Cinderella which pumpkin would you like to use for your coach! 

Happy Halloween!

        The Addams Family 1964 - 1966 Opening and Closing Theme
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The story behind this wonderful tradition 



The ancient Greeks and early Europeans call the early pumpkin "pepon," which means large melon. They were not like the rounded orange pumpkin of today but more crooked-neck, odd shaped or more like winter squash in shape and not bright orange but a mixture of different colors. Today's pumpkin originated in America; it was hybridized by our farmers to what we have today as an orange, round-shaped vegetable.

The name pumpkin came from America. Christopher Columbus brought seeds from this funny looking vegetable that the Native Americans gave him back to Europe, where it was used to feed animals during the winter months but never eaten by people. Little did they know how nutritious this amazing vegetable would be in their diet when food got scarce. Pumpkins are not used as decoration in Europe like here in America; they are grown as a food crop for animals.

Many years ago while I was working at a nursery, a tour bus pulled into where I worked and tourists from Holland poured out of the bus with cameras to take pictures of the display we had made. They could not believe how many pumpkins we had and what people did with them. They thought pumpkins were for animals and loved the idea of using them for decoration around the house during the fall.

The first Native Americans used pumpkins as a food source and cooked them in numerous ways from roasted, baked, boiled, and even dried for flour. They ate the seeds and used the flowers in soups and stews but the real benefit of the pumpkin was its ability to be dry and stored for late use when food became scarce during the winter months. Some pumpkins shells could be dried and used as bowls or storage containers to hold grain, beans and seeds.

The Native American Indian introduced the pumpkin to the Pilgrims; it is documented that it was served at the second Thanksgiving Celebration. The pumpkins were an important food source because they stored well, which meant a nutritional food source during the winter months for them. It is also documented that without the pumpkin many of the Pilgrims would have died from starvation.

As time progressed and food became more plentiful, the Pilgrims also used the pumpkin to make pumpkin BEER by fermenting a combination of persimmons, hops, maple sugar and pumpkins to make the early colonial beer. Man does not only live on pumpkin pie, he needs something to help wash it down with while watching "Pilgrim Football."

Now let me tell you about the Jack-o'-lantern and Halloween. The early Jack-o'-lanterns were carved from large potatoes in Ireland and large turnips in Scotland for their Celtic celebrations. The British used large beets, and to illuminate them used a lump of coal lit on fire and placed inside the hollowed vegetable. When European settlers arrived in America, they found that the pumpkin was easier to carve and much better suited to being a Jack-o'-lantern. The Halloween celebration in America with Jack-o'-lanterns was first celebrated in the late 1800's as a means to celebrate the fall harvest, with community and neighborhood parties.

Now let me tell you how to grow the "great American pumpkin" in your garden. Begin with a garden located in FULL sun all day long. Pumpkins are tender plants and will not tolerate a frost, so plant them when the season is ready and frost-free. The seeds will germinate better in warm soil, so don't rush to plant the seed until the ground has warmed up with the help of the spring sun. You can start seedlings indoors in pots 2 weeks earlier than outside to get a jump on the season. Just watch the weather when planting your seedlings grown indoors and moving them to the garden--and always be ready to cover them if frost is predicted. 

Your soil should be well drained and fertile with lots of organic matter like animal manure, compost or peat moss. The Pilgrims used seaweed and herring to help condition their soil before planting. If the soil is sandy, add Soil Moist Granules to help hold moisture in the soil. The best soil should have a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 and lime will be needed in most areas in the Northeast, but test your soil before planting. Try to stay away from areas where vine crops like cucumbers, melons and squash grew during the past 2 years.

Water is also very important when growing pumpkins. Your plants will require 2 to 4 inches of water per week, depending on your soil type. Soil Moist Granules are very helpful to help hold moisture in sandy soils along with a lot of organic matter. Always water in the morning and NEVER at night or your wet leaves will trap fungus spores, and diseases like powdery mildew will hurt your leaves, limiting the production of pumpkins.

How much space will you need to grow pumpkins in your garden? The average vine can grow 30 to 40 feet long, so if space is limited, plant seedlings or seeds on the side of the garden and let the vine run on your lawn. Spacing required is 50 to 100 sq. ft. per hill, so plant 5 seeds per hill of soil and thin to the 2 to 3 best when the plants begin to develop and become well established. Space hills 5 to 6 feet apart and 10 to 15 feet between rows of hills.

Weeding is a big factor when growing pumpkins and the garden should be weed-free at all times. When weeding, keep your garden weeder shallow in the soil as the roots of pumpkins stay close to the surface and deep weeding will hurt the roots. Landscape fabrics, plastic mulches or weed-free straw will save you a lot of time and help the roots develop without interference. Pumpkins love loose soil, so try to keep off the areas where they are growing to prevent soil compaction.

Insect problems can develop on the plant but they can be easily controlled with recommended insecticides when applied late in the day or early evening while the flowers are closed and the bees are not present in the garden. Check with your local Garden Center for recommended product depending on your specific problem. Bees are very important for pumpkins, so be careful when applying insecticide to the garden. Stay away from SEVIN insecticide; it is the WORST product and very deadly to all types of bees.
Harvesting pumpkins is simple--when the pumpkin is hard and deep solid orange in color it's ready to pick! The vines are usually dying at this time but if the pumpkin has not changed color and the vine begins to die, pick them from the garden green and place them in a warm dry sheltered area until they color up. Always cut the pumpkins from the vine with pruners or a sharp knife. Pulling the stem from the vine will result in a broken stem, and pumpkins without stems do not keep well and will rot quickly. Always handle large pumpkins from underneath, never from the stem, to prevent breakage.
When you select a pumpkin always choose one without spots on it, soft areas, or cuts in the skin. The harder the skin the longer it will keep for you--and it must have a stem attached firmly to the top of the pumpkin. Thick walls keep better than thin lightweight pumpkins. Enjoy!
Bewitched - Vocal version of TV Theme by Steve Lawrence
Bewitched - Vocal version of TV Theme by Steve Lawrence

Winter care of your summer flowering bulbs  

What do we do with all of our summer-flowering bulbs during the winter months, if they are not hardy enough to stay in the ground? It's simple, we bring then into our basement for the winter, and this is how you will prepare them to keep them healthy.

Begin when Mother Nature produces a killing frost in your garden and your bulb plants turn BLACK. Now cut them down to the ground and dig them up. Shake as much of the soil off the bulbs as possible but do not wash them clean! Set bulbs in your garage or tool shed for a few days until the soil on them has dried completely. Once you have dug them up, do not leave them outside or any additional frost will kill the bulb by freezing it.

I want you to buy a general purpose Rose and Flower Garden Dust and dust all parts of the bulb before storage. This dusting of the bulb will help to keep it protected from any over wintering disease and insect's problems.

Glads are easy; just look at the bulb closely and you will see that there are now two bulbs piggy backing together. The top bulb is the one to keep and the bulb on the bottom was the original bulb that you planted and which has now transferred all of its energy to the new bulb on the top--it must be discarded. Dust the good bulbs and store them in a pair of old panty hose that you will hang from the rafters in the basement. The panty hose will breathe well and keep the bulbs healthy until you plant them in the spring.

Dahlias: the bulbs will look like a clump of potatoes and should not be divided until you are ready to plant in the spring. Dust the bulbs and store in boxes on the floor or in a crawl space where the temperature stays around 50 degrees. Place one inch of peat moss or compost in the box and set bulbs on the material, being sure that bulb clusters do not touch each other. Cover the bulbs with 2 inches of organic material and then cover with newspaper, never with plastic--plastic will sweat and wet the covering, causing rotting of the bulbs.

Tuberous begonias and callas: Clean any parts of stems still attached to them and make sure that where they were attached has dried well, with no soft spots. Dust well and store in a box of peat moss or compost kept on the floor. The floor will stay cold and that will help keep bulbs dormant better. Separate bulbs 2 inches apart and cover with newspaper.

Canna lilies: these will store best if put in containers filled with peat moss or compost standing up like it grew in your garden. If the plant grew in a pot, just cut the stems at the soil line and place the pot on the floor in the basement. Garden grown should be dusted before being potted in organic matter. Keep them as far away from furnace or heat source as possible, and do not water until you are ready to start growing in March indoors or directly in the garden in early May.

Elephant Ears: Dig bulb and clean of any leaf stems still attached to the bulb. Dust the bulb and store in a pot filled with peat or compost and place on the floor covered with newspaper. Make sure the bulb is dry before storing it for the winter and bulb faces up. Repot in soil during March for a jump start on the season.

Freesia, ranunculus and anemone: these should be cleaned of any stems and dried well in the basement before storage. This will take longer than the other bulbs to dry and harden. Ranunculus will look like a mini bunch of bananas about 1 inch long. Freesia and anemone look like a bunch of dried up raisins and are hard. These three can be stored in a small box on the floor with a bit of peat or compost mixed around them to keep them apart and from touching. Dust them by placing them in a small paper bag, add the dust, and shake to cover the bulbs. These three bulbs can be forced into growing indoors right after the first of the year by potting them and growing on the window sill. Flowers will form in April and May if they are potted, or you can wait and them plant in the ground in May for summer color in the garden.
Enjoy.
Casper the friendly ghost theme
Casper the friendly ghost theme
 
Fall clean up projects

You have four weekends to finish putting the garden to bed for the year, because Daylight Saving Time kicks in on November 6. When the changes kick in, it will be dark by 5:00 PM, so let's get moving while we still have daylight to work with. It may sound like a lot of time, but let's go over the list of things that have to be done in the next four weeks.

Let's start with the vegetable garden and get all the plants pulled out and the soil raked and cleaned. This will remove some of the potential problems for next year, because all insects and diseases have left insect eggs and disease spores in the garden to continue the cycle of life in your garden. By cleaning the garden now, you should have fewer problems next season. By placing this plant material in your compost pile, you should have plenty of recycled organic matter to add back to your soil in June.

Conditioning the soil will make a big difference for next year garden if you do one of the following things. If you live near the seashore, go to the beach, collect seaweed after a big storm, and cover your garden with it. Most years I will add 3 to 6 inches of seaweed over the garden and till it under in early April. Seaweed is like adding peat moss to your garden but seaweed is full of the natural fertilizers, minerals and nutrients that will improve the quality of your soil and help your plants to grow better.

Rake your fallen leaves and pine needles into the garden and chop them up with your lawn mower. Never put them into trash bags and dispose of them, recycle them into your garden and turn them into wonderful soil conditioners. If you live far from the ocean and have no source of leaves, go to your local garden center, nursery or feed and grain store and purchase winter rye seed. Winter rye will grow a root system up to a mile long in your garden, plus provide wonderful shiny green foliage this fall.

In the spring, as soon as the ground thaws, it will continue growing--reaching 18 inches by late April. Then, mow the grass down with your weed whacker, and then rototill everything together into the soil. The foliage of the winter rye and the root system is considered a green manure crop and it will help to condition your soil. This will help sandy soil hold more moisture during the summer months and it will also help to break apart clay-type soils to provide better root growth by plants.

If you live in an area where the soil is acidic, now is the time to add limestone to the gardens to help sweeten the soil. If you see moss growing in your lawn, if you have pine, maples or oaks growing in your yard, or if your plants never seem to have real green foliage and lack vigor, it's time to add limestone to the garden soil. If you have a wood stove or fireplace and you burn wood products, save the ash and spread it over your garden when you clean it for the same results. NEVER burn pressure-treated lumber inside your home and NEVER use that wood ash either in your vegetable garden because of the wood preservatives in it. Apply limestone at the rate of 50 pounds per 500 sq. ft. of garden and wood ash at one 5-gallon bucket per 500 sq. ft. of garden.

Either of the products should be added to annual, perennial and rose gardens to help them grow and flower better. If you have flowering shrubs and trees that are not productive but mature, the acidic soil could be preventing the plant from flowering. Clematis vines and lilacs love lime and should be treated every year in the fall. Even rhododendrons, azaleas and hollies can grow better with an application every 3 to 4 years where acidic soil is common. If you're feeding them and they still won't flower in your yard, try applying lime or wood ash around them now. The only exceptions are blueberry plants and if you want to keep your blue hydrangea blue--keep these products away from them or the blueberries will have fewer berries and your blue hydrangea will turn pink.

In the perennial garden, cut back to the ground all perennials that turn yellow and brown and remove the foliage to the compost pile or Compost Tumbler. Rake the garden clean, apply lime products, and fertilize the garden at half the recommended rate with organic Flower Tone plant food. If you have the time, add one inch of compost or bark mulch on the garden to help protect the roots of the plant during the winter months, it will be one thing less to do in the springtime. If you have open areas in the perennial garden, how about planting some spring flowering bulbs for early color in your garden?

In the rose garden, all you have to do in rake it clean and pull all the weeds growing there. Removing the leaves with black spots on them from around the plant helps to prevent fungus problems next year because you are remove dormant disease spores from the old leaves that will infect next year's new foliage. You can also lime the garden but do not apply fertilizer EVER after September 1, or you could promote new growth with the nice days we will receive in the next few weeks. You want your plants to begin to harden off or become tough for the winter and go dormant, that way the branches become woody and are better able to fight off the damaging winds of winter.

In addition, DO NOT prune your rose plants at this time of the year; ALWAYS prune in the spring, NEVER in the fall. Open cuts on the stem will allow moisture to escape during the winter months and the rose stems will dry up and die. If your roses are finished flowering, it's also time to build a mound of soil or bark mulch around the base of the plant to protect the graft of the plant for the winter. Make your mound 12 to 15 inches high and just as wide and, believe me, your plants will survive the winter much better if you live in a cold climate. Around Thanksgiving, spray all exposed branches with Wilt- Pruf or Wilt Stop to help the plant retain moisture in the stems in windy areas.
If you have fruit trees or flowering crabapples trees, be sure to rake all the fallen foliage from around them to remove potential disease spores left on the foliage for next year. When all the foliage is off the trees, spray them with All Season oil and liquid Copper spray to kill overwintering insect eggs and disease spores; repeat in late March or early April. These two sprays will make a big difference in the quality of your plants for next season.

If these trees are new and young, be sure to stake them down for the winter months with a staking kit available at your local Garden Center. This will prevent damage to the roots caused by winter winds and heavy snow bending the tree over and breaking. Also, if you live near a wooded area or an area with much tall grass, be sure to wrap the trunk of the trees with hardware cloth wire to prevent mouse, rabbit and porcupine damage over the winter. Push the wire collar into the ground a couple of inches and have the wire reach the first branches.

If you have new strawberries in your garden, you will not believe the difference with the plants for next year if you spread an inch or two of garden STRAW, not hay over your plants for the winter. Great protection for the plants, it will encourage new runners to develop faster and fruit will form faster and grow larger. For blueberries use 2 inches of straw, pine needles or bark mulch for root protection and feed them at half rate with Holly Tone or Dr. Earth evergreen fertilizer. Because these plants love acid soil, add aluminum sulfate plant food to acidify the soil to help make them more productive next year. Aluminum sulfate is also used to keep or intensify the blue color on your hydrangeas, and a fall application will make those flowers deep blue for next summer.

If you have raspberries or blackberries in your garden, be sure to remove the canes or branches that made fruit this year, as they will not fruit next year, just make foliage. By removing the old canes, you will encourage much new growth for next year that will be productive. Also, add 2 inches of straw, pine needles or bark mulch to protect the roots and help keep out weeds.

Rhubarb should be cleaned of all old foliage. Add a couple inches of compost around the plant, that's all. Asparagus should be all cut down to the ground when the foliage turns yellow to brown. If the fern-like foliage has small BB-shaped fruit on it, be sure to pull them off and spread them on the ground to start new plants next spring. Asparagus loves to be fertilized in the fall with cow or chicken manure fertilizer--use 50 lbs. of composted cow manure for every 10 feet of row or 10 lbs. of dehydrated manure. If you're using chicken manure and it's fresh. Use 25 lbs. per 10 feet of row or 5 lbs. of dehydrated.

Hydrangeas need special care also and here is what to do this fall. The white-flowering varieties should be cleaned of all their flowers as soon as they turn brown. If the flowers stay on the plant during the winter and you get an ice storm or heavy wet snow, the flower will hold the Ice and snow, causing the branch to break with the weight. I have seen many beautiful plants, especially the tree form, destroyed this way. White varieties can be pruned in the spring or fall to control size and to create a tree shape of the plant. Fertilize in the spring, not the fall. New hybrids are best pruned in the early spring before the new growth has developed and again in June to remove dead branches from the plant. Cutting back existing branches in half will help develop stronger stems with many side shoots off of them.

The blue or pinks should also be cleaned of flowers for the same reason but only remove the flower on both types, never cut back the plant during the fall. Prune only in the spring to prevent winter dieback when the winters have little to no snow cover. Keep limestone away from the plant or it will turn pink due to acidity levels in the soil. New varieties do not need winter protection, but I always spray my plants with Wilt-Pruf around Thanksgiving just in case we have a cold winter and little snow cover to protect them. If you have new plants, build a mound of bark mulch around the base of the plant 12 inches high by 12 inches wide for the first year to help give them extra time to get established in your garden.

If you have any containerized plants such as roses, needle evergreens or perennials, be sure to move them under cover for winter. An unheated garage, tool shed, or under a tall deck will do well and help prevent the container from filling with ice and killing the roots during the winter. If this is not possible, place the containers up against a solid structure like your house or garage for protection from the wind and weather. Always avoid placement where water runs off the roof and never cover the plant with plastic bags--burlap bags will work well as long as the top is open to the air and a bit of sunlight in. Spray evergreens with Wilt Pruf around Thanksgiving for added protection. Have fun!!! Enjoy!
"Hold on, man, we don't go anywhere " scary", "spooky", "haunted", or "forbidden" in the title"

Scooby-Doo


Fall Honeyed Pumpkin Bread

While you're out getting a pumpkin for the kids, pick up a few sugar pumpkins for great fall recipes. This one is a keeper and the taste of Honey added to the bread with a bit of crunch from the nuts and dried fruit, will have everyone wanting more. I always make a double recipe, one bread for eating and a second for the freezer for later. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 cup of honey
cup of milk
5 tablespoons of butter
2 egg yolks
cup of sugar
1 cup of pumpkin puree
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon
1 teaspoon of powdered anise
cup of chopped walnuts
cup of chopped dates
cup dried apricots soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, then drain and chop

Directions:
1} choose a small 1 to pound pumpkin. Remove stem, cut in half, and remove seeds and stringy fibers. Place in microwave with opening facing up and cook for 5 minutes. With a fork pierce the meat of the pumpkin and if soft scoop and place the meat in your food processor, if still firm cook a bit longer until meat of the pumpkin is soft. Process until pumpkin is soft like mash potatoes, put to one side.

2} In a medium pot add your honey, milk and sugar and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Cool for 10 minutes and then add your butter in small pieces to the mixture and beat until dissolved. Cool another 10 minutes and beat in your egg yolks and Pumpkin puree.

3} Stir all the dry ingredients together. Then add to the Pumpkin batter and mix well. Add the fruit and nuts to the mixture and fold them in well together. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of the bread pans and coat with flour. Add your mixture to the bread pans and bake for 1 hours or until the bread is done, push a toothpick into the bread and if it comes out clean, its ready.

4} Cool the bread in the pan for 15 minutes and then on a rack to cool. Serve warm with butter or cream cheese. Enjoy!





Days to look forward
Sunday, October 30 -  National Candy Corn Day 
Monday, October 31 -  Halloween

  
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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. 

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