Week 13 (6/16/05)
It’s Father’s Day Weekend! And the weather looks great right on through Sunday. Then, on Tuesday, June 21, it’s the first day of summer! Where did the spring season go?
[Father’s Day was first celebrated June 19, 1910. In 1972, President Nixon declared the 3rd Sunday of June to be the official Father’s Day in the U.S. In Mexico, Father’s Day is on June 21st.]
*WHETHER IT’S THE WEATHER – Hot and humid one day, cool and less humid the next. Enjoy the next several days of cooler weather; summer is right around the corner. By the way, did you install that rain gauge in your yard, yet? How much rainfall has your yard received this week?
*WHAT’S BUGGIN YOU? – I keep watching, but still haven’t seen any active bagworm activity! We know they’ve begun to hatch (by the way, when the Japanese Tree Lilac blooms begin to decline, that’s usually the time they begin to hatch), so keep your eyes open. Remember, you cannot spray for bagworms, until you see the whites of their eyes. (Then use Bt.) One thing that bugs me this time of the year is that this is a transition time for plants. We’re going from spring to summer, diseases abound, bugs abound, plants are adjusting to the weather changes, winter damages are showing up, stress damage from a year or 2 ago is showing up, root damages from wet soils during the past 2 years, current soil moisture is all over the board (many areas actually down in rainfall for the year); you get the picture. And it becomes so difficult to try and determine what’s going on when plants start to look bad (or not as good as we think they should). But, we get through it!
I am seeing many spittlebugs on many trees and shrubs and annuals and perennials (looks like somebody spit on the plant – easily blown off with a garden hose and strong stream of water), fungus gnats in the landscapes, leafminer damages on birch and elm.
[Famous Fathers: - George Washington, Father of our Country -Vinton Cerf, Father of the Internet -Hippocrates, Father of Medicine -Uranus, Father of the Universe -The Grim Reaper, Father of Time -St. Nicholas, Father Christmas
*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS – Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:
"Exactly how late can I plant veggies in our area?" -Based on our average first frost (Early October), Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, cucs, and such until the end of this month / first of July. Many of the greens, beets, radishes, beans, onions, etc. go into July and early August.
"I am getting brown patches in my lawn. Is this from grubs? I heard you say you should not treat for grubs since they do a lot of good. Is this true?" -No! I think you have misunderstood what I said! What you may have heard me say is don’t treat for grubs if you have moles. That won’t get rid of the moles. Only treat for grubs if the grubs are a problem in your turf. (They feed on decaying material as well as the roots of your turf. And, a healthy turf can withstand 5-10 grubs per square foot without showing grub damages.) And, we usually don’t treat for the grubs which are seen in the turf in the spring. But, excess populations of grubs can cause turf problems later in the season. Anytime now through another month or so is a good time to apply ‘grub preventers’ to the lawn, if you’ve had problems with grubs and or want to prevent them. As for the brown patches in your lawn right now, it’s not from grubs, but probably a lawn disease, dried out spot, or even a patch of weeds that may be dieing out for the summer.
"Is there ever a time that I should bag my grass clippings?" -I’m a firm believer in putting those clippings right back where they came from. But, there could be a few times where bagging could be suggested – severe diseased lawn where bagging helps get the diseased clippings away from the turf, to prevent clumping because the grass is too high, or if you needed the clippings to add a little ‘green’ to the compost pile, or wanted to use it for mulching (make sure it’s herbicide free if you’re doing that!).
"We have an overgrown weigela that has just finished flowering. When do I prune it and how much?" -Right now is the time (after flowering), and if it needs rejuvenation, feel free to cut it back hard. Get rid of really old stems right at the ground.
"Can I go ahead and cut off the foliage from my daffodils now? Most are turning yellow." -Yes, you’ve waited long enough. Have at them!
"When can I divide my peonies?" -Late summer is best, and be sure to replant at the same depth they were planted originally. One of the biggest problems is peonies not flowering due to being planted too deep.
"I hear you talk about pine straw mulch and would like to use it. But then I heard you say something about holly plants not liking it. Why is that?" - (Man, I must be slurring my speech again.) Pine straw mulch is an excellent mulch and can be used around just about everything, including those hollies. As far as I know, they simply love it. Use it!
"I’m confused; do I need to deadhead my Knockout roses, or just leave them alone?"
-Knockout roses are self cleaning, which means you do not have to deadhead the spent flowers. If you want to, you can simply pinch off the spent flower itself, but it’s not necessary. But if you want to, go ahead. But it’s not needed. But you can if you want. But it’s not required. But you can, if you want to. J
"When my spirea is finished blooming, should I deadhead those old flowers?" -As a matter of fact, take a pair of shears and cut off those old flowers about 2-3 inches down into the plant. New growth will reappear, along another flush of summer flowers!
"I planted a serviceberry last year, and now, it has beautiful purple berries. Are they edible?" -Yes they are! And if you can get to them before the birds, they’re excellent on a bowl of cereal! Wait until they turn a nice dark purple.
"I read you suggests using peat moss to plant his container gardens. I tried this, but my plants are dying – they dry out in just a little time. Do I need to add soil?" - (Are you sure you read that?) Sorry, don’t use just peat moss. What I suggest using is a soil-less potting mix, which usually is a combination of sphagnum peat, vermiculite, perlite, pinebark fines, and sometimes compost. There are many blends to choose from. But don’t use straight peat moss!
*POISON HEMLOCK REARS ITS BEAUTIFUL HEAD! – I say that because it is often mistaken as a really cool wild flower, and picked for use in the vase (which you do not want to do)! Poison hemlock is up, growing, and now very visible with its lacy white flowers. You’ll see it growing along wet sites, roadsides, fence rows, ditches, even in your own garden. And yes, it is exactly what it says – poison hemlock. Handling them can make you sick; ingesting the weed can be a lot more serious, including death (poisonous to animals and humans).
Poison hemlock is a biennial, can reach 2-8 feet plus in height, a branched plant with alternate, pinnately compound, finely divided and toothed leaves, and the stems are waxy with purple blotches all along the stems, and the stems are hollow. The white flowers have 5 petals borne in large terminal compound umbels, 2-8 inches across. (Similar to Queen Anne’s Lace) The flower seeds are a dull gray green. Actually an attractive plant, and has been planted as an ornamental in some areas!
Control includes pulling it out by hand (cover up with long sleeves and gloves), or spraying with herbicides such as Roundup (2,4,D will also work on it). Use Spreader Sticker with these products to help them work better on those waxy stems.
*JUNE IS PERENNIAL GARDENING MONTH – Stop by the garden stores and check out all the great perennials in bloom right now! What a great way to see how the perennials look in flower, and if you like them, hey, you can buy them and enjoy them in your garden. Perennials are a great source of foliage and colors that just keeps coming back every year.
[Humbug – a musical insect.]
*QUICK TIPS – Still time for one last slow release feeding for the lawn if needed, as well as spot treating for weeds, mow at a higher height during the summer, throw clippings back into the turf, change directions each time you mow, never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blades each time you mow, treat weedy grasses growing in groundcover and landscape beds with ‘Over The Top’ which can be sprayed over the top of desirable plants and groundcovers! (read the label for restrictions), treat nutgrass showing up in lawns now with ‘Manage’ (add a little ‘Spreader Sticker’ with it), watch for bagworms and treat with Bt (add ‘Spreader Sticker’) now, fluff mulch to keep it fresh looking, re-Preen now, or add Preen to landscape beds if you haven’t already to stop weed seeds from growing, it’s okay to remove entire branches from trees now (if they’re hanging down too low and in your way), harvest your herbs on a regular basis, clip out dead branches as they appear on trees and shrubs, keep weeds under control early, apply grub control if grubs have been a problem in the past, look for standing water in your yard and figure out how to get rid of it, as that’s your best control for mosquitoes!
[Your nose is the scenter of your face.]
[What is small, red and whispers? A hoarse radish.]
[Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.]
*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN – HEY RITA, WHAT’S COOKIN’? –
This Sunday is Father’s Day and along with grilled flank steak, I’ll be making the Dads in my family their favorite side dish: Baked German Potato Salad. That’s the recipe I’m sharing today, along with my good wishes for you and all the Dads out there to have the best Dad’s Day ever! This recipe is a bit different, in that you parboil the potatoes on top of the stove and finish them in the oven, resulting in perfectly cooked potatoes. When boiling the potatoes, you don’t want to boil them until they’re completely done; just boil them about 10 minutes or until they’re just starting to be tender. They will finish cooking in the oven.
Baked German Potato Salad
Boil enough potatoes to make about 8 cups 1/4" thick slices. (I boil my potatoes unpeeled. This can be done a day ahead). Slice them right before you are ready to make the salad. Put the potatoes in a sprayed 13x9 casserole.
Sauté 1 pound diced bacon. Set aside but leave 1/4 cup of the drippings in the skillet. Add a generous cup each of chopped celery or lovage, along with a generous cup of chopped onion to the drippings and cook for a few minutes. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons flour on top and stir. Mixture will be lumpy but it will smooth out. Add salt and pepper to taste, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup cider vinegar and 1-1/2 cups water. Now if you like a tarter sauce, add more vinegar. If you like it sweeter, you can add more sugar. Add a couple teaspoons of celery seed if you like it. Bring to a boil, add half the bacon and pour over the potatoes, mixing gently. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with the rest of the bacon and chopped parsley if you have it. This is delicious hot, warm, even chilled. Serves 10-12.
* TIPS FROM RITA'S KITCHEN: What kind of potatoes to use? Red ones or Yukon Gold are ideal since they are less starchy than baking potatoes. If you use baking potatoes, they will soak up the sauce a bit more.
* TO PEEL OR NOT TO PEEL? The peel of the potato contains nutrients and fiber.
* FOODS THAT HEAL: Potatoes contain not only potassium for healthy hearts and muscles, but also more Vitamin C than some citrus fruits!- 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 [firstname.lastname@example.org attn: Rita]
[The philosopher who said that work well done never needs doing over never weeded a garden. –Ray Everson]
*YARDBOY’S PLANTS TO PONDER – This week, let’s ponder a perennial that loves the deep shade (but will tolerate a little morning sun), easy to grow and requires very little maintenance, grows to about 15 -18 inches tall becoming a large mass, has sky-blue flowers in the spring, and really adds color to that shady spot with its frosty silver leaves, that sort of resembles cracked porcelain. And to top it all off, it’s not at the top of the list as a favorite for deer. This week’s plant to ponder is Brunnera m. ‘Jack Frost’, and is truly a great addition to your shade garden.
[Anyone can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a ‘Dad’.]
That’s it for this week. It is Father’s day weekend, so plan to spend a little time with good ole dad.