Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gardeners' Night Out - Fall 2014

An evening series of monthly programs on gardening sponsored by the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County

August 12th (Tuesday)  7:00 - 8:00 pm
“The Annual Sequence of Blooms Beloved by Worker Honeybees”
with Rita Buehner, Master Gardener
       East Cobb Regional Library
       (Old Parkaire Mall Site)
       4880 Lower Roswell Road
       Marietta, GA 30068

September 9th (Tuesday) 7:00 - 8:00 pm
“All about Bluebirds and More”
with Jim Bearden, Master Gardener
      West Cobb Regional Library
      1750 Dennis Kemp Lane NW
      Kennesaw, GA 30152

October 14th (Tuesday)  7:00 - 8:00 pm
“Trees of Our Lives: Small Native Trees for the Landscape”
with Dawn Hines, Master Gardener
      South Cobb Regional Library
      805 Clay Road
      Mableton, GA 30126

November 11th (Tuesday) 7:00 - 8:00 pm
“Adaptive Gardening -- How to Keep Gardening on your Lifetime Can Do list “
with Joe Washington, Master Gardener
      Mountain View Regional Library
      3320 Sandy Plains Road
      Marietta, GA 30066

The mission of the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County is to advance the horticultural education and practices of its members and to promote the knowledge of and interest in gardening to the members and to the public.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Winter Gardening Means Mid-Summer Planning & Planting

The garden is in full swing, beans, cucumbers, and squash out the ears, plants loaded with tomatoes, and peppers well on their way to all developing nicely.  Many are asking what they can plant now for the small areas of real estate still available in their garden.  A second round of many of the summer vegetables is always a possibility; however, I tend to turn my attention to the fall garden..........................

Broccoli improves with flavor when kissed by frost!
I have been pushing parsnips lately as if they were a new drug in town to cure the wintertime blues, due only to the length of time they take to produce a healthy crop.  Several varieties of this carrot family relative can take 16 weeks or more to mature.

Parsnips have never graced my garden in the past and in speaking with some "ole-timers", they insist the flavor is sweeter than carrots in winter soups and stews. We shall see about that one!  According to Wikipedia, they are rich in history and during Roman times, they were actually considered an aphrodisiac. We shall see about that one as well, grin!

All of your broccoli's, brussels, cabbages, cauliflowers, etc. benefit from being transplanted into the garden between 4 and 6 weeks of age.  The proper time for sowing these seeds indoors is now for those who want to grow their fall garden for pennies on the dollar.  Beets, carrots, parsnips, and such do better directly sown and may go in as early as the end of July for those who want to be harvesting by Christmas dinner.

Burpee has a nice link where you key in the zip code for our growing area and the chart comes up for what to start and when.  In addition, I really like the links to the sowing guides from Botanical Interests, as these are quality seeds available locally at Pike's.

http://www.burpee.com/gygg/growingCalendarWithZipCode.jsp?catid=1000&_requestid=103634 - link to the growing calendar at Burpee Seed Company

https://botanicalinterests.com/img/site_specific/uploads/LateSummFallSowingGuide.pdf - link to the late summer and fall sowing guide for vegetables, herbs, and flowers from Botanical Interests

Green Meadows Healthy Garden Tip:

To get the most out of the fall vegetable crops, look for varieties that are resistant to the common diseases and insects we experience in the garden.  For example, Southern Exposure Seed Company carries the Green Glaze Collards that have excellent resistance to the cabbage looper and the cabbage worm.  They also carry the Dwarf Blue Vates Kale that resists yellowing of the leaves due to cold temperatures when winters are more severe than expected.  Anything that can offer resistance to downy mildew is a plus since we find that disease rather common.  Tilting the odds in your favor dramatically increases the success of a healthy vegetable garden with less dependence on the use of fungicides and pesticides.  This is especially important with the fall greens, as they tend to absorb what you spray.

One of the most comprehensive links for finding varieties that are resistant to many of the common vegetable diseases is at Cornell University.  I have placed that link here as well for your convenience.

http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/Tables/TableList.htm - link to chart at Cornell for resistant varieties 

Happy Gardening,

Denise, Beds 25 & 29

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lunch & Learn Series - Fall 2014

Lunch & Learn 2014
A MGVOCC Educational Program
Bring your lunch & enjoy an hour-long presentation
on a plant/garden-related subject.
Noon to 1:00 PM
County Water Lab 660 S. Cobb Drive & Atlanta Road.

Schedule and directions at: http://www.cobbmastergardeners.com

August 8,2014: "Weed ID for Weed Control"   Presented by Cornelius Tarver, Urban Agriculture and National Resources Agent

Tired of fighting weeds?  The challenge we face is all of them cannot be controlled the same way.  Neil will help us identify weeds in order to select the most effective method to control them.

Sept.12,2014: "The Joy of Bluebirds" All about Bluebirds and More   Presented by James Bearden

Jim's presentation includes the life of the Eastern Bluebird, including a Bluebird Trail and Nest Box Management; other birds that nest in cavities of bluebird boxes, and more!

October 10, 2014:  "Landscaping and Septic Tanks: What Homeowners Need to Know"  Presented by Cornelius Tarver

A Discussion of septic tank maintenance and  it's relation to your landscape.

November 14, 2014:  "Bonsai"  Presented by Michael Stoddard,  Board of Directors, Atlanta Bonsai Society

Bonsai, an ancient art which originated in China and developed in Japan, means "to plant in a shallow dish".  Mike, a long-time student of this art, will bring his  bonsai to show us how to plant, prune and care for our own.

Cobb County Cooperative Extension
678 South Cobb Drive, Suite 20,   Marietta, GA 30060-3105    Phone:  770-528-4070  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Horticulture Day at the Garden

Heading out to walk the Blue Bird Trail
It was a wonderful day at the garden in spite of the humidity. We had lots of visitors and showed the children who visited all kinds of interesting things - like fritillary caterpillars.

There was something for everyone either in the garden or outside the garden.  Approximately 26 people  went on the Blue Bird Trail walk with Jim.

Off to visit the bee yard!
Rita and Mike had a fabulous bee display in the garden. There was a honey extractor to look at and honey to taste which was made by the bees at Green Meadows Preserve. Mmmm.

Thank you to Vann & Dalita for coming out Tuesday morning and talking to our visitors. Especially for spending so much time out in the sun where the plants were!

Many thanks to Heidi for the Herb and Vertical Gardening handouts made available on our table. And to Carol and Vicki for helping during the event.

Just one of the tables full of information visitors could take away.
Fritillary caterpillar. They look vicious
 but this particular caterpillar is
 harmless. The spines are actually soft.
The bee exhibit was fantastic. It
was fascinating learning how
 the honey extractor works.
Special thanks to everyone helping the children with the scavenger hunt. It was a lot of fun for everyone to look for everything.

Rocks were easy to find but where to find the radish pods and tomatillos really stumped the searchers. As did the caterpillar on the list! Luckily for us, they are always on the passion vine (may pop) so are easy to find.

Vicki and Rita 
Definitely thank you to all the gardeners at Green Meadows who worked so hard at getting the garden ready for this event.  The garden looked and still looks fantastic. Special thanks to all the community gardeners who came out and did extra mulching throughout the garden and on the fence line.

Mike, the Bee Man
I heard lots of great comments about the Period Garden that Jack and the Master Gardeners have created around the house and the Native American Garden Tony, Jack and the Master Gardeners have created between the house and the woods.

Jack and Louise
Louise, Amy, Renae, Hope and Neil from Cobb County Extension put together a fun and enjoyable event. Thanks for asking us to participate!

Photos by Renae, Mike and Vicki

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to Water - over head or at the base of the plant

Which way should you water your plants? When it comes to vegetables there are certain plants it is best to take precautions with and NOT do overhead watering. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and watermelons in particular are all plants that get fungal diseases (blights and powdery mildew.)

These tomatillos have lots of space at the
bottom so they can be watered easily at
the base without getting the leaves wet.
Wet leaves set up the perfect conditions for disease to get established. For these plants it is much better to water at the base (ground level) and not get the leaves and stems wet.

You can't control the amount of water that comes from the sky but you can control where you place the water when you are hand watering.

There are 4 or 5 tomatoes in here. Only one
is easy to water without getting the foliage wet.
The only choice IS to water through the leaves.
But....there is always a BUT....if we haven't had any rain for several weeks it is a good idea to give the plants a shower to wash the dirt and grime off the leaves.


Any time you wash a plants leaves off, do it early enough in the day (at least an hour before dark) to give the foliage time to dry before dark.

Carrots, lettuce, and greens on the other hand, like to get their foliage washed when they get watered. So you can do overhead watering frequently on them. As you can see above, it is hard to water just at the base of a carrot in a bed of carrots so you do have to get the foliage wet every time you water.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Ice Cream

Carol's son-in-law Chad made this Ice Cream for the Ice Cream Social. It was soooo good. Surprisingly so since I was mentally going Mascarpone? In the ice cream?
 Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Ice Cream with Biscoff Cookie
    4 large egg yolks 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 
    2 cups whole milk
    1 cup mascarpone (7 ounces)
    1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    Pinch of salt
    One Vanilla Bean
  1. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. In a saucepan, combine the milk with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar, split length wise the vanilla bean and scrape insides of pod , add both scraped pod and vanilla beans into mixture and bring to a simmer.
  2. Strain milk and vanilla mixture.
  3. Slowly beat the warm milk into the egg yolks at low speed. Scrape the custard into the saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes; don't let the custard boil.
  4. Pour the custard into a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water and whisk in the mascarpone, lemon juice and salt. Let stand until chilled, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
  5. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the mascarpone ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.

 Make Ahead  - The ice cream can be frozen for up to 2 days.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Boo hoo.....tomatoes being eaten

Last week I saw a squirrel lazily sauntering through the garden with a grape tomato in his mouth towards his favorite tree. I've also found tomato parts scattered all over the garden as well.

Here someone lost a beautiful vine ripe tomato because those squirrels said YUM! and stayed to dine. They tend to carry off cherry, grape and small tomatoes but eat the big ones "in house".

 Unfortunately for us, leaving tomatoes to get to the vine ripe stage is dangerous...you might get the tomato or the squirrels might get the tomato.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Cucumber-leaf Sunflower

Last year I planted Helianthus debilis ssp. cucumerifolius, Cucumber-leaf Sunflower at the far end of the sunflower/herb border. These annual sunflowers are a native of  southwestern Georgia but have spread further north. Interestingly, they have only spread as far north as Macon in the interior of the state but they have spread all the way up the coast to New England.

When my friend Hal gave them to me, he warned me that they reseeded readily. The plants he gave me came from middle Georgia in the sandhill region so I wasn't sure they would really grow well up here.

I think I've proved (at least so far this year) that they will thrive and do well up here. In fact, the plants at the garden are bigger and started blooming before the plants 100 miles south of here! Very odd if you ask me since spring comes earlier to the south of us.  It will be interesting to see how well they do the rest of the year and what happens next year.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Disease and Insect Control, Part 2

Do not use a glass where
small children will have
access to it.!!
There are several important things to remember when using chemicals.

READ THE LABEL! Use ONLY as much as you need. More is not better.

Use dedicated measuring containers/utensils.

Use proper personal protection - at a bare minimum, use disposable gloves!

Avoid standing where the chemical will drift onto you or you will inhale it with every breath.  If you have a windsock, watch what direction the wind is blowing. Windsock and when to spray

Wash your skin with soap and water when you are finished.

Below is the instruction sheet we use for mixing and using chemicals at the Community Garden.


Procedure and Directions on how much to mix and spray

Caution: Do not spray if rain is expected within 4 hours. Spraying without having time for the chemical to bond with the leaves means you have to respray. AzaMax stays on better than Actinovate or Serenade as they are water soluble. If it only rains a little bit you are fine. 5 days of rain or a down pour means you should respray for continued protection.  Also water your plants BEFORE spraying any chemicals.

You can combine the pesticide ( Azamax) with1 fungicide (Actinovate  or  Serenade) so that you spray for bugs and disease at the same time. Only use both chemicals if you need both. If you only need one (fungicide or pesticide), only use the one chemical.

Spray every 7 to 10 days depending on how much rain we have and what kind of problems you are having.

AzaMax (pesticide to use on plants):
               bean beetles, cucumber beetles, squash bugs, etc.
  Shake concentrate container before measuring out

1/2 gallon - use 1 1/2 teaspoons of concentrate
1 Quart    - use 3/4th  teaspoon of concentrate
  if you can't beat back the bugs, ask about what amount to increase to
Actinovate (fungicide for fungus/disease control for plants)
             powdery mildew, tomato blight, viruses, curly top, etc
1/2 gallon - use  1/2 teaspoon of powdered concentrate
1 quart     - use  1/4 teaspoon of powdered concentrate
   if disease pressure is  high, ask about what amount to use

Serenade ( another fungicide chemical for fungus/disease control for plants)
            powdery mildew, tomato blight, viruses, curly top, etc
Shake concentrate container before measuring out

1/2 gallon - use 2 ounces of concentrate        
1 quart     - use 1 ounce of concentrate
   if disease pressure is high, ask about what amount to use
WEAR GLOVES!! Even when mixing the chemical. Definitely while spraying.

Watch the windsock when spraying to make sure you are upwind from the chemical you are spraying.

Put water in the container and then add the concentrate. Make sure it gets completely mixed/dissolved before using.

Shake very well to mix.

Then pour your chemical solution in one of the half gallon sprayers but only up to the round indented spots towards the top of the sprayer. If you go above those indentions, when you put the sprayer in, the chemical will overflow.

Tighten sprayer and pump to create pressure.  (If pressure doesn’t build, try tightening the sprayer in the bottle again). Test to see if you need to adjust the nozzle before spraying your plants. You want a spray, not a stream.

Once you are finished spraying your plants, you need to empty and rinse out everything you used. Sprayer, mixing bottle/jug, measuring spoons and/or measuring cup.  Be sure to pump clean water through the sprayer to clean out that part as well as the sprayer bottle.

Return everything to the proper shelf in the shed so the next person can find everything.


Disease and Insect Control, Part 1

The one thing I hate about vegetable gardening in Georgia is fighting disease and bugs in the summer. If you are growing your vegetables at home, you won't have nearly the disease and bug pressure that we do at the Community Garden.

If you use the proper chemical at the correct time and use the correct amount you will increase your success.

Of course, you will have even better success if you use IPM (Integrated Pest Management) techniques. Healthy soil. Healthy plants  Watch for bugs. Hand pick bugs when there are only a few. When the numbers get too high, then use the correct pesticide but not too much.

At the Community garden, we have an organic garden and use Serenade or Actinovate for plant diseases and AzaMax for our pesticide. All these products can be ordered through Amazon. Early in the season the prices are much better than during peak demand times.  Pike's does carry a small bottle of Serenade that is premixed and ready to spray. This is economical if you have a small garden or while your plants are small. If you have a large garden, it is more economical to get the large bottle of concentrate.

The sprayer we use is a Flo Master from Home Depot. It holds
a half gallon of mixed chemical and is easy to use.
 As for disease in the garden...well....it is easy for it to spread like wildfire so a good offense is an excellent defense. With as much rain as we've been having, conditions are ripe for all the different blights that affect tomatoes as well as powdery mildew attacking the cucumbers and squashes.

Since the chemicals we use are water soluble,  they wash off after frequent rains or if the rain was especially heavy. The AzaMax does stay a bit longer than the Serenade and Actinovate. Generally, spraying every 7 to 10 days is the recommended time frame. But if you spray on Day 1 and it then rains for 5 days straight, you should spray again as all your chemical has washed off.

Part Two will have the  mixing instructions that we use at the garden.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Ellie's Molasses Cookies

Dalita brought some super delicious molasses cookies to the Ice Cream Social.  So delicious there weren't any left to take home. YUM!


Ellie's Molasses Cookies

3/4 C butter
1 1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 molasses
1 egg
2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of salt

Melt butter in 3 cup saucepan. (I don't melt the butter.) Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

 Add 1 cup sugar, molasses, and egg.  Beat well.  Sift flour and spices.  Add to butter and mix well.  Chill in pan for 2 hours or overnight. 

Roll into a ball (1 tsp.) and coat with sugar.  Flatten with bottom of a glass coated with sugar.  Bake 8 - 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Makes 72 cookies.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Comfrey - a great plant for pollinators

Last week was National Pollinator Week but it is never too late to write about pollinators. It is really cool when you really "SEE" what is happening under your very nose when it comes to pollinators in your front yard.

Why are pollinators a good thing? Some plants use the wind to spread their pollen but most plants need assistance from an animal or insect to get their flowers pollinated.

If a flower doesn't get pollinated, it won't set seed i.e. make the fruits, vegetables and nuts that we (as well as the rest of the animal kingdom) eat. If we didn't have something to pollinate our fruits and vegetables, we'd be very hungry and not have such a diverse diet.

I've grown comfrey for years but never realized until this year what a great pollinator plant it is. It is hardy, lives in pots or the ground, reseeds readily, is easy to pull up when you don't want it where it has appeared and blooms from April until the end of October.

This afternoon I went outside and glanced over at my thicket of comfrey and found half a dozen bumble bees buzzing around. They make a circuit of the flowers, disappear from view then come back for another circuit around the flowers. Over and over and over again. Besides the bumble bees there are tiny native bees that are buzzing around and crawling in the flowers themselves.

Comfrey has been used for healing purposes since at least 400 B.C. I've used it as a salve to heal small "ouchies" and I have a friend that uses the dried leaves in bathwater to get rid of the itch of chiggers and ticks.  When I read up on comfrey, I found that it had been used for food, as a dye, in cosmetics and as an ornamental. (Internal use is NOT recommended any more.)

I've planted a baby plant by the birdbath at the garden and we'll see how well it does there.  Anything that blooms at least 7 months of the year and is used by multiple pollinators deserves a home in one of our pollinator borders.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Horticulture Week at Green Meadows Preserve Park - July 8th

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Cooperative Extension. To celebrate the 100th anniversary and Horticulture Week, Cobb County Cooperative Extension is holding a series of classes and events the week of July 7 thru July 12th.  Extension Horticulture Week Events

Tuesday July 8th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Green Meadows Community Garden will be featured as well as the Cherokee Garden and the historic Period Gardens around the house. Feel free to come at any point between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.  There are only 2 events with specific times.

9:00 am General Welcome and Thank You for coming

9:30 am  Bluebird Trail walk (2.3 miles) for those who want to take a walk on the trail system and learn more about bluebirds and bird habitat.

9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Tour the gardens and talk to gardeners and Extension staff.

Gardens and Orchard:
Community Garden
Cherokee Garden
Historic Period Garden around the House
Organic Orchard

Additional Activities:
Bee Hive exhibit
Scavenger Hunt for children in the Community Garden
   (no collecting, just marking off the list)
Bug Talks in the garden
Watch the birdfeeders behind the garden

Feel free to bring a picnic lunch to eat under the Pecan Trees behind the house. Port-a-potties will be available for this event.

3780 Dallas Hwy, Powder Springs, 30127 (Intersection of Dallas Hwy and Old Hamilton Road).
Free and open to the public. For information, call 770-528-4070.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Community Education Lecture Series - Saturday June 28

This morning I received a last minute announcement about a Community Education Lecture Series and Garden Open House at Fountain Gate Gardens in Kennesaw.

When:        Saturday June 28th
Where:       Fountain Gate Gardens
Time:         9:00 am to 12:30 pm
Location:   3007 Cherokee Street
                   Kennesaw, GA 31044

During the open house, drop in to tour the gardens and ask any gardening questions you might have. Free Seed packets while supplies last.  Learn more about their Plant A Row program.

Three short classes to be held in the Brown House in front of the gardens

9:30 am - 10:15 am     Planning for a Fall/Winter Garden

10:30 am - 11:15 am   Vegetable Garden Basics  

11:30 am - 12:15 pm   Fundamentals of Organic Gardening

 For more information you can email garden@fountaingate.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Traffic Delays This Weekend - 150th Commemoration of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

This is to give everyone a heads up that there are going to be significant traffic delays starting Thursday evening, June 26th through Sunday June 29th.

 In fact, you might want to avoid all roads going East that go anywhere near any part of Kennesaw Mountain or into Marietta.  Certain sections of  Barrett Parkway and Highway 41 will also be jammed up.

(Remember Burnt Hickory between Due West Road and Barrett Parkway is still closed and won't reopen until the end of July.)

The 150th Commemoration of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain is this weekend and 60,000 visitors are expected to attend the events.  Schedule of events for 150th

Satellite parking for Kennesaw Mountain and 24 Gun Battery events will be at Mount Paran Christian School and the Bell's Ferry Parking lot (actually located near the corner of Bell's Ferry and Hwy 41). Marietta High School is providing parking for all activities at Cheatham Hill. Shuttles will be provided. Event Parking for 150th

Marietta also has many activities that tie into the events being held at Kennesaw Mountain this weekend.   http://www.mariettacivilwar.com/

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Honeyed Applesauce

Honeybee hard at work!
I always have such fond memories whenever making this old family recipe.  As kids, we would ride in the back end of an old 50's station wagon and make our pilgrimage to White House Fruit Farm so mom could get the bushels of apples in season for her "special sauce".  We would all help dad pick out the apples, carry the bushel baskets to the car, and for a twenty-five cent glass of cider promise to stay out of them on the car ride back. Dad would willingly hand over the cider knowing every bit that promises made when it came to fresh apples weren't our strong suit.

Once home, cleaning, coring, and peeling were a chore none of us kids minded and a simple sliver of apple here and there kept us all happy and out of trouble.  The smell of apples, cinnamon, and honey permeated the house for days.

Later in years, Rick and I would take our own boys up to Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge to pass down a tradition as sacred as making the sauce itself.  They too would enjoy the ride sitting in the back end of our station wagon.   After an enjoyable day of gathering different types of apples for what is now entrusted to my care, we would sip some cider, grab some tasty snacks, and make the return drive home.  Seeing the boys sneak an apple or two from the visor mirror brought both a snicker and realization that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  No pun intended!

With the kids now grown and gone Rick and I still make our own pilgrimage to the orchards each year celebrating something constant in a life so full of change.  The kitchen is a little quieter and Van Morrison's soulful song, Tupelo Honey, softly plays while we cook.  While not his best album, the song is wonderful and somehow it has seemingly been deemed appropriate for the occasion!  One hopes as the boy's age they will find orchards rich in history with stories of their own and enjoy a tradition of gathering apples and making sauce with their families.  One hopes the glance in the rear-view mirror brings them a warm smile and the memory of how kind and gentle life can be.  One hopes...........  

Nothing beats local honey or farm fresh apples in season when making this recipe.  Macintosh apples paired with Clover, Tupelo, or Wildflower honey are among my favorite combinations to use.  I am so excited to try the recipe with some of the local honey from Rita, who is one of our Master Gardener's, as well as some from the hives of Mike and Sue at Green Meadows.  One hopes I can hang on to a few jars until the Macintosh are in season as well.  One hopes..........

Hives at Green Meadows!

9 - 10 medium Macintosh apples
1-cup honey (Tupelo, Clover, or Wildflower are wonderful choices)
4 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
½-teaspoon salt
½-teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon (optional)


In a 4 – 5 qt. saucepan, combine the honey, vinegar, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix well and heat on low.

Prepare all apples.  Wash, dry, core, and peel.  Cut the apples into wedges.  Add the apple wedges to the honey mixture as you prepare, making sure to have them completely coated.  This will keep them from browning.

Bring the honey mixture and the apples right to the point of a boil.  Stir frequently.  Once you have the mixture going good, reduce its heat to a lower temperature that just barely keeps it bubbling.  Set partially off the burner if necessary.

Cook down to a desired consistency, mashing the apples with a spoon as they become tender.  Stir frequently.  Usually takes about 30 minutes.

Top with an extra dash of fresh ground cinnamon and serve. Works amazingly well hot or cold.

Serves 6 - 8.  This recipe may easily be divided; however, the size of the saucepan should be reduced to a 3 qt. for the best results.  Freezes extremely well for making extra-large batches.

For those that like a little soulful music while you cook........................

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq3YLhtuzTQ - link to Van Morrison's Tupelo Honey released in the early 70's.

Happy Gardening,

Denise, Beds 25 & 29

Plants in Peat Pots

If you buy plants in peat pots there is one thing you should always make sure you do - bury the edge of the peat pot completely under the soil. When it is sticking up it acts like a wick and causes moisture to evaporate faster from the area surrounding your plant.

Myself, I like to totally remove the peat pot from the roots (gently to minimize damage to the roots) so I don't have to worry that the soil level will go down around the pot. I always put the peat pot remains under the mulch so it will decay and add organic matter to the soil.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Two Upcoming Vegetable Gardening Classes

Extension has two vegetable gardening classes coming up. One is this Wednesday and the other one is in July.  Pre-registration is required.

Try New Vegetables
  June 25  11:30 am to 12:30 pm
  North Cobb Senior Center
  Registration Required - 770-528-4070

Planning Fall Vegetable Garden
  July 24  6:30 to 8:00 pm
  Cobb County Extension Office
  Registration Required - 770-528-4070

As a bonus you can take a class on:

Smart Irrigation
  July 12  9:00 am to 12:00 pm
  Cobb County Extension Office
  Registration Required - 770-528-4070

Classes are free and taught by Extension staff and Master Gardeners. For more details go to

updated 7:58 pm 6/23/2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Easy Strawberry Ice Cream

For the Ice Cream Social today, I made ice cream using strawberries I picked when I went to the Lcclstrawberry Farm in Rome with Mike last month.  This is a really easy ice cream recipe if you want to make a quick, no cook, egg free ice cream.

1 1/2 pints (3 cups) half and half

16 ounces of Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 1/2 to 2 cups strawberries, pureed or mashed (they can be fresh or frozen as long as they are in small bits)

1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Pour into ice cream canister and freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions.

Makes 1/2 gallon

To Make Vanilla instead of Strawberry:
Omit Strawberries
Increase half and half to 2 pints (4 cups)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer of 1864


The Sounds of Battle drew closer and closer. Cannon Fire. Rifle and Musket Fire. Drums pounding out the beat. Feet thudding on the ground. Battle Yells. Screams.

Smoke and the stench of fighting filled the air.

Regardless of which side you were on, it was a horrific time.  It didn't matter if you were a civilian or a part of the military. It was pure hell.

Visualize Green Meadows Preserve and Community Garden as it is today. Then think back 150 years ago today - this area was a constant battlefield. All through the month of June, West Cobb County was a battlefield with thousands of Confederate and Union soldiers marching to and fro.

As the summer progressed, the war crept closer.

Military action
New Hope Church - May 25
Picketts Mill - May 27
Lost Mountain - June 5-9
Gilgal Church June 15 - 17
Mud Creek Line - June 17
Kennesaw Mtn - June 27

Picture a summer like this one in 2014. Lush foliage. Crops growing well. Rains coming every afternoon.

Then imagine what it looked like after the battles in 1864. Splintered and cut down trees. Torn up earth. Buildings destroyed to make fortifications. Gilgal Church was dismantled and used (as well as the pews)  to build fortifications by the Confederate Army.

As the crow flies, small battles and military actions weren't far from the Green Plantation marker in front of the house at Green Meadows Preserve.

Military Action at Gilgal Church (1.1 miles)
Due West Community (1.2 miles)
Battle of Gilgal Church (1.3 miles)
Mud Creek Line (1.6 miles)
Battle of Pine Knob (1.7 miles)
Darby Plantain  (.8 miles)
Main Confederate Battle Line (2 miles)

To visualize the movement of the various armies using current roads, zoom in to see all the Historical markers in Cobb County.

Visit Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park between June 26 and June 29 to learn more about how the Civil War impacted the civilian population, medicine was practiced on the battlefield, hear music from the era and see demonstrations of cannons and rifles being fired. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is having a huge series of events and programs (link to schedule)  commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

The City of Marietta is also having a variety of events all summer long as is the The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History.

All clipart images proved by Classroom Clipart. Photo provided by Victor Williams.