The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Still plenty of weeds even in late September – We do believe weeds are a year-round problem and there are still some thriving in the garden of late September. The worst are the grassy type such as Bermuda and crabgrass. The best way to get rid of it is the old fashion way of pulling it up by the roots and throwing it out of the garden.

The long ago county fair: bumper cars – Last week in the column, we mentioned the twin Ferris wheels of the 1950s county fairs. Another thrill ride was the bumper cars. They were nothing like those in most of today’s amusement parks. These cars were housed in a huge tent and the cars were made of heavy metal. Unforgettable for the steel rods that connected the cars to a grid at the top of the tent. As the cars were driven and bumping into each other, sparks from the top of the grid were floating down to the floor of the tent. Needless to say, this was a scary looking ride and our parents would not allow us to ride it (I would certainly like to ride one of them today!) I always wondered how they moved that heavy ride from one town to another back then. No wonder they are called the fabulous 50s!

Pansies are the annuals of autumn – Pansies are definitely the flower of autumn and they are appearing in hardware’s, garden shops and home improvement warehouses. You can buy them in six packs, nine packs and by the flat. They come in many colors including yellow, lavender, white, purple, bronze, pink, cream, burgundy and maroon. They can be planted in containers where summer annuals were in. You can help them grow quickly by adding pansy booster fertilizer to the containers when you plant them. Water once a week but cut down on the water when hard freezes arrive. Most pansies will thrive through the winter.

A little autumn hawky lore – This lore says that, “when the hawks fly high, we can expect a clear sky”. This may be true but most of the time when a hawk flies high, he is looking for a meal. We know when a hawk is in the area because there is a weird quiet as the birds are suddenly active and then perform their disappearing act until the hawk flies away. Anyway, we see lots more crows these days then hawks. We wonder if the crows are searching them out!

Kale is become an America’s most popular green – Kale is now the most popular green in the country because it is used so many ways. Not only can it be cooked, but eaten raw and made into salads and also dips. It is tough in winter hardy, easily grown and harvested. It’s not too late to plant a bed or row. You can choose from several varieties including curly and Siberian types. After it germinates apply a layer of crushed leaves between the rows for added cold weather protection.

Taking care of the turnup row – As we move our way into autumn, add a layer of crushed leaves or grass clippings between turnip rows. Use a water sprinkling can to apply liquid fertilizer to the turnip tops to develop large turnips.

Broccoli as an autumn crop does better – Broccoli can be planted in spring and again in autumn, but it is more productive in autumn because as a cool weather vegetable it has more days to produce a longer harvest even until spring. We can help prolong the autumn harvest into winter by covering space between the rows with a heavy layer of crushed leaves and applying liquid fertilizer to the plants every 10 days.

The tough collard: Southern Staple – Collards are definitely an autumn and winter vegetable and there still time to plant them. You can choose from Vates, Georgia and cabbage collared. For added production, allowed two feet between each plant and apply grass clippings and crushed leaves between the rows and plants. Continue to fertilize with liquid fertilizer every 10 days.

Planting a row of onion sets – Onion sets are available at local hardwares and seed shops. They come in red, yellow, and white. You can purchase them by the pound for three or four dollars. Plant them about 2 to 3 inches deep and about 3 inches apart. Cover sets with a layer of pete moss and then a layer of soil. After they sprout, cover row middles with crushed leaves for freeze protection.

A pumpkin pie – Cake celebrates the arrival of pumpkin season – this easy and usual pumpkin recipe will be a favorite dessert. It combines a feeling of pumpkin pie cake and whipped topping. Spread a large can of Libby’s prepared pumpkin pie mix in the bottom of the 10 x 14 glass baking dish sprayed with Baker’s Joy or Pam. Mix a box of yellowcake mix according to the package instructions and add 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie seasoning to the cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees about 35 to 40 minutes until done or when cake springs back when touched. Let cake cool and frost with a container of Cool Whip, an envelope of dream whip or a carton of whipping cream whipped into peaks (this is best!) A special plus for this pie cake prep is that you can use your favorite pumpkin pre-recipe instead of the Libbys prepared mix. It’s great both ways. You can also sprinkle a little cinnamon on the whipped cream topping.

Ray Baird