Week 12 (
If you were one of those folks wondering if the warm weather would ever get here, well guess what? It’s here!
IT’S THE WEATHER – Looks like we’ve jumped right into summer like temperatures,
which means you need to keep a close eye on your
[If you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter, you get pumpkin pi.]
[God made rainy days so gardeners could get their housework done.]
*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS – Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:
planted a new rose bush about 4 weeks ago and now it’s starting to look like
it’s going to die. I used Miracle Gro and have been watering every day, but it
is not looking too good. Please tell me what to do to save my new rose."
-Stop watering it! When planting new plants, soak them well after planting,
again the next day, and then once every
"The leaves on my azaleas have become deformed and strange looking. What did I do to them?" -You didn’t do anything. It’s called Azalea Leaf Gall Fungus (Exobasidium vaccinii). This fungus causes leaves and flowers to become swollen, curled, waxy and fleshy (foliage turns pale green and flowers turn pinkish in color). Later in the season, a white spore layer covers the infected plant parts. The galls eventually turn brown and harden as the season progresses. Cool wet weather favors dispersal of the spores. In most cases, it’s more aesthetic than damaging to the plant. For control, the best thing to do is to pick off the galls as soon as you see them and destroy them. In severe cases, pruning back to below the infested areas may help. Even removal of mulch (which may have spores in it) may be helpful.. A combination of hand picking and fungicidal sprays in severe cases should do the trick. But again, it’s more aesthetic than seriously damaging to the azalea.
"Can wild bush honeysuckle be transplanted?" -Can it? Sure. BUT DON’T! That wild bush honeysuckle has become an invasive non-native plant. We want to get rid of it, not propagate it. It is not wanted, and we need to become more aware of its invasiveness and ways to get rid of it. Physical removal of the smaller plant and roots, removal of the root crown for medium to larger honeysuckle (use a ‘Honeysuckle Popper’), or for the really large ones, cutting them off at the ground and immediately painting the stump with concentrated Roundup works. DO NOT LET WILD BUSH HONEYSUCKLE EXIST ON YOUR PROPERTY. (To find out more about these plants and the ‘Honeysuckle Popper’, visit http:\\www.misterhoneysuckle.com.)
"Is it true that when my late blooming spirea finish flowering, I can prune them and they’ll flower again?" -Yes, surprisingly enough. Simply take the hedge shears (one time that hedge shears can be used!) and shear off just below the spent flowers. Reshapes the spirea, and the new growth typically flowers again.
"I am already getting leaf spots on my tomato leaves. What can I do?" -Bacterial leaf spot. Pick off the infected leaves and throw them away. Then be sure to mulch under the tomatoes with a clean straw, about 2-3 inches deep. This layer helps in many ways (like regular mulching) including keeping the disease from splashing up from the soil and onto the leaves! And keep picking off the infected leaves as they appear.
"When can I divide my daylilies?" -Tough cookies those daylilies! They can be divided in the spring, in the fall, or after they’re finished flowering. By the way, if you want to keep those rebloomers reblooming this summer, be sure to deadhead spent flowers and eventually the entire flower stalk, and feed after each flush of flowers.
[Young married spiders are called newly webs.]
*THERE’S STILL TIME! – There’s still time to plant trees and shrubs and annuals and vegetables and perennials. Still time to final mulch your beds for the summer (1-3 inches MAX!), still time to mulch the tomatoes with clean straw, still time to prune spring blooming shrubs, still time to cut back summer blooming perennials that typically get leggy, and there’s still plenty of time to get those container gardens going! Plant herbs in containers for fresh herbs, right at your fingertips!
[Gardening is a sport. Hoe for it!]
*SKEETERS ARE BACK! – With the warmer temperatures now here, you can count on the mosquitoes – unless you do all you can to prevent them! Remember you best defense against mosquitoes in your yard, is to eliminate possible breeding grounds. And that would be any source of standing water. ANY! For the most part, the mosquitoes you experience are from your yard or your immediate neighbor’s yard, so if you can eliminate the standing water, you’ll do a nice job reducing mosquitoes. Your next best defense is protecting yourself using mosquito repellents, wearing proper clothing, and trying to be in the yard when the mosquitoes aren’t. Eliminate standing water, and protect yourself. Those are the top 2 ways to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in your yard. The mosquito traps, bombs, sprays, plants etc are all other things to try, AFTER doing the first 2!
If you have dog water bowls, bird baths, and wading pools or ponds, be sure to drain and replace the water at least once per week. That ensures the mosquito eggs won’t have time to mature. Make sure when you water the lawn, that there is no puddling areas. If so, look to regrade and correct the drainage. If you have an ornamental pond, stock it with mosquito larvae eating fish (goldfish work), or use retail products which are added to the water to kill the larvae (Mosquito Dunks, etc.).
[A man should never plant a garden larger than his wife can take care of. –T.H. Everett]
*HERBS TO FOOL YOUR TASTE BUDS - Just recently, we took a look at one of my favorite ways to container garden, and that is growing herbs in containers. There are so many great herbs for you to grow today its unreal. But today I wanted to point out a few that just may have a special interest to you and your taste buds.
-Salad Burnett - this perennial herb can easily get 2 feet high and 2 feet wide, and is fairly attractive with these serrated leaves. But here’s what’s so unique about Salad Burnett- if you like cucumbers, but cucumbers don’t like you, Salad Burnett is the answer. The leaves taste like cucumbers, without the upset stomach and burping! Simply add the leaves to your salad for a splash of cucumber flavor.
-How about Lovage, another bold perennial herb, and if you think it looks like celery, well guess what? It tastes like it, too! Stem and leaves can be added to salads and soups and anything you’d use celery for, without the celery stalks. And it’s good for your kidneys.
-French Tarragon - a bold herb plant again, one bite of French Tarragon and you’ll think you’re eating a piece of black licorice. Goes great with seafood’s, eggs, salad dressing, and even on asparagus!
-Like lemon? Try Lemon Verbena. Actually a deciduous shrub, it has more lemon flavor than lemon zest. Lemon verbena has a calming affect on the body, aids in digestion, and is great in just about anything that calls for lemon.
-And last but not least, if you’re looking for a natural sugar substitute, this is it. It’s called Stevia, and it’s non-caloric and diabetic safe. You can use it fresh or dried, in any beverage or cooking or baking that requires sweetening. Stevia is so sweet; it’ll remind you of me!
[Salad bar – where vegetables go to have a drink.]
*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN – HEY RITA, WHAT’S COOKIN’? –
Ed, I’m choking up this week. Today’s recipe for artichoke chicken needs no explaining. It’s easy, quick and really delicious, and a great dish for supper after a long day in the garden, or as a casual meal for entertaining. It’s different from the norm, and yet won’t keep you chained to the stove. It’s light enough, too, so you don’t feel like you’re stuffed when you leave the table. Try this recipe, Ed, and you’ll be all "choked" up, too!
1 to 1-1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into strips or chunks, seasoned with salt and pepper
8 oz sliced mushrooms (you can use button, cremini, shiitake or sliced portabellas)
1 can, 15 oz, artichoke hearts packed in water or marinade, drained
2 teaspoons minced garlic or more to taste
1 cup chicken broth or dry white wine
1 lemon – about 2-4 tablespoons juice
(Go to taste on the seasoning, as you might like more garlic, lemon, whatever.)
Dredge chicken in flour & shake off excess. Sauté in olive oil until cooked through and golden, turning once. Remove and keep warm. Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients including the juice of one half of the lemon. Cook down until liquid is slightly reduced. Adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and more lemon juice if desired. Return chicken to pan and reheat. Serve with brown rice, orzo or couscous and asparagus.
Tips from Rita’s kitchen: Herbs to the Rescue
Intersperse basil among tomatoes to help overcome insects and disease and improve the growth and flavor of tomatoes.
Thyme, rosemary, sage and peppermint benefit the cabbage family in repelling white cabbage butterfly.
Plant a few radish seeds in cucumber hills to protect against cucumber beetles. Let radishes go to seed right alongside the cucumbers.
- 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]
[Chickens – animals you eat before they’re born and after they die.]
[If white wine goes with fish, do white grapes go with sushi?]