Week 18 (7/21/05)
Wow, this has been one hot week! But hey, itís the summer, right? Be smart when working out in the yard Ė work in the morning or evening to take advantage of the cooler temperatures, protect your skin from abuse from the sun, pace yourself, and drink plenty of re-hydrating fluids. Sorry guys, but you need to save those adult beverages until after youíre finished working in the yard!
[God made rainy days so gardeners could get their housework done.]
*WHETHER ITíS THE WEATHER Ė What can I say? Same as last week Ė donít let spotty showers fool you. And, the increased heat means increased water loss from the ground and from the plants. Keep watering! Water deep and thorough, rather than light frequent watering Ė and by all means, donít be a water tease! Early morning is the best time, early evening next, late night or mid day the worst, but again, water when you can.
By the way, some plants roots simply cannot provide enough water during the heat of the day to keep the plants from wilting a bit. If you see this, donít automatically assume they need to be watered. There may be adequate soil moisture, but the plant just canít take up enough. If the soil is plenty moist, let the plants come back up on their own, which they usually do by morning. If not, then water.
[My wifeís a water sign; Iím an earth sign. Together, we make mud. ĖRodney Dangerfield]
Unfortunately, I received reports of 2 more findings of Emerald Ash borer in the state of Ohio - one in Ottawa County and one in Delaware County. The good things are; the borer was detected and will be eliminated, and they were detected by folks who were aware of the Emerald Ash borer and what to look for! Emerald Ask borer is considered a major threat to U.S. forests.
With a lot of picnicking going and, and a lot of flies buzzing around, I always like to share this bit of information, which I obtained many years ago from the Food and Drug Administration. Enjoy!
"This is what happens when a fly lands on your food. You see, flies canít eat solid food, so to soften it up, they vomit on it. Then, they stamp the vomit until itís a liquid, usually stamping in a few germs for good measure. Then, when itís good and runny, they suck it back again, probably dropping some excrement at the same time. And then, when theyíve finished eating, itís your turn!"
[Divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter, and youíll get pumpkin pi.]
*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS Ė Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:
"The leaves on my crabapples seem to be yellowing and falling off. Is this due to the dry conditions weíve had?" -Granted dry conditions can cause early leaf drop, but in this case, itís a leaf disease called "apple scab", and not only affects the leaves, but can also affect the fruit. In severe cases, crabapples can be 75% defoliated by apple scab. Fortunately, it is not a serious problem. Thereís nothing you can do now except rake up the fallen leaves and haul them away. To protect against apple scab next year, begin fungicidal sprayings as the leaves begin to develop, on 2 week intervals, right on into the summer. By the way, there are scab resistant varieties of crabapples, so look for those when planting new crabs.
"My yucca flowered, and now I have this long stalk left over. Should I cut that off or leave it alone? It looks like itís forming seeds." -Cut it off. Go right back down where it comes out of the mother plant and cut it off. Itís healthier for the plant, and it looks a lot better without the old flower stalk!
"My irises have been finished blooming for some time now. What should I be doing with them now?" -Make sure you remove the old flowers stem and all, and if some of the foliage is a bit brown or ratty, feel free to trim it off. You can also feed your iris with an all purpose garden food in the early spring, as well as after theyíve finished blooming. And if you seem to have had problems with your iris, borers, soft rot, or they are just too crowded, maybe didnít flower very well, youíll want to dig them up for inspection, cleanup, division and replanting. And the best time to do that is anytime from late July to mid August.
"How do I get my Stella d Oro daylilies to flower more?" -First, remember that as a general rule, the first flush of flowers for repeat bloomers can typically the best of the season, with the rest seeming to be a bit lighter. Deadhead spent flowers, deadhead spent flower stalks, clean up yellowing foliage (thatís dead leafing), and feed after each flowering period. They are heavy feeders and respond to good feedings throughout the season, especially after each flowering flush.
"My lawn company says I have grub damages and need to treat. Can we still treat now?"
-First, itís too early for grub damages to be showing on the lawn. So, itís something else. Second, thereís still time to apply a grub control (through mid-August) if youíve had grub problems in the past.
"My lawn has the usual light colored summer look. Anything I can do to help green it up?" -Assuming itís not insect or disease, try an application of iron containing lawn fertilizer. A summer application of this gives your lawn a quick green up with the risk of applying a fertilizer in the middle of the summer. Read the label for directions, and always keep Iron sulfate in mind for quick green up of faded lawns, evergreens, leafy shrubs, yellowing perennials, etc. (assuming no insect, disease, or root rot problems).
"Ron, hereís how I kill unwanted weeds in my flower bed that I cannot spray. I put Roundup in a throw away cup, then take a paint brush or long handle brush and dip into the cup, then paint the Roundup on the weeds I want rid of. Iíve been doing this for years and it works without harming the flowers." -Thanks for the tip!
"Perhaps in the newsletter you could mention what an exacto knife is, and the colors of the 10 most fragrant roses." -Okay. An exacto knife is a tool which is straight, fits in your hand, and has a razor blade inside the tool, with only one corner of the blade sticking out. You can use this to cut things like boxes, or straight edges on cardboard or thin wood, or plastic. A utility knife is very similar. A box-cutter is very similar. As for those roses, uh, letís see Ė Double Delight is a red/white blend, Elle is a shell pink with yellow undertones, 4th of July is a red / white striped, Honey Perfume is apricot yellow, Memorial Day is a clear pink, Midas Touch is chrome yellow, Mr. Lincoln is red, Scentimental is a red / white blend, Sheer Bliss is a pale pink, and Sun Sparkles is a bright yellow. How was that?
[A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. ĖD. Larson]
*ITíS TIME FOR A SECOND ROUND OF VEGETABLE GARDENING! Ė Donít forget there are many veggies that can be planted for a late season crop. Bush beans and cucumbers are still possible, as well as all of those cold crops we talked about last March! Spinach, lettuce, cabbage and kale, broccoli, radishes, onions, collards, carrots, cauliflower, chard, cilantro, peas, etc, can all be planted for a late crop.
[What vegetable can tie your stomach in knots? String beans.]
*SHOWER THOSE PLANTS! Ė You know how Iím always talking about hosing off your plants? Well, if you have plants growing inside, the same applies to them. Rinse them off in a large utility tub or even in the shower. Youíll be getting rid of dust on the leaves, as well as knocking off any bugs that may be there. And your plants? Well, they love that! But, this time of the year, why not take them outside, sit them in a shady spot, and gently hose them off, let them dry, and then bring them back inside? Makes it easy on you, and trust me, the plants will love it!
CUTS, SCRAPES AND SPLINTERS FROM YOUR GARDEN OR YARD CAN PUT YOU AT RISK FOR A TETANUS INFECTION. CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR TO SEE IF YOU ARE DUE FOR YOUR TETANUS (AS WELL AS DIPHTHERIA) BOOSTER SHOT!
[What does the letter "A" have in common with a flower? They both have bees coming after them.]
[A man should never plant a garden larger than his wife can take care of. ĖT.H. Everett]
LEAVING ON VACATION? Ė Here are a few things you may consider doing before you leave on vacation to help your plants while youíre gone: 1.) If possible, group container plants together in the house, as well outside and place in a partially sunny spot (wonít dry out as quickly), add Soil Moist to the soil if it doesnít already have it, water thoroughly just before you leave (whether they need it or not), and add an Aqua Cone with a filled 2 liter bottle of water to slow drip water your container plants while youíre away. GatorBags work great to slow water newly planted trees and shrubs if needed. 2.) Mow the grass just before you go and water if needed. 3.) Pull all weeds from beds and water existing plants if needed. 4.) Harvest ripe fruits and veggies, water as needed, and mulch to help keep soil moisture in. 5.) Make any timely sprayings if needed. 6.) Deadhead all spent flowers from annuals and perennials. Make arrangements for someone to check watering and harvesting fruits and veggies if gone more than a week or so. And after doing all of this the day before you leave on vacation, youíll need a vacation to rest up! One last note Ė When you come home and the lawn is higher than usual for the next mowing, raise the mowing height to only remove 1/3 of the grass blade when you mow. Wait 3 days, and mow again at the regular height.
[Tear gas Ė a by product of baked beans and onions.]
*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN / HEY RITA, WHATíS COOKIN? Ė
ED, Iíve never seen such a bounty of cucumbers! From the straight eights to the prickly pickling cucumbers, the vines are loaded. Cucumbers
are a great source of hydration, due to their high water content. I love them
cut up with tomatoes and tossed with a bit of olive oil, onions, and some
spicy oregano. And talk about tomatoes - they are climbing out through their cages Ė all due to that tiny amount of chicken manure I worked into the soil during spring tilling!
Stacked Tomato "Sandwiches"
Admittedly, these are messy to eat, but oh so good! Try yellow tomatoes, which typically contain less acid than red. The basil contains iron and potassium. Onions and garlic protect the heart, so feel no guilt in enjoying this delicious offering.
For each serving:
Arugula or any salad greens of your choice, torn into small pieces
One large round tomato
Fresh basil leaves or other herbs
Fresh mozzarella slices
Vidalia or red onion slices
Balsamic Herb Dressing
Rosemary is full of antioxidants, and mint is wonderful for digestion. This makes enough for 4-6 servings.
ľ cup Balsamic vinegar
Several garlic chives, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
Few rosemary needles, minced, or a few mint leaves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
Make a bed of greens on a small plate. Slice tomato horizontally into three slices. Core out a small hole in the top and set aside. Put one slice on the greens and layer as follows:
Herbs and cheese
Herbs and Onion
Put top of tomato on second layer. Pour balsamic drizzle over. Put basil sprig in cored out hole on top of tomato. If desired, shred some of the mozzarella and put around base.
-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]
[Salad bar Ė a place where vegetables go to have a few drinks.]
*EDíS PLANTS TO PONDER Ė This week, letís ponder a large growing leafy shrub (or small tree), many cultivars of which can reach 12í in height and 10í wide. Itís used in mass plantings, screens, groupings and borders, and could be used as a specimen. It grows well in just about any soil except those that are extremely dry or wet, loves full sun to partial shade, and really enjoys hot summers. The leaves are one of the last to appear in the spring, and may change to a poor yellow for fall. But itís the flowers on this plant that makes it such a landscape show. Beginning in late June, these prolific bloomers give a great show right on through September and into the fall. And today, colors range from white to red to purple to violet, or combinations of these colors, and in both single and double flowers. Todayís plant to ponder is an old shrub that Grandma probably had. Its Hibiscus syriacus, or commonly known as Shrub Althea, or Rose of Sharon.
[How dry was it? It was so dry, the trees were whistling for the dogs.]
Thatís it for this week. Itís hot, so pace yourself working in the garden.