Archive | March 2014

Recipe of the Week: Celeriac Purée


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Ingredients

  • 3/4 pounds celeriac (celery root)
  • 1 quart milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream

Directions

  1. Peel celeriac and cut into cubes. Place celeriac pieces into a saucepan and add milk, salt, and pepper.
  2. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, and add the rice. Stir for one minute. Lower the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Once the rice and celeriac are cooked, pour them into a colander. Save their cooking liquid in a bowl.
  4. Place rice and celeriac in a blender or food processor, add 1 tablespoon of cream, and blend for 3 minutes. Add remaining cream as vegetables are being blended.
  5. To thin the purée, add a bit of the reserved cooking liquid (approximately 3/8 cup), and blend for another minute. Taste for salt and pepper. (Note: You can save and freeze any remaining cooking liquid to add to soup.)
  6. If not served immediately, keep warm in a bain marie or double boiler, or reheat over very low heat before serving.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Recipe of the Week: Crunchy Celery, Radish and Turnip Salad-Slaw in Blue Cheese Sauce


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Ingredients

  • • 1/2 head celery (about 6-7 stalks), peeled and thinly sliced, leaves picked and reserved
  • • 1 bunch radishes, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
  • • 1 bunch young turnips, ends trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
  • • 5 spring onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • • 1/2 cup fresh flat leave parsley, chopped
  • For the sauce:
  • • 3 tablespoons Gorgonzola Dolce blue cheese, room temperature
  • • 2 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
  • • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice plus 2 teaspoons zest
  • • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • • 10 grinds black pepper
  • • 2 teaspoons sugar

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice and zest, sugar, salt and pepper until well combined. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  2. Just before serving in a large bowl toss all the vegetables, chopped parsley and celery leaves; add the sauce and mix well to combine. Taste for seasonings and serve.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kiwis for Michigan


“Please post for me any info on ken’s and Mich. kiwi for Michigan planting, if you plan on having in the spring 2014. Also, do you prefer these kiwi over Arctic Beauty?

Joseph”

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Hi Joseph,

Thank you for the email regarding Kiwis.  All three are great varieties and all should do well in your area.  However, if you happen to live in a low spot or a very open area and have a little bit cooler conditions than surrounding areas, you may need to think more about the Arctic Beauty than the others.  If you don’t have a problem with being in a cool pocket, then Ken’s Red and Michigan State would work very well for you.

Arctic Beauty KiwiAs for addition information, do you need basic care instructions and trellising information? Disease and pest control?  If so, just let me know what areas and I can get the information to send your way.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

MOLES!


“moles have been digging in my flower beds, what can i do

cindy”

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MoleHi Cindy,

Thank you for the email regarding the moles that you have been having in your flower beds.  Moles live a solitary life, constantly digging tunnels in search for food. Large front claws distinguish this small animal from a vole or mouse. A mole can dig up to 15 feet per hour. An adult mole is colored gray to brown and grows to a size of 6 to 8 inches. They don’t hibernate and will tunnel under the frost line in winter. Moles reproduce once a year, in the spring, and will only produce 3 or 4 offspring. Spring tunneling in most noticeable.

Trying to remove moles from your yard may involve traps, poisons, some old fashion home remedies, and lots of patience. Many folks prefer to get rid of them without the use of poisons or traps. There are products on the market today that we can use to repel as well as some to prevent moles.

First let’s talk about prevention. Preventative measures should center on their food source. Moles are insectivores, meaning they eat insects such as earthworms and grubs. Most damage to plant life is done while burrowing for insects when they uproot the plants and disturb the grass roots. Getting rid of the grubs will cause the moles to search elsewhere for food. A product named Bacillus popilliae or Milky Spore can be spread over the grass. This product will decrease the grub population and your yard will no longer be an attractive source of food for moles. To completely get rid of the grubs, it is recommended that you apply Milky Spore in late spring, summer and again in fall. Repeat this process for two consecutive years to obtain optimum control. This will kill all three life cycles of the grub. Did you know that grubs grow up to be Japanese Beetles? It’s true. So while you are eliminating the grub population, you are also eliminating the Japanese Beetles.

Here at our place, the tried-and-true method we use to rid the place of the moles is Juicy Fruit gum — the ‘old’ kind that comes as a stick, not the newer chiclet-type flavors.  Find a hole or dig one into a mound of soil in your yard where the mole has gone through. Place an unwrapped stick of gum inside.  The mole, no matter where he has gone afterwards, will come back for that stick of gum!  They eat it and it binds them up inside and kills them.  Repeat if you have more new moles tunnels made, as this means you have more than one mole in your yard.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

Recipe of the Week: Jerry Traunfeld’s Root Ribbons with Sage


Jerry Traunfeld, a Horticulture Talk reader, submitted this recipe for this week’s Recipe of the Week. Thanks Jerry!

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds medium root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, burdock, rutabagas, yams, parsley root, or salsify (avoid beets)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sage
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Wash and peel the roots and discard the peelings. Continue to peel the vegetables from their tops to the root tips to produce ribbons, rotating the roots on their axis a quarter turn after each strip is peeled, until you’re left with cores that are too small to work with. (You can snack on these or save them for stock.) Alternately, you may use a mandoline.
  2. Melt the butter with the sage in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir for a minute to partially cook the sage. Add the root ribbons and toss them with tongs until they begin to wilt. Add the salt, a good grinding of black pepper, the maple syrup, lemon juice, and about 3/4 cup of water.
  3. Continue to cook the vegetables over medium heat, turning them with tongs every minute or so, until all the liquid boils away and the ribbons are glazed and tender, about 10 minutes total. Serve right away, or cool and reheat in the sklllet when ready to serve.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kiss of Death: Why are the plants dying?


“my plants come up nice an green,then turn brown an die.they have plenty of water.corn plants come up to a foot or so then turn brown.tassels start to form.can you tell me why

bob”

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dead soybeansHi Bob,

Thank you for the email regarding your plants.  From your email, but guess
I’m wondering what type of plants you are growing.  Is corn the only plant
you are having problems with or do you have other crops in your garden that
are doing the same?

I look forward to your response and helping you out on this matter.

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“i plant tomatos,potatos,beans,squash,cukes,corn.all come up green,turn yellow,then brown then die.i used 10-10-10-fert.watered 2-3 time week.what is wrong

bob”

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Hi Bob,

Sounds to me like there is something wrong with the environment that your plants are growing in rather than the plants themselves.

If you were having problems with just one crop (i.e. beans or squash) or if you were having problems with one family of crops (i.e. tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants), we would then be looking at some type of disease or insect problem that was hurting the plants.  However, with the problems you have been having, it is everything across the board.

What you have been doing in terms of watering and fertilizing is correct.  This means that the soil is likely the problem.  My suggestion would be to have your soil tested through your local county extension office for Lee County.  Their website and contact details can be found here:  http://lee.ifas.ufl.edu/.

Based on the results of your soil test, their county ag agent should be able to help you in identifying what amendments need to be made in order to get your garden back on track.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lycopene in Tomatoes: Which is the Best?


“What tomato has the highest lycopene  content? I see different catalogs will say that theirs is the best, but I want the one that is really the best. Please help!

Thank you,

David Hunter”

________________________________________________________________Bulgarian Triumph

Hi David,

Thank you for the question regarding Lycopene content in tomatoes.  For the most part, your run of the mill red tomatoes have about the same amount of lycopene (approximately 4.6 mg per cup of raw fruit).  However, Health Kick Hybrid VFFASt is the best, as it has about 6 mg per cup of raw fruit.

In general, the brighter the red, the more lycopene content you have.  If the flesh is more red-orange, there is more beta carotene and other yellow-pigmented carotenoids mixed in.  If you go with a more deep red to red-purple tomato, there are more anthocyanins in the flesh.

One thing that you may not know — cooked tomatoes have up to about 170% more lycopene than raw tomatoes.  It’s not that cooking the tomato makes more lycopene develop, but that the cooking process breaks down the tissue.  If you were to eat a tomato raw, your teeth only break the fruit down so much and then your stomach does a little more.  But in the end, you still have chunks that go undigested.  Cooking makes the tomato more broken apart to start with, and then the chewing and digestion in the stomach breaks it apart more.  So, if you make or purchase tomato paste, there are about 60mg lycopene per cup.  Tomato sauce has about 34.2mg per cup and ketchup has about 2.6 mg per tablespoon.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.