Week 27 (9/29/05)
Aw, yes! The cooler weather today has me smiling from ear to ear. "This is my happy face!" Fall is in the air and I’m one happy camper. How about you?
[The little hole in the sink that lets the water drain out instead of flowing over the side is called a "procelator"]
*WHETHER IT’S THE WEATHER – LIGHT FROST WARNING TONIGHT IN LOW LYING AREAS! To me, that really doesn’t mean too much. I won’t cover anything, and if those tropicals and ‘non-hardies’ are under a tree, the quick dip shouldn’t hurt anything. Cover or move into the garage if you don’t want to take a chance. Veggies may be covered if you don’t want to take a chance. But fall frosts to me are the beginning stages of shutting things down, slowly removing the annuals, and getting us going in the fall cleanup stages. So besides the tropicals and the veggies, I let Mother Nature do her thing.
[In 1985, the most popular waist size for men’s pants was 32. In 2003, it was 36. What will it be by 2006?]
*WHAT’S BUGGIN YOU? – Not much.
You know how you occasionally see pumpkins for sale that are all warty or have knotty bumps, or have those dark green spider veins running through them? (These are the ones I like because they are scary themselves!) Well, that comes from an aphid vectoring a virus called potyvirus, or otherwise known as Papaya Ringspot Virus, which was formerly known as Watermelon mosaic virus. I guess no one could make up their mind naming this stuff! Anyway, the virus may over winter in weeds, and then the aphid hits the weed for a little nip, then over to the pumpkin vine, and carries the virus from the weed to the pumpkin vine, which causes the misshapened fruits. Pretty cool virus, eh? (Gee, and I thought potty virus was when you – oh, never mind.)
[The ant, when intoxicated, will fall over to its right side.]
*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS – Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:
"What are those green things I’m seeing placed at the base of younger trees? Is it some kind of watering device?" -You’re exactly right! They’re called ‘Gatorbags’, and they’re simply a plastic bag that when filled with water, slowly waters the new tree by dripping water out of the bottom of the bag, directly onto the tree’s root ball. It helps keep an even amount of moisture right at the roots as the tree is beginning to get rooted in. A great way to water newly planted as well as trees that have been planted for 2-3 years.
"I’ve heard you mention that we should apply Preen to our beds in late summer / early fall. Why so late in the season? What’s growing from seed this time of the year?"
-Winter annual weeds, such as chickweed and henbit actually germinate in the fall and begin growing. That’s why they’re everywhere in late winter early spring. But applying Preen now, you’ll stop those winter annual seeds from germinating, and save you weeding time come next spring.
"I suddenly have mushrooms popping up in my lawn! What can I spray to get rid of them?" -Nothing; there are no sprays to control mushrooms. They’re the results of something like sticks or roots or something similar breaking down in the soil. Fungus is a part of the process, and they sometimes rear their ugly heads, which can be many types of mushrooms. Kick them over, mow them over, or get out the golf clubs and practice your swings. Hey, they’re already tee’d up and ready to go!
"My spring bulbs have started to come up! What can I do?" -Not a thing. 99.9% of the time they’ll be just fine. The weather always seems to cool quick enough to stop them from growing more. Don’t mulch them, don’t cover them, just leave them alone. If you’re planting bulbs this fall, that’s one reason I like to wait until mid October to plant – less chance of them coming up. And be sure to plant at proper depths. Too shallow can cause that to happen as well. But again, nothing you can do.
"I just discovered bagworms on my evergreens. What should I do?" -Pick them off and destroy them. Do this anytime now through mid May 2006. If you can’t reach them all, just watch for the babies to hatch early June, and spray at that time with Bt.
"I just planted a tree from you, and the leaves have started to fall off? What did I do wrong?" -Assuming correct planting and watering, this is very common for trees planted now to drop leaves early. Keep your normal watering going (don’t over react and over water as many folks do), and be sure to check the moisture level both in the root ball and surrounding soil each time before your water. Container grown trees may require watering every 3-4 days for the first 2-3 weeks, where B&B trees may only need a good soaking every 5-7 days or so. Again, check the root ball each time before watering.
[Heinz Catsup leaving the bottle travels at 25 miles per year. "Anticipation" at the highest level!]
*OCTOBER IS GET RID OF WEEDS MONTH - September may have been turf month, but did you know that October is "get rid of the weeds month"? That’s right - October is actually thee best time for controlling most broadleaf weeds in the lawn, especially the tougher ones like ground ivy and clover. In the fall, broadleaf weeds are sending as much food to the roots as they can, so by applying weed killers now, more is sent directly to the roots for a much better kill rate!
This is the perfect time for using a water soluble weed killer. ‘Trimec’, is one of the best chemical combinations for broadleaf weed control in the lawn. You’ll find these lawn weed killers available in a concentrate, which is added to a hose end or tank sprayer, Ready to Use, for individual spot treatments, and a handy bottle which is ready to be attached to the end of your hose and spray. Spray what you need, turn it off, store it away, and get it out again when you need to spray for more weeds. No fuss no muss.
Now there is one exception to this October broadleaf weed spraying. If you sowed new grass seed in September, that new seed must have grown and been mowed at least 3 times before using a weed killer on it. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until spring to go after those weeds.
[Fidgeting can burn about 350 calories a day. No wonder Rita is so small!]
*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN / HEY RITA, WHAT’S COOKIN? –
Yardboy, today is a soup day for sure. It’s in the 60’s with a wind chill factor of BRRRRR! I love autumn: a perfect time to go on a foray into the woods gathering spice bush berries and paw paws! Want to come? Here’s a soup that can be put on the table in less than 30 minutes Ed. That’s why it’s a favorite at our house this time of year – leaves me plenty of time to forage for wild edibles!
SPEEDY VEGETABLE SOUP (AKA/WORLD’S BEST!) Thanks to my friend and great cook, Joanie Woodward, for sharing the original recipe. Here is my adaptation. If you have any stray zucchini or summer squash still in the garden, Ed, toss slices of that in while you sauté the meat.
1 pound lean ground chuck or round
1 generous cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon garlic
1 jar chunky style pasta sauce, 19-28 oz
2 cans beef broth
Water to taste (start with 1 soup can water)
1 can chopped tomatoes and chilies or plain diced tomatoes if you want it less spicy
1 bag, 16 oz, frozen soup vegetables, thawed
1/2 box, 10 oz, frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
Handful or so of quick cooking brown rice or barley (opt)
Couple handfuls of fresh greens – spinach, chard, bok choy, escarole, etc. (opt)
Cheddar for garnish
Sauté meat, onions and garlic. Drain fat. Add everything else but greens and cheese. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Toss in greens and cook 1 minute. Makes 8-10 generous servings. Serve with plenty of cheddar.
Tips from Rita’s kitchen - Inquiring minds want to know about: ASTRAGALUS ROOT. Ed, I had a reader who was curious about this herbal supplement. It’s pronounced with the accent on the second syllable. Astagalus has been used in China for hundreds of years. There are many varieties of astragalus. It’s an herb that has many possible benefits, including fighting infection and the common cold and helping to strengthen the immune system, along with helping the body fight against bacterial and viral infections (think cold and flu season). Research indicates that it has no known harmful side effects. It’s commonly sold as an alcohol-free fluid extract. I take a bit of Astragalus every day (directions are on the bottle) to keep me healthy, wealthy and wise – well, healthy anyway!
As always, Ed, I advise our readers to check with their health care provider before using herbal supplements.
-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 / Part time Witchdoctor and maker of strange potions [firstname.lastname@example.org attn: Rita]
*YARDBOY’S PLANTS TO PONDER – This summer I’ve talked about plants which will flower and give your landscape great colors late in the summer as well as into the fall. Well, let’s add a few more late bloomers to that growing list!
-Lespedeza - a woody shrub that should be treated like a woody perennial (cut it back hard every spring) This graceful arching shrub can reach 5 feet high by 6 feet wide, has very nice blue green foliage, and come late summer, is loaded with these wonderful rosy purple pea shaped flowers that simply cover the entire arching branches. Truly a tremendous show for the fall.
-Snow Fairy Caryopteris - Another woody shrub that is treated like a woody perennial, this plant not only provides the garden with wonderful variegated foliage throughout the season, but it’s followed late in the season with these delicate pinkish purple flowers.
-Chelone (Key-Low-Knee) - or commonly known as Turtle Head, this perennial displays hooded pink/purple flowers in clusters on top of the stems, and yes actually resemble, a turtle’s head.
-Anenomes - this partial sun to shade loving plant sends up a great show of white and pink flowers that will last well into the fall season.
-And how about this one? You see its natural cousin growing along the roadsides and flowering this time of the year. It’s Solidago, or commonly known as Golden Rod. Try one called Fireworks, which stays under 2 feet tall.
["Our souls don’t get older. They never wrinkle, wear out or tire. No matter how many years pass, each of us remains forever new inside. And that is something to celebrate."
- Hallmark Birthday Card]
That’s it for this week.