Week 25 (9/15/05)
Fall is the best time for planting, so come out and take advantage of some great prices on some great plants at our nursery.
[A closed mouth gathers no foot.]
*WHETHER IT’S THE WEATHER – As I write this newsletter, it’s dry! Chances of rain today, but haven’t seen any yet. Folks, it’s dry, you’re plants are thirsty, join them for a drink.
*WHAT’S BUGGIN YOU? – Spiders! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many large webs in all my life! (Especially on the corners of the front and back doors of the house.) And yes, they get me every time I walk outside! I have to keep saying, "They’re the good guys, they’re the good guys." (They still give me the willies!)
[A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.]
*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS – Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:
"When should I stop deadheading roses to get them to start shutting down?" -Now.
"What are the plants I’m seeing that have huge leaves shaped almost like an elephant’s ear?" -That’s it; elephant ears. And there are many varieties to choose from ranging from the bright green leaves you normally see, to almost black leaves like these. Elephant ears are considered summer bulbs; they’re not hardy here, and must be dug up at the end of the summer, and their bulbs or tubers stored away in the basement for the winter, and then replanted next year. By the way they’re great in the ground, or in containers!
"My dogwood has berries on it for the first time. Is that normal, and should I be concerned about the kids and pets eating them?" -Yes, it is normal for these bright red very attractive berries to appear on dogwoods. Great colors for the fall and early winter, as the birds usually enjoy them. Bitter tasting, these berries are not poisonous, so don’t worry about the kids and pets eating them. I also get a lot of emails concerning the berries on pyracantha, whether or not to be concerned about them being poisonous. Nope, these could be eaten as well. As a matter of fact, there are even a few recipes for pyracantha jelly out there! I’ll leave the berries on the plants for the birds to enjoy.
"I want to plant some groundcover, but was told by another landscaper that it’s too late. Is that true?" -Not at all! Now, "flats" of groundcover should be installed this month or through very early October to allow it time to begin rooting before winter. But if we’re planting groundcover grown in large pots (deeply rooted), we’ll keep right on planting well into the fall season.
*START SHADING THOSE PLANTS YOU’RE BRINGING INDOORS – Now’s the time to set those tropical plants or plants you intend on bringing indoors for the winter, in the shade. Doing this for about 2 weeks really helps reduce the shock going from outdoors to indoors. Also, be spraying with water and insecticidal soap to start reducing any insect populations on the plants. For those of you who have kept that poinsettia over the summer, do the same thing, then we bring it inside, be sure to limit the amount of light it receives to 8 hours each day. That includes eliminating light from lamps and overhead lighting!
[Atheism is a non-prophet organization.]
*FALL IS THE BEST TIME TO PLANT & SAVE! – If you’re ready to do some investing, now’s the best time to do it. That’s right, fall is thee best time for planting most trees, shrubs, evergreens, and even many perennials. The time’s right, and in many cases, so is the price.
As plants begin to shut down their ‘tops’ for the season, it’s at this point that their ‘bottoms’ begin to fire up. More roots are developed during the fall (September, October, November, and possibly into December) than during any other time of the year. By planting now, your new plants begin root development this fall, and are ready to get growing next spring (when they concentrate on flowers and foliage).
Planting in the fall is typically easier on the plant (and you), the temperatures are cooler, and it’s usually a good time for those natural rainfalls to help in the watering of the new plants. Put all those factors together, and now you can see why fall is the best time to plant!
Now, having explained all that, fall is also a time when the kids go back to school, and nighttime activities increase, and football and soccer season is in, and all those fall festivals, and, well, lot’s of folks are just too busy and getting too tired of working in the lawn and are ready to throw in the trowel for the season. So, our garden stores and nursery will have wonderful fall sales to help "flip the light switch" in your mind that now is the time to be planting, even though you have every excuse in the world not to!
Put better pricing together with the fact that the timing is at its best, and now you have no excuse for not investing your money in the best investment you can make landscaping! And whether you do it yourself, or a Landscape Co. do it for you, NOW’S THE TIME TO DO IT!
[Borrow money from a pessimist. They don’t expect it back.]
*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN / HEY RITA WHAT’S COOKIN? –
ED, I’m still getting tomatoes from my heirloom plants. Interestingly enough, they’re not the prettiest "kids on the block" but oh so good. Here’s a recipe that’s been requested by some of our readers. One reader said she received this recipe in one my classes but lost it. "Every time I made it, I had to share the recipe", she said. Another emailed me and asked for the same tart, so I know it’s a timely recipe. And you know my motto: "The Best Doctor is the Cook" . Remember, onions are great for your heart, tomatoes reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, are good for our eyes, and good protection for the prostate. Basil is a good source of potassium and iron.
FRESH TOMATO BASIL TART
1 pie shell, homemade or purchased
3-4 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin (use the whole onion)
Handful of fresh basil, chopped (about 1/4 cup or more to taste)
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise, regular or light
8 oz shredded cheese: half Monterrey Jack and half Mozzarella
2 teaspoons flour
Garnish: optional but good: chopped garlic or onion chives
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Prick crust and bake 7-9 minutes until golden. Set aside while making filling. Mix mayonnaise and cheese together. Set aside. Dust bottom of prebaked crust with flour. Spread a thin layer of cheese mixture on bottom of crust. Arrange tomatoes on top, overlapping if you like. Sprinkle with green onions and basil. Spread rest of cheese mixture on top. Bake 15-20 minutes more, or until cheese mixture is golden and puffed. Sprinkle with chives. Serves 6.
Tips from Rita’s kitchen: Save those seeds! For those of you who also have heirloom pepper plants and who want to save seeds: cut the seeds out of the pepper but leave the stem and a tiny bit of the flesh intact with the seeds. Then hang them up in a cool, dry place. When they start to fall from the flesh, the seeds are ready to be placed into glass jars for safe keeping. By letting the seeds dry on the stem, this allows more nutrients to dry right into the seed and is a much gentler and consistent way of drying seeds for keeping.
-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]
[When I was a kid, my parents moved a lot, but I always found them. –Rodney Dangerfield]
That’s it for this week.