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Edition 14.28 H&H Gardening Newsletter July 27, 2014

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Harvest your summer vegetables as soon as they are ready. Don't let them rot and drop to the ground. This can bring insects and cause disease.

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Kellogg Garden Products

Kellogg Garden Products

Kellogg Garden Products

Kellogg Garden Products

Kellogg Garden Products


Featured Quote:

featured quote

"There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling."
~Mirabel Osler

Arriving Soon
Asclepias fascicularis - Narrow Milkweed

This California native grows to 3 feet and has pale, creamy pink blooms. Fairly drought tolerant once established, and takes a wide range of different soil textures. The nectar provides food for butterflies, bees and wasps. We will have a limited quantity available in 1 gallon, arriving later this week. Add this native to complete your butterfly garden.


Getting the Most from Cut Flowers

An arrangement of fresh flowers will brighten a room, bringing the beauty of nature indoors. Picking fresh flowers that you have grown yourself is one of the delights of gardening, but whether you are picking your own flowers or buying cut flowers, you will want to do all you can to get the most from your arrangement.

Picking Flowers
When picking flowers from your garden, do so early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Cool them quickly by placing them in a bucket of water left in a cool place for an hour or so. This is especially important in hot summer weather.

Buying Cut Flowers
If you are buying cut flowers, look for bright, fresh- looking flowers that are just starting to open. Avoid flowers that have been standing in the sun or have been exposed to car exhaust fumes. Flowers with yellowing leaves on the stem or those with slimy stems have been in water for quite some time and are unlikely to be very satisfactory. When you get your flowers home, put them straight into a bucket of water without unwrapping them and leave them in a cool place to revive.

Clean Vases
Make sure your vases are perfectly clean. The stains in vases are usually bacteria that will get to work blocking the water uptake to the flower stems. Stains that are difficult to remove with normal cleaning may be removed by filling the vase with water and adding a few drops of household bleach. Allow the vase to soak for a couple of hours; then rinse well.

Clean Water and Preservatives
Clean water is essential for cut flowers. You can change the water in the vase daily or use a floral preservative. Check the vase often to see if it needs filling. Some flowers with woody stems drink a lot of water, especially in the first two or three days after cutting.

Preparing the Flowers
Cut off a couple of inches of stem with sharp shears and be sure to remove any leaves that would be below the water level in the vase. Any left on the stem will rot quickly and pollute the water.

Daffodils, jonquils and tulips should not be placed with other flowers immediately after cutting because their secretions can block the stems of other flowers, causing their vase-mates to collapse. Place them in a separate vase for an hour or two. Then seal the tips of the stems by dipping them in very hot water before adding them to a mixed arrangement.

If flowers develop a bent neck, they probably have an air lock in the stem and are unable to absorb water properly. Recut the stems under water and place them in cool water for a couple of hours.

Most flowers absorb water best if cuts are made between nodes or joints. This is certainly true of carnations and hydrangeas. Never crush the stems, as the damaged tissue will not absorb water well, and the water will become polluted. Sharp, clean cuts are best.

A number of flowers respond well to having the stems scalded for a few seconds. Place the ends of the stem in boiling water for about 20 seconds, but be careful to keep the heads out of the steam.

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Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot happens not just with tomatoes, but also with peppers, squash and watermelons. There are a number of reasons for blossom end rot, all of which start because the plant has an inability to obtain calcium from the soil or the soil is deficient in calcium.

Blossom end rot is a sunken, dark area on the blossom end of the fruit, at the end opposite the stem. As the fruit develops, the rot area enlarges and can grow mold in the damaged area.

A number of factors can contribute to blossom end rot, in addition to calcium deficiency. These include irregular watering, soil mineral imbalance, root damage, broad temperature swings, or even high soil salt content. To compensate for some of these, deep water regularly instead of lightly watering daily; mulch to keep moisture in the soil; avoid high nitrogen foods that encourage foliage growth but not flower growth; avoid using fresh manure (once the plants are in the garden) because it is high in salt content.

But most important of all is the lack of calcium in the soil. To prevent blossom end rot, feed your vegetables regularly with a vegetable food high in calcium. On existing plants showing blossom end rot, spray the foliage and fruit with a calcium spray.

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What's Bugging You?  Grubs

White grubs are damaging pests that begin invading lawns in early spring and again in summer. Grubs do their damage below ground, so the problem often goes undetected until too late. Beetle grubs can turn a fine looking lawn into a patchwork quilt of yellow spots. In addition, birds and other animals will often start digging up your lawn looking for the tasty grubs to feed on.

The grubs are actually larvae of beetles and other insects; most are C-shaped and off-white with a dark head.

There are several types of grubs that are capable of damaging lawns, with two life cycles in a year. When you have grubs, the damaged areas of grass can be easily lifted, and many times the grubs can be seen feeding on the edge of the healthy grass in the damaged area.

Natural controls include beneficial nematodes or milky spore (a disease that specifically attacks Japanese beetle grubs), although it takes a number of applications for milky spore to become established in lawns. It's an excellent long-term solution, but doesn't help much right now.

There are chemical products that are very effective for a grub problem, but only at certain times of year.

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Garden Primer
How do I know if I have bad drainage?


First, your plants won't look happy. (Surprise) The foliage will look dull and lack the luster and intense color of a healthy plant. If it is a blooming plant, it may produce few blooms or none at all. When the condition becomes severe, the plant will drop its leaves from the interior first, eventually working its way to the leaf tips.

The second sure sign is if you are not watering much but the ground stays continually wet or even has moss or algae growing on it. The soil may also have an odor to it. What is important to remember is that every time plants are watered, it lowers the soil temperature by up to twenty degrees. Most plants are stimulated to grow as the soil temperature warms up. If the soil is always wet, the soil temperature will be cooler than the plant desires and it won't grow much.

Poorly draining soil also attracts bad bacteria that can attack the root system, in addition to providing less oxygen for the plant. If you think you have bad drainage, gently lift the plant out of the ground with a shovel--being careful not to damage roots.

If the soil is wet at the bottom of the hole, dig it deeper and back-fill with at least six inches of gravel. Then build a mound that will raise the plant 3-6 inches higher than the surrounding soil level and re-plant so that the top of the root ball is level with the top of the mound. If that doesn't work, you may need to find a different location for the plant.

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Asian Roll Lettuce Wraps

You will need at least 8 (10-inch) bamboo skewers for cooking the meat.


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 16 large lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup sliced radishes

  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  • In a medium bowl, mix together ground turkey, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 2 teaspoons ginger. Form into 16 meatballs and roll into ovals. Cover and refrigerate.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine rice with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
  • Preheat the grill or broiler. Arrange rice, lettuce leaves, carrots, scallions, radishes and red peppers onto a serving platter or place each into a small bowl. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup water, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger, and sugar. Divide among 4 small dipping bowls.
  • Thread two meatballs onto each 10-inch skewer. Grill or broil for 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally to brown all sides. If broiling, line the broiler pan with aluminum foil and drain fat after 6 minutes.
  • To eat, place a leaf of lettuce onto the palm of your hand, spoon on a little rice, then a meatball, and a few of the vegetables. Roll up and dip in dipping sauce or spoon sauce over.

Yield: 4 servings


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