‘THE SAGE’-Klein’s Online Newsletter—OCTOBER 2017
Klein’s Floral & Greenhouses
THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHTS:
Rebuilding Is Now Underway and YES…WE ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS!
The Spring Bulbs Have Arrived
Don’t Forget Sweetest Day or Bosses’ Day
Klein’s Is a One-Stop Shopping Experience for Fall Decor
Our ‘Mad Gardener’ Is Ready for Your Questions
Sweetest Day History and Origins
Native Tree Spotlight: In Defense of Boxelder
A Guide to Successful Seed Saving
Klein’s Favorite Seed, Bulb & Plant Sources
You Asked the Mad Gardener About a Living Screen
Plant of the Month: Autumn Crocus (Colchicum)
Klein’s Favorite Kale Recipes
Product Spotlight: Spring Bulbs from Van Bloem Gardens®
Notes from Rick’s Garden Journal—From September 2017
—How to Overwinter Cannas
—Goldfinches Grace the Garden
—Overwintering Favorite Tropicals
October in the Garden: A Planner
Gardening Events Around Town
Join Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Facebook
Join Klein’s Blooming Plant or Fresh Flower Club
Related Resources and Websites
Plants Harmful to Kids and Pets
CONSTRUCTION OF KLEIN’S NEW FACILITY IS WELL UNDER WAY! …and we are planning to be open during the entire process in our temporary retail space in our growing greenhouses at the back of the property with easy access from both East Washington Ave. and Stoughton Rd.
Spring bulbs, homegrown mums and fall plants are now available and our poinsettias will begin showing color mid-month. AND…our growers are currently busy ordering product for the 2018 spring season for our brand new state-of-the-art garden center.
Our floral cooler is stocked daily with fresh arrangements and cut flowers and designers are available for all of your floral needs. Floral orders and daily deliveries continue as usual and can be made by calling our designers at 608-244-5661 or online at www.kleinsfloral.com. Our goal is to keep everything running as close to status quo as possible during construction.
Follow our progress on Facebook as the work proceeds.
THE SPRING BULBS HAVE ARRIVED!
We have all of your favorites–tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, alliums–and a few not-so-well known treasures for your garden. Mid- to late October is the best time to plant your spring bulbs (planting too can early promote premature leaf growth) and nothing could be more uplifting after a long winter than crocus, snowdrops and winter aconite blossoms peeking through the snow come spring. Allow the Klein’s staff to share planting tips and ideas to keep those pesky squirrels from digging up those newly planted bulbs. And for indoor blooms, don’t forget a few hyacinths, paperwhites and amaryllis (arriving mid-month) for indoor forcing. We carry a lovely assortment of forcing glasses, vases and decorative pottery. Forced bulbs make for a n inexpensive and treasured holiday gift. Any bulb questions? Don’t forget our Mad Gardener @ [email protected]
THE MAD GARDENER
“Madison’s Firsthand Source for Expert Gardening Advice”
Ask any of your gardening questions by e-mailing them to us at [email protected]. Klein’s in-house Mad Gardener will e-mail you with an answer as promptly as we can. We’ve also posted a link to this e-mail address on our home page for your convenience. Your question might then appear in the “You Asked” feature of our monthly newsletter. If your question is the one selected for our monthly newsletter, you’ll receive a small gift from us at Klein’s. The Mad Gardener hopes to hear from you soon!
Sorry, we can only answer those questions pertaining to gardening in Southern Wisconsin and we reserve the right to leave correspondence unanswered at our discretion. Please allow 2-3 days for a response.
Please note that our Mad Gardener is not only an expert gardener, but can answer all of your indoor plant questions as well.
enjoy these end of season savings:
70% OFF All Remaining Perennials & Shrubs
OCTOBER STORE HOURS:
Monday thru Friday : 8:00-6:00
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
Throughout October watch for great season’s end savings on all remaining perennials. Check out our selection of spring bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, alliums and much more have arrived for fall planting. For Halloween and Thanksgiving decorating we carry pumpkins, gourds, fall leaves, branches, grasses, dried flowers, cattails, hay bales, etc. for fall decor. Shop early for best selection.
October 5–Full Moon
October 9–Columbus Day (observed)
October 16–National Bosses’ Day
October 21–Sweetest Day
October 22–Mother-in-Law’s Day
October 31–Halloween. Choose from one of our many FTD and Teleflora bouquets and centerpieces for your Halloween parties or get-togethers. For more ideas and easy on-line ordering, check out our Teleflora or FTD websites by clicking on www.flowerskleinsflrl.com
or www.florists.ftd.com/ kleinsfloral or talk to one of our designers at 608/244-5661 or 888/244- 5661.
‘THE FLOWER SHOPPE’:
Sweetest Day History and Origins
Sweetest Day is celebrated each year on the third Saturday of October. Although often thought of by many as a second Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day is actually a day meant to celebrate all the people who make your life special. It’s an occasion to make someone happy, a chance to celebrate and give gifts to relatives, friends, and associates.
Sweetest Day was founded around 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio by Herbert Birch Kingston who was a local candy company employee. Kingston sought to bring cheer and some happiness to the lives of those who were often forgotten. With the help of his friends, he began distributing candy and small gifts to children living in orphanages, those stricken with illness or disabilities, shut-ins, and others who were forgotten.
During the early years of the holiday, movie star Ann Pennington presented 2,200 Cleveland newspaper boys with boxes of candy to express gratitude for their service to the community. Theda Bara, another movie star of the period, also helped in establishing the holiday by giving away 10,000 boxes of candy to people in hospitals and to those individuals who came to watch one of her films at the Playhouse Square Theaters in Cleveland, Ohio.
Within a decade, the simple idea had gained such popularity that the city of Cleveland officially declared the third Saturday of October as Sweetest Day.
Over the years, the Sweetest Day idea of spreading cheer to the underprivileged has expanded to an occasion offering us the opportunity to remember not only the sick, aged, shut-ins, and orphans but also friends, relatives, and those individuals whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed during the year.
The traditional observance of Sweetest Day involves the same types of gifts and acknowledgements as Valentine’s Day with the most popular being cards, flowers, chocolates, and candy.
Sweetest Day is primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the Great Lakes region and the northeast. The observance of the holiday is gradually spreading throughout the United States as people relocate to various parts of the country and bring the regional celebration with them to their new homes. States that have the greatest observance of the holiday include Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Cities with the greatest observance of the holiday are Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, and Buffalo.
Sweetest Day is an original American holiday that is not based on any single group’s religious sentiment or on a family relationship. It is simply a reminder that a thoughtful word, deed, or small gift enriches the life of the recipient as well as the person giving it.
In 2017, Sweetest Day will be celebrated on Saturday, October 21. Remember to celebrate the holiday and touch the life of someone special with a gift of flowers, plants, chocolates or an eCard.
YOU ASKED THE MAD GARDENER . . .
I’m in a condo that has a bedroom window that is literally right by the entrance and am looking for a solution. A couple tubs with tall grasses planted in it might provide the privacy I’m looking for. Do you happen to have these or something that will grow tall (6′) or more in one season? Kim
I feel that a grass will not be the answer for you and lead to disappointment in that many of the tall ones can be slow growing and won’t do the trick until late summer or early fall giving you only 2 months of privacy at best. There are some annual grasses that may work (Pennisetum Vertigo, Prince), but their availability isn’t guaranteed until they actually appear in store in March or April.
I have three other
suggestions if you’re wanting to use plants.
You could use large houseplants or tropicals of some sort. If you have the room and the light, you could bring them in for the winter and place them back outdoors every spring. I suggest tall palms, ficus, scheffleras among others. As for tropicals, there are hibiscus and bananas; both of which overwinter easily indoors.
Another option would be vines on trellises in large containers. Best choices include mandevilla, morning glories, malabar spinach and so many more. The fastest growing ones are for the most part annuals and would need to be replanted each year. Most are both vigorous to cover lots of area and have beautiful flowers to boot.
If you’re desiring the “grassy” look you first mentioned, another suggestion would be bamboo. Many choices are very conducive to container culture, grow VERY quickly and can be overwintered indoors if desired in that the best choices aren’t hardy this far north. The downside is that you’d have to do both your research and purchasing online. There are few bamboos sold at retail this far north and there are so many options available.
Thanks for your question,
Klein’s Mad Gardener
DID YOU KNOW. . .
. . .that, though considered ‘weed trees’ by many, our native boxelders have many redeeming qualities?
Native Tree Spotlight: In Defense of Boxelder
by Caitlin Reinartz
I talk to a lot of people about trees. Those conversations are about identification, physiology, or growth habit, but my favorite conversations about trees are ones about how awesome or beautiful a certain tree or species of tree is. During these talks I have noticed that most folks are not as willing to sing the praises of boxelder (Acer negundo).
First: a little bit of background information. Boxelder is a fast growing, medium sized deciduous tree usually found on wet soils or in degraded habitat but that can be found anywhere. It is a member of the maple genus and produces winged samaras (the fruiting bodies of maples that fall to the ground in a twirling motion that people call “helicopters”). It looks different from most of the maples because it has compound leaves with 3 to 5 leaflets. It is also different from the rest of the maples in that it is dioecious (having separate male and female trees).
Boxelders are generally considered a “weedy” tree and are held in pretty low regard by most people. A quick Google search reveals a plethora of descriptions of boxelder that are less than complimentary. One of my favorites, put out by the United States Forest Service, laments that “its limbs are brittle and break easily; its trunk is susceptible to rot and infested with boxelder bugs…. The leaves turn a dull yellow and fall untidily over a long period, as do the winged seeds, giving this species the reputation of being a ‘dirty tree’.”
Boxelders often have multiple trunks which twist at strange angles to take advantage of whatever spots of sun they can find. Boxelder wood is not strong enough to support the weight of the larger branches, causing them to bow down sometimes and grow along the ground with “suckers” that point straight up into the air.
Lots of people think they are ugly trees. I, personally, think that their growth form is pretty cool. Every tree is different, and their individuality gives them a bit of personality and interest. Plus, they make GREAT climbing trees. It’s also important to point out that a boxelder on an ideal site with good moisture and soils can grow to be a really nice specimen tree with a strong central trunk and almost spherical crown.
The rest of the reasons we don’t like boxelders are, ironically, the very reasons that we should love them. Boxelders are scrappy and hard to kill, and they drop leaves and fruits even into the winter. Leaves and fruits (and boxelder bugs) may be annoying to homeowners who have to clean them up, but they are absolutely crucial to the ecosystem as a whole. Many different types of wildlife rely on those fruits and leaves that persist on the tree, especially late in the season when food supplies become scarce. The list of wildlife that depends on boxelders to survive the winter is so long that I will share only one of the most special figures with you now. There are 285 species of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) that depend on boxelder to survive their caterpillar stage. If we say good-bye to boxelders, we might as well say good-bye to almost three hundred species of moths and butterflies! Keep in mind that insects and caterpillars are the largest diet component of insectivorous birds and that the populations of most bird species are limited by food availability. Fewer boxelders means fewer insects which translates into fewer birds which has the potential to crash the whole food web.
Anyone who has tried to cut a boxelder out of their yard will know that they are incredibly scrappy, tough and hard to kill. Boxelders can grow on almost any type of soil in almost any habitat. When they are cut down or killed, they send up “suckers” or new growth vigorously for years. If they are girdled or stressed out, they will reproduce prolifically so even if you do manage to kill the adult tree, you have hundreds of seedlings to contend with. I get that. What we have to understand, though, is that the scrappiness of boxelder is exactly why we should venerate it.
In a world of increasing human-caused pressures on the environment, especially in an urban area, we need a tree that can hold its own. We need a tough, aggressive, native tree which can compete with the host of non-native invasives that plague our natural areas. We need native plants that will keep on sequestering our carbon and burping out oxygen no matter what we do (intentionally or otherwise) to limit their ability to do so. We need a tree that refuses to be killed even when everything around it is paved. We need boxelder like we need air to breathe. We need everything it gives us, and we need everything it gives to our ecosystem as a whole. For these reasons, let’s start to change our ideas about what is a “weed” and what isn’t .
Caitlin Reinartz is the Forester at the Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park branch, working primarily on the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied Forest Management.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT—Each month we spotlight some product that we already carry or one that we’ve taken note of and plan to carry in the near future. Likewise, if you would like to see Klein’s to carry a product that we don’t currently, please let us know. Our goal is to be responsive to the marketplace and to our loyal clientele. If a product fits into our profile, we will make every effort to get it into our store. In addition, we may be able to special order an item for you, whether plant or hard good, given enough time.
Spring Bulbs from Van Bloem Gardens®
It’s time to plant your spring bulbs and Van Bloem Gardens® (available @ Klein’s) is one of the world’s leading wholesalers of flower bulbs, perennials and horticulture products for the home gardener and the professional grower . They are a marketplace leader with new introductions, outstanding varieties and a comprehensive selection.
After a long association with Langenveld bulbs, Klein’s began offering product from Van Bloem Gardens® in the spring of 2008. Since then our association has expanded from not just their spring and summer bulb collections, but also to their finished tropical (caladiums, bananas, elephant’s ears, etc.) and water plant lines We are not only impressed by Van Bloem’s large selection and excellent quality, but their clear and colorful packaging and and their presentation for the consumer.
The bulk of our spring bulb collection arrives during the week just after Labor Day each season. Though many of our competitors receive their spring bulbs earlier than we do, experience has taught us that most gardeners don’t even think about fall until Labor Day has passed. Though it’s good to shop early for best selection, bulbs should not be planted until mid-October (especially during warm falls like we’ve been experiencing!) Years back, when our bulbs arrived earlier than early September, we found that some simply withered in the summer heat of our greenhouses.
In addition to the bulbs, Klein’s also carries a complete selection of forcing supplies, hyacinth glasses, bulb boosters and fertilizers, tools and holiday gift bulbs including amaryllis (which arrive mid-October) and paperwhites.
For more about Van Bloem Gardens®, check out their website at www.vanbloem.com.
NOTES FROM MY GARDEN JOURNAL–Tips and Observations from My Own Garden by Rick Halbach
ENTRY: SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 (How to Overwinter Cannas)
A customer asked me today about overwintering cannas. Seeing as I sort of collect cannas, I was able to answer her question with a lot of personal experience (and with more info than she probably needed or wanted).
My interest in cannas (and the entire world of gardening for that matter) was passed on to me from my grandmother. She used cannas extensively in her beds on the family farm. Grandma’s cannas were all the familiar green-leafed red variety (The President); much overused in city parks in the 1970’s. She overwintered her cannas in the basement root cellar. Each May she divided her always healthy and vigorous rhizomes to plant back into the garden beds. There were always extras for me to plant!! My own personal canna bed on the farm was in a pile of sand along the front of the machine shed. These easy-to-care-for tropical and dramatic beauties were a perfect choice to impress a 10 year old budding gardener. Today, nearly 50 years later, I have a collection of about 20 different exotic canna varieties–none of which are green-leafed red, by the way.
My Tips For Overwintering Cannas:
First, I let the tops freeze off. Because they’re rhizomes and in the ground, they’re safe from initial frosts. Letting the foliage freeze off , in fact, eliminates hitchhiking pests.
If in a pot, I chop off the foliage to about 4″ and move it to a very cool location– storage temps in the winter below 50º are best so a root cellar or heated garage will keep them dormant (42º is optimum). I water them about every 6 weeks in the winter. Canna rhizomes require a small amount of moisture and don’t like to go completely dormant like dahlias or begonias. They develop a sort of ‘dry rot’ if left bone dry during storage. I move the pots to a warmer spot with some light from a basement window in about mid-March. One wouldn’t need to, but with our short summers it’s good to give them an earlier start for earlier blooms. Mine are usually about 12-18″ tall by the time I move them outside in mid-May. As the years pass the rhizomes will fill the pot. I divide mine about every 5 years.
If planted in the garden, also cut the foliage back to about 4″ after the tops freeze. Carefully dig them and remove any muddy garden soil. I then pack them in peat moss in milk crates lined with layers of newspaper. The newspaper keeps in the peat moss, provides circulation and helps them stay moist. I water them in lightly to moisten the peat moss (it’s easier and less messy to do that outside rather than inside). Like the potted ones, they are best stored at temps below 50º and must be watered lightly about every 6 weeks to keep the peat moss moist but not wet. Though the rhizomes can be planted directly into the ground in May, you’ll lose a good month or more of bloom time. Our summers are too short for that!! So about April 1, I pot mine up into 6″ plastic pots to give them a head start. Place them in a warm location and once sprouted, they’ll need a light source. The rhizomes can be cut into pieces to fit the pots, so long as there are a few ‘eyes’ from which to sprout.
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ENTRY: SEPTEMBER 20, 2017 (Goldfinches Grace the Garden)
The goldfinches are crazy in the yard right now! My three niger seed feeders are having to be filled every few days. Most of the finches currently emptying the feeders are new arrivals from further north and locally reared young ones. Goldfinches are unique among birds in that they nest in late summer. Parents are caring for their young into mid-September; a time when many birds have already headed south for the winter. It is theorized that goldfinches nest so late for two reasons. The first is that the parasitic cowbirds (which occupy the same habitats) are finished nesting for the season. Cowbirds don’t rear their own young. They toss eggs out of other specie’s nests, lay their own eggs in the nest and let the other species raise the young as their own. I can’t count how often I’ve seen cardinal parents feeding seeds to squawking cowbird babies in my own yard. Goldfinches don’t have to worry about this cowbird behavior.
Secondly, goldfinches are rearing their young when all of their favorite foods are most plentiful. I can attest to this in my own garden. Goldfinches are flocking to all of their favorites: the sunflowers, meadow blazing star, coneflowers, cup plant, helenium, asters, black-eyed Susans, tithonias, zinnias and so many others. My yard is a constant flurry of goldfinch activity. Their ‘talking’ with each other is incessant. The young are learning which seeds are edible and which taste best. The adult males have pretty much taken on their drab green winter coloration rather than their bright yellow summer attire. From now through the rest of winter I’ll be filling those three feeders every few days.
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ENTRY: SEPTEMBER 29, 2017 (Overwintering Favorite Tropicals)
As I’m about to lug my huge pots of angel’s trumpets to the basement for the winter, I’m reminded that at the time of the year we get tons of questions at Klein’s about the how-to’s of overwintering our most common garden tropicals. I thought I’d share an article we wrote a number of years ago.
From October 2008:
It’s easier than you may think to winter over many of your spring and summer plant purchases. Doing so not only saves money, but allows you to keep some of your very favorite plants from year to year. Gardeners are usually very familiar with wintering over some of our grandparents’ favorite annuals. The easiest include geraniums, coleus, begonias, flowering maple, lantana and many others. Now though, tropicals are all the rage and most can be kept through the winter quite easily in the average home. Tropicals are great fun to experiment with and add a lot of drama to the landscape. They can be expensive, and therefore, can be looked at as a long term investment. Some will even bloom sporadically during the dead of winter given a sunny, warm location. Though we’ve only selected a few of the more common ones to spotlight, nearly all tropicals can be wintered over and our staff would be happy to help you out with any questions at 244-5661. Ask for Rick, Jamie or Sonya.
HIBISCUS–Prune hard to shape in the fall and place in a bright location either warm or cool. Water thoroughly when dry to the touch. Watch for whitefly, aphids and spider mites. Though a lot of literature recommends pruning in the spring, here in the north you’ll lose at least a month of flowering next summer. With our short summers, you’ll see few blooms with some of the later blooming cultivars. Oleanders are treated much the same way as hibiscus.
BANANAS–If you have room or dwarf varieties, bananas can be kept actively growing as a houseplant through the winter. They require a bright location, warm temps and even watering. Watch for spider mites under the large leaves. An alternative is to let the banana plant go dormant. Simply cut last summer’s stalk(s) to 2 feet, allow the pot to thoroughly dry out and move to a basement or cool room. Water thoroughly but infrequently throughout the winter. You should see new leaves unfurling late in winter and as you increase watering. It’s not uncommon for the original largest stalk to die, but check the base. You may see 2-6 baby plants–your next summer’s growth.
ELEPHANT’S EARS (Colocasia)–Allow to freeze off in the the garden or if in a pot, allow to dry completely in a garage. For plants grown in the ground, dig the large, tuberous roots and allow to “cure” a few weeks in the garage, removing any rotted or soft portions. The curing process is the same as with potatoes or onions. After a few weeks, place the tubers in dry peat moss in a large container of choice. A pail or muck bucket works perfectly. Store dry in the warm part of your basement. They can be stored cool, but there is no need. For plants grown in containers, simply move your container to the basement once the pot has completely dried out. Remove all foliage. Again, store dry.
THEN–the key to success with elephant’s ears is jump-starting them early enough for next season, something often overlooked. In late January, begin watering your stored tubers as normal. New growth will appear in about 2 months–sometimes longer! By starting your plants early, you’ll be rewarded with larger plants much earlier next summer. By the time you place your stored tubers in the garden in late May, your first leaves will already be 2-3’ tall.
Most alocasias (also commonly called elephant’s ears), unlike the colocasias, prefer to be kept actively growing like a houseplant during the winter months.
AGAPANTHUS (Lily-of-the-Nile)–Growing these exotics is super-easy!
In Wisconsin, agapanthus must be grown as a potted plant. Being extremely root bound stimulates the best blooming so keep your plants in the same pot until you must step them up. At season’s end, move your pots to a garage to dry completely. Small plants (or if you have room for large plants) can be kept actively growing through the winter as a houseplant. If you choose the dormant route, you’ll notice the foliage yellowing as it dries. Remove all foliage, once it has yellowed completely then store in a cool, dry location till spring. Water lightly about once a month during the winter for best results.
BRUGMANSIA (Angel’s Trumpets)–Nothing could be easier than to winter over these dramatic tropicals and the older they get, the more dramatic they become! Before a freeze in the fall, simply prune the plants to a manageable size (usually to 3-5’). It’s O.K. if no foliage remains. If they were in the landscape, they’ll need to be dug and potted for the winter. Immediately move the plant to a cool and dark location. They can be stored as low as 40 degrees all winter. Water thoroughly a few times during the winter. If you don’t have a cool and dark location, just do your best–they’re not fussy. Heat and light will simply stimulate new growth during the winter. That’s also O.K. If possible, move your stored plant to some light (even a basement window) around March 1. This promotes earlier growth and earlier and more blooms next summer. Move outdoors once nighttime temps are in the 50’s.
BOUGAINVILLEA, MANDEVILLA, PASSION VINE and JASMINE are all overwintered as houseplants in a bright, sunny exposure for best results. New growth may need to be trimmed periodically through the winter months with a final pruning in early March. Foliage may drop and/or yellow during the winter. This is completely normal as the plants must acclimate to our very short days. Healthy growth usually starts as the days lengthen noticeably during February. It’s important to cut back on watering during the winter and hold off fertilizing from November through February.
KLEIN’S RECIPES OF THE MONTH—These are a selection of relatively simple recipes chosen by our staff. New recipes appear monthly. Enjoy!!
The flavor of kale sweetens and intensifies as the cooler weather sets in. Often considered the healthiest of all garden vegetables, kale remains relatively unknown in most American kitchens, but is very popular in most parts of the world. Kale is among the oldest of all cultivated vegetables and is, in fact, the forbear of many of the vegetables in the cole crop family, whose members include: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collard greens and kohlrabi. Kale is very high in protein and contains high amounts of vitamins A and C and oodles of minerals. Though also edible, ornamental kale is a little more bitter and tougher than garden kales. On the other hand, the edible kales are often times very ornamental. Favorites include ‘Redbor’, ‘Red Russian’ and dinosaur kale (Lacinato). Kale starts are available both in spring and again in late summer at Klein’s. It’s important to cut out the tough, woody midribs from the kale before preparation. If using whole leaves, simply fold the leaf in half lengthwise and slice along the tough rib.
LAYERED KALE CASSEROLE—Yet another recipe from one of our very favorite sources for vegetable recipes, From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce.
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup shredded cheese of choice
1/4 cup minced green onion
1/4 cup minced celery leaves
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. ground sage
1/4 tsp. dried, crushed rosemary
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups cooked, chopped kale
Preheat oven to 375º. Oil a 1 1/2 qt. covered casserole. Mix all ingredients except the kale in a bowl. Place half the kale in the prepared dish. Spread evenly with the rice mix. Cover with the remaining kale. Cover and bake 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serves 4-6.
KALE, SWEET POTATO AND SAUSAGE SOUP—A very simple and hearty recipe that appeared in the March 2007 issue of Cooking Light magazine.
2 TBS. olive oil
4 cups chopped onion
1 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 lb. sweet Italian turkey or pork sausage
8 cups coarsely chopped sweet potato (2 1/4 lbs.)
5 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
1 lb. torn fresh kale
1 x can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high. Sauté the onion until tender. Add 1/2 tsp. salt, the pepper flakes and the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Remove the casings from the sausage and add to the pot. Cook until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Add the sweet potato, water and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 8 minutes. Gradually add the kale. Return to a boil, reduce and cook 10 minutes or until the kale is tender. Stir in the rest of the salt and the beans and cook 5 minutes or till hot. Reseason as desired. Serves 10.
Note: No sausage on hand? It’s also delicious with leftover cooked chicken or ham.
KALE AND ONION STIR FRY—This delicious recipe came from a bag of store bought kale and is absolutely yummy served over a bed of jasmine rice.
1 lb. prepared kale (midribs and stems removed)
2 medium onions, sliced
2 TBS. rice vinegar
2 TBS. soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
Spray a deep skillet or wok with a little cooking spray or add a little peanut oil. Heat on high. Add the kale and onions and stir fry over high heat for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Reduce to medium and continue sautéing until the kale and onions are tender crisp.
BRAISED KALE —This gentle cooking method is a popular way to cook greens of all sorts; kale, collards, mustard greens, chard, etc. This delicious recipe appeared in the October 2008 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.
2 TBS. butter
2 TBS. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lbs. kale or collards, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 TBS. red wine or white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter with the veggie oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the garlic and sauté until tender. Add the greens (in batches if necessary) and sauté until they just begin to wilt. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until very tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and season to taste. Serves 6.
A Guide to Successful Seed Saving
Seed Saving to Preserve Today’s Bounty For Tomorrow’s Gardens
Seed saving has long been the primary way to pass plants down from generation to generation. Seed Saving is not only fun, it’s also an important way to perpetuate heirloom plants and to ensure the genetic diversity of the world’s food crops, which are eroding at an unprecedented and accelerating rate. Seed saving has been used successfully for many crops over the years– the varieties we call “heirloom” are here today because of dedicated gardeners like you and me have faithfully saved seed over the generations.
Seeds are generally saved from annual and biennial plants. Seeds you save from your home production system are accustomed to your climate and growing medium and are adapted to pests in your area. Seeds from hybrid varieties produce a mix of offspring, many of which may have different characteristics than the parent. Seed saving is easy; people have done it for thousands of years, in the process breeding all of the wonderful vegetables that we eat today.
Saving seed requires you to grow plants to maturity and consequently they get bigger and stay around longer than normal, so leave a bit more space around them. Saving and growing seed, year on year, is taking part in evolution. Saving garden seeds at the end of each growing season can be a great cost saving measure and a way to duplicate last year’s delectable harvest.
Plants are pollinated in three differing ways, by wind, insects or by what is known as self-pollination. Plants from the same species can cross with each other producing mixes of the parent plant. Plants with pods, like beans, are ready when the pods are brown and dry. Plants pollinated by wind (such as corn and spinach) and those pollinated by insects (such as squash and cucumbers) may produce a next generation that resembles a parent, or they may cross with other varieties to turn up something entirely unique. In recent decades, there has been a major shift to purchasing seed annually from commercial seed suppliers, and to hybridized or cloned plants that do not produce seed that remains “true to type”-retaining the parent’s characteristics- from seed. To be successful at seed saving, new skills need to be developed that enhance the capacity of growers to ensure that desired characteristics are retained in their plant: learning the minimum number of plants to be grown which will preserve inherent genetic diversity, recognizing the preferred characteristics of the cultivar being grown so that plants that are not breeding true are not selected for seed production. Recommended minimums number of plants for seed preservation: 25 cucumbers, squash, melons; 50-100 radishes, brassicas, mustards; 200 sweet corn. Seed saved from these plants will breed true, provided the plants have been properly isolated from different varieties of the same species.
Open-pollinated varieties will grow true to type when randomly mated within their own variety. If two varieties of spinach bloom near each other, the resultant seed is likely to be a cross between the two. Different varieties of peppers should be separated by 500 feet to avoid cross-pollination. The closer the varieties are located, the higher the amount of crossed seeds. Theoretically you should aim for at least half a mile between varieties.
Heirloom vegetables are varieties that are grown, selected, saved, named, and shared by farmers and gardeners. Heirloom plants are accessible now because people have saved seeds for domestic use throughout generations of sustenance farming. You can really cut down on your gardening costs by gardening with heirloom seeds that you save year to year. You can also save heirloom flower seeds such as: cleome, foxgloves, hollyhock, nasturtium, sweet pea, and zinnia. You are in control of heirloom varieties that do best in your garden. Saving your own seeds increases your self-sufficiency; and it can save you money. It is generally accepted that, to be an heirloom, a variety must be open pollinated and be at least fifty years old. And since heirloom seeds and the practice of seed saving also hold hope for helping feed a hungry planet, they’re even more compelling today. You can save favorite heirloom seeds for your own use in your garden, breed and improve varieties, swap with friends, join seed-saving organizations, or grow seed commercially at many levels of scale–the possibilities are numerous.
Before you store your seeds, make sure that you have thoroughly dried them. Home-saved seeds will retain their vigor if thoroughly dried and saved in air proof containers in the freezer for extended storage or in a cool dry cellar for next season. While some vegetable seed can remain viable in storage for as long as 15 years or more, and grains may remain viable much longer under stable environmental conditions, every year in storage will decrease the amount of seed that will germinate. When you have processed the seeds and are ready to package for the winter, it pays to buy desiccant packs for your storage containers to keep your seeds dry. Seeds should contain 3-5 percent moisture while in storage. General rule is if you can bend your seed then it still has too much moisture in it and will rupture and die if frozen. However, if you attempt to bend it and it breaks instead, then it’s probably at 8% or less and can be safely frozen. Another point is that when you remove the seeds from the freezer, allow them to come up to room temperature before handling for planting or sowing. Saving seeds in storage will safeguard your family’s food crop in the event of worldwide catastrophes, war, pandemic outbreaks and other unforeseen disasters.
Seed saving can quickly become a hobby and you’ll be in good company. Seed saving teaches us about the wonder of nature and by saving seeds, we complete the circle of growing. What a marvelous way to end the garden season and look forward to next year’s crops. What’s more, seed saving is a marvelous way to introduce children to gardening.
Learning to build biodiversity in our garden through seed saving is one of the most important human activities we can participate in.
Common methods of preparing your seeds:
1) Allowing the seeds to dry naturally on the plant. Corn and garlics would be a good representative of these method. Pull the corn husks when the corn as fully ripened and allow to continued drying on racks (if protected from birds and squirrels) or in paper grocery sacks indoors until they are thoroughly dried. Then you can twist them in your hands to get the kernels to fall off. Package, label with name of variety and date or year of harvest and store. For garlics, the same drying method applies. Garlics can also be braided and hung from nails, or stored in open weaved bags while they are drying. This is also referred to as “curing” when in reference to garlics. Lettuce and cole crops such as broccoli seeds can be collected directly from the plant. When you notice the seeds look dry and about ready to fall off, then you can directly pull the seeds off by hand into a waiting paper bag. How easy can that be!
2) Removing the seeds and allowing to air dry. This would be the most common methods of vegetable seed storage. For example, cucumbers and other squash type plants. Allow the fruits to fully ripen even to the point of the fruit starting to turn yellow so that the seeds inside fully develop. Then cut open the vegetable and scoop out the seeds. I would recommend a gentle washing in a mild bleach solution (one part bleach to ten parts water) and then lay out in a single layer on newspaper or paper towels until the seeds have thoroughly dried. Then store in containers of choice with appropriate labeling.
3) For bean and pea plants, again, allow the pods to ripen fully on the plant, then remove the pods, open and out pop the seeds! You will probably want to let the seeds dry out some more if they appear to need it.
This method is needed for tomatoes as the viscous gel substance or pulp, inhibits germination so must be removed. The easiest way to do this is to slice open your tomato, squeeze the contents into a glass jar, add water up to about 3/4 of the jar, stir and set aside for a few days. You will notice a icky smelly moldy residue collecting on the top of the water as well as some seeds (these are dead seeds). The water will clear and the good seeds will sink to the bottom of the jar. After about 4-5 days this process will seem to have come to an end, so carefully scoop out the stuff from the top and throw away, pour off the water down the sink, and then lastly, pour out the seeds from the bottom of the jar onto newspaper or paper towel for the final drying. When the seeds have dried, they can be removed from the paper and stored.
Thanks for reading my tutorial on seed saving. This tutorial is from my own personal experience so soils, growing conditions and weather may be different for your location and you may need to amend these guidelines to fit your situation. A great source for information on seed saving is your local county extension office. Ask to speak to a Master Gardener or stop by and pick up a helpful brochure on seed saving. Most of all, have fun in your garden!
by Joyce Moore
OCTOBER’S PLANT OF THE MONTH:
Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)
Colchicum autumnale, commonly called autumn crocus or meadow saffron, is a cormous perennial that typically blooms in the fall. Plants send up only foliage (5-8 lanceolate dark green leaves to 10″ long) in spring. Foliage gradually yellows and dies by early summer when the plants go dormant. Naked flower stems (1-6 stems per sheath) rise from the ground to 6-10” tall in late summer to early fall, each stem bearing a star-shaped, lavender-pink to lilac-pink flower. Fall flowers have no foliage, hence the sometimes used additional common name of ‘naked ladies’ for this plant. Medicinal colchicum and colchicine come from the corms and seeds. The common name of autumn crocus is somewhat misleading because autumn crocus (Colchicaceae family but formerly included in Liliaceae family) is not closely related to spring crocus (Iridaceae family). Among the differences, the flowers of autumn crocus have six stamens and the flowers of spring crocus have three stamens.
Genus name come from the abundance of the plant in Colchis, the Black Sea region of Georgia, Caucasus.
Autumn crocus are best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Sharp soil drainage helps prevent corm rot. Purchase dormant corms in late summer and plant them immediately (3” deep and 6” apart) for bloom in fall. Dig and divide corms when plants become crowded (every 3 years). Site corms in areas where the short flowers may be enjoyed in fall but where the taller spring foliage will not interfere with other perennials. Reduce watering when the foliage yellows and begins to die back (July). Resume watering again in late summer.
In the garden, use colchicums in meadow and woodland beds. Good for pockets in the landscape where spring and summer plants are fading. Good around patios or along walks. Plant with low ground covers which may help support weak flower stems. Generally inappropriate for prominent parts of beds or borders because of the unsightly appearance of the spring foliage as it yellows and declines on its way toward summer dormancy.
Klein’s currently has colchicum bulbs on hand in a refrigerator in our bulb area. Plant the bulbs immediately after purchase in that bulbs will bloom even out of the ground if left unplanted or unrefrigerated, thereby wasting their vigor for rooting.
For neighborhood events or garden tours that you would like posted in our monthly newsletter, please contact Rick at (608) 244-5661 or [email protected] or Sue at [email protected]. Please include all details, i.e. dates, locations, prices, brief description, etc. Events must be garden related and must take place in the Madison vicinity and we must receive your information by the first of the month in which the event takes place for it to appear in that month’s newsletter. This is a great opportunity for free advertising.
Guided Garden Strolls
Sundays thru October 15, 1:30-3:00
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Get an insider’s view of Olbrich’s outdoor gardens during a free guided garden stroll. All ages are welcome for this casual overview of the Gardens. Guided garden strolls will vary somewhat according to the season to reflect the garden areas that are at peak interest.
Strolls start and end in the lobby near the Garden entrance and are about 45 to 60 minutes in length. No registration is required; strolls are drop-in only. Strolls are held rain or shine and will be cancelled only in the event of dangerous lightning.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
Bolz Conservatory Exhibit-Integrated Pest Management
thru October 29, 2017
Daily from 10:00-4:00
In the Bolz Conservatory
Beneficial insects have been used in the Conservatory since it opened in 1991. These bugs provide control of plant-damaging insects, minimizing the need of more dangerous traditional insecticides. These controls, along with several others, are part of the Conservatory’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This widely accepted program strives to use the least toxic method of insect and disease control to be more environmentally sensitive. Learn about Olbrich’s environmentally friendly pest control methods and get ideas you can use to reduce or eliminate pesticide use at home.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
GLEAM, Art in a New Light
thru October 28, 2017
Thursdays thru Saturdays, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., rain or shine
In the gardens @ Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Definition: Gleam n. a flash of light; n. an appearance of reflected light; v. shine brightly like a star or light; v. appear briefly
GLEAM, Art in a New Light, returns to Olbrich with an exciting new series of illuminated art installations bringing mystery and delight to the outdoor gardens in the evening. Collaborations between artists and lighting designers create objects and effects that feature light as a dynamic physical presence. An evening wander is sure to inspire all ages as each installation engages the senses and sparks wonder!
GLEAM will be viewable daily, during regular public daytime hours. When the sun sets, the Gardens will open for extended viewing hours and art installations will be illuminated, inviting visitors to see the Gardens in a whole new light.
Admission for the general public is $13 for adults 13 & up ($11 for members) and $7 for children ages 3-12 ($6 for members).
Tickets available at the door starting at 6 p.m. pending online ticket sales. Gardens will close to the public at 6 p.m. on evening viewing dates. Last ticket sold at 9:00.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
October Birds on the Move
Sunday, October 1, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
The naturalist will talk about Wisconsin birds as well as those passing through en route to wintering grounds. Bring binoculars or scope if you have them; we have some to share. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center.
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
Family Walk: Why do Leaves Change Color?
Sunday, October 8, 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Enjoy and learn about the wonder of fall color in native trees and prairie grasses. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center.
University of Wisconsin Arboretum
1207 Seminole Highway
Madison, WI 53711
Invasive Species Identification and Monitoring
Wednesday, October 11, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Early detection can minimize the impact of invasive species. The Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) app is one tool citizen scientists can use to help report invasive plant species. This workshop will cover impacts and identification and how to use the app. Come prepared for time outdoors and bring your smartphone. Meet at the Visitor Center. Instructor: Anne Pearce, Wisconsin First Detector Network program coordinator. Fee: $30 (FOA $27). Preregister by Oct. 7 @ https://arboretum.wisc.edu/
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
Saturday, October 14, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Longenecker Horticultural Garden Tour
David Stevens, LHG curator, will explore the pinetum, the largest and most diverse conifer collection in the state. Located on a glacial drumlin, the collection ranges from pines, spruce, and firs to Japanese umbrella trees. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center.
University of Wisconsin Arboretum
1207 Seminole Highway
Madison, WI 53711
Tree and Shrub Identification
Sunday, October 15, 1:00-3:30 p.m.
Learn to identify the most common native trees and shrubs in our area, as well as characteristics of some invasive shrubs. Come prepared for time outdoors. Meet at the Visitor Center. Instructors: Sara Christopherson, Arboretum naturalist, and Marian Farrior, Arboretum restoration work party manager. Fee: $25 (FOA $23). Preregister by Oct. 11 @ https://arboretum.wisc.edu/
University of WI Arboretum
1207 Seminole Hwy.
Madison, WI 53711
Rotary Garden’s Evening Garden Seminar: Unique Conifers Make a Garden Special
Tuesday, October 17, 6:30-8:00 p.m
Rich Eyre, owner of Rich’s Foxwillow Pines Nursery in Woodstock, IL will begin his presentation, “Unique Conifers Make a Garden Special,” talking about how to site and select conifers for every garden location. Conifers can improve your garden with tremendous form, phenomenal texture, unusual shapes and seasonal color. Colorful coning attributes, buds and interesting bark characteristics add to their appeal. There is a conifer for every garden space. Images of superlative gardens will inspire you to learn more about these unique trees.
$5 for non-members, $3 for RBG Friends members, no registration required.
Rotary Botanical Gardens
1455 Palmer Drive
Saturday, November 4, 9:00-3:00
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Hear about herbs from speakers and vendors. Purchase herbal products. Make & take projects, demonstrations, and a Q & A station. Free! Sponsored by the Madison Herb Society. Visit www.madisonherbsociety.org.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Ave., Madison
Dane County Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, thru November 11, 6:00-1:45
On the Capitol Square
Wednesdays, thru November 8, 8:30-1:45
In the 200 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
For details visit www.dcfm.org
Northside Farmers Market
Sundays, through October 22, 8:30-12:30
In the Northside TownCenter at the intersection of N. Sherman Ave. and Northport Dr. across from Warner Park.
The Northside Farmers Market is a nonprofit community enterprise. It is one of the newest and fastest growing farmers’ markets in Dane County. In keeping with the innovative spirit of Madison’s Northside, we are surpassing what defines the traditional farmers’ market. Our fundamental principles include:
–Providing an abundant selection of high quality, locally grown foods.
The market accepts Quest, WIC and Senior FMNP vouchers.
–Supporting our local agricultural entrepreneurs who are increasingly important today in ensuring that we have the best and safest food possible.
–Educating the community about traditional foods and the history of local agriculture in an attempt to preserve (and expand upon) our rich heritage.
–Promoting nutrition and the market by hosting dinners for neighborhood groups and seniors.
Parking is always FREE!
For details visit www.northsidefarmersmarket.org
OCTOBER IN THE GARDEN—A checklist of things to do this month.
**Although the average first frost date for Madison is about Oct. 6, killing frosts have occurred as early as September 12 (1955). Be aware of quick weather changes this time of year. Be prepared to cover tender plants at any time.
___Visit Olbrich, Rotary or Allen Centennial Gardens and note plants of fall interest for spring planting and best selection.
___Dig new beds now! It’s easier now than in spring when super-busy.
___Take geranium, salvia, impatiens, abutilon cuttings before the first freeze.
___Plant spring bulbs now! Plant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths & crocus.
___Plant bulbs for forcing and put in a cool location for 10-12 weeks.
___Plant Christmas amaryllis now for holiday blooms; paperwhites now for Thanksgiving blooms.
___Apply a systemic pesticide to plants to be wintered over indoors.
___Move potted bulbs to be stored like begonias, callas, caladiums and cannas to a garage so they can dry out before storage.
___Dig up and store dahlias, glads, cannas and elephant’s ear after tops freeze.
___Continue planting deciduous shrubs and trees until the ground freezes.
___Divide and plant perennials as desired.
___Clean up stalks and leaves of annuals and vegetables, preventing viruses and pests for next year’s garden.
___Continue harvesting brussels sprouts, kale, greens and root crops.
___Plant garlic. October is the best time.
___Stop deadheading perennials for winter interest, i.e. sedums, grasses, etc.
___Cut perennials back to 4-6”, leaving those for winter interest.
___Collect seeds for next year’s garden.
___Plant winter rye as a cover crop for spring tilling.
___Make notes in your garden journal for changes, improvements, etc.
___Take pictures of your garden for record keeping.
___Mow the lawn at shortest setting for last mowing of the season.
___Visit Klein’s—Great selection of mums, kales, cabbages, pansies & more!
Some of our very favorite seed and plant sources include:
Note: To receive every possible seed, plant or garden supply catalog imaginable, check out Cyndi’s Catalog of Garden Catalogs @ www.gardenlist.com. Most catalogs are free and make for great winter reading!
BEHIND THE SCENES AT KLEIN’S—This is a sneak peek of what is going on each month behind the scenes in our greenhouses. Many people are unaware that our facility operates year round or that we have 10 more greenhouses on the property in addition to the 6 open for retail. At any given moment we already have a jump on the upcoming season–be it poinsettias in July, geraniums in December or fall mums in May.
Who knows this year with our rebuilding underway, but normally…..
—-We’ve put any leftover perennials to bed for the winter in one of out unheated back greenhouses. It’s been a good season…we have very little left to pack away.
—We begin shutting down the back greenhouses. They remain unheated for the winter allowing energy savings and pest control.
—Weatherizing continues. We seal up and insulate unused doors and caulk up air leaks. Water is shut off to the greenhouses not used during the winter.
—Pots, cell packs and trays arrive from our wholesalers in preparation for next spring. Most are stored in the unused greenhouses out back. It’s only 3 months till the first of next year’s geranium crop arrive (we already have some of next season’s tropicals).
—Plants begin arriving for the big Garden Expo at the Alliant Energy Center in February. Herbs, primrose and cool-loving annuals are arriving enforce.
—Cyclamen and azaleas continue to arrive for winter sales.
—We send out our mailings to local churches regarding poinsettia and blooming plant information for the upcoming holidays. We are proud to say that hundreds of area churches and businesses are decked out with Klein’s HOMEGROWN poinsettias during the holiday season.
—By month’s end the poinsettias begin to change color. Looking across the greenhouses, one begins to see hints of red, pink and white. We’ve moved many of our poinsettias into our retail area from the back greenhouses before cold weather sets in.