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Start decorating for Fall with beautiful fresh picked Indian Corn
Welcome to the Paul Parent Garden Club 2014 Newsletter
*How to print article's at bottom of newsletter.

Flowering Kale and Cabbag can last until Christmas

And You can eat them


The first time you hear of flowering cabbage and kale you think, vegetables used in the flower garden--are you crazy! Well let me tell you that these vegetables will look wonderful planted around your home and in your fall garden with mums and New England asters.

Right now, most of the plants are colored blue green to light green, but this will change when the weather begins to get cold. As the temperatures dip down to the thirties and forties the foliage will begin to change color from the center of the plant and will quickly spread to all the leaves. Look for white, pink and purple shades to form during late September and increase during October.

What you will like about this plant is that, when all your garden plants have given up and gone dormant for the year, this plant will just be beginning to show color. It is not uncommon to see the flowering cabbage and kale in your garden as late as February unless the plants are covered with snow. When I lived in Massachusetts, I remember that one year we had snow for the holidays but warm weather returned and melted the snow, revealing the cabbage and kale in the garden--and they lasted for many more weeks.

The flowering cabbage will actually have a small head of cabbage that will form in the center of the plant, growing two to four inches in diameter. The foliage is broad, wide, coarse, thick and leathery. It will grow six to twelve inches tall and wide. The leaves grow in a whorl around the center of the plant and can spread 12 to 15 in wide, like a regular cabbage. Flowering kale grows as a clump of leaves like a head of loose-leaf lettuce. These leaves grow as large as the cabbage plants, but are ruffled on the tip of the leaf or margins.

Some new hybrid varieties grow in the shape of a coarse and thick feather, with the edges of the leaf ruffled with multi-colored foliage. The foliage will grow 2 to 4 inches wide and 12 to 15 inches tall, forming a wonderful-looking plant that will grow 12 to 15 inches tall and wide. Both types of plants begin to color up with cold weather and the color begins in the middle of the plant working its way to the edges.

These plants are started from seed during July and August, while the weather is warm, to help develop foliage, as cold weather stops the plants from growing. Like all cabbage and kale plants, cabbage loopers and foliar worms are a problem while growing from seedlings to mature plants. This problem is easily controlled today with the new organic Spinosad or Captain Jack insecticide. When the weather gets cold these insects die, due to the cold weather.

Plant in a sunny garden, as the sun and cold temperature combination will give you the best color. Cabbage and kale will also do very well in window boxes, planters and pots. On the ground, they seem to hold more of the foliage on the plant, as it is easier to keep them watered. So if your plants are in containers, be sure to water a couple times a week and fertilize them a couple of times after you plant them to give the plant better color. Use a liquid fertilizer such as Dr. Earth liquid vegetable every couple of weeks until the ground freezes.

These plants are unique and will give your plantings a lot of character for many weeks to come. If you do not get a centerpiece for Thanksgiving, cut one of the plants from your garden and use it as an centerpiece. If you get tired of the look and want to decorate for Christmas, cut the plants at the soil line and bring them inside the house to cook, as both plants are very tasty. They are great in cold salads and make great garnish for special meals. Great plants for fall color around your home or your next meal--the flowering cabbage or flowering kale. So pick some up this weekend when you are visiting your favorite nursery or greenhouse. You will like these plants as much as I do, so enjoy!



"You Are My Sunshine" - ( Anne Murray )
                                       Enjoy the last week of summer!
Now is the time to plant fall flowering Mums


This fall, as you work in your garden, let's plant fall-flowering mums as the gardeners of Asia did over 2500 years ago. Mums were wild flowers then that grew everywhere and flowered in the fall all over Asia. This flowering wildflower plant, the chrysanthemum, was collected by gardeners and planted in their gardens during the fall season for fall color just like you and I do today.

The original plant has been hybridized a great deal to give us the hybrids that we have today. The chrysanthemum was collected in Asia and brought to Japan, where it is still grown as a sacred flower and symbolizes "Happiness and Longevity."

My love for this flower developed when I was thirteen years old, as I worked at a farm stand in Scituate, Mass., and spent weekends digging up mums in the field for customers. I dug the mums that customers selected and put them in empty beer boxes for the trip to their gardens. Back in the early sixties, mums were field grown and seldom grown in pots--some of you may still remember this. Mums grown this way in the good old days usually survived the winter better than potted mums do today.

If you want your mum plants to better survive this year, here are a few ideas to help make it possible. Plant your mums in September; this will give them time to be established in your garden before winter arrives. The roots of your mums are growing in a circle in your pot, unnatural. Pull the mum plant out of the pot. Now cut into the root ball with a sharp knife--three slits on the side of the root ball from top to bottom of the root ball about 1/2 inch deep into the soil. Next turn the root ball over and cut a cross into the bottom of the root ball about 1/2 inch deep.

This gardening technique is called "root pruning," and stops this circular growth of the root system, allowing the roots to grow out into the soil in your garden. Plants that grow away from the original root ball stay in the ground when frost begins to harden the soil. If you just dig a hole and set the roots in the garden soil, the frost action will actually move the plant up and out of the soil and kill the delicate roots.

Fall gardening is very different from spring gardening for most of us. In the spring we dig a nice big hole, add compost and animal manure, and place the plant gently into the garden. Firm it in place, fertilize monthly and water every few days to help get the plant established, RIGHT? In the fall we all garden differently, now think of this! We dig a hole for the fall flowering mum, add no soil conditioner, and drop the plant into a small hole. Now we kick the soil around the root ball to fill the hole with our feet and step around the plant to compact the soil around the root ball. If the plant is lucky, we water it--but only when it wilts or it rains. Be honest now--have you ever-fertilized mums that you planted in the fall?

Plant mums in a full sun garden if you want them to return next spring. If you are planting them for fall color only, it will not matter if you plant them in the shade, because most will not survive and become colorful annuals. If you want them to become part of your perennial garden, a rich soil that is well-drained is best. Add animal manure, Soil Moist water retention pellets and a garden fertilizer that contains mycorrhizae. Liquid feed your mums every two weeks until flowers fade. Water mums twice a week; when the flowers fade remove them from the plant.

When the foliage turns brown, cut plants back to the ground and cover the soil with bark mulch or pine needles 3 inches deep for winter protection of the roots. The sooner you plant your mums, the better chance you have of them surviving the winter. Pick mums with a bit of color showing and other plants with just flower buds on them for extended color in your garden this fall. Mums make a great cut flower, so if you should break a branch or two from the plants re-cut the stems and place them in a vase of water; they should last in your home for two weeks or more.

If your mums survive the winter and begin to grow in the spring, all you have to remember is that your mums were forced to stay short when you bought them at the nursery. To control the height of the plant and make the plant bigger, fuller and to make it grow more flowers for next fall, just remember to cut your mums in half on the "Fourth of July". By cutting the plant in half in early July your plant will produce 3 to 4 new branches on every stem you cut back. This cutting back of the plant will help to more than double the size of the plant by the fall and keep it short. The cuttings you get by pruning the plant back in July can be easily rooted with the use of a rooting powder, this will make more plants for your garden. Again: PLANT EARLY and PRUNE THE ROOTS.



Hardy Fall flowering Asters


If you live in the country, you might have noticed a small daisy-like flower in bloom on the side of the road at this time of the year. The daisy-like flowers, half an inch to one across, cover the plant with white, blue or purple flowers. These native wildflowers are grown at many nurseries for fall color and will grow well in your perennial garden.

This wildflower will thrive from Northern New England to Georgia but only grows wild in New England. Ancient Greeks called asters "stars" and legends say that Astraea, goddess of the sky, wept when she saw that there were no stars on earth, and asters sprouted where her tears fell. This Greek goddess must have loved looking at New England, as she graced us with millions of these plants. They are everywhere you look as you travel in New England.

The flowers begin to open in early September and last well into October, surviving cold nights and frost. The flower is daisy shaped and the petals form like the spokes of a wheel, with a dense button-like center that is traditionally yellow in color. New hybrids come in violet, lavender, pink, ruby-red as well as the common white, blue and purple. The same plant can have single or double flowers on the same plant, making them very showy. In the wild, asters will grow 6 inches to several feet tall and spread just as much. These fall-flowering New England asters grow along the side of the road in front of my house. I mow the grass there but they still bloom at the height of 3 inches tall, a great weed.

Asters grow best in full sun but will tolerate a bit of shade. The plants prefer a well-drained soil, rich in organic matter like pine needles and rotted leaves. If you can keep the area well watered during the heat of summer, your plants will grow and spread quickly but they will also tolerate a dry soil and just produce smaller plants. If you find Asters growing on the side of the road, fertilize them with a regular lawn fertilizer in the spring to create a real show of flowers in the fall, in the perennial garden.

Use compost, animal manure or a balanced fertilizer to feed asters. Apply it in the spring to help build a bigger plant for the fall. Because the plants can get quite large, I recommend that you pinch them in early July like your mums, tall-growing sedum and Montauk daisies to control the size of the plant. If your  fall asters grow along the side of the road like mine do, do not mow them when the plants are in bloom, but when the plants turn brown, mow them down with your lawn mower as this will spread the seed to make more plants for next year.

This fall-flowering perennial is a wonderful plant to attract bees and butterflies to your garden, as they are rich in pollen for food for these insects. This fall aster will make a great cut flower for your home and will last for 2 weeks or more in a vase of water. Use them in perennial gardens, wildflower gardens, woodland gardens, in a mixed border.

Plant in the back of the garden as they will get tall and you may have to stake the plants or you cut back in early July to control the height of the plants. At this time of the year, plant with mums, sedum, flowering cabbage and flowering kale.

When you clean the garden in the fall and the plant has turned brown, shake the plant on the ground to spread the seeds for next year. This plant will make a great filler plant for your flowerbeds and wildflower or meadow gardens. If you started with hybrid plants, they will stay true to color and form. The new seed-grown plants will look different due to pollination from the wild or native varieties growing along the side of the road, but still very nice. If you clean the garden late in the fall, many small birds like finches and chickadees will feed on the seeds produced on the plant. Enjoy!



Fall is for Planting


Just because the season has changed, it does not mean "pack it up and go inside." Fall is a wonderful time to get back into the garden and finish your planting. During the heat of this summer, especially this year, the temperatures made planting almost impossible-and, besides, summer is the time to enjoy your spring planting and the family. Now the kids are back to school, vacation time is over for most of us and it's time to do what you enjoy again; for many of us that is working in the garden. Right now, the soil is still warm and when you plant new shrubs and trees they will get established faster than when planted in the early spring when the ground is wet and cold.

Fall planting does have many advantages--including the price of the plant material, as many of the nurseries and garden centers are having sales on their plants. Here is what I want you to look for when planting in the fall of the year. First, look over the plant material and check the quality of the plants on sale. If the plants look good, the root ball is nice and firm; the root ball has a good covering of burlap on it or is in a container that is not damaged, you're on the right track to continue looking around. Look at the foliage of the plant--is it green and healthy looking? Look at the condition of the branches--do they look good or are there many broken or dead branches on the plant?

Many times fall sales are caused by bad weather during the prime season, leaving plant material that did not sell when it was at its best, due to the weather. For example, most flowering plants sell when they are in bloom; if the weather was bad when they were in bloom, many people don't shop for plants at that time. The plant finishes flowering and people lose interest until next year when they see them flowering again and the weather is good for planting. The plant is still perfectly good but because you do not see the flowers, you lose interest in the plant and it sits in the nursery. The smart nursery keeps the plants looking good and cares for them properly---and in the fall, the smart gardener takes advantage of the bad weather during the spring and purchases that plant on sale. Look at the nursery itself and how it has been kept up during the summer months; if the place is clean and well-kept it is a signal that the plant material was well kept also. Now is the time for you to act and save money on plant material you would like in your yard, and when spring arrives next year your flowering plants are already planted and ready to flower no matter what the weather is.

If you're looking at trees for your home for shade or color--even fruit trees--fall is a great time also. Follow the same rules I just gave you but add one more thing to look at, and that is the trunk of the tree. Make sure there are no major scrapes on the trunk or missing bark. Small nicks and scrapes are not a problem and in just a year or two they will disappear. Grab the trunk of the tree and move it around to make sure it is firmly attached to the root ball--if it moves like a straw in a glass of water, leave it there, as the plant could have root damage that cannot be repaired.

Look at the foliage on the tree, how does it look? Make sure the branches look good with little to no breakage. Now, with your thumbnail, scrape a small scratch near the tip of some of those branches to make sure that there is still green under the bark; if you see green the branch is healthy, if brown there is a problem, So walk away. Large trees should have a wire basket around them unless they are potted. When you plant that tree ,leave the wire basket on the root ball; it will rust away in just a few years and the spacing of the wire will not affect the roots that will develop in the future. AGAIN--keep the wire basket on the root ball! The one thing that must be removed is any rope that is wrapped around the trunk of the tree, especially if it is plastic. Plastic rope will not rot in the ground and can create a girdling effect on the trunk and prevent growth from developing properly. What will happen is that as the trunk begins to grow the rope stays in position, while the wood fibers grow around it but are restricted. The top will grow and get bigger until a good wind or snow storm comes and then the girdled area that is the weak point on the plant will break--and you lose your tree. One more thing--any tree over six feet tall MUST be staked to the ground in the fall to hold the plant firmly in the ground for a year so the roots can form properly!

If you're planting evergreens in the fall, especially broadleaf evergreens like holly, boxwood, rhododendrons, azaleas, etc. , I would treat the foliage with an anti-desiccant spray such as Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop around Thanksgiving to protect the foliage from wind damage and dehydration. Spray the underside of the foliage first and do a good job and get every underside of every leaf covered, as that is where the moisture escapes from the plant. Then do the top of the leaf; it's a small investment with a real positive effect on the plant, especially if we have a winter with little snow cover, lots of sunshine, wind, and little rainfall. An investment of less than $2.00 per plant can save a $50.00 plant from a tough winter. I would recommend that all broadleaf evergreens be treated--even those planted in the spring--for the first year in your garden. Be safe, not sorry in the spring.

I don't recommend planting roses in the fall of the year. I do recommend that you mulch all roses after Thanksgiving with bark mulch or straw--not any earlier, or mice will move into the mound of protection and eat your plant during the winter. If you live in New England, mulch and use Wilt-Pruf or Wilt-Stop especially if rose plants are less than a year old. Not every winter will be like last year with mild temperatures. If you have potted roses, put them in your garage or tool shed for the winter out of the weather when they lose all their foliage--or around Thanksgiving. No heated buildings, and water well before putting the plant away for the winter.

All deciduous plants--plants that lose their foliage during the winter months--can be planted in the fall with great success and need no special protection during the winter except for a good layer of bark mulch or compost around the base of the plant. This mulch helps to keep the heat in the ground longer, giving the plant extra time to develop a god root system and prevents the ground from freezing and thawing during the winter hurting the new roots.

If you're planting hydrangeas this fall, I would recommend that you remove all the flowers from the plant by Thanksgiving to prevent heavy wet snow from damaging the plant with the weight of the snow on the flowers and breaking the branches of the plant.

This fall, get back into your garden and get a jump on next spring's planting. Fall is for planting and planning the garden to enjoy for next year. Enjoy!



"There is something about sun and soil that heals broken bodies and jangled nerves."

Nature Magazine

Summer Tomato Basil Quiche







3 medium size tomatoes, about 12 ounces of tomatoes
Sliced 1/4 inch thick.
8 ounce of shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, about 2 cups.
2 garlic cloves, pealed and finely chopped.
1 unbaked 9 inch pie plate Pillsbury pre made works well.
1 medium onion 3 to 4 inches and sliced as thin as possible.
Leaves from your fresh basil plants about 3 stems and torn
In half about a cup to 1 1/2 cups
4 jumbo eggs
1 2/3 cups of light cream.
6 to 8 tablespoons of port wine or sherry for additional flavor.
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Slice your tomatoes and place them on paper towels to absorbed
The extra moisture.


Arrange the pie crust to the 9 inch pie plate and trim the edges.
Toss the cheese with the garlic in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle
1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture evenly on the bottom of the pie
Shell. Arrange the onions on the top of the cheese. Now arrange
The tomatoes slices on top of the onions. Spread  out the basil
Leaves evenly on top of the tomatoes. Carefully sprinkle evenly
The remaining 1/2 cup of the cheese mixture on top.


Beat the eggs thoroughly in a medium bowl.  Add the cream, wine,
And pepper and beat well.  Slowly pour the egg mixture into the
Pie plate.


Bake for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees
And bake an additional 35 minutes longer, until the top of the quiche
Is slightly brown in color.


Cool the quiche on a wire rack for a few minutes to cool and serve.
A nice toss salad of mixed vegetables from your garden will go
Great with the quiche. Enjoy!!!






              Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.

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1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
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  Written by Paul Parent                         Produced by Christine Parent

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