Archive for July 31, 2018

Apples

There is nothing more satisfying than going out to the yard, heading to the apple tree, standing there and spotting the best looking one, reaching out and picking it and then taking a bit bite of a fresh, juicy delicious apple.

August is the beginning of Apple month.  Crabapples should be getting to their peak and the other apple trees should be loaded and if not ready, almost.

 

Tis the season for apple jelly, apple juice, applesauce,  apple pie, apple crisp and even apple cake.

Apple trees are easy to grow and here at Dunvegan we have many varieties to choose from that do well in our cold winters.

Remember to pick up Mykes Tree and Shrub here at Dunvegan to get the 5 year tree warranty when planting your apple or any tress.

Gladiator crabapple  –  a highly ornamental tree as well as a great producer of crabapples. The spring produces bright pink flowers, followed by reddish-purple fruit and the leaves of the tree are bronze-purple leaves.  A beautiful tree to add colour and fruit to your yard.

Purple Spire Columnar Crabapple  – a great compact hardy disease resistant crabapple that has purple-green foliage that turns more purple in the fall, has pink flowers in the spring and produce a purple crabapple.

Goodland apple – is a hardy tree for Zone 3, it can be grown in Zone 2 but might need some protection or prune off any frost damage the following spring.  It will start bearing fruit at a young stage. It produces a moderately sweet green apple with a red blush. These apples will keep for you for 20 weeks in a cool room.

Haralson apple –  a hardy tree producing a red apple, great for baking, eating and cider with a mildly tart flavour.

Honeycrisp apple – pinkish white flowers with a red apple that is great for eating and cooking.

Multi-Variety apple trees – these trees have been grafted to have a few varieties of apples on the same tree.

Norland apple – a very hardy semi-dwarf tree with red/green apples, a dependable fruit producing tree.

Zestar apple – a crisp juicy sweet/tart flavoured red apple.

 

Family Favorite Apple Crisp:

4 cups of peeled, cored and sliced apples

¼ cup flour, ½ cup white sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp nutmeg – mix together and sprinkle over apples, stir together. Put into a greased baking dish.

Combine together:

1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 cup oats,  1 tsp cinnamon, stir in ½ cup melted butter or margarine and stir together, place on top of apples.

Bake in a 350 oven for 45-50 minutes.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream.

Enjoy!

 

What is a Squash?

Besides conjuring up pictures of gourd-like images, you should know that there are hundreds of kinds of squash. Pumpkins, zucchini, spaghetti, acorn are some of the favorite kinds of squash grown in Alberta.

There is compact and gigantic size squash so knowing which kind of plant will produce what is really important when you are planting. If you have a plant that produces “giant” varieties, you will need a big space for that plant. Squash called “summer variety” produces a compact plant that can be grown in planters or out in the garden and not take up much space. A self-watering container works well because squash can be picky about its watering needs. Compost added to the dirt of a squash plant works wonders because squash thrives on organic matter.

If planting your squash plants in the garden a hill method works well. Squash do not like to be sitting in water. So planting the plant on a hill allows air to get underneath the plant and keep the water trickling down away from the leaves.

Squash usually are self-pollinating, that is they produce both male and female flowers on the plant. If the summer is too cold, the plant might only produce male flowers and thus produce no fruit. The female flowers have a distinct “bulb” on the end of them, which is the fruit. If you want to eat the flowers (awesome in a salad) be sure to pick only the male flowers and leave the females to produce.

If you have a zucchini that is producing way too much fruit, pick off half of the flowers to cut back on production. If you leave the fruit on the vine and do not pick it – the plant will shut off production totally.

The other thing to do is give extra zucchini away to your friends and family and include a recipe to spark their interest into using the squash.

Zucchini and spaghetti squash work well as a spaghetti substitute – spiralizer the squash and steam your squash noodles, and serve just like spaghetti with sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan. Yum!
You can grate your zucchini and freeze to add to casseroles, soups, cakes and loaves throughout the winter.

How about Zucchini Pizza Bites? Sauté in olive oil zucchini slices for 1-2 minutes per side. Place onto lightly greased cooking sheet and top with spaghetti sauce or Mariana sauce, sprinkle with some mozzarella, place some mini pepperoni slices on top add a splash of parmesan cheese and pop under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Let cool slightly and enjoy!

Squash is one of the most versatile plants to have in your garden!

Large Garden Pests

Deer: What do we do to deter these 4 legged creatures from nibbling or even chomping down our garden.

Place the following plants, that deer detest, strategically around your yard and garden. Deer do not eat grasses, the sharp edges wreak havoc with their gut. Deer do not like walking through lavender, marigolds, lilac, mint or oregano or any aromatic plants, the smell gets on their legs and interrupts their sense of smell. Deer will not eat fuzzy plants or plants with thick prickly foliage such as: yarrow, cucumbers, squash. They also do not like leeks, onions, fennel or rhubarb.

Shaving a bar of soap into pieces and scattering it around your plants can deter deer from eating seedlings and smaller plants and some bugs. The catch is it only lasts until the next rain.

How about an invisible fence? One avid gardener swears by using clear fishing line and 5’ stakes, she runs about 4-6 rows of fishing line around the garden. The deer cannot see the line and they won’t jump over but it deters them from going in further.

Moose:  A little larger problem and they love to feast on our foliage. The fishing line will not work on the moose problem. Gardeners find that changing up their methods of deterring moose is the best way to handle these big fellows.  Spraying foliage with a mixture of dish soap, water and cayenne pepper or ground up hot chillies.   Dot the perimeter of the garden with chopped up Irish Spring soap. Fencing is a great way to keep them out, however it has to be 8’ high.  Sometimes startling the moose works, hang dryer sheets, foil dishes or old CD cases from the trees, when they sway with the wind, it startles the moose.  One Alaskan gardener says they boil up some water, put in a bar of soap and let it dissolve. They take this water and pout it our along the garden perimeter.

What about Ladybugs – are they friend or foe?

You want Ladybugs in your garden, the larvae of ladybugs feast on aphids. Aphids are those green small bugs that attach themselves to your plant stems and suck the juice out of the plants. They should be arriving about now in your garden.

Ladybugs love dill, fennel, caraway as well as flowers such as tansy, marigolds, and cosmos these will also attract Lacewings, another aphid eating insect.

Do you have some pesky pests in your garden? Come in and talk to us here at Dunvegan about methods to deter, prevent and eradicate.

Dunvegan, where every day is another great day to garden!