2005 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 34: Thanksgiving

Week 34 (11/22/05)





This week is a bit of gardening and a little bit of turkey ‘stuffing’s’.



*WHETHER IT’S THE WEATHER – A definite change in weather and it actually looks like its going to stick around! Now, what does this mean? Well, with the consistent colder temps: 1.) Soil temperatures will be cooling down nicely and will possibly allow us to do that final winter mulching earlier than we have for the last few years! 2.) This could prove to shut down roses and cool the soil enough to even consider putting them away a bit earlier that we’ve had the opportunity in the past. 3.) Lawns have definitely slowed down enough to go ahead and apply that last shot of lawn fertilizer. So yes, feed the lawn. (Note: Do not apply fertilizer to frozen ground.) And for your last mowing or two, feel free to lower the mower one notch, or about ½ inch or so, to have a final lower mowing, which helps to compensate for late turf growth. Remember to watch the lawn over the next couple weeks. If it’s still growing, you need to keep mowing! 4.) Be careful with containers that are waiting to be moved and over wintered in the garage, that they are not exposed to temperatures in the 20’s, or colder. On the same token, we want to make sure it is consistently cold for them to be in the garage. So if you do move them in, watch the weather. If it warms back up, either move them back out or keep that garage door open to keep them as cool as possible. 5.) This really helps to get those final leaves to fall. Be sure to collect leaves from the lawn and do not let them sit on the turf over the winter. 6.) If the grass is frozen or has a heavy frost on it, stay off until it thaws!



[If government officials ‘talk turkey’, can we say they speak gobbledygook?]



*PARDON ME! – Each year, the National Turkey Federation presents the President of the United States with a live turkey, and two dressed turkeys. This annual presentation has become a traditional holiday ritual in the nation’s capital, signaling the unofficial beginning of the holiday season, and a chance for the President to reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving. By the way, the President ‘pardons’ the live turkey, and allows the bird to retire on a historical farm to live out the rest of its years. As for the two dressed turkeys, well let’s just say there’s no "flip flopping" on this decision. Into the oven they go!



[It’s not a good thing to take a turkey to church, especially because they use such fowl language!]



*MAKE America’s Best YOUR FAMILY HOLIDAY TRADITION – Since 1977, America’s Best has been a holiday family tradition. From live and cut trees, artificial trees, wreaths, greens, roping, Custom Decorations, gardening gifts, and Christmas shops, to the best selection of America’s Best grown Holiday poinsettias in town, America’s Best is your one stop shop for all your holiday decorating needs. Garden store hours will closed on Thanksgiving, then their hours will be M-F 9:00am to 6:00pm, Saturday 9:00am to 6:00pm, and Sunday 9:00am to 6:00pm. The stores are set up for the holidays, and ready for you! Stop in and check us out!



[Do you know why turkeys have such a persecution complex? You would too if you were cut to pieces, have the stuffing knocked out of you, and get picked on for days after Thanksgiving!]



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


"Is it too late to plant spring flowering bulbs?" -Absolutely not! Yes, try to get them planted as soon as you can to give them time to root in a bit before the ground freezes, but you still have plenty of time. Don’t forget to plant a few in pots as well, so you can bring that spring color indoors as well!


"When is it too late to trap moles in my yard?" -It’s never too late, as they are active year round! Granted frozen soils make it tough to trap, but if the soil is workable and the moles have active search tunnels, you can trap!


"Ron, I have a potted tree rose which did exceptionally well this summer. How do I winterize it?" – Leave the containerized tree rose outside until it has totally gone dormant and the temperatures are consistently cold (mid December or later). Then, move the potted tree rose into an unheated garage, water, and water about once each month. You can also spray with Wilt Stop just before taking it into the garage. Next March, move it back outside (still dormant) to begin re-growing as roses normally would. If pruning is needed (too large), some can be done before moving it inside; otherwise, wait until spring for most pruning to be done.


By the way, for those with a tree rose that is growing in the ground, you have 2 options for winter care. Either way, spray it with Wilt Stop first. 1.) Take a sharp spade (10-12 inches away from the trunk) and dig about ½ way around the plant, cutting the roots. Gently pry up on the cut root side and lay the rose on to its side (parallel with the ground). Cover the entire plant and root ball with mulch, finely ground leaves / compost, etc. 2.) Leaving the tree rose upright, circle the entire plant with a cage of chicken wire. Drive one stake in the ground to hold the cage upright and in place. Fill the cage with mulch; finely ground leaves / compost, even straw will work. You can even take it one further step and wrap the filled wire column with burlap and secure it with twine. Uncover your tree rose in the spring as you would your regularly mulched roses. You know, as far as I’m concerned, your best bet for tree roses is growing them in large containers!


"Hi ED – Thanks for the newsletters.  I enjoy what you have to say.  In fact, I just thought you’d like to know that its "educational" and "enjoyable" in more ways than you realize.  Last year, for an entire year, I tutored an adult to read through a local literacy program.  The suggested text books were necessary stepping stones in his improvement, but the stories, albeit simple, were boring for a middle-aged adult.  I learned early on that he enjoyed gardening AND cooking.  And I knew that your newsletters had both.  So as a "bonus," after completing the text book lesson plans, I would present your newsletters.  We would "take turns" reading paragraphs.  It was not only interesting, but good for him to work harder at sounding out the new and more difficult words found in your newsletters.  And of course, when he got stuck on a word, I’d help him through.  We would both "learn" about gardening and "laugh" at your humorous comments.   So I’d simply like to say THANK YOU, ED, for helping ME help HIM enjoy the gift of reading." 



[You know you went nuts at Thanksgiving if the paramedics have to bring in the Jaws of Life to pry you out of the Lazy Boy recliner.]



*TAKE THE WORRY OUT OF CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR – Don’t let Christmas get you upset and frustrated. Since 1977, Americas Best has been a family holiday tradition with our fresh wreaths and greens, live and cut Christmas trees, custom decorations, and of course, our America’s Best grown holiday poinsettias. And, if you’re not sure what to buy your favorite gardener this year, why not buy a Americas Best Gift Card? Available in any amount, and can be purchased at the stores. We can also take an order over the phone and mail it to you.  Come see us this holiday season!



[You know you ate too much on Thanksgiving if you prick your finger for a cholesterol test and only gravy comes out.]



*GO AHEAD AND EAT / WE’LL BURN OFF THOSE CALORIES LATER! – This is Thanksgiving weekend, and if you’re like me, there’s a real good chance you’ll wind up eating way more than you could have ever imagined! But don’t worry. You’ve got a whole yard out there waiting to help you get rid of those extra calories. That’s right; working in the yard is a great way to burn those extra Thanksgiving calories. Of course, before you start, do a little warm up and stretching. We don’t want you to be a couch potato because of a few pulled muscles! So, what can you do to burn those calories this time of the year?


-Mow the grass one last time, and use a push mower, not a rider or self propelled. This burns about 490 calories an hour.


-Pull those remaining weeds, and hoe those beds. This can burn about 320 calories per hour.


-Plant that extra tree you’ve always wanted, or that flowering shrub, or even spring flowering bulbs. Or put a new edge on those beds. Digging and planting will burn well over 360 calories per hour.


-Check the gutter for leaves, and when you move the ladder, only move it a few feet. That forces you to go up and down more, burning even more calories.


-And my favorite burner, rake those leaves! By cleaning up those late leaves, not only do you help the grass, but you can burn as many as 340 calories per hour.


-And if by chance we get an early snow fall, get out the snow shovel and burn over 500 – 600 calories an hour! Man, this is making me hungry. Is that turkey I smell?



[You know you went nuts on Thanksgiving when representatives from the Butterball Hall of Fame called twice.]



*FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN / HEY RITA, I THOUGHT YOU WERE OFF! – Yardboy, I know I wasn’t originally going to contribute this week, but I just had to share this fabulous recipe. I will be making this on the Channel 9 noon show on Tuesday, and wanted to give our readers what I consider to be the ultimate cheesecake. I’m talking about my clone of The Cheesecake Factory’s Pumpkin Cheesecake. I’ve put the cheesecakes side by side for taste testing and the only difference my family noticed was that the Cheesecake Factory’s was higher in volume. Again, I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday, filled with family, friends, and, of course, good food! LOVE STARTS IN THE KITCHEN!


Rita’s Cloned Cheesecake Factory’s Pumpkin Cheesecake



1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs


1 tablespoon or so of sugar


1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon


5 tablespoons melted butter


Mix until crumbly, not pasty. Pat into 9" spring form pan going up the sides a bit. Set aside while making filling:




1 pound cream cheese, room temperature


1 cup sour cream


1-1/4 cups sugar


1 teaspoon vanilla


3 tablespoons brown sugar


1 can approx. 15 oz, pumpkin puree


2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice


1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


4 eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 350. Beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add pumpkin and spices and blend. Add eggs and blend until mixed. Pour into pan. Bake 40-45 minutes until center is almost set but still wobbly. Turn oven off but leave cheesecake in with oven door shut for 30 minutes more. This will finish the baking process and prevent a lot of "cracking" on top. Refrigerate several hours or up to 2 days to complete firming up of cheesecake. Garnish with whipped cream and nuts if you like. Serves 10-12.


-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 [life@communitypress.com attn: Rita]


*TURKEY WEEKEND CHECKLIST – Temperatures are cooling down, and there’s even snow flurries in the forecast this week. But don’t panic, there’s still plenty of time to keep working towards finishing those fall gardening chores. Here’s our checklist for you to follow, just in case you forgot what to do:


__ Continue to remove all dead foliage from perennials and clean up left over annuals and veggie plants. Cut them off and leave the roots. They break down and add organic matter back to the soil.


__ Still time to till the garden; exposed soils freeze and thaw over the winter. Don’t be hesitant to add a layer of compost or finely ground leaves and grass clippings before tilling the garden.


__ Still time to feed the trees. Vertical mulching or soil injection with a Ross Root Feeder works great. It’s also a great way to water if the trees are dry (especially those evergreens).


__ Still time to plant spring flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, crocus, and hyacinths, anemones, alliums and lychoris (who flower in late summer). Plant a few in pots for bringing indoors next spring.


__ At this point, keep those leaves from accumulating on the lawn, especially newly seeded lawns.


__ Keep mowing the lawn on a regular basis (change directions each time you mow) until the lawn has completely stopped growing. For the last couple mowings, feel free to lower the mower one notch. The time has come for the last feeding with a high N fertilizer, so feed the lawn. Once the lawn has stopped growing, take the mower in for servicing.


__ If we aren’t getting 1 inch of rainfall every 10 days or so, you still need to water. Do not let your plants go into the winter under a drought stress.


__ Clean, oil and properly store all garden tools when the season is over.


__ Drain and coil hoses / store where they won’t freeze. Keep one handy for any winter watering that needs to be done.


__ Properly store all liquid chemicals and protect them from freezing.


__ Brighten your holidays by planting amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs. Buy extras and plant on staggered times to enjoy their flowers all winter long.


__ Empty or properly store containers and planters to prevent freezing and damages to the pots.


__ Cover water gardens with nylon mesh or netting to keep leaves and other debris out.


__ Make sure you protect your evergreens from winter damages by providing good soil moisture, mulching their roots, spraying with an anti-desiccant such and ‘Wilt Stop’ by Bonide, and in severe cases, build burlap screens to reduce wind and salt spray.


__ Pot up small containers of herbs for growing indoors over the winter.


__ Feed the birds. Clean your feeders if you haven’t already, and do make sure your birds have a source of water over the winter.


Okay, there’s plenty more that can be done, but this should help you keep on pace.



[I was getting my hair cut at the Mason barber shop, and decided to get a shave as well. I told Gary the barber that I had a hard time getting a close shave around my cheeks and he told me he had just the thing to help. He gave me a small wooden ball and told me to hold it between my cheek and gum. Well, let me tell you that was the closest shave I’ve ever gotten. So after Gary was finished, I asked him what would have happened if I had swallowed the ball? Gray said, "It’s not a problem. You could bring it back to me tomorrow just like everyone else does."]



That’s it for this week. And for those of you who know me and follow NASCAR, I would be remising if I didn’t mention my favorite driver winning the 2005 Nextel Cup Title. GO TONY STEWART!


Okay, that’s enough. It’s the beginning of the Holiday season, so stay calm, don’t get over stressed, and just enjoy what is about to happen. If you’re traveling this weekend, be safe. If you’re getting together with the family, tell them I said hello! Now, do yourself a favor. Take time to give thanks, and make sure you have the absolute best Thanksgiving of your life.



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