Week Six (5/4/2006)
Summer is fast approaching. If you’re like me, you’ve already made a mental list of “garden resolutions” for this year. Spend more time relaxing with friends. Enjoy more outdoor activities. Catch more fish. Spend more time listening to children play. Eat more of the bounty the earth offers us. Our hectic lives can interfere with these goals, but a little planning can go a long way toward success.
America’s Best Flowers can help. We have a greatly expanded selection of outdoor furniture, fountains and pottery to help create beautiful outdoor living rooms. Bring your friends and family and shop to the beat of Latin music on “Salsa Saturday”, May 6. We will have chips and salsa, as well as salsa recipes available for you to take home. Ask for assistance to help you grow your own “Salsa” garden.
“How do you repair a broken tomato? Tomato Paste.”
How about a little Tomato Trivia????
Did you know …
Botanically tomatoes are a fruit. This is because, generally, a fruit is the edible part of the plant that contains the seeds, while a vegetable is the edible stems, leaves, and roots of a plant.
The tomato was once considered poisonous by colonists in the United States. But in 1812, the Creoles in New Orleans put their cooking on the map with their tomato-enhanced gumbos and jambalayas. The people of Maine quickly followed suit, combining fresh tomatoes with local seafood.
Tomatoes contain antioxidants. Studies have shown that consuming tomatoes may help prevent certain diseases including some types of cancer. One medium tomato has only 35 calories but supplies 20 percent of the daily value for Vitamin A and 40 percent of the daily value for Vitamin C.
Over 1000 varieties of tomatoes have been developed over the past two centuries. America’s Best Flowers offers what we believe are the best choices for home gardeners.
“Why did the tomato turn red? Because he saw the salad dressing.”
“Three years ago I planted rhubarb too close to the driveway. Is now a good time to move it? Also, last year it had a big tall stalk that came up in the middle. What was that?”
Let’s go back to our rule of thumb concerning moving perennials. If it blooms in the spring or summer, move it in the fall. If it blooms in the fall, move in it the spring. While we don’t think about rhubarb blooming (which, by the way, is what your plant did last year), we still would move it in the fall because it begins to bear fruit very early in the spring. If you have never dug up a rhubarb plant, be prepared. It will take a long spade and lots of muscle. Once you move it, it may be a year or two before it is back to bearing significant amounts of fruit. The stalk of bloom you had last year was the plants attempt at propagation. Only mature clumps flower and some varieties flower more than others. To encourage your rhubarb to continue to produce fruit, cut the bloom stalk off as soon as you see it.
“Is it too late to limb up a tree with low branches?”
No, this is a project that you can do anytime. Just be sure to leave the branch collar to assure proper sealing over the cut. To do this leave about one-quarter to one-half inch of the branch. Do not use tree wound dressing. The tree will heal itself as long as you don’t cut into the trunk.
“I know it’s still too early to plant tender annuals, but what about Wave petunias. Is it okay for me to plant them now?”
Wave Petunias have been shown to be very cool hardy and are one annual that can be planted a little earlier in the season. If a hard frost is predicted (less than 30 degrees), be prepared to give them some protection, but they tolerate the ups and downs in temperatures we experience this time of year. Other cold-tolerant annuals include pansies, dianthus and regular petunias. America’s Best has an extensive assortment to choose from.
“What did the macaroni say to the tomato? Don’t get saucy with me.”
Romaine and Fruit Salad With Poppyseed Vinaigrette
1/4 c orange juice
2 T. white wine vinegar
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1/3 c oil
1 T poppy seeds
8 c torn romaine lettuce (about 2/3 head)
1 c cubed honeydew melon
1 c cubed cantaloupe
1 c halved strawberries
In blender, combine orange juice, vinegar, onions, sugar and salt. Cover; blend well. With machine running, slowly add oil, blending until thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds, blend a few seconds to mix.
In a large serving bowl, combine all salad ingredients; toss to mix. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat.
10 (1cup) servings
This is a nice springtime salad and you can do some of the preparation ahead. Prepare the salad ingredients and vinaigrette a day ahead and refrigerate them separately until serving time. Before tossing the salad together, drain off any accumulated fruit juices. Whisk the vinaigrette dressing before tossing it with the salad.
“Three tomatoes are walking down the street, a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a baby tomato. The baby tomato is lagging behind the poppa and momma. The poppa tomato gets mad, stomps his foot and say, “Catch up!!!”
This week’s Plant to Ponder – “Phlox subulata”
Every year about this time we get a lot of inquiries about the pretty pink and blue mounds of flowers that are blooming along driveways and rock walls. Creeping phlox is the common name for this wonderful edger which has a mat-forming habit. The needle-like foliage is evergreen and will be covered with blossoms in May. Creeping phlox grows best in average, well-drained soil in full sun. Use it in the border garden or rock garden, as an edging or groundcover. This Zone 4 perennial grows 6 – 9 inches tall with a spread of up to 18 inches, and attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies. Recommended varieties include Blue Emerald, Snowflake (white), and Emerald Pink.