2005 Newsletter Archive
Its already the second week of April, and in 4 more weeks, well be thinking petunias, impatiens, tomatoes and KONG COLEUS! Mothers Day is only 30 days away!
[Sign on Septic Truck: "Were #1 in the #2 business"]
WHETHER ITS THE WEATHER Warmer weather slowly but surely continues to move into the area. Things are really starting to pop, buds are swelling and showing some colors, and the grass is beginning to green quite nicely! This is perfect weather to begin planting those landscape plants like trees and shrubs, evergreens and even perennials. Get those planted now and well work on those annuals in a few more weeks.
Time to start thinking about mowing. That first mowing (go ahead and set the mower down one notch for that one) is so important in getting your lawn off to a better start this spring. And as the lawn begins to grow (at varying heights), keep mowing on a regular basis (never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blades when you mow) until it all reaches the same height. Mow when it needs to be mowed, not when its convenient for you! DID YOU HAVE THAT MOWER BLADE SHARPENED?
[Sign on a Maternity Room door: "Push.Push.Push."]
*WHATS BUGGIN YOU? If you see bagworms still hanging on evergreens or deciduous plants, pick them off and destroy them now, and save yourself and your plants a lot of trouble in June when they hatch out.
-Winged Ants have elbowed antennae, appear to be brown or reddish brown in body color (carpenter ants are black), have a narrow "waist", and pointed wings of unequal size.
[Sign on a Taxidermists window: "We really know our stuff."]
"Im new to the area. Whens the frost free date?" -May 20th, give or take a month or so! Frost free dates mean your chances of having a frost are 50% or less, and getting less each day afterward. And yes, it is May 20th.
"I need to clean up the weeds in a shade garden. Do I need to remove my good plants and then spray with Roundup?" -Nope, as long as you can spray the weeds without spraying your good plants. Roundup only kills what you spray it on and does not spread through the soil. Spray on non windy days and be precise when spraying. If you get Roundup on something you dont want to kill, immediately rinse the foliage with plain water.
"Is it okay to pack the bottom of a large container with foam packing peanuts so lots of soil-less potting mix isnt wasted?" NO, The plants can use every bit of container mix you can give them.
"We had bagworm problems last year and picked off some, but there are still some on the plants. What should we do?" -Pick them off if you can. 1 bag can have as many as 500 bagworm eggs in it! If you cant reach them all, watch for them to hatch in early June. Once out and active, spray with Bt, Eight, etc.
"If I have an existing tall fescue lawn, would over-seeding with Titan Limited be a good idea?" -YES! Thats one of the sweet things about Titan, is that unlike the other tall fescues, it sends out rhizomes. So, by over-seeding an existing tall fescue lawn with Titan, you now have an improved tall fescue, that now sends out rhizomes, blended with your existing tall fescue. What a great combination!
"We have issues at the front of our lot with standing water. Are there plants we could put in this area to reduce the water problem?" -DO NOT CONSIDER PLANTS AS SUMP PUMPS OR DRAINAGE CORRECTIVE SOLUTIONS! There are plants that will tolerate or manage to grow in wet areas and some that enjoy the extra moisture. But they will not cure the problem, nor soak up the water for you. Correct the drainage issues first, and then plant.
[Sign on a Plumbers truck: "Dont sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."]
[Sign at a Muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."]
[Sign at a Chicago Radiator shop: "Best place in town to take a leak."]
*PLANT YOUR SALAD BOWLS NOW! – A plain old lettuce salad can be pretty boring. But in todays produce areas, youll find bags of mixed greens to add a little extra something to your lettuce salad. And typically, these bags arent cheap. Well guess what? You can most of these greens, and you can do it in a pot on your own back porch! Its called "salad bowl add-ons", and its really simple to do. Heres how:
1.) Get yourself 2 or 3, 12-14 inch shallow containers, always making sure they have good drainage. Plastic planter bowls, ½ bushel baskets, anything close will do just fine.
2.) Fill your containers with our container mix weve been talking about – soil-less potting mix, a little Osmocote for a gradual feeding, and some Soil Moist to help cut down on our watering. And now youre ready to plant!
3.) So what do you put in your salad bowl add-ons containers? Try growing Upland cress, dill, radicchio, arugula, basil, parsley, chives, mixed greens, and of course, my favorite, cilantro. Any of these greens which can be added to a salad bowl of lettuce will work.
4.) Plant your add-ons closer than you would normally, keeping in mind youll be harvesting these on a regular basis. Many of your plants are "cut and come agains", which means as your remove or harvest the young leaves, more will regrow later. So by planting several containers, you can rotate your harvesting from basket to basket.
5.) Water your plants in well, and water as needed throughout the spring season. Come June, many of these greens will begin to poop out, and at that time, your can remove the greens, and replant these planters with your favorite herbs. Then youll have fresh herbs to harvest, all summer long.
As most of these greens do best during cooler temperatures, salad bowl add-ons can also be planted in August for late summer and fall harvests.
[Sign in Veterinarians waiting room: "Back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!]
Following from – Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP / Macys Regional Culinary Professional / Herbalist / Author / Local TV and Radio Cooking Expert / Adjunct Professor U.C. Clermont College / Community Press Papers [firstname.lastname@example.org attn: Rita]
Im brewing up a pot of herbal tea just for you! And, yes, theres a sort of renaissance going on when it comes to tea herbs! Weve "been there, done that" and now were embracing the things of nature the way our parents and grandparents did years ago. "Taking tea" makes us slower our pace, and appreciate the moment.
Herbal teas are in the forefront because theyre good for you. If youve ever brewed a cup of peppermint tea after an unsettling meal, or sipped some chamomile tea at bedtime to help you sleep, then you have taken advantage of the natural properties of herbs for therapeutic value. Herbs have no caffeine or calories. Tisanes come from the Greek word for medicinal brew, and usually contain leaves and flowers and sometimes fruit for a therapeutic brew.
Remember, the bodys healing begins from within, so it makes sense to use an herbs curative properties as a tea to take internally. When boiling water is poured over an herb and it steeps, the herbs cell walls are broken releasing soluble organic compounds and essences into the water thats why herbal teas smell so great.
BREWING HERBAL TEAS
Pour boiling water over tea herbs: Use 1 cup of boiling water to 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh herbs per cup. If making in a pot, add an extra teaspoon or tablespoon (if using fresh). Cover to prevent aromatic steam from escaping. Let steep for 3-5 minutes, no longer because the tea will have a bitter flavor. For a stronger flavor, add more herbs.
Good herb combinations:
Ginger, lemon, honey, cayenne pepper. Good for upper respiratory ailments.
Thyme and sage, with a bit of ginger great for sore throats.
Lavender, Chamomile, Bee Balm (also known as Monarda, Oswego tea, and Bergamot tea) and Rose Hips: Relaxing and soothing the rose hips contain vitamin C and A and help reduce coughs. Bee Balm has a minty flavor and helps reduce nausea.
Spearmint, lemon balm, hibiscus flowers, lemon peel, rose petals and cinnamon sticks. Makes a wonderful iced afternoon tea, perfect for a pick-me-up.
To sweeten herbal tea: A natural herb, like Stevia (which Natorps sells) or honey.
[Sign at Propane Filling Station: "Thank heaven for little grills."]
This week, lets ponder upon the 2005 Perennial Plant of the Year, Helleborus x hybridus, or commonly known as Lenten Rose. This early flowering evergreen perennial is one of the first to bloom in early spring, and flowers for 6 weeks or more! The long lasting flowers are available in many colors (white, plum, red, pink, yellow, etc.), and appear as single or double blooms. Its actually a member of the buttercup family, and the unique evergreen foliage truly provides color and texture to the landscape year-round. Lenten Rose grows best in partial to full shade, enjoys well drained loamy soils, and adjusts to dry or moist conditions. Use as a specimen, mass plantings, ground cover, or as an outstanding combination plant for adding color, texture and habit to the landscape. Hardy zones 4 to 9, grows 18-24 inches high by 24-30 inches wide, loves the shade, and is one of few plants that deer will not eat! This week, why not ponder Lenten Rose?
[Sign at an Optometrists Office: "If you dont see what youre looking for, youve come to the right place."]
Thats it for this week.