2005 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 5

Week Five


Happy Earth Day (April 22)! -Founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson back in 1970.


In 1995, President Clinton said, "As the father of Earth Day, he (Gaylord Nelson) inspired us to remember that the stewardship of our natural resources is the stewardship of the American Dream." (Senator Nelson was being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom) Earth Day is a great day for all of us to take a look at how we live on this earth, and how we can better improve it for all us now, and for those in the future.



[Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all"?]



*WHETHER IT’S THE WEATHER – Looks like Mother Nature is going to throw a little curve ball at us. Or at least that’s what the weather forecasters are saying. Right now, Local  meteorologists are predicting a low of 28 Saturday night, low of 37 Sunday night, and low of 38 on Monday night, with daytime highs near 50 both days, and near 60 on Monday. If that holds, 37 is ok but 28 is damaging cold!


For you folks who have already planted annuals, that’s pretty cold for the more tender annuals. Definitely protect them Saturday night. Cold hardy annuals should be okay (greens, pansies, etc), but if you want to cover during the 28 degree night, that’s up to you. Tropical plants recently moved outside should be moved back inside. Those low temps are also pretty tough on woody plants in flower. Many of the flowers will probably get nipped if it gets that cold (28). Not much you can do about those. I would suggest trying to protect the new foliage on if possible, hostas, believe it or not. It takes a lot for them to re-leaf or re-grow, and recovery can be slow and lengthy.


If you do decide to cover and protect plants, be sure to use a material light in weight, so possible rains does not weigh down the covering and cause breakage in the plant. Constructing a frame or support system certainly helps.  If using plastic, you must create a frame to keep the plastic from touching the foliage. And using solid coverings like boxes, upside down pots, baskets, etc over individual plants works great. Remember, when protecting from ‘freeze’ damages, you’re trying to keep warmth around the plant and or warmth coming up from the ground. So you’re tenting the plants to hold in the warmth. Watering the soil around plants (making sure there’s good moisture in the ground) can also help.



[Would a fly without wings be called a walk?]



*WHAT’S BUGGIN’ YOU? – No doubt about it. Eastern tent caterpillars are out and partying big time in many ornamental trees. Smash them with your hands, knock them out with a stick and destroy the nest, or blow them out with a strong stream of water. Once they’re on the ground, feel free to do the Buggy Joe 2 step for the final kill! Pine sawflies are also out and partying on mugho and smaller specimen pines. Same physical control as the tent caterpillars. If you need to spray for control, use Bt for the tent caterpillars, and Insecticidal soaps for the sawflies. Keep picking off those bagworms left over from last year. And check for mites in your spruces right now!



[What should you do if you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?]



*QUESTIONMARK & THE MYSTERIANS – Here are a few gardening questions from this weeks emailed news bag:


"When is the right time to prune Lavender in my garden?"  Here’s what a herbal scholar has to say: "I know lot’s of folks want to cut it back hard because they think it has died off, when actually they need to be patient and let the lavenders begin to re-sprout for the spring. They are definitely slow to green up in the spring. My lavender is just now starting to show sprouts of green, and I’m seeing it all along the twigs. If the whole plant greens up nicely, leave it be. I like to wait until after I harvest the first flush of flowers before pruning, and many times, I get a second showing.


On the other hand, if they don’t seem to be greening up nicely, and you’ve waited to see what’s going to happen, go ahead and cleanup the dead leftover’s from winter, and try to only cut back 1/3 of so of the total length of the branches. Again, be patient.


"Is it too late to be planting grass seed?" -No, but do remember that early September is the best time. You can still plant grass seed now.. Try to get it planted as early as you can, to help give it time to root as much as possible before the heat of the summer hits. You have to keep up with that new grass’s moisture needs, and may have to water a bit more than usual this summer.



[Can an atheist get insurance against acts of God?]



[Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?]



*SPRING BULBS NEED YOUR HELP – As the spring flowering bulbs flowers begin to fade, if you have time, feel free to deadhead those spent flowers, but leave that foliage alone! If you haven’t fed your bulbs this spring (best to feed before they flower) feel free to feed now as well, but leave their foliage alone. If a few weeks are popping up where they’re growing, hand weed, spot treat with Roundup if you can, even apply Preen to help stop weed seeds from growing, but leave the bulb’s foliage alone. By the way, did I mention leaving the bulb’s foliage alone? It’s best to let them stay green and grow as long as you can (grow until they begin to turn yellow), for new flowers to appear next year. They need a minimum of 6 weeks or more of just good green foliage, before you can consider cutting them back. And by all means, do not braid their foliage or bend them over and rubber band them together. Over time, these non-recommended practices will take their toll on the bulbs flowering abilities. By the way, once the foliage has yellowed, that’s the perfect time to dig, divide and transplant those spring bulbs if needed.



[One nice thing about egotists; they don’t talk about other people.]



*GET ‘EM NOW BEFORE THEY GET YOU! – If you’re dealing with chickweed and henbit in your landscape beds or gardens, make sure you get rid of them right away. These winter annuals will be flowering and going to seed very shortly, and once that happens, well, they just re-sown themselves for next years crop. Get rid of them now (hand pulling works great) before they go to seed! Don’t forget that by applying PREEN in the late summer, you can stop those winter annual weed seeds from ever getting started.


If thistle has started growing in your beds, spray them now with Roundup before they can get taller than 3-4 inches. Get on them early, and do not give them time to replenish the roots down below. Guaranteed it will take repeated multiple applications of Roundup to control thistle, but with perseverance, you can get them under control.



[If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?]



*SAVE YOUR BACK NOW – We talk about using PREEN and how it can save your back from pulling weeds later on in the season. Well, here are 2 more products that can save your back and time. SUCKER STOPPER will stop those unwanted suckers from growing out the base of your crabapples, Canada Red Cherry, Harry Lauders Walking Stick, or any tree or shrub that has uncontrollable sucker growth. Cut the off, or get them just as they begin to grow, and spray with Sucker Stopper. It prohibits re-growth for up to one year! This stuff really works! OVER THE TOP will take care of those unsightly grassy weeds that continue to pop up in your groundcovers, perennial beds, and landscape plantings. It can actually be sprayed ‘over the top’ of your desirable plants, to kill out the undesirable grasses growing in them, without harming the good plants! As usual, read the labels for instructions and restrictions.



*ONE POTATO, TWO POTATO, THREE POTATO FOUR – Have you ever tried growing potatoes in tough old clay soil? The results are usually less than bad. But here’s the perfect solution for growing great potatoes. Grow them in a pot. Now, whether you’ve got clay soil, live in an apartment, or don’t have a garden at all, you can grow potatoes the old way. And that’s in a container.


Here’s what you’ll need:


1.) The container – we like to use bushel baskets. They breathe well, allow for good drainage, and they look good! But any container, plastic, wood or clay will work, as long as it has good drainage, and is at least 14-18 inches wide and at least 10 – 12 inches deep. You can even use chicken wire fencing and create a potato tube to grow them in. Old tires work well, too!


2.) Soil-less potting mix – use the good stuff for better results. If you have a compost pile, good compost will work too. Finely shredded is best. Folks have even used straw and ground leaves.


Also, an all purpose garden food, Osmocote, and or Miracle Gro.


3.) Seed potatoes – these aren’t the ones you buy from the grocery store. These are found at the garden stores (or feed stores) and are used specifically for growing potatoes. Any variety will work. We don’t recommend using potatoes from the produce department at the grocery. Many have been treated with a growth inhibitor to keep them from sprouting.


Fill the bottom of your pot with 2 –3 inches of the soil-less mix (or compost). Take a large seed potato, or a couple medium sized, cut up into pieces that contain the eyes, and evenly distribute those in the top of the soil-less mix. I usually plant around 6- 8 -10 or more pieces with eyes per basket. If you’re not sure about ‘the eyes’, you can plant whole potatoes, or cut them in half and plant the halves. Plant a bit heavier than usual when planting in containers.


Cover over with another 3-4 inches of soil-less mix, water in thoroughly, and sit your container in the sun. Water as needed, thoroughly moistening the soil, then letting it dry, and then watering it again. Once your potatoes start to grow, water as needed. Again, do not over water.


Now that your potatoes are growing, you have a couple options: 1.) As the potatoes grow, keep adding your soil-less mix (or compost) to the container, always keeping about 4 inches of foliage showing. Continue this process until the container is filled to within one inch of the top of the basket. Or 2.) Let the foliage grow until it’s approximately 3-4 inches above the top of the basket, and then fill in around the foliage with your soil-less mix (or compost) until the basket is full of soil. Now you’re all set for growing potatoes!


Let your potatoes grow all summer. Remember to water when needed, especially during the heat of the summer (again, don’t over-water). Come late summer or fall when the foliage starts to yellow, cut it off, dump out your soil, and you’ll have a basket full of taters! It’s that easy. (New potatoes are simply harvested earlier in the season) Good Luck!


*Feeding your containers can be done by mixing a general garden food in with the soil-less mix which is added to the growing potato plants. You can also use Osmocote for a slow release season long feeding, supplemented with Acid Miracle Gro when watering (feed monthly through the summer).



[If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?]




I’ve made manicotti for years, some very gourmet recipes that require making homemade pasta and sauce, some easier ones that allow store bought manicotti shells. But the recipe I’m sharing today is without a doubt the easiest one and really delicious. It’s a great family dish, since even the smallest child can put the string cheese into the manicotti shell. And if you’re real adventurous, sneak some silken soft tofu into the sauce – they’ll never know it’s one of the best plant sources of protein, iron and calcium – it lends creaminess just like the mozzarella!




1 package, 8 oz, manicotti shells


1 pound lean ground beef, turkey or soy "meat" (optional)


1 small chopped onion or handful of minced wild green onions**


1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced garlic


1 jar, 26 to 30 oz, favorite pasta sauce


12-14 pieces of string cheese


Dried Italian Seasoning


2-3 cups mozzarella, shredded


Sprinkling of Parmesan


Cook manicotti almost according to package directions, slightly undercooking them. Remove from water and lay on tray a couple inches apart so they don’t stick together.


Meanwhile, sauté beef, onion and garlic until meat is cooked. Drain and stir in pasta sauce. Now if you’re making this without meat, just stir in 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic into the sauce.


Spray a 9×13 pan. Spread some of the meat sauce on the bottom.

Sprinkle each piece of string cheese with a shake of Italian seasoning.


Stuff a piece of string cheese into each shell. Place over sauce. Pour rest of sauce over shells.


Cover and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. This allows the string cheese to melt. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 10 more minutes or until cheese melts.


Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan. Serves 6-8.



NOTE: You know I’ll be using wild green onions, this is fine as long as they’re not sprayed with non-edible chemicals. Wild green onions and garlic make great substitutes for their culinary cousins. Eat them now, before they get too strong.



*START TRAINING YOUR DEER NOW! – As your landscapes begin to grow, the deer are ready to devour it. They’re hungry and that new lush foliage tastes great! So train your neighborhood deer to move on to the next year, but using Deer Repellents, Liquid Fence, Milorganite and nylon netting for added coverage / protection. Get started using these products now, before the deer get started, and train them to move on! (ps – Both of these products deter rabbits!)



[Is there another word for synonym?]



[If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is he homeless or naked?]

Carol and Ed Knapton, owners of Americas's Best Flowers You’ll Love Your Garden … It’s Our Promise! May the Holy Spirit Guide You! God Bless
Edward Knapton says Keep on Smiling!
Sec – Treasurer Berry Hill Farms, Inc.
DBA Americas Best Flowers Garden Center
4311 Vilas Hope Road
Cottage Grove, WI 53527
608-222-2269 Fax 608-222-1234 Cell 608-698-5627