Be thankful for all you have
The Paul Parent Garden Club, next trip is to Cuba


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Ornamental Peppers 

We have moved the garden indoors now due to the weather outside. But, you can still grow peppers on your kitchen window if you like small beautiful plants with a lot of color. That's right, the Ornamental Pepper and it is Explosive with flowers, fruit and rich green foliage. Besides that it is easy to grow on your window sill, any window sill.

Your local garden center will have them available for the Christmas season. Like the vegetable in the garden, the ornamental pepper is very similar, with clusters of star-like flowers that develop on the top of the plant. Soon the flowers fall and a fiery cluster of small green fruit develops. Keep watching and before your eyes, they begin to change to yellow, orange, red, purple and lavender. The shapes of the fruit will differ from variety to variety. The pepper can be round, drum-shaped, or pointed. Some of the newer varieties will also have different colored foliage--even shades of purple. These plants are closely related to the garden pepper. Each flower cluster will develop 8 to 10 peppers on it and the plant can have 8 to 12 clusters of fruit on it.

The foliage part of the plant is poisonous, but not the fruit. The fruit will burn the top of your mouth off, so be careful with small children. Your cats will not bother these plants. They will learn quickly and not bother them. The pepper contains the alkaloid capsaicin, which can range from hot to "on fire." If you like really hot stuff, this is for you.

Ornamental peppers come from East Asia. They grow from 4 to 10 inches tall and 6 to 12 inches wide. They love the bright light and sun. If you can keep them cool they will last longer for you in the house as they are a annual flowering plant. They love temperatures below 70 degrees F. Keep moist but never wet or they will fall apart on you. Fertilize every other week with house plant fertilizer such as Neptune's Harvest fish and seaweed. Give plants lots of room or insects will move into crowded windows.



Gomer Pyle, USMC - The Impossible Dream
Gomer Pyle, USMC - 
The Impossible Dream
Bromeliads 
This is one of my favorite flowering tropical plants and it makes a wonderful Christmas present for a friend--or even you. There are over 150 different varieties to choose from. They grow like a vase, with the leaves arranged in a rosette that forms a cup to hold water and the flowers inside the middle of the leaves.

The leaves can have smooth edges or small spines that will grab you, so be careful. The leaf color will range from shiny green to silver, yellow, red, purple, orange and more. The plants will grow from 6 to 18 inches tall and just as wide, depending on the variety.

This plant likes to stay warm, always above 65 degrees F. Select a window with morning or late day sun as it does not like hot summer direct sun. It will do great on the dining room table as long as the room is bright. This plant loves moist soil, so you will have to keep the vase filled part way with water all the time. If you put it outside during the summer, place the plant in the shade. Fertilize in the spring and summer but not during the fall and winter.

The bromeliad flowers only once in its lifetime but the flower will last several months. The flower color will range from blue, to pink, white, red, yellow and orange. Once the flowers have faded, remove them when possible. The plant has achieved its goal and now all its energy will go to make new shoots, known as "PUPS." Once the pups have matured, the mother plant will slowly die and the new shoots will take over. Remove the mother plant with a sharp knife and the new plants will soon fill the pot.

It will take about a year for the new shoots to mature and then the fun starts for you. It is now time to make the new plant flower. All you need to do is place the plant in a large clear trash bag in a bright room but not in the sun. Now take an apple and bruise it by banging it on the table. Place the bruised apple in the bag and tie a knot in the top of the bag. As the apple rots, it will produce an ethylene gas that will motivate the plant to make flower buds. Leave the plant covered for a couple of weeks so the gas can get into the leaves. After 2 weeks move the plant back to its normal place in your home and then get ready to watch flowers appear in the next 3 to 4 months.
Brian Stokes Mitchell - 57th Tony Awards - Man of La Mancha -Fixed.avi
Brian Stokes Mitchell - 57th Tony Awards - Man of La Mancha -Fixed.avi

      
Thanksgiving Flowers

The flower that is most selected for decorating your Thanksgiving table is the chrysanthemum. This plant is the last flowering plant to bloom in our gardens outdoors, and because Thanksgiving is the last holiday of the fall season, it is most fitting that it be used to celebrate the holiday.

The flower colors are fitting for the season with yellow, gold, rust, orange, red, and many bi-colors. The chrysanthemum has been hybridized to produce new flower shapes like the daisy, spider types, pompom, and the most exciting Football types with flowers 4 to 6 inches in diameter.

The chrysanthemum was once a plant that grew well over two feet tall and just as wide but with modern technology, the size of the plant can now be controlled to fit on your table perfectly. Today's growth regulators can produce a plant for any table in your home. Growth regulators can also increase the size of the flowers on the plant. Thanks to many hours of research on the chrysanthemum, the greenhouse grower can now force the plant to be in perfect condition and the right stage of bloom for your dinner table.

Once the plant grower understood that the length of the day and temperature could determine when the plant would come into bloom, he was able to fool the plant into flowering at any time of the year. Each variety of chrysanthemums will mature at different time--and that is wonderful for the garden, because it gives you early, mid-season, and late flowering types.

Some varieties need 10 weeks to mature but the fancy varieties may take as long as 16 weeks. Knowing this, the greenhouse grower can adjust the length of the day by either turning on lights in the greenhouse at dusk to make the day longer or pull black cloth over the plants to shorten the length of the day. When they combine length of the day and growth regulators, the growers can now grow the perfect plant for your table.

The chrysanthemum is considered a gift-type flowering plant and has a relatively short flowering time in your home, about 2 weeks. This is due to the temperature in your home. The warmer the house is, the shorter will be the time flowers will last on the plant, so keep it cool and away from south facing windows and heat sources.

There is no need to fertilize, because once the flowers fade the plant should be disposed onto your compost pile. It's not worth the effort to make these plant re-bloom. Keep the plants moist and remove them from plastic or tinfoil pot covers, as they tend to block the sunlight and the foliage will turn yellow quickly. Also, these pot covers hold water and this water can rot the roots of the plant in just a couple of days.

The secret is how to select the best potted plant for your money. First, look at the foliage--it should be dark green and free from disease or insect problems. The last thing you want is to bring problems into your home with infected plants. Select the height and width you want for your table, along with the color of the flowers.

Now, I want you to look at the flower itself--this is important because the tighter the flower is in bud (but showing good color), the longer is will last on your table. The center of the flower should have some green in it and some of those flower petals should still be tight. This will tell you that some of the flower petals have not matured yet, helping it to bloom longer. If you're selecting cut chrysanthemums, look for the same things in the flower!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, enjoy your flowers, and turkey--and watch some football. Enjoy!
Zero Mostel
Zero Mostel 
" If I Were a Rich Man "
 
Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) is a naturally blooming succulent that offers up an array of blooms in many festive colors. Kalanchoe [kal-an-KO-ee or kal-LAN-cho] is a perky little plant that is easy to care for. Whether planted in a decorative basket or grouped together in a basket on the kitchen windowsill, kalanchoes will not disappoint you. In Florida, they are also called "Palm Beach Bells."

Kalanchoes, become increasingly popular as a gift plant, feature dark-green succulent leaves topped by masses of miniature, brightly colored blossoms in shades of red, orange, yellow, or salmon-pink. In their native Madagascar, the plants bloom only during the spring months, but with a little attention, they can produce blooms in any season. Bright light all year, and warmth during the summer, cooler during the winter.

Kalanchoes are similar to poinsettias and chrysanthemums, which initiate their flowering in response to short days. Growers pull opaque shade fabric over their plants for 14 hours each night until the plants initiate flower buds. You can accomplish the same thing by placing a box over your plant for the same "short day" period. I put them in the basement window like the Christmas cactus and they will bloom again. Normal flowering time is 6 to 8 weeks if kept cool.

Kalanchoes prefer to be watered deeply, but like to dry out between waterings. Keep moist in the spring to fall, and almost dry during the winter. Feel the soil with your finger and if it is moist leave it alone.

If leaves start to yellow, you are overwatering. If they look like they are shriveling up, your plant might be dehydrated and in need of water. If this happens, remove spent foliage and water thoroughly. Kalanchoes look best when fed every two weeks with a water-soluble plant food, like Blooming and Rooting fertilizer.

"At harvest time, the vegetable garden comes into the kitchen.  Not all at once, unfortunately."

Barbara Dodge Borland
Great indoor flowering bulbs

 Forcing bulbs to bloom inside the house is a wonderful, easy way to get through the cold gray days of winter while adding fragrance and color to your life indoors. If you plan ahead, you can have red tulips for Christmas Day, pink and white hyacinths on Valentine's Day, and the fragrance of springtime in your home all winter long.

The term "forcing" refers to inducing a plant to produce its shoots, leaves or flowers ahead of its natural schedule and out of its natural environment. To force bulbs, you need to mimic and compress the process the plant would undergo outdoors naturally in the garden.

Small-sized bulbs, such as snowdrops, scilla, muscari, chionodoxa, and crocus can be forced just as easily as larger bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth. Early blooming varieties are better suited for forcing than others. It's also important to select varieties that don't grow too tall.

Narcissus (paperwhites) hyacinths, amaryllis, and lily of the valley will grow indoors in water. You can use a bulb vase or a shallow dish filled with clean pebbles or marbles to stabilize the roots and to support the bulbs above the water. Just wedge the bulbs among the pebbles, close to each other but not touching, and cover the pebbles with water. Allow air space between the top of the water and the bottom of the bulb to prevent rot.

For other bulbs, half fill a shallow container with . Fill this layer, small end up, with as many bulbs as will fit in your pot without touching each other. Then add more soil between until they are completely covered. With hyacinths, amaryllis, and narcissus, allow the necks to protrude slightly.

After planting, place the pots in a cool, dark place, such as a cool cellar, garage, tool shed, the bulkhead stairs leading down to the basement, a barn or unheated building or refrigerator to initiate root and shoot growth. If necessary, set boxes, pots or black garbage bags over your potted bulbs to keep them dark during the cooling period. Keep the soil moist through the rooting and cooling period. After five or six weeks, the roots and growth should emerge.

Then move the bulbs to a cool location indoors. The bulbs should be placed in indirect lighting and should not be allowed to dry out. Forcing will take about 12 weeks for the early blooming bulbs (snowdrop, crocus, and daffodil) and about 16 weeks for tulips. The potted bulbs should be placed in indirect light and should not be allowed to dry out.

Feed weekly with a half-strength solution of a good houseplant fertilizer. Turn the pots every couple of days to help the flower stems grow straight and strong. When the foliage and buds are well developed, move the pots to a bright, sunny window in the house. Once the flowers begin to open, take the plants out of direct sunlight to prolong the bloom. Keep potted bulbs as cool as possible and they will last longer. Then sit back and enjoy the early breath of spring indoors! 

When flowers fade, cut the blooms only off the plant. Treat the plant as a potted houseplant for 6 weeks so the foliage can rebuild the energy it took the plant to make the flowers originally. Now place the pot of bulbs in the basement and stop watering so it will go dormant. Plant in your garden in the spring as you would new bulbs from the nursery. They will bloom the following spring at their normal flowering time.

Garden tip: to keep your paperwhites shorter this year, once the foliage grows  to 2 inches tall mix one ounce of gin or vodka to your watering can.  This will keep them short. 

Roasted Brussels sprouts with Bacon

Many of you looking at this recipe will say, "Not for me, I hate Brussels sprouts. Now before you eat squash I want you to try this recipe because your opinion of this wonderful fall and winter vegetable will change quickly. Four years ago I made 5 pounds of these taste treats for Thanksgiving dinner for the family gathering and I put a note on the dish "Bet you can't eat just one"! Family members were polite and took a couple each, but by the end of dinner they were all gone. This year I will cook 12 pounds and by the end of the meal they will be all gone. Most of us BOIL them and they have little flavor, but try them roasted with Bacon and sit back for the compliments. If you did not grow them in your garden this year, you will next year. Best of all you can even pick them when the snow covers them in January because once they freeze a couple of time they will taste even better.

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh from the garden or market, but not frozen Brussels sprouts. Trim the stem end and remove a few outer leaves that are not wrapped tight around the sprout. Any sprout over one inch cut in half from the bottom to the top of the sprout, not across the middle or the sprout will fall apart.
cup of good olive oil
teaspoon of salt
teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar or Balsamic vinegar
cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup/ pound of finely chopped bacon

Directions:

1} Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your Brussel sprouts in a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly. Spread sprouts evenly in your pan so they are a single layer thick.

2} Roast for 10 minutes, sprinkle half of your cheese and mix well to cover all the sprouts. Cook an additional 10 minutes or until tender and have a bit of browned color to them.

3} While the sprouts are cooking chop your bacon and cook until golden brown and crispy. Place on paper towels to capture the fat and cool a bit.

4} Transfer your cooked Brussel sprouts into a serving bowl and add you mustard, rest of your cheese, your white wine or Balsamic vinegar, and your cooked bacon bits. Mix well and serve.

5} If you have a big crowd like we do, you can double, triple or even more this recipe. If some of the leaves come off the sprouts they will have a nice crispy taste to them.

6} My Mother in Law Ruth Duncan always told the kids to try it because your taste buds change every 6 weeks. Even Mikey will like them and so will you. Enjoy!

 


      

Garden Journal

        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.

 

Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

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
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95!  special!        Supplies are now limited!

 

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