Things gardeners need to be considering for November.
Mark Keaton - County Extension Agent
Trees are a natural resource in this, the Natural State. But because we have so many trees, we have become accustomed to them, we often take these valuable assets for granted. They become overlooked until a problem arises, and then we worry. Take a look around you and imagine the landscape without the trees.
Shade trees that are properly located on your property can cut summer utility bills by 20 percent or more. For energy efficiency it is best to plant deciduous trees on the west side of your house. Trees planted in these locations provide shade during the intense heat of the day. If you use deciduous trees, they'll lose their leaves in the winter, allowing the sunlight in to help warm things up during the coldest times of the year. It will also help if you shade your air conditioner. This can increase the cooling efficiency by as much as 10%.
Best tree species for shade:
There are numerous species of trees that make great shade trees, from many of the oaks, (including willow oak, shumard oak, cherrybark oak and pin oak), to tulip poplars, bald cypress, and even sweetgum.
Not only are these large trees giving us shade but they are also helping to clean the air. Leaves on trees absorb carbon dioxide, and filter pollutants from the air. They also catch airborne dust and dirt, and give off oxygen. Not only do they work on air pollution, but also noise pollution. They absorb sound, and can create a buffer between you and a busy street.
How trees prevent erosion:
Tree roots are often blamed for many problems, but rarely thanked for controlling erosion. The canopy of the tree shelters soil moisture and helps in erosion, but so do the trees roots. Trees planted along a riverbank can slow the water and reduce flooding. If you live in an area with high winds, a diverse planting of trees can act as a windbreak if properly planted.
Think of the beauty of trees, from the massive trees fall foliage to smaller trees flowers. Dogwoods have been the most popular blooming tree in Arkansas for years, but others are coming to the forefront now. For more sunlight look at the Kousa dogwood. There are sweetbay magnolias, golden raintree, chinese fringe tree and redbud. Japanese maples are popular under story trees and flowering cherries and crabapples are a nice addition to springtime color.
Tree Planting Tips:
Now that you realize how valuable a resource trees are, consider planting one. The third Monday in March is the day we celebrate Arbor day in Arkansas.
Select a tree for your landscape based on what you need. Do you need and have room for a large shade tree? Do you want a small under story tree for color? Before you plant a tree, look up. Make sure power lines are not going to interfere with growth. Try to locate trees no close than 15 feet from the foundation of your house. Check the drainage.
Trees come in three ways: balled in burlap, bare root or containerized. They also come in many sizes. Choose one that you can easily manage. For larger and more instant shade, there are now professionals with giant tree spades that can move large trees. Container grown plants can be planted any time you want to. Balled in burlap trees should be planted before the heat of summer sets in or again in the fall. Bare root trees need to be planted when they are totally dormant since there is nothing inside the plastic sleeve to sustain plant growth. Fall foliage is an added bonus to some tree varieties that offer visual interest to home landscape
When you plant your tree, be sure to plant it at the level it is currently growing or slightly more shallow. Work up the planting hole wider than necessary to encourage the roots to spread out. Avoid amending the soil in just the planting hole, or you encourage the roots to stay in the planting hole. Avoid fertilization at planting, but do water well. Mulch around the tree to keep grass and weeds away which can compete with the young root system. And continue to water once a week all season to help the tree get established.
As Americans, squashes in their many and varied forms have been a part of our diet since the earliest times. The butternut squash is one of the bewildering assortment of squashes listed in the seed catalogs.
Butternut squash is a selection of Cucurbita moschata, one of four New World species in the pumpkin – squash – gourd complex that have been cultivated by Native Americans for at least 6,000 years.
These species interbreed promiscuously, and the origins of individual forms is murky. This species possibly originated in Argentina but was being grown in North America by the time European exploration commenced in the 16th century.
Butternut is a winter variety, one of the squashes with hard exterior shell and large, hard-shelled seeds. Because of their thick rind they can be stored for several months unlike their relatives, the thin skinned summer squash. Butternut is the tan colored, elongated, smooth skinned squash with a swollen base. It and the familiar acorn squash are the two most common winter squashes seen in groceries.
In the garden, it grows as a sprawling vine similar to its cousin the pumpkin, but without so much exuberance. Unlike the summer squash, which are harvested every few days to assure their succulence, winter squash are allowed to remain on the vine until the fruit develop the thick skin late in the season.it grows as a sprawling vine similar to its cousin the pumpkin, but without so much exuberance. Unlike the summer squash, which are harvested every few days to assure their succulence, winter squash are allowed to remain on the vine until the fruit develop the thick skin late in the season.
As the holiday season arrives and the pumpkin pies are wafting their fragrance from the oven, a discussion of this all-American food seems appropriate.
Pumpkins and the odd assemblage of squashes represent one of the three food crops cultivated by Native Americans at the time of European arrival. The others were corn (maize) and beans. The whole world quickly embraced corn and beans as staples, but pumpkins and squash never caught on in the rest of the world like they did here.
Pumpkin pies can be made from either winter squashes or from the more traditional pumpkin. In fact, the first pumpkin pies were made using hard shelled pumpkins that had a squash-like look. The earliest mention of a desert made from pumpkins was by Massachusetts Pilgrims soon after their landing in 1620.
Their method of preparation was to remove the top of a pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and then fill the cavity with sliced apples, sugar, spices and milk. The thick-skinned fruit was then baked in wood ashes until it was done. By 1673, the "Pumpion-Pye" had progressed to a kind of griddle cake with eggs added. In a 1796 cookbook, the pumpkin pie in its current form with a proper pie crust was described.
Orange-fleshed butternut squash are not usually used to make pumpkin pies, but they could be. Mostly, they are split and baked with spices and butter added for seasoning. This method is little changed from how the Pilgrims would have prepared the dish, except they didn’t have a microwave.
Butternut squash are warm season vegetables planted in hills spaced two feet apart in wide rows. Being intended for harvest at the end of the season, planting can be delay until June. Squash bugs are a serious problem with all squash. Scouting for the clusters of shiny brown eggs on the leaves is an early warning system important in control. Removing the eggs will help, but it’s hard to get them all. When young insects are first spotted, they should be dispatched with an appropriate spray while still young.
By: Gerald Klingaman, retired
Extension Horticulturist - Ornamentals
Extension News - December 9, 2005
Celosia are noted for their brilliant "rooster comb" plumes. Celosia makes a very showy, unusual display in borders and as edging. While the brilliant reds are by far the most popular color, Celosia, or Cockscomb, also come in yellow, orange, crimson, rose, and purple flowers. Celosia are wonderful for bouquets, fresh or dried. To dry these flowers, hang them upside down in a cool dark, and dry place, for about two months.
Other Names: Celosia are also called Cockscomb and Woolflowers.
Plant Height: up to 30"
Celosia are grown from very fine seeds. They can be directly seeded into your flower garden or seeded indoors for transplanting later. If planting outdoors, sow Celosia seeds after the soil has begun to warm in the spring. We recommend starting them indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date for your area. Seeds need to stay moist, and require warm soil to germinate.
Sow seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/8" of fine soil. Water thoroughly and keep soil moist.
Days to Germination: 10-15
Plants come and go in the nursery trade with a dizzying rapidity. Here today, gone tomorrow. The causes for this seeming fickleness are many, but ultimately it boils down to growing what people will buy. Sedums, in their many and varied forms, are popular plants across the land but two species, the lowly stonecrop (Sedum acre) and stringy stonecrop (S. sarmentosum) have fallen from favor and are seldom seen in commercial offerings. Both plants are often called goldmoss sedum.
Sedum acre is a mat forming succulent perennial that grows about 3 inches tall with tangled stems that spread horizontally by means of a shallow rhizome. The rounded quarter-inch long leaf is tightly held against the stem. The small but showy yellow flowers appear in mid-spring on flat-topped cymes. Individual flowers form five-pointed stars with protruding stamens. Sedums are members of the succulent crassula family.
Sedum acre is native to a wide swath of Eurasia and was introduced early into North America. It has escaped cultivation in most of our northern states and most Canadian provinces. It grows as far north as zone 2, at least when protected by snow cover. It does not appear to have escaped in the South. As an escapee, it is primarily found on open, barren and rocky ground where little else will grow. In certain fragile ecosystems, such as “balds” and broad limestone ledges where there is almost no soil, it can displace native species.
Sedum sarmentosum, stringy stonecrop, is a Chinese native, with arching above ground stems that produce succulent, triangular leaves about a half-inch long that decrease in size towards the ends of the branches. Plants have a chartreuse look about them, especially in the spring. It is a sprawling plant that grows to about 4 inches tall, with most of the action above ground, whereas Sedum acre spreads primarily by underground rhizomes. Stringy stonecrop is the most aggressive spreader in the South and has escaped cultivation in the eastern states, where it is sometimes called graveyard stonecrop.
Gardeners seem to love or hate goldmoss sedums in about equal numbers. Their aggressive ways make them sure survivors in almost any site, and if your site is sunny and open it can spread and become invasive. But, because they stay on the ground and only sprawl sideways, they will not spread far under the shade of tall growing perennials or shrubs. Some gardeners use them as “living mulch” by allowing their thick mat of foliage to cover the ground and suppress weeds. The gardeners at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia have planted Sedum acre between the granite slabs marking President Kennedy’s grave, where it has persisted for almost 50 years.
Sedums of all kinds, including both species of goldmoss sedum, have found new life in recent years as a major component of living roofs. The green roof movement, while not common in Arkansas, is being used extensively in many large cities. The green roof concept relies on a very permeable soil that is usually composed of a lightweight coarse aggregate that comprises 85 percent of the soil volume. This allows for rapid water penetration during rains, but means the plants must be both heat- and drought-tolerant. Sedums have served well in this capacity.
Both goldmoss sedums are hardy from zones 3 through 8 (9) and will grow in almost any soil, but must have at least 6 hours of sun to survive. If the soil conditions are fertile, it might be a mistake to plant such aggressive growers, but it the site is harsh, then they may be a good choice. They can be easily restrained by pulling the shallowly rooted plants from areas where it is not wanted. New plantings can be established by plopping a handful of plants on top of the soil and then occasionally watering it until new roots establish.
By: Gerald Klingaman, retired
Retired Extension Horticulturist - Ornamentals
Extension News - June 17, 2011
This is an easy and delicious dessert.
Good way to use some of the left over
sweet potatoes from your garden.
Combine all ingredients and pour into pie shell.
Bake at 350 for 50 to 55 minutes or until
inserted toothpick comes out clean and pie
is golden brown.
This is a tasty and healthy recipe to make use of some of that leftover turkey after
Thanksgiving. Makes 3 meal size servings.