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Category Archives: Fall

Pumpkins on Parade

Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes

Two harvest-season jewels that have become an intrinsic part of classic autumn fare.

“For pottage and puddings and custards and pies,

Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,

We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,

If it were not for pumpkins, we should be undoon”.

This Pilgrim Verse from sometime around 1633 was the introduction to our pumpkin segment of the ‘Grow and Graze’ program last Tuesday. Seems that our Pilgrim forefathers were just as enchanted with pumpkins as we are today. Susan Thornbury helped us to understand the history and fascination with this much-loved fruit/vegetable.

*The early colonists ate pumpkins because they were available and they badly needed food.

*Pumpkins are Cucurbits, just like cucumbers and summer squash. They need warm soil, plenty of sunshine and regular watering. Additionally, they tend to be large plants that need room to grow.

*Timing is important when it comes to growing pumpkins. Many varieties take 100 days to mature. But even more important is soil temperature. Pumpkins want soil that is warm, but seeds will not come up if the soil is too hot. For our climate, that means the end of May to the first part of June is the ideal time to plant pumpkin seeds. It is advantageous to plant seeds since they sprout easily when their requirements are met.

*Pumpkins will perform best when planted in one to two feet of loose fertile soil with plenty of compost added to the mix. Raised beds are a preferred way to grow pumpkins in our area.

*Squash vine borers can be devasting to a pumpkin crop. Usually appearing in springtime, prevention is the best way to deal with the problem. Check under the leaves often for egg clusters. If found, smash them. Insecticidal soap can be used for prevention but use caution as it can be harmful to bees which are essential for pollinating the flowers.

*When selecting a pumpkin for outdoor decorating look for one that is blemish free with no soft spots or damage to the rind. A bit of stem looks nice and may help the pumpkin to last longer.

*For cooking, select a small 2 to 3-pound pie pumpkin. If purchasing canned pumpkin, look for the cans that say 100% pure pumpkin. Libby pumpkin is made from a variety that the company developed called Dickinson.

Autumn Bisque 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 ½ cups chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

¾ cup chopped carrots

¼ cup chopped celery

4 cups chicken broth, divided

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup chopped leeks

3 cups fresh or canned pumpkin puree

1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme

Garnish: toasted pumpkin seeds 

Directions

In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook for 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Add 2 cups chicken broth and simmer for 3 minutes; remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Pour the broth mixture into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth; set aside.

In the same stockpot over medium heat, heat the remaining olive oil and butter. Add the mushrooms and leeks and cook for 6 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown.

Add the remaining broth, vegetable-broth puree, pumpkin, coconut milk and red pepper flakes; simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the salt, lemon juice and thyme; simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.  

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Black-Eyed Pea-And-Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients

2 medium-size sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 purple onion, quartered and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

⅓ cup lime juice

½ cup mango chutney

3 (15.8-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Bring potato and water to cover to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Drain and set potato aside.

Sauté onion in hot oil in saucepan over medium heat 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and next 4 ingredients. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir together lime juice and chutney in a large bowl; add potato, onion mixture, peas and remaining ingredients, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Linda Alexander

 

 

Fall, Bring It On!

   My garden has begun to greet me in the morning feeling a little more perky in the cool air of fall and I too breathe a sigh of relief from the relentless heat of August. My smile is soon replaced with a frown as I survey the damage from my little friend, a small bunny that has ignored my no trespassing signs.

Maybe you are like me and mourn the end of summer’s offerings especially tomatoes and peaches but I know their demise makes room for fall blessings like spinach, kale (which my husband refuses to nibble unlike my bunny) and broccoli.

Goodbye summer, It’s time to pull out our fall garden calendars and dig in. I’m hoping you are able to read this article, Gardeners Learn to See Time Differently from the Washington Post by Joanne Kaufman.

She reminds us that we are governed by the vagaries of the planting season and the rhythms of the garden.

Above: Fall garden seed packets, my favorite is Parris Island Cos Lettuce.

In Texas, now is the time to scrape away some of our worn out, burned up plants and prepare for fall. The next few months are an especially rewarding time to garden in Dallas.

Ann Lamb

Planting Times for North Central Texashttp://dallas-tx.tamu.edu/files/2010/06/Vegetable-Planting-Guide.pdf

North Haven Gardens Vegetable Planting Dateshttps://www.nhg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/NTxVegPlanting.pdf

 

Fall Garden Class

September 5th at 10am at The Raincatcher’s Garden- Native and Adaptive Plants, click here for more info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More About Fall Color in Dallas 2018

The trees in North Texas are brighter and more colorful than ever — or at least that’s what some Dallas residents have determined.

Dallasites on Facebook have taken notice of the colorful fall foliage, with one poster saying, “All of that rain must’ve helped because I’ve never seen such pretty autumn leaves in Texas as I have this year.”

Another commenter said, “This year has been the prettiest of the 13 years we’ve been here.”

While that’s all conjecture, Daniel Cunningham, horticulturist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and self-proclaimed “Texas Plant Guy,” said Texans taking notice of brighter colors might be onto something.

Cunningham explained that cool weather helps to break down the chlorophyll — that’s the green pigment in plants — allowing the yellow and orange pigments to shine through. When temperatures reach just above freezing, it increases anthocyanin formation, and that pigment produces the red and purple leaves.

The rain storms that plagued North Texas recently may have also helped the trees keep their leaves longer, giving them more time to change colors for all to see.

A commenter in a Facebook thread of Frisco residents comparing North Texas’ fall leaves with the colors of Northeastern fall leaves said, “As a lover of all things fall and someone who finally did a fall foliage trip a couple of years ago, it really is stunning this year.”

Cunningham said that autumn is the best time to plant trees in Texas as well as the perfect excuse to head over to a local tree nursery.

Another Facebook user said, “It’s gorgeous if you take side streets to your destination wherever that may be just to see the foliage.”

Cunningham agreed.

“Folks, get outside and enjoy it,” he said. “Whether you do that by walking in your neighborhood or hiking around DFW, do it because we probably only have two more weeks of this lovely fall color to enjoy.”

Thank you to the Dallas Observer and Nashwa Bawab  for allowing us to print this story.

Ann Lamb

Click here for tree  suggestions to plant now that will be rock stars next spring, article by Daniel Cunningham

Japanese Maple picture by Starla

 

Fall Color in Dallas 2018

 

Sweetgum tree with brilliant fall color at Raincatcher’s Garden

Eric,

This Fall has been spectacular with so many kinds of trees with brilliant fall colors. Some had said it has to do with our long hot summer while others have said the rain came at just the right time and it’s a combination of the two weather factors.

What do you think is causing such beautiful fall color in 2018?

What trees would you recommend for fall color? Say someone wants to buy a tree this fall in hopes for future fall color in their yard.

What about Shantung Maples, I see alot of those in my neighborhood and I like the shape of them. Ann

Hi Ann – So good to hear from you. I agree with you 100 % on the beautiful fall colors for many of our trees in the Urban Forest. There are many different opinions on the reasons for the beautiful colors this Fall. The truth is that tree people know that temperature(highs and lows), water, first freeze date, all play a part in the Fall colors but cannot figure out the exact timing of these variables to come up with a nice tidy equation that will let us all know when to expect the beautiful  colors.

My neighbor from New York planted a Bradford Pear a few years ago . She loved the Fall colors but also found out the final ending for Bradford Pears is not pretty. I suggested she might want to look at the Shantung Maple. She planted one four years ago and every year would ask me when the beautiful oranges and reds would show up. I told her to be patient, the yellow colors looked great but it wasn’t until this Fall that she finally got the brilliant oranges that she has been waiting on. I am thinking of trying one of the Shantung maples at RCG. I have given up on the Ginkgo. They require too much tender loving care for the first two years and we need to recommend trees that are hardy and can survive with a minimum amount of care to the public. I would also like to be able to fine a Big Tooth Maple but availability in the nurseries is very limited.

I think you are on the right trail with the Shantung.

Have a great Holiday season,

Eric

Thank you,Eric, and thank you for all the effort and thought you put into our demonstration forest at Raincatcher’s!

Ann Lamb

Picture by Starla Willis

Eric Larner is a Dallas County Master Gardener from the class of 2006 and a Citizen Forester. He and his wife, Jane(also a Master Gardener) work at The Raincatcher’s Garden and many other places in Dallas planting and speaking about trees.

 

Thanksgiving Menu

Thank you to our many readers who have purchased the Dallas County Master Gardener Association cookbook, A Year On The Plate. Copies are available on our website and at North Haven Gardens while supplies last.slide08

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Menu by Linda

Raincatcher’s Fall Veggie Garden

Please take a minute to go to this link to see information about our fall vegetable gardens. This link contains names of varieties, spacing information, and you can enlarge the plot plan for easier viewing.  Thank you, Dorothy, for setting this up for us! https://www.growveg.com/garden-plan.aspx?p=777788

Don’t forget tomorrow’s garden tour and sale of our cookbook, A YEAR ON THE PLATE, at 5030 Shadywood.

Questions? Leave a comment, we will answer or call the Master Gardener help desk at 214 904 3053.

Ann

Dorothy’s Garden On Tour October 1st!

dorothys-gardenDorothy Shockley still remembers summer suppers at her grandparents’ farm. “Of course, the homemade tomatoes were the highlight, but also, black-eyed peas, squash, fresh onions and strawberry shortcake,” she says.  “I’m sure meat was served, but I don’t think I ate anything but vegetables.”  In the Depression, her grandfather supported his family with a truck farm. “So my dad grew up working that farm.”

In the 1970s, you’d find Dorothy and Tommy at the end of their driveway selling corn they had raised on a one-acre plot on his family’s farm.  To supplement his income at Central Power and Light, Tommy would bring their produce to the office to sell.

Dorothy’s garden reflects her love of fresh vegetables.  It’s no wonder that to this day she would rather have a perfect summer tomato than a bouquet of flowers.

She concedes some space to drought-resistant perennials around the front drive. A large sugar barrel fountain is placed in ‘Coral Beauty’ cotoneaster, Italian cypress, ‘Kaleidoscope’ abelia, daylilies, skullcap and ‘Feed Back’ bearded iris.  She is intrigued by wire vine, a groundcover that spreads with a mat of wiry stems and tiny round leaves along a dry creek bed of river rock.  The front door plantings in purple and orange include ‘Lance Leaf’ coreopsis, Angelonia, coneflower and dwarf ruella.

But the side and backyard gardens are reserved for vegetables, herbs and compost.  “Our landscape was designed to give as much space as possible to attractive edible gardening,” she says.  When the Shockleys moved to their new house four years ago, they removed almost all the builder’s landscaping, including 12 trees.

The Cedar Post garden, punctuated by a bottle tree and cannas, is filled with five compost and shepherd’s bins.  In the backyard, visitors shouldn’t miss a darling fairy garden made by Dorothy and her granddaughter. The adjacent “pinwheel” garden is chockfull of eggplant, ‘Celebrity’ and heirloom tomatoes, peppers and strawberries.  Dorothy’s latest project in the three year old garden is a large east bed of okra, cantaloupe, thyme, sage and Mexican mint marigolds.

“Welcome to Dory’s Garden” says a sign in the backyard. Indeed, visitors might be treated to a perfect summer tomato.

Elizabeth

Click here for full garden tour information. The Dallas County Master Gardener Tour is this weekend!

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