Now yesterday I talked about strawberries. Are you thinking of putting in a strawberry bed? I will have strawberry plants here for you this spring. Helpful hints or advise: Strawberries need to be weed free. It is hard for them to compete with weeds, so be thinking how you can put them in the garden and keep the weeds down. Mulching, plastic, straw( that is weed free if that is possible), grass clippings, with newspapers or cardboard under the mulch. Many different ways to keep the weeds down, so give that some thought.
It takes one plant every 12"-18" so there is room for the runners to grow and set out new plants.
Question I am asked how many plants do I need?
The consensus among the experts estimates about 6 nicely producing strawberry plants per person per year, based on fresh consumption. If you are going to be freezing them, making jellies or jams or processing for syrup, you should at least double the number of plants, and possibly triple that number. Take into account the number of friends and family members who will want some fresh strawberries for themselves, and the kids or grandkids and “big” kids who may be visiting and raiding your strawberry patch. A lot of strawberry gardeners make gifts of jellies, jams and syrups. If you have a giving nature, plant a few more plants. This is where you might want to do some advance planning for what you’d like to do with your home-grown strawberries and ensure that you have the necessary equipment, such as canners, jars, freezer containers, etc. when your berries start coming off the bushes.
Here are some sites on planting and growing strawberries. I don't want to redesign the wheel so just pass on the information.
Give strawberries some thought in the garden, till next time this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse Dougherty
Larry and I helping out the Franklin Co. Dinner Dance. Asked many to do something for us, WHAT? Have a good time....then a smile.
Larry and I had the Franklin Co. Fair Board Dinner Dance last night, and it was a good time....but this lady didn't get home and to bed till 1:30 AM...yes I am tired. Glad today is a Sunday and we can rest. Another great day for temperature in Iowa. Looks like colder temperatures this week but we are still in Feb. Enjoy your day if you are living in the Midwest and enjoy this temperatures.
When I was cleaning out the freezer found strawberries so for something different I made muffins. They were very nice, so here is the recipe for
Strawberry Crunch Muffins
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup oatmeal
3 TBLS. butter, melted
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 tsp. lemon zest
For the topping: Combine all of the topping ingredients in one bowl and mix well. Set aside.
For the muffins: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a standard 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper baking cups. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the beaten egg, melted butter, vanilla and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry all at once and stir until just combined. Quickly stir in the strawberries and lemon zest. Pour ( it didn't pour but I dropped them) into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 2/3's full. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 12 good size muffins, or 18 regular size ones. Taken from the Old Farmer's Garden Fresh Cookbook Almanac
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty
With the warm weather we are having, I know many of you are thinking about spring and gardening. With vegetable gardening one of the staples and easy to grow are onions. So here are some gardening hints about ONIONS.
In the kitchen, Onions are the one vegetable we must have on hand, no matter what, with ample backups, all the time. Their deep, rich flavor sounds the base note in delicious recipes the world over. Tomato sauce, salsas, soups, stews and casseroles would fall flat without the Onion’s mellow sweetness. When you’re the gardener as well as the cook, you can guarantee an ever-ready Onion stockpile for yourself. They’re remarkably easy to grow and even easier to store. With a bushel of Onions in your basement, you’ll be able to slip something from your own garden into almost every meal you make for the better part of the year, and for mere pennies (the frugal gardener and cook in each of us will rejoice.)
Seeds or Sets? If you’re new to growing Onions, planting “sets” is the easiest way to go. These are miniature Onions that were harvested last year before they could mature. Plant Onion sets this spring and they’ll practically leap out of the ground, giving you green Onions within a few weeks and full size Onions by late summer.
The only hard part about growing Onions from seed is making sure you get them planted early enough. Sow the seeds indoors, 10 to 12 weeks before planting time. (Complete instructions are included on seed packets). If you want to grow Onions from seed, now is the time to get them planted indoors.
Here are some websites about growing onions from seeds:
Till next time, ENJOY the spring like weather we are having in Iowa, because it is IOWA, it will be changing. It is only FEB. so SNOW will be coming. Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty
Started planting yesterday. Pictures tell what I do. The plants are little but they will grow, I promise that.
Here is the plug tray of Cool Wave Yellow pansy.
I started to plant yesterday. The pictures that you see are of the Cool Wave Yellow PANSY. The plug tray has 280 plants in it, and I planted to a 6" pot. The plant is little but I promise you they will grow into a very lovely container of plants. It isn't the smaller plug I will plant. Today I will take a picture of the 3 different sizes of plugs I have gotten in and you can compare the size of the plant. I have started so here we go. This plug tray is one of many that we will transplant. Interesting process and I do enjoy planting and watching them grow.
Now here is some information about the plants you have in your house.
Water Houseplants Carefully
The number one killer of houseplants is over watering. Read your plants' signs to water properly. The leaves of thirsty plants will lose some of their shine. Lift the pot, and if it is exceptionally light, it is dry. Stick your finger into the soil instead of just touching the surface. It may still be damp half an inch down. Make sure your pots all have drainage holes. You can Shower Off Houseplants Small-leaved houseplants can be set in the tub and showered to remove dust and spider mites. Wipe the leaves of larger plants with a soft cloth or soft cotton gloves. Although plant leaves have their own natural shine, for extra luster you can use milk diluted with water after the leaves are clean. Avoid commercial plant shine products, as they may clog the leaves' pores. You can be thinking about starting Mother's Day Plants Take cuttings of Swedish ivy, pothos, philodendron, coleus, geranium, rosemary, or whatever else you may have on your windowsill. Dip cuttings in rooting hormone and put three to five cuttings together in a small pot. By the time Mother's Day rolls around, you will have stocky, attractive plants to give as gifts. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Sad winter with the damages from rabbits because of all the snowfall....sorry to read what we have to do with the trees.
Rabbit damage on trees
Rabbit damage on shrubs
I was sad to see how the rabbits took the bark off our trees. Larry had mulched and protected them but still the bunnies found something to eat. Here is what I found out from the experts from ISU Extension. You will have to take a look at your trees. Hope they are ok. Till next time, Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty
Rabbit Damage to Trees and Shrubs
This article was published originally on 3/17/2010 taken from http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2010/3-17/rabbitrepair.html
This winter's deep snow and extended period of snowcover posed serious problems for rabbits. Denied access to food on the ground, rabbits fed extensively on small trees and shrubs that stuck above the snow. Damage has been common on crabapples, apples, plums, cherries, serviceberries, winged euonymus (burning bush), cotoneasters, viburnums, dogwoods, spireas, and many other woody plants. See photos above.
On many trees and shrubs, rabbits have removed the bark completely around the trunks and stems, effectively girdling them. All growth above the girdled areas will eventually die and for most home gardeners, replacing the girdled trees is the best course of action. There are no applications that will mitigate the effects of rabbit damage or save severely damaged trees. Wound dressings, pruning paints, latex paints, wrappings and other alleged protective barriers do not help.
Most deciduous shrubs have the ability to produce new shoots or suckers at their base. Because of this ability, many severely damaged deciduous shrubs will eventually recover. (Several years may be required for some shrubs to fully recover.) In early spring, prune off girdled stems just below the damaged areas.
Here is a fun activity to do with the kids or the grandkids. Mr. Potato Head has gotten an upgrade, and he looks good! He's all about recycled crafts and green crafting now, so he's turned himself into Mr. Plant Head. This adorable spring craft kids can make is so much fun, and it's a great way to learn about environmentally friendly behavior. Plant crafts are fun because you get to watch something that you planted grow and bloom. Place your green guy outside in the garden or keep him indoors with you.
Mr. Plant Head
This image courtesy of deliacreates.com
Materials: Nature Crafts, Recycled Crafts
Age Group: Preschool & Kindergarten, Elementary School, Pre-Teens
Time to complete: One hour
Here are the directions to use:
Read more at http://www.allfreekidscrafts.com/Recycled-Kids-Crafts/Mr-Planthead-Man#RcuYEKwAcS5Hwgmg.99
I love doing crafts with the kids so will try this soon. Till next time, ENJOY...and this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty
Start seeds of cool season vegetables and flowers
It is so much fun and rewarding to see the plants come up from the seeds that you plant. So give it a try for this season. There are many good websites out there for starting seeds, so you can do some research. I will not reinvent the wheel and give you how to do steps but just some advise.
1.Many, many different containers out there for starting seeds, just try one that you think is easy and where it will fit your growing area.
2. You will need sun shine to start the germination process. You will need to know if the seeds you are starting need to have light to germinate and if so you will put on top of the soil, or if you can put them in the potting mixture for them to germinate which would be the seed needs dark.
3. Don't start too early. Please count back from the days that you would set out the plants to the time it takes to grow them. Even though you would want to put tomatoes out in April or early May you will have to make sure that there is no more frost. On the average our last date of a frost in May 15th, so you should use that as a guide line date to be able to set them out. Ground, air temperature needs to be all right and then they will grow.
4. During the growing process sometimes the best is at night, is to have the temperature cool. Not many seed starting websites will tell you this, but I have learned over the 30 years of starting seeds, but you need the temperature to be cool. 45-50 degrees. During this cool down period, that is when the stock will get thick and be able to be transplanted out and not get lanky like the ones that grow too quickly tall because of the heat. I highlighted this step because it is really important. As I have learned the hard way.
5. Damping off is another problem with seed starting. So make sure Avoid "damping off" trouble. If your seedlings suddenly collapse and die, one of the fungal diseases called "damping off" or "seed and seedling rot" may be to blame. In one type of damping off, the seedling's stem collapses at or near the soil surface; in another type, the seedling rots before it emerges from the soil, or the seed decays before it even sprouts. To prevent these problems, use pasteurized potting mix and new or thoroughly washed and disinfected containers. Take care not to overwater seedlings; be sure to provide good air circulation and ventilation, so tops of seedlings stay dry and standing moisture is kept to a minimum. Thinning seedlings to eliminate crowding is also helpful.
Don't let all of this scare you off from trying because there is so much reward is seeing a small seed grow up to become a plant. I get lots of rewards from seeing it myself. It is a time to see the miracle of God's growing plants, called FAITH. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty
I so remember my mom bringing in branches and forcing them for buds. I have a sister that still does it, so thought I would share with you to do for this time of year.
Early spring flowering trees and shrubs form their flower buds in the fall before the plants go dormant. After a period of at least 8 weeks of temperatures below 40°F (usually after January 1), branches can be cut and forced into bloom.
Most flowering shrubs are fairly easy to force, while trees are more difficult. The later in the winter you cut the branches, the shorter the forcing time becomes.
Select healthy, young branches with numerous flower buds, which are usually larger and more plump than foliar buds. When cutting fruit tree branches, choose those that have many spurs, the short compact side shoots which bear the flowers. Choose branches from crowded areas of the plant when possible, since you will be removing some of the plant’s natural spring display.
Follow good pruning principles when cutting the branches. Cut about 1/4 inch above a side bud or branch so that no stub is left behind. Cut the branches about 618 inches long; longer branches are easiest to use in floral arrangements.
Getting Branches to Bloom
After bringing the branches indoors, make a second cut on a slant just above the previous cut. If temperatures are below freezing when you cut the branches, immerse the branches full length in cool water for several hours or overnight. A large tub or basin may be helpful. This keeps the buds from bursting prematurely. If the weather is above freezing, there is no need for a soak.
Next, put the branches in a container which will hold them upright. Add warm water (110°F) no higher than 3 inches on the stems. A flower preservative will help prolong the vase life of the branches. Allow to stand for 20-30 minutes, and then fill the container with additional preservative solution. Place the container in a cool (60-65°F), partially shaded location. Keep the water level at its original height. Finally, when the buds show color, move the branches to a lighted room. But don’t put them in direct sunlight. At this time they can be removed from the storage container and arranged in the desired manner. Be sure the arrangement has an ample water supply at all times. To prolong its beauty, place the arrangement in a cool location, particularly during the evening. For more information here is a really good website, especially a chart on which branches to force. https://hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-23.pdf Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
I have added a new page to my website. When I do the radio show I add a devotion at the end of it. It has been very rewarding to do this and share the love of the Lord. So please take time to read this week's devotion. A New Place.
Sharing the best B.B.Q. pulled pork recipe I have come across. I think I can say I this is an original recipe.
Becky's B.B.Q pulled pork sandwiches
3 lbs pork roast
1/4 cup of vinegar
can of french onion soup
2 cups of beef broth
salt/pepper to taste
2 Tblspoons brown sugar
Bottle of B.B.Q. sauce
Cook slowly in the oven 300 degrees or in a crock pot for 6 to 8 hours. Pull the pork apart, then add the B.B.Q sauce. Continue to warm up for 30 minutes.
Don't be afraid to use vinegar as that makes the meat tender, and you don't taste it. French onion soup has the flavor and then adding beef broth with the sugar makes it very tasty. Let me know what you think if you try it.
Till next time, Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty who loves to cook, bake and work in the kitchen.
Temperature is awesome today. The temperature today high of 47 degrees. Larry's sister Janette here from Seattle last weekend, and she experienced -10 below zero. How things can change in a week? Enjoy your weekend, and get outside. Spring like weather, January thaw in Feb, whatever we call it ENJOY. It will gives up a sneak preview of what spring will bring. Here is another gardening mistake we can make and that is with mulching around trees. Mulch mounded high around the base of a tree trunk. Seriously? I’m not even sure what the point is - smother weeds, make mowing easier, aesthetics?
In reality, piling mulch around a tree trunk is very bad for the tree and could even kill it. Mulch up against the bark of the tree traps moisture, which can cause the trunk to rot. The bark needs exposure to air, to do its job properly. Instead of protecting the tree, the mulch harbors all types of animal threats, from mice and voles who like the cover of mulch to sneak up on trees for a tasty snack of bark, to pathogens and fungal spores that live in mulch and aid in its decomposition and can’t tell the difference from wood chips and your tree’s bark. There are plenty of insects that use mulch as a conduit to tunneling into your tree. Once the mulch starts the decomposition of the outer bark, it’s even easier for insects to get in.
Mulch is good for a young tree, in moderation. It is a great way to prevent damage from mowing and string trimming and it does help retain moisture and cool the soil, but it should be laid down as a ring, not a volcano. The mulch should extend to the drip line or at least a 2 - 3 radius around the trunk. But it should only be about 2 - 4 inches deep and, very importantly, don’t let it come in contact with the trunk. Mulch is there to serve the tree’s roots, the bark doesn’t need it’s protection. Till next time, Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa
Hi! My name is Becky and I am a Master Gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.