Week 19 (7/28/05)
*WHETHER IT’S THE WEATHER – (sing along) "People in the party hot, hot, hot, People in the party hot, hot, hot, I’m hot, you’re hot, he’s hot, she’s hot. How you feelin’? Hot, Hot, Hot! How you feelin’? Hot, Hot, Hot!" -Buster Poindexter
In other words, it’s been a pretty warm week, until last night! Man what a difference a day makes! Just when you think you can’t take the heat anymore, Mother Nature brings a little rain and a cool front that makes it feel just grand. Hey, we may even open the windows tonight! Take advantage of some great weather over the next few days!
[How many of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hand.]
*WHATS BUGGIN YOU? – (sing along) "I don’t like spiders and snakes, and that ain’t what it takes to love me, like I want be loved by you!" -Jim Stafford
Not much bugging me right now. Had a left over attic fly doing a slow buzz around our house last night, but after knocking over 2 lamps and ripping a hole in our couch, my daughter’s dog caught it, chewed it, and spit it out on the floor. And just when I thought the Japanese beetles were over, I hosed out my Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick yesterday only to see about 2 dozen beetles fly away! Then I realized they had been also feeding on the backside of one of my Kong Coleus. Now that really gets my goat! Garden spiders seem to be as prolific as last year (remember they’re the good guys), and those male dog day cicadas singing in the trees, well, they actually sound pretty good to me.
[I tried sniffing Coke once, but the ice cubes got stuck in my nose.]
*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS – (sing along) "Too many teardrops for one heart to be crying, too many teardrops for one heart to carry on." - ? & the Mysterians, of course – who else did you expect?).
Now, here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:
"What can we do to prevent worms in the broccoli? They’re disgusting." -Those are cabbage loopers, and by regular sprayings of Bt, time the last one to be about 2 days before harvest, that’s a good start. You may also try ‘grow-covers’, which helps keep the adults off the plants and can’t lay the eggs.
"Would you recommend cutting back daylilies right now if the leaves are 50% or more yellow and brown?" -Sure! Cut them back, give a light feeding, make sure they’re watered, and they’ll re-grow yet this year and look a little nicer. Re-bloomers may or may not flower again, but they will look better!
"Hey Ed, would Japanese Butterbur grow in our hot humid climate of New Orleans?"
-It’s listed zones 5-9, and New Orleans is zone 9. Plant it in the shade, keep those root evenly moist, and I’d bet it’ll grow!
"When I prune the dieing flower heads off my Endless Summer Hydrangea, do I prune them off at the next leaf node or all the way to the ground?" -Next or next leaf node.
"I’m confused. My hibiscus isn’t the same as my neighbor’s hibiscus. How many types are there?" -Good question! In our area, we’ll mainly see 3 types of hibiscus being grown. There is the very hardy woody shrub hibiscus, also known as Rose of Sharon. Comes in a variety of colors, single and double flowers, and is a large growing woody shrub that flowers from mid-summer until fall. Another is the hardy perennial hibiscus. These bold perennials come in a variety of colors; some with dinner plate sized flowers, and make a great summer show in the perennial garden (they’re cut back close to the ground every spring). And then there’s the tropical hibiscus, which is not hardy here, and must be taken indoors over the winter. Again, a multitude of summer colors, but is a tropical plant.
"My azaleas leaves have lost their color and are turning almost white. What happened to them?" -It’s an insect that sucking on the undersides of the leaves. They’re called lacebugs, and they attack the new foliage as it begins to appear on the plant. All you can do now is spray the undersides of the leaves with repeated applications of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Next spring, early, apply Bayer’s Tree and Shrub Insect Control to the roots, as well as a few early sprays of the soap or oil as the new foliage begins to grow.
"Can you tell me, what is a hydrangea tree?" -It’s Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’, a tough, hardy hydrangea with a trunk and foliage on top, just like a tree. This is a great plant where a small flowering tree is needed, and will grow in full sun to partial shade. The white flowers eventually turn a nice pink, and then brown at the end of the season.
"What do you recommend to get rid of tomato hornworms?" -Are they tomato or tobacco hornworms? Actually, it doesn’t matter, because control is best done by handpicking and destroying them. Look for eaten leaves of fruit with their feces underneath the area. You’ll find them, and then just pick them off. If you absolutely have to spray (there usually aren’t very many), use Bt. By the way, they are the larvae of 2 types of sphinx moths. If you want to identify which is which, the tobacco hornworm has 7 diagonal lines on its sides and a curved red horn. The tomato hornworm has 8 – V shaped marks on its back, with a blue black straight horn. Both feed on tomato plants and the fruit.
[Arbitrator – A cook that leaves Arby’s to work at McDonalds.]
(sing along) "It’s summertime summertime sum sum summertime, summertime summertime sum sum summertime, summertime summertime sum sum summertime, summertime, It’s Summertime!" -The Jamies
[If the invisible man married the invisible woman, do you think they’re kids would be much to look at?]
*TAKE CARE OF THOSE EVERGREENS – Just a reminder of how important it is to keep your pines stress free as we go through these periods of heat and drought. When these plants become really stressed, they actually emit a chemical that is detected by bark beetles. Once they find the stressed tree, the beetles release their own chemical that lures in more bark beetles. Their extensive tunneling along with the tree already being stressed can cause eventual death to the tree.
[The hardness of butter is directly proportional to the softness of the bread.]
*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN / HEY RITA WHATS COOKIN? –
(Sing along) "Hot town summer in the city, Back of my neck gettin’ dirty and gritty, I been down isn’t it a pity, doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city" -Lovin Spoonful
Ed, as I write this, the temperature is 101.5 and again, I’m the only one in the house not complaining. That doesn’t mean, though, that I want to be chained to the stove. Today I’m sharing the most delicious recipe I’ve made in a long time using the summer bounty of green beans, corn, basil, onions and tomatoes. And the stove isn’t on long enough for the kitchen to get hot.
And talk about beans – I accidentally tilled my row of green beans back into the soil. Before you think I’ve totally lost my mind in this heat, what happened was that I interspersed the bean seeds throughout the row of radishes, thinking that by the time I pulled the last of the radishes up, the beans would be big enough to see. Well, they may have been big enough to see, but not by me, and I didn’t notice I was tilling them up along with the spent radishes. Good luck came my way in spite of this. My neighbor has a bumper crop of green beans and he allowed me to pick to my heart’s content. So that’s how I’ve come to share this recipe, adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine.
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half on the diagonal
Corn kernels from 3-4 ears of corn, about 2-3 cups
1 small red onion, thinly sliced (I used my red onions from the garden and used the green tops, as well) or any sweet onion or 2 shallots
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes cut in half
Couple handfuls large chopped or julienned fresh basil – about 1 cup
Sea salt or samphire*** and pepper to taste
In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch the green beans a couple of minutes just until tender but still crisp. Drain and set aside. Microwave corn kernels for about a minute with a bit of water. Drain and set aside.
Whisk together the garlic, wine vinegar and olive oil. Place beans, corn, tomatoes, onions and basil in a bowl. Gently mix. Pour vinaigrette over and toss. Adjust seasonings. Add a little more vinegar or salt and pepper if you want. Serves 6-8.
Tips from Rita’s kitchen:
-Samphire is a true salt substitute. A member of the seaweed family, it contains wonderful nutrients and minerals.
-Basil bonanza: Use whatever variety of basil you have. I made a mixture of Red Rubin, Thai, Genovese and Green Pepper for this dish.
-Pick herbs early in the morning! Some herbs, especially basil and tarragon, volatile their essential oils with the heat of the beating sun. (This means their flavorful oils evaporate from the leaves). It’s best to pick them in the morning.
-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]
[I almost fell in love with a psychic, but she left me before we met.]
*YARDBOY’S PLANTS TO PONDER – (sing along) "In the summertime when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch the sky, when the weather’s fine you got women, you got women on your mind." -Mungo Jerry
This week, let’s ponder an ornamental tree that is grown both as a single stem tree, or multi-stem tree. It gets about 25 feet (plus) tall, and about 15-20 feet wide, and gets there in a fairly short amount of time. In the spring, this tree is loaded with clusters of sweet smelling white flowers that hang from the tree like clusters of white grapes. But what’s really unique about this tree, is that is leafs out green in the spring, but by late May, those green leaves turn an outstanding maroon-red! This weeks plant to ponder is Prunus v. Shubert, or commonly known as Canada Red Cherry.
[Man who streaks is unsuited for his work.]
That’s it for this week. Hope you were able to sing along to all the songs! Now, do yourself a big favor.