The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Plotting against cold weather pests – As the days get shorter and colder, insect pests will be trying to find winter quarters in your home. Prevent their entrance by taking extra precautions. Spray around doors and windows to deter them from crawling in. Spray wood piles to prevent hiding areas. Don’t leave cat or dog food outside the doors, porch, or carport when you go in and out of the house, open and close doors quickly.

Autumn leaves are quickly leaving trees – Don’t let the autumn bounty of falling leaves go to waste and for goodness sake, do not burn them. They are a valuable natural resource so rake or vacuum them up to use as compost, mulch, or blanket in the garden or flowerbeds to enrich soil or provide a warm blanket for cool weather vegetable crops.

A slowdown in the garden plot – The waning warm weather vegetables have narrowed their way down to hot and sweet peppers and the remaining tomato crop with plenty of green tomatoes waiting to be harvested while still green before the first killing frost in the next week or so while they are in slow down mode cool weather vegetables are greening up other rose in the garden plot.

The furnace and air conditioner are both enjoying a small breather – Indian summer temperatures are providing some extra breathing room for heating and cooling units in mid October. It is a great time to enjoy the crisp air of October and bask in these comfortable remaining days to take in the great outdoors before cabin fever season sets in.

Checking berries on Carolina dogwoods – As all the leaves continue to fall from the Dogwood trees, it is time to check the number of red berries remaining on the limbs. We hope there are plenty in spite of some being eaten by birds. Usually the amount of berries will give us a message about what kind of winter is in store for us.

Checking low hanging limbs for an early Christmas ornament – As leaves fall from low hanging branches of trees like dogwoods, search for an empty Birdsnest that is still intact before it becomes damaged by winter ice and snow. Carefully remove the nest without disturbing it. Lay on a few sheets of newspaper and spray the nest with several coats of varnish to hold it together and preserve it for a natural Christmas tree decoration. Store the nest and I started box.

Pumpkin celebration recipe of the week – This weeks recipe for pumpkin is an unusual pie and very easy to prepare and enjoy. This is pumpkin cream pie the ingredients are: 3 cups of caramel ice cream topping, 16 ounce graham cracker piecrust, 3/4 cup of pecan halves, one cup cold milk, 2 four ounce boxes of jello instant vanilla or French vanilla pudding mix, one cup canned pumpkin, two teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, one 8 ounce container of cool whip. Step 1 – pour 1/4 cup of caramel topping into graham cracker crust and sprinkle with a half cup of pecan halves. Step 2- best pudding mixes, milk and pumpkin pie spice until well blended. Star in half of the Cool Whip. Spread mixture into crest. Step three – top with remaining Cool Whip and refrigerate. Step four – just before serving, add remaining caramel topping and a reminder of pecan halves. Melt in your mouth yummy!

You can still plant a row of onion sets – Even though it’s still mid October, onion sets are still available in hardware stores and seed shops and can still be set out in the garden plot. It’s always a good idea to place a layer of crushed leaves or grass chippings between rows especially in mid October.

Making double use of a pumpkin – You can decorate a pumpkin and still make a pie from it. Instead of carving out a jack-o’-lantern, you can paint a face on the pumpkin by drawing on the face with a black permanent marker and then using acrylic paint to color the facial details. You can display it outdoors or indoors until Halloween. The pumpkin can then be cut and peeled and cooked and mashed into pumpkin pie filling.

A pumpkin patch on center of kitchen table – A harvest centerpiece for the dining room table is simple by using several little pumpkins for a little over a dollar each and a bag of cream pumpkins. Place the small pumpkins in the center of the table and place the creme pumpkins around the pumpkins. Keep plenty of creme pumpkins on hand to replace those eaten.

Ray Baird