no appetite, and was definitely not herself. Her physical exam was otherwise normal, but when I got the bloodwork back, my stomach dropped. I realized I had to go tell the concerned owner Happy Easter o t this time of family gathering and celebration, we would like to wish you and yours a happy and blessed Easter. The warmth of family, laughter of children, and signs of the coming Spring are gifts from God. May the joy of these gifts warm your heart and spirit this Easter season. H YOUR NEIGHBOI AND FRIENDS v STATE BANK OF KIMBALL P.O. BOX 70 " KIMBALL, MINNESOTA 55353 (320) 398-3500 www.tatebankofkimball.com that his tWo-year-old cat's kidneys were failing, and the levels of these toxins were higher than I had ever seen, higher than our blood ana- lyzer could even calculate. Having lost a canine patient recently to the same condition, with the own- er's description of their experience watching their dog die unpleas- antly in their arms at home vivid in my mind. my usual optimism was at an all-time low. I discussed the disease and treatment with Liz's owner, with its potentially poor but unpredictable prognosis, and we discussed euthanasia because I did not want to have anyone else experience the horror of a failed treatment. Certainly I did not want Liz to suffer the effects of the circulating toxins if treatment was a long-shot, and based on blood- work results, "long-shot" was an accurate assessment. After considering everything, Liz's owner looked up at me and said: "I'm not one to give up." We immediately began treatment, and decided if she started to look worse we would then consider putting her to sleep. The next day I anxiously anticipated the new bloodwork after she had several rounds of fluids to treat her con- dition. I sunk when the lab val- ues came back even worse, still some too high for the machine to read. We relayed the bad news to Liz's owner, but since she didn't look anyworse, we decided to stick with the plan, and to give her a couple more days before repeating bloodwork. Friday, a very difficult decision was going to be made, based on what numbers the blood machine printed out on its paper. I think my jaw was on the floor for a full minute, as I stared at a completely normal blood panel without even the slightest eleva- tion in Liz's kidney parameters on Friday morning. Optimism restored. Liz went home to happy owners with maybe one, fewer of her nine lives. For the rest of us, Liz's case should remind us to keep Easter lilies and other poten- tially dangerous plants out of our cats' reach. Most importantly, though, maybe when presented with adversity, we can be like Liz's owner and say: "I'm not one to give up." E-mail your animal questions to <cadlarson@watkinsvetclinic. corn >.. 00m00dl00rea