Week 16 (7/7/05)
*WHETHER ITíS THE WEATHER Ė Wonderful showers dotted the area at the end of last week, as well as spotted showers on Monday. But that was it, and folks, itís dry. I donít know what else to tell you except "keep watering". It may be a pain in the rear end for some, and an addition to the water bill, no doubt, but it will be worth it. Water deep and thorough; donít be a water tease.
[As Iíve matured, Iíve learned that we are responsible for what we do, unless we are celebrities.]
[As Iíve matured, Iíve learned that one good turn get most of the blanket.]
*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS Ė Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:
"My globe blue spruce has suffered some serious mite damage. Will that dead looking area ever re-grow and come back?" -Probably not. Check the stems by scratching to see if thereís any life left in the branches. Also look at the buds at the ends of the stems. If you find greenery, leave them be. If not, you should go ahead and prune out the dead and get rid of it. Unfortunately, these holes seem to take forever to fill back in, if they ever do. Remember, an occasional flushing with the garden hose and water really helps keep those mite populations low to nil.
"Iím new at gardening. Can you tell me the proper way to deadhead the following plants: Hostas, Coreopsis, Daylilies, and coleus?" -Deadheading is the removal of spent flowers. For hostas, simply cut off the entire flowering stem back into the main plant. For the coreopsis, after the majority of flowers are finished, simply shear off the entire plant by about 3-4 inches. Itíll re-grow and re-flower. For the daylilies, remember the flower stalks will have several flowers which will open over a long period of time. Pinch off each flower as it finishes (they only last one day), until the entire flower stalk has used up all its flower buds (and this may take a week or 2). Once all the flower buds have flowered, then remove the entire flower stem back into the main plant. And for those coleus, well, I donít let them flower. I pinch out the flower buds before they even open. This helps to keep a nice full plant, with great foliage colors.
"I have grass growing up threw my juniper groundcover. I keep pulling it, but it keeps coming back. Is there anything I can spray it with that will get rid of the grass without hurting my groundcover?" -Yes there is. Itís called Over the Top, and can be sprayed over the top of many, many different types of groundcovers, perennials, annuals and landscape plants to kill weedy grasses, without killing the desirable plants. Be sure to read the label before using.
-"We have a vine growing in our shrubs that gets a white flower. Weíve tried pulling it, but it just comes back. Any suggestions what it is and how to get rid of it?" -Chances are its Bindweed, or commonly known as wild morning-glory, and this vine reproduces by both seed and rhizomes growing in the soil. In the open landscape, itís easily sprayed with Roundup for control. But when itís growing in other plants, well, that gets a little bit trickier. You can pull it, but it will probably come right back up for the rhizomes in the soil. If you can spray the bottom of the vine with Roundup without getting it on the foliage of the landscape plants, that works. It may take repeated applications, but will get it eventually. You may also try to remove the tops, and then lay plastic, newspaper, or landscape fabric over the area where it grows, cover with mulch, and try to prevent it from re-growing with a physical barrier. Just like thistle, it takes persistence to eventually wear out this tough vine. By the way, also apply a pre-emergent herbicide like Preen to help stop any of the seeds from germinating.
"The bottoms of my tomatoes are turning brown and black. What is that and how do I control it?" -Itís called "Blossom End Rot" and can occur on tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, etc. Itís very common this time of the year, as the plants are trying to get established and rooted in, and at the same time, sending out new growth, starting to produce fruits, and adjusting to the heat and drought of the summer. Blossom End Rot, generally speaking, is the lack of calcium getting to the developing fruit, and can be the result of competitive ions in the soil, drought stress, excessive moisture fluctuations in the soil which reduces uptake and movement of calcium into the plant, or rapid vegetative growth due to excessive fertilizing. Again, it seems to go away as the plants become more established, but corrective measures can be taken. Keep the soil moisture levels even by proper regular watering as well as mulching around the plants. Add calcium to the soil by sprinkling lime or gypsum around the plant. (Try to maintain the soil pH around 6.2-6.5) Some folks will soak crushed egg shells and soak them in water, then use that water to water the plants to add calcium naturally. And yes, although I donít recommend this as they are not labeled for use in the garden, some folks have reported using crushed Rolaids or Tums to add calcium to the soil. By the way, this is a physiological disorder, so the affected fruits can still be eaten after slicing off the darkened areas. And the use of calcium foliar sprays is generally not that effective due to poor absorption and movement to the fruit.
[As Iíve matured, Iíve learned that whatever hits the fan will not be distributed evenly.]
[As Iíve matured, Iíve learned that you can keep vomiting long after you think youíre finished.]
*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN Ė HEY RITA, WHATíS COOKIN? Ė Ed, since itís too hot to cook, my blender has been getting a workout. All of these drinks are healthy and delicious. Add a scoop of protein powder if you want even more protein for long-lasting energy. And since sweet cherries are in season, and are great anti-inflammatories (arthritis sufferers get relief from cherry juice), pit a few of them and add to any of these smoothies.
Chocolate Almond Smoothie
Ed, if youíre "tofu-phobic", you really should try this smoothie. Youíll never know tofu is in there. Tofu is a wonderful source of protein, calcium; B vitamins iron and zinc, and those are good nutrients, Ed. This is a recipe I developed for my book, The Official Snack Guide for Beleaguered Sports Parents. It is really delicious and great as a pre-game beverage for the kids 1-2 hours before the event. Each serving contains only 1 gram of fat, 6 grams of protein and 65 grams of carbs Ė great fuel to get going!
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
1 cup skim milk
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (opt)
1/2 cup marshmallow crŤme
1/4 cup silken tofu
4 ice cubes
Just put everything in the blender and blend until smooth. Serves 2.
Ronís Pineapple Power Pitch Smoothie
Again from my book and this one was named for you, Ed. With no fat, 57 grams of carbs and 5 grams of protein, this smoothie will give you plenty of energy to get out and weed that garden! Great as a beverage 1-2 hours pre-game.
1 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk
2-3 tablespoons sugar or Splenda or equivalent amount of Stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla
6-8 ice cubes
Cut banana into chunks. Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth. This serves 2.
Everyone loves this one!
6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 cups milk
ľ to Ĺ cup sugar, Splenda or equivalent amount of Stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla
8-10 ice cubes
Again, blend everything until smooth. This serves 4.
Mojito Lemon-Lime Cooler with Mint
Originating in Latin America, this Cuban drink is perfect for an alfresco dinner on the deck by the lake. I love using the grapefruit mint that I purchased from Natorpís.
1 tub Crystal Light lemonade flavor low cal soft drink mix
2 ľ cups room temperature water
1/3 to Ĺ cup light rum
6 mint sprigs
3 cups club soda
Put contents of drink mix tub into pitcher. Add water and rum and stir until mix is dissolved. Add mint, bruising the sprigs as you go, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Remove mint sprigs. Stir in club soda. Serve over crushed ice and add lime slice and another mint sprig to each glass. Serves 6.
-Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP / Macyís 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]
[As Iíve matured, Iíve learned that I donít suffer from insanity, I enjoy it.]