Week 10 (5/26/05) It’s Memorial Weekend!
Where has the month of May gone? Next week is the first of June and we’re still having 50 degree nights. Say what? Although the tomatoes and peppers don’t like it, I can’t complain as it is great sleeping weather!
[Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. It is a day about coming together to honor those who gave it their all.]
*WHETHER IT’S THE WEATHER – Cooler weather has been with us, and does help the soil to stay a bit moister in the absence of rainfall. Please remember the golden rule of 1 inch of rainfall every 7-10 days as these plants are sending out so much new foliage and their flowers as well. Check newly planted plants to make sure they’re not staying too wet or drying out too quickly. This is a very important time of the year for our plants, so keep watching that rain gauge and keep checking actual soil moisture.
[I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where’s the self help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.]
*WHAT’S BUGGIN’ YOU? – It won’t be long until those bagworms will begin hatching out, so its last call for picking off the bags from last year before they hatch. We’ll keep you posted when we see they’ve started to come out.
[If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is he homeless or naked?]
*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS – Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:
"Hey ED, have you ever heard of growing plants in straw bales?" - Many folks have experimented with this, and have had great success!
"My Knockout roses have holes in the leaves. I thought you didn’t have to spray these roses?" -If you didn’t, they’ll take the lickin’ and keep on tickin’. Knockout roses are disease resistant and insect tolerant, but not insect resistant. So, bug flare ups can happen, and whether you spray is up to you. If you do, better for the rose. If you don’t, they still keep going, beat up, but still going!
"Why do my maple leaves have little warts all over them?" -That’s a gall, and there are several types which caused by a small mite stinging the leaf buds. The leaf forms a nice little house around the insect’s eggs, they hatch out, goes away, the gall dries, falls off, and leaves a small hole in the leaf. Leaf galls will not kill the tree, rarely to never sprayed for, and is pretty much aesthetic. (That means it looks funny!) Oaks get them, as well as many other types of trees. Again, if you’re not sure, you can always take a leaf sample to one of our garden stores and someone can identify the problem.
"When my mums are growing, aren’t I supposed to be doing something to them like cutting them back?" -Why, yes, yes you are! Pinching your mums between the time they’re 6-8 inches tall, until around July 1st or so (usually 2-3 pinches is all that’s needed), you’ll keep those garden mums more compact, fuller, and have a lot more flowers in the fall. As a matter of fact, some early blooming varieties will start flowering soon if they’re not pinched back to delay the flowering process!
EMAIL GARDENING TIP – "I have a good hanging basket tip to keep birds form building nests in hanging baskets. Put a small plastic egg in the pot or basket and believe me the birds will not build where they think a nest has already been taken" -B. Gibson
[Why does a dog get mad at you when you blow in his face, yet sticks his face out of the window when you take him on a car ride?]
[If you have a bunch of odds and ends, and get rid of everything except one, what do you call it?]
*DON’T FORGET – If you applied Preen to your beds, it lasts about 90 days, so plan to reapply about 70 days later, so there’s a nice overlap of aging Preen and new Preen barriers. -If your spring bulbs have had green foliage for at least 6 weeks since flowering, it’s okay to go ahead and cut off the foliage if needed. This is also the time for digging, dividing and transplanting those bulbs if needed. - If the lawn has so many weeds that if you killed them, you’d have bare spots in the lawn, forget the weed killers, feed the lawn, and we’ll re-evaluate the weeds and lawn in August for fall renovation. -Keep mowing the lawn as needed (never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow), throw those clippings back onto the turf to reclaim the nutrients in the clippings, change directions each time you mow, mow at a higher mowing level rather than too low, and be sure to clean out from under the mower after each mowing. Have you had you mower blade sharpened lately? - If your lilac needs to be pruned, do it right after the plant finishes flowering. –Still plenty of time for planting new trees and shrubs, roses and groundcovers, perennials, annuals, vegetables, and whatever else you need to plant!
[How can slim chance and fat chance be the same, but wise guy and wise man be the opposites?]
[Mixologist graduates usually end up behind bars.]
*[If lawyers are disbarred, would electricians be delighted? Would musicians be denoted? Would tree surgeons be debarked? ]
And although it’s only used for the foliage, don’t forget a banana tree! Great foliage, easy to grow, and really helps to give your patio that tropical feeling. We have few that are even hardy to 10 degrees.
[The early bird may get the worm, but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese.]
*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN / HEY RITA, WHAT’S COOKIN? –
Ed, I’m sharing a wonderful pasta salad recipe just perfect for those gatherings on Memorial Day. When I first tasted this, I loved it and couldn’t believe the strange combination of ingredients used to make this. This salad is a great keeper so you can make it at least a day ahead if you like, Ed. That way, you’ll have more time to hold court and wave your grill-sized tongs over your hungry and appreciative audience!
FAMILY REUNION PASTA SALAD
1 pound twisted pasta or regular macaroni, cooked according to package directions. Measurements for the veggies don’t have to be exact.
2 generous cups chopped bell pepper
1-1/2 generous cups chopped carrot
1 generous cup chopped onion
2 cups mayonnaise, regular or low fat
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated), regular or fat free
1 cup sugar or Splenda or less to taste
1 cup clear vinegar
Mix vegetables with pasta. Blend rest of ingredients together. Pour over pasta and toss.
Tips from Rita’s Kitchen:
Don’t peel carrots unless you have to. Scrape your nail along the skin. If it comes off easily, you can simply wash and use. Remember, the skin of most vegetables contain lots of nutrition!
When a recipe calls for onion, regular yellow onions are fine to use. And if your onions are starting to sprout, go ahead and use the sprouted part for a more mild onion taste.
Toss in some chopped onion chives and reduce the amount of onion called for.
- Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP / Macy’s Regional Culinary Professional / Herbalist / Author / Local TV and Radio Cooking Expert / Adjunct Professor U.C. Clermont College / Community Press Papers [email@example.com attn: Rita]
[The person who feels certain he will not succeed is seldom mistaken.]
*YARDBOY’S PLANTS TO PONDER – This week, let’s ponder an ornamental tree that’s just getting ready to display its wonderful show of fragrant flowers. This small tree is perfect for street tree planting, as a specimen, in groups, or as a nice small tree next to larger buildings. Glossy dark green leaves (which are very similar in appearance to common lilacs), 25 feet tall by 20 feet wide and of course, the wonderful creamy white, fragrant flowers that last about 2 weeks or so. Sound good? This week’s plant to ponder is Syringa reticulate, or commonly known as ‘Japanese Tree Lilac’. One of the most commonly seen cultivars is ‘Ivory Silk’. Watch for them to begin flowering very soon!
[Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts.]
Okay, that’s it for this week. It’s Memorial Weekend. Do a little gardening, grill a bit, get together with friends and family, watch the Indy 500, grill some more, garden some more, visit with friends and family some more, and enjoy the weekend. But please, let’s not forget what Monday, Memorial Day, is all about. Thanks. Now, do yourself a favor. Go out and make this the best Memorial Weekend of your life.