Week 8 (5/12/05)
It was a great weekend last week, especially seeing all you early birds shopping at 8:00 AM in the morning on Saturday! There were some pretty long checkout lines, but for the most part, everyone seemed to be enjoying their time. Thanks for coming.
[Flabbergasted – Appalled over how much weight you have gained.]
*WHETHER IT’S THE WEATHER – Shorts and t-shirts one day, jackets and long sleeves the next. Crazy weather indeed, but slowly and surely we’re moving into the warmer temperatures. It was getting very dry out there, so hopefully you experienced some rainfall last night and the day before that and the day before that. Channel 15 this mourning said there was a report of animals grouping together in pairs and a large wooden boat appeared on Lake Waubesa last night from out of now where and a news crew was on the seen.
[Gargoyle – An olive flavored mouthwash.]
[Flatulence – The emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.]
*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS – Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:
“I had an ornamental grass last year that was beautiful deep Purple, almost burgundy. It did not come back this year. Why, and do you still sell them?” -“Deep Purple”, one of my favorite bands! Sounds like Purple Fountain Grass, and unfortunately, it’s not hardy here and only planted as an annual. Great in containers, great in the landscape, but it is an annual. And yes, we sell a lot of it! Nice plant.
“I have the beginnings of a small maple forest growing in my ivy (thanks to all those wonderful maple whirlybird seeds remove them or stand back and watch the forest grow! In the lawn regular mowing will control them over time.)
“I have several Japanese maples and have read that Acer rubrum is very toxic and often fatal to horses. My neighbor wants to plant a Crimson King maple, and now we’re both concerned. Any comments?” -Through all my younger ‘horse years’, we never heard about red maples being toxic to horses. I even consulted a good friend, retired veterinarian Dr. P.B. Johnston, and he wasn’t familiar with red maple toxicity. But it certainly is getting a lot of attention today! Looks like red maple (Acer rubrum) leaves can be toxic to horses, but from everything I’ve read and have been told, it’s the Acer rubrum only. Not Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), not Crimson King maples (Acer platanoides), not any of the others. It’s just the Acer rubrum, or Red maples, which include a lot of popular trees like Red Sunset, Autumn Flame, October Glory, etc. Check with your horse’s veterinarian for more specifics and more toxicity information.
“Why isn’t the Catalpa tree used more as an ornamental tree? The blooms are so exotic!” -Good question! And not only are those flowers exotic (orchid like), their slight fragrance is wonderful! There are actually a couple species you may see growing naturally, and flower late May-June. So, why aren’t they grown more for landscape use? The wood is brittle and small branches are always falling to the ground, it is susceptible to various leaf diseases, twig blight, wilt, and of course the catalpa worms, the leaves are large and thick and considered messy, after flowering, it does form a fruit that can reach 10 -20 inches long which is very messy, and is best transplanted at a younger age rather than one of any size (doesn’t transplant well). Personally, they bring back many memories from my childhood, as I walked home from school and saw them along a stream bank.
“The tops of my Knockout roses took a hit this winter. What should I do?” -Cut them back to good wood, and stand back. They’ll jump right back as soon as the weather heats up.
“Is using a soaker hose good, and how will I know if I watered 1 inch?” -They’re a great way to water, as the soil drips right into the soil with little to no evaporation. Next time you use it, turn it on, and let it soak. Take a hand trowel and dig down to see how far down the soil has been soaked. Keep it going until the soil is soaked about 5-6 inches deep. That’s about 1 inch of rainfall. Time how long that took, and that’s a great guesstimate for how long to keep the soaker hose running!
“What’s the name of the product you keep mentioning that helps cut down on watering container plants?” -Soil Moist, and be sure to follow the instructions. More is not better!
“I cannot believe he thinks that spraying a cat with a high powered water gun is funny, and that I would get a kick out of it! Did he ever think the high powered stream could get into the cat’s eyes, ears or just be plain painful? A cat is a small creature, and that could actually hurt the cat, and NOT be funny. I am unsubscribing from your email list, and will never shop your stores again. I can’t believe you would post such a statement.” -Well, I do apologize if I offended any cat lovers out there. We have 3 cats, love them dearly, and wouldn’t do or suggest anything that may harm them. But, I did check with a local veterinarian (as I had in the past) who again agreed that the squirt gun with plain water is an excellent training tool for cats. The higher powered ones shoot further, which is why I suggested it, so be careful using one at close range. And, if you do chose to shoot the cat carefully with a stream of squirt gun water, please don’t laugh when they jump straight up, turn 2 flips in mid air, and scatter. It’s not funny.
“Hey someone asked me about their sage. She said it had new bushy growth on the end of old, bare, woody stems. That's called "poodling" - meaning some woody perennials like thyme, sage, rosemary, lavender & winter savory take on a poodle cut appearance as they get older. The wood in the center of the plant weakens because the stress/load is at the top. Spring is a good time to prune these woody perennials and now is a good time since all new growth should be flushing out so you can see what's happening. I told her to prune away the dead parts & to prune away a bit of the youngest growth at the top of the stems to encourage new growth from lower sections and the crown.
I just root pruned my winter savory - a little different technique but I just sunk the spade straight down in several places to sever the roots without disturbing the whole root ball. I now have several plants which look good. This info might be helpful since this is happening in my herb garden and hers, and happening everywhere. Especially with woody perennials you grow in the ground, since they tend to sprawl out a lot more than in containers.” -Thanks, Rita Heikenfeld! Great info!
[Pokeman – A Rastafarian proctologist.]
Still plenty of time to plant those cole crops, potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips, chives, etc. If you have trees that have been staked, check the staking material to be sure it’s not girdling the tree trunk. Make adjustments accordingly or remove the staking. And, although you keep hearing commercials about grub control products, this is NOT the time to apply them. Apply grub preventers (if needed) anytime after the first of June.
[Balderdash – A rapidly receding hairline.]
[Dock – A place where sick ships go.]
*HERBAL EXPERIENCES IN CONTAINERS - Growing herbs can be a real pleasure for all your senses – beauty, fragrances, great tastes, wonderful foliage, and more. And they’re very disease and insect tolerant. Herbs grow great in the garden, in the landscape, in the house, and best of all, in containers! Growing herbs in containers is easy, fun, makes them more accessible, and believe it or not, they simply make a wonderful looking container planting! Here’s what you’ll need for your container herb garden:
1.) Remember the basics for good container gardening?
-Chose the right pot - Window boxes, plastic pots, bushel baskets, any container with good drainage will work for herbs.
-Use soil-less potting soil and nothing less we recommend our own growing mix Pro-mix with biological fungicide.
-Add a little Osmocote for a slow release all season light feeding for your herbs - they don’t require much in nutrients.
-And, of course, Soil Moist to help cut your watering in half.
-Find a spot with at least ½ day of sun or more for your herbs.
2.) Now you’re ready to plant herbs in containers, but which will you plant? Well think about the foods you like to cook, or which herbs you use the most. If you’re still not sure, try these combinations:
-For Italian cooking, grow basil, sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, chives, and parsley
-For Seafood try growing parsley, dill, basil, lemon thyme, tarragon, chives, and savory
-Or for Mexican, try cilantro, basil, garlic chives, oregano, and even a pepper plant!
-Or just try growing groups of your favorite herbs like mints, or sage, or basil, or thyme. -Or how about theme plantings? A crock of thyme would be a Jim Croce planter (thyme in a bottle - okay, crock). Or how about a Simon and Garfunkel planting? You know it - Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme. Once you get started growing herbs in containers, you’ll be hooked forever!
[BP Station – A place where bees use the restroom.]
*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN / HEY RITA WHAT’S COOKIN’? –
I’m real dippy this week. There’s a hot pizza dip that’s showing up at parties all around town and for which I’ve had requests. So that’s the recipe I’m sharing today, and it’s pretty tasty. Actually, it’s more than tasty, it’s addictive. If you’re in a dippy mood, you might want to try it, too!
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning
Garlic powder to taste – start with a generous 1/4 teaspoon and go from there
2 generous cups shredded Mozzarella
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup or so of favorite pizza sauce
Enough chopped green and red bell peppers to sprinkle on top
Tortilla chips or breadsticks
Combine cream cheese, seasoning and garlic powder. Spread on the bottom of a sprayed 9” pie plate. Combine cheeses. Sprinkle half over cream cheese. Top with pizza sauce and peppers. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
-Tips from Rita’s kitchen:
Better check that bottle of Italian seasoning that’s been lurking in the pantry since last year. Sniff, and if you don’t get a whiff of Italy, toss it out and buy new.
Substitute fresh minced garlic for the garlic powder. Start with a generous teaspoon.
Try blue corn tortilla chips with this – we like the chips flavored with cayenne 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]
[Wrong – An English word that’s always spelled ‘wrong’.]
[Coffee – The person upon whom one coughs.]