Week 17 (7/14/05)
[Church Bulletin Blooper – "For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs."]
[Church Bulletin Blooper – "The ‘Peacemaking Meeting’ scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.]
*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS – Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:
"I’m seeing Endless Summer Hydrangeas with both pink and blue flowers. Why is that, and how do I get mine to stay blue?" -The color of the hydrangea flower depends on the pH of the soil and the availability of iron. With lower pH, the natural iron in the soil becomes more available to the hydrangea, which is what makes the flowers turn blue. A more alkaline or higher PH soil ties up the iron, making it not available, and the flowers stay pink. So your goal is to create an acidic soil around your hydrangea. You can do this by adding Garden Iron. This helps to lower the pH. Adding coffee grounds around the plant helps lower pH, and, by adding aluminum sulfate in the spring and fall to the soil around the plant, you’ll also be lowering the pH, as well as adding aluminum to the soil - all helping to get those flowers to turn blue.
"Can I still limb up lower branches on my trees this time of the year?" -Absolutely! That’s something that can be done almost 365 days of the year. This is also a good time to remove water sprouts - these branches that just shoot straight up from the horizontal branches. You’ll see these a lot in ornamental and fruiting trees. If you prone usually during the first two weeks of August you will see less suckers next year.
"What is the plant I see growing along the sides of the roads right now, with basically no foliage, but gorgeous violet blue flowers? Can I grow them in my garden?" -That plant is called Chicory, yes the chicory associated with coffee, and it’s a perennial, an herb, a wildflower, and sometimes, it’s a weed. It is the root of this plant that was harvested in the fall, dried and ground to make a caffeine free coffee substitute. The leaves were used in salads, the flowers for chicory jelly, and many parts of the plants were once used for a number of medicinal purposes. But today, it’s mostly seen decorating our roadways with its beautiful violet blue flowers. By the way, they’re so deeply and well rooted; forget trying to pull one out of the ground. If you want to try and grow some in your garden, try collecting and growing them from seed.
"Thanks for your newsletter! I’m headed out to shear back my coreopsis. Who knew it’d re-grow? Thanks for helping save my garden one plant of a time." -Aw shucks, you’re welcome.
"For the lady who went ballistic over your little cat joke, when visiting my daughter in TN, she has a water bottle she keeps out. When her cat did something he wasn’t supposed to, she would show him the bottle and he would quit! She told me her Vet told her to spritz the cat with water and he would learn to quit the bad behavior. Like you, she loves her cat and would never harm him in any way." -Thanks for the comments.
"Thanks for the tips on deadheading daylilies, but the deer do it for me, unfortunately just as the flowers start to show colors!" -Repeat after me-"DeerScram"-"Liquid Fence".
"Ron, here’s a tip to help kill undesirable vines in the garden that are hard to spray. Take a baby food jar with a tight fitting lid, and put a hole in the lid. Place Roundup in the container then put the growing tip of the undesirable vine through the hole and into the liquid. Replace the lid on the jar, and hide the jar in the vegetation nearby. The vine dies and surrounding plants are not hit by trying to spray the weed killer.
[Church Bulletin Blooper – "Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.]
[Church Bulletin Blooper – "Weight Watchers will meet at 7pm at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.]
*Keep deadheading those spent flowers on annuals and perennials (unless you’re purposely letting them go to seed), remove spent flower stalks from daylilies and feed to keep those re-bloomers blooming, don’t be afraid to cut back leggy annuals right now (takes about 2 weeks or so for new growth, new flowers, and a nice looking plant going into late summer and fall), July 15th is the last date for pinching mums and asters, keep mowing the grass at a higher mower level, and get that mower blade sharpened, time to think about fall veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts (plant transplants in late July / early August), as well as seeding lettuce, radishes, carrots, beets, turnips, kale and spinach, keep weeds out of landscape and flower beds as they become major competition for nutrients, water, and can harbor diseases and insects, hose off those Alberta spruce, and keep planting perennials in the garden for colors that just keep coming back year after year!
[Church Bulletin Blooper – "Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00pm – prayer and medication to follow.]
*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN / HEY RITA, WHAT’S COOKIN? –
ED, my zucchini look like they’re on steroids! I picked my first batch of zucchini today and felt like I was lifting weights just holding a couple of them. The ones that are too big will be shredded, skin and all, for the freezer – great to have on hand in the winter for zucchini bread. With the tomatoes ripening, as well, this is the perfect time to make one of my all time favorite zucchini dishes. You’ll never guess who shared the original recipe for this; your childhood friend and neighbor, Jean Steele, now of Clermont County. Along with the recipe, she shared some stories about "that mischievous Ron Wilson", but we won’t go into that here!
YUMMY TOMATO ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE
If I’m in a hurry, the whole thing goes in the oven with no added water, without pre-cooking in the skillet. I add 20 or so minutes to the baking time, and wind up with more juice than if I cooked it in the skillet ahead of time. A little more or less of any ingredient is OK.
Cook in skillet until zucchini is crisp tender:
5 cups sliced zucchini
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup water
Add the following, and cook until mixture is thick, about 10 – 15 minutes or so:
1 can, 14.5 oz, diced tomatoes or 3 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon oregano or more to taste
Pour half of the mixture in a sprayed casserole, dot with margarine and sprinkle with a handful of breadcrumbs. Then spread on 4 oz sour cream. Repeat layers, ending with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella on top. I usually use at least 2 cups. Bake uncovered, in 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Tips from Rita’s Kitchen:
Use about 3 cups fresh chopped tomatoes. Reduce the amount of time you cook in the skillet, because fresh tomatoes are less juicy than canned.
Zucchini are great added to salads. Try grilling zucchini: cut into slabs and brush with olive oil. Cook over hot coals until cooked as tender as you like it. The hot grill will evaporate excess moisture from the zucchini. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
-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]
[Church Bulletin Blooper – "At the evening service tonight, the topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice."]
[Church Bulletin Blooper – "Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered."]