Monday, July 16, 2018

Oakland County farmers markets

• Birmingham Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays May 6-Oct. 28 at Public Parking Lot 6, 660 North Old Woodward, Birmingham,
• Clarkston Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturdays June 9 to Oct. 13 in the front parking lot at Clarkston Community Education, 6558 Waldon Road, Clarkston, 248-821-4769,
• Clawson Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays, May 20-Sept. 23, at Clawson City Park 1080 N. Custer Ave., Clawson, 248-435-6500,
• Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, May 19-Oct. 27 at Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion in George F. Riley Park, 33113 Grand River Ave. at Grove St., 248-473-7276, ext. 13,
• Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills Farmers Market is 9:30-11 a.m., Wednesday’s through September at 28050 Grand River Ave., Farmington Hills,
• Franklin Farmers Market on the Green: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays, June 3- Oct. 28 at Franklin Community Park, 32325 Franklin Road, Franklin, 248-672-4565.
• Hazel Park Growers and Makers Market: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays, July 8-Oct. 14 at Green Acres Park near the city’s recreation and community centers at 620 Woodward Heights, SNAP/Bridge Cards,
• Lathrup Village Farmers Market: 3:30-7 p.m., May 16 to October at 27400 Southfield Road, Lathrup Village, 248-557-2600 ext. 224,, WIC, SNAP/Bridge Cards.
• Milford Farmers Market: Thursdays May 10-Oct. 11; 3-7 p.m. May, September and October; 3-8 p.m. June-August, at East Liberty Street between South Main and Union streets in downtown Milford, fresh produce, live music, family activities,, SNAP, Bridge Cards.
• MSU Tollgate Farmers Market: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, May 30 throughout season, at MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center, 28115 Meadowbrook Road, Novi, 248-347-0269 x229,
• Fogler’s Orchard & Farm Market: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at 3979 Rochester Road, near Gunn Road, Oakland Township, 248-652-3614,, seasonal produce.
• Oakland County Farmers Market: 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, May to December at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township, 248-858-5495,, WIC, SNAP, Bridge Cards.
• Rochester Farmers Market, East Third and Water Street, Rochester: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, May 5 - Oct. 27, 248-656-0060,, Bridge Cards accepted.
• Royal Oak Farmers Market: 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays, May to December and Saturdays, year-round at 316 E. 11 Mile, open 248-246-3276,
• Beaumont Health & Wellness Center, Coolidge, Onsite Farm Stand is 3-5 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 28 at 4949 Coolidge Hwy., Royal Oak,
• Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak Farmers Market is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 4 at South Tower Pavilion, 3601 W. 13 Mile Road, Royal Oak, ,
• South Lyon Farmers Market: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays May 5 to Oct. 27 at Pontiac Trail and Liberty Street, downtown South Lyon, 248-437-1735,
• Troy Farmers Market: 3-7 p.m. Fridays, June 1- Oct. 26 at the Troy Public Library Parking Lot off Big Beaver & Civic Center Roads, fresh and seasonal, local Michigan grown fruits and vegetables, flowers and products, food trucks, musical entertainment and children’s activities, 248-524-1147,
• Farmers Market at Beaumont Hospital, Troy is 3:30 - 5 p.m., Tuesdays through September at 44201 Dequindre Road, Troy,
• Walled Lake’s Park & Recreation Commission Farmers Market: 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays May to October at the Walled Lake City Event Field, 1499 E. West Maple Road Walled Lake, 248-624-4847,
• Henry’s Market on Main at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesdays, June 6 to mid-November at 6777 W. Maple Road, in West Bloomfield, 248-325-2060. Fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, seedlings and products such as pesto and salsa, made in Henry’s, the hospital’s cafĂ©. Henry Ford West Bloomfield chefs will share recipes and free samples of dishes using ingredients grown in the hospital’s greenhouse. The market accepts cash, credit card, S.N.A.P., Project Fresh,

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Winning the war on weeding

We found the flowers in our rock garden, mostly thanks to my husband, Ken and the weed eater. When times get tough and the weeds are taking over, what else can we do?
Well, there are a few things, with prevention being the easiest.

Here are some ways to reduce weeding or at least make it more fun:
1. Cover it up.  Black plastic or low pile carpet scraps (not Shag, it just doesn't look right). Place cover down where you aren't growing anything, like in walkways and borders around the garden. Black plastic with mulch on top, is good for the walkways. Rototilling between the rows is efficient for keeping the weeds under control, but it needs to be done every three weeks. Weed block or landscaping cloth can help, but it has to be replaced in time. My advice, is don't bother buying the cheap woven kind, the roots of the weeds get stuck, creating more work. There's a bonded type, if you want to spend the money.
2. Mulch to reduce the need to weed. You can use a number of items. I am heading out to the garden this morning to rake water weeds from the pond for mulch. Other materials you can use, to avoid buying expensive bags of mulch include wet newspapers, straw, grass clippings, leaves, aged manure and aged compost. Manure should not be fresh.
3. Hoe hum.  Hoe the little weeds, that are less than once inch and pull the larger weeds. Hoe 3 to 4 inches deep. I really don't like to hoe, so I usually wait until the weeds are big enough to pull.
4. Weeding is Zen. Weed when the soil is moist or water beforehand and wait a few hours. Remember to water after you weed. I take a tool and loosen the soil before pulling weeds. A tool like the hula hoe which looks like a hoop on a stick or the mini rake or a pronged tool can help loosen the soil. You can use a hand trowel to dig up the big weeds. I do my best thinking while weeding.
5. Garden yoga. My friend Mickey told me her trick to weeding includes the three yoga poses of weeding, (no kidding). Bend over and pull. If you do that too many times, you'll feel it for a week. Squat down on your haunches. I can only do this for a few minutes. Kneeling. This works great until you need to move. You can add various yoga poses, like crossing your legs while stretching over to pull weeds, maybe meditate a bit too while you're down there. The main thing is to change positions to prevent continuous repetitive motions.
May your weeds be few and your produce bountiful.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

When a tree falls in the garden

I didn't hear the Popple tree fall in our garden. It happened during the night of May 30. The wind had been gusting. It was amazing that there wasn't much damage. If it had hit the house, there would have been broken windows or torn shingles, possibly a hole in the roof. But plants are tough. Our only loss was that we lost most of the branches of two Brussels sprout plants. They were still alive, and ready to recover and carry on. We also lost a few leaves of lettuce and spinach plants.
The clean up took several hours. We spread it over two days. Ken found the cause of the tree's demise when he started sawing logs with his chainsaw. Although it looked healthy from the exterior, carpenter ants had weakened the tree.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Asparagus and rhubarb recipes to start the garden season

Grilled or baked asparagus
Rub olive oil on spears, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or grill for 5-10 minutes, depending on temperature and thickness of asparagus.

Freezing asparagus for later
When there's an abundance of asparagus, wash and bake or grill it all. Take out some for dinner and shock the rest in cold water, drain, place in freezer bags and freeze. The whole spears, baked or grilled, have a better consistency than blanched asparagus.

Ham and Swiss, asparagus spirals
Pre-fry asparagus spears in olive oil, then lay on a slice of ham and cheese, dollop with Dijon mustard and roll up with the asparagus in the middle. Slice into spirals 1-1/2 inches wide. Dip in seasoned bread crumbs, insert toothpick to hold each spiral together, and fry in oil.

Cream cheese rhubarb pie
¼ cup corn starch
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup water
2-1/2 cups rhubarb, cut in ½ inch pieces
(This makes too much. The idea is to have equal parts rhubarb and cheesecake. The extra rhubarb mixture can be used to pour over ice cream, when the pie is gone.)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar

1 unbaked regular or graham cracker pie crust

In a 1 quart saucepan, combine first 3 ingredients, then the water and rhubarb. Bring to boil, stirring often until mixture thickens. Pour into pie shell and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Protect edges of crust with aluminum foil. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Meanwhile beat topping ingredients until smooth. Pour on top of pie. Bake for 35 minutes in 325 oven or until set. Chill and garnish with whipped cream and sliced almonds or strawberries or blueberries with vanilla ice cream.

Rhubarb Bars
3 cups rhubarb, chopped
1 ½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ¼ cup water
3 Tablespoons corn starch
1 ½ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cup rolled flour
1 cup brown sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
½ cup nuts

Combine rhubarb, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch and water. Cook on stove until thick, cool slightly. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, soda, butter and nuts. Mix until crumbly. Put ¾ of mixture into 15 1/3 x 10 ½ jelly roll pan. Spread rhubarb mixture on top. Cover with remaining crumbs. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Morel hunting in Southeast Michigan

Our 2018 morel season yield so far.
The elusive morel has been sighted. It's a little late this year, but it looks like this season will bring an average harvest, barring a sudden weather change.
We've found morels in a lot of places, and my husband who is a certified hunter/gatherer, brings home the fungi. Also we're fortunate that we have great neighbors who don't like morels.
Many people are afraid of picking the poisonous variety, by mistake. This is a valid concern. The main difference is that the true morel has a hollow interior, including the cap and stem and the cap is not separate as in a typical mushroom. If you're new to morel hunting, please do plenty of research and become completely familiar with the fungi. Here's a link for a good start:
I just saw that the Michigan DNR has a hunting guide with map, for finding morels, at,4570,7-350-79136_79237_81034-408642--,00.html
If you'd rather buy morels, that's an option too. I found this retailer, based in Washington state,

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Planting time comes to Southeast Michigan

It was a long winter and it felt good to get out and feel the sun warming the Earth today, on Earth Day. Today we planted peas, Swiss chard, spinach and onions. We still need to plant lettuce. In 2 weeks, we plan to plant more spinach.
Looking back to 2017, we are planting later this year. Last year, we planted the greens and onions in mid April, (and that was later than normal).
And last year, we planted broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage on April 22.
In Southeast Michigan, it is time, actually past time, to plant peas, potatoes, lettuce, onions, radishes and parsley, and of course the greens: spinach, Swiss chard, kale, etc...
Finding the right seed can be a challenge, especially if you desire organic and non-genetically modified.
There are many different types of seeds available. Not only are there different varieties of the same plant, there are different ways the seeds are produced. There are cultivar (cultivated variety which can be a hybrid or open-pollinated); genetically engineered; genetically modified; open-pollinated; hybrid; heirloom and of course organic. For more information on this, visit

Here's some of the top seed and nursery catalog companies: seed and nursery nonprofit heirloom seeds since 1881 seed and nursery since 1907 since 1908

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

6 steps for growing indoors, when winter won't leave

Since the cold weather has not loosened its grip on Southeast Michigan, I dug up some information for growing plants indoors. Hopefully, it will soon warm up enough that gardeners can work the soil and plant greens seeds outside.
Southeast Michigan is mostly in Plant Hardiness Zone 5 with a few areas in Zone 6. I think our yard is in the colder Zone 4, this year.
While I wait for the ground to thaw out, I've been sprouting Mung beans for my gardening fix.
For information on sprouting, visit

Here are the indoor growing tips:
1. The best containers are wood pulp pots or peat pots. You can also use plastic cell containers with covers or egg cartons with holes poked in the bottom and saran wrap on top. (Or reuse the annual flats from last year.) Whatever you use, make sure it has drainage.
2. Fill with potting soil, preferably a mix with sphagnum peat moss. Moisten the soil.
3. Plant a few seeds, not many, about 1/8 inch deep and pat the soil lightly. Then cover with plastic and place in a very warm place, out of direct sunlight.
4. Keep watered. Once the seeds sprout, move the pots to a bright spot, a south-facing window is best. Water often, but not too much or too fast. The plants are fragile. If they get too big for their containers, move them to bigger pots.
5. When it gets close to planting time, it's time to harden them by placing them outside during the day, to get used to it, but not in direct sunlight at first. Bring them in every night.
6. When it's warm enough at night, transplant to the garden. Dig a hole slightly deeper than the pot and put the plant in, supporting it with your fingers. Firm the soil gently around the stem. Water carefully.
For tomatoes, it takes 6-8 weeks before they'll be ready to transplant outside. For Southeast Michigan, wait until Memorial Day to put tomatoes and peppers outside, because they are very frost sensitive and will grow much better when it's warmer at night. Occasionally, there is frost after Memorial Day, so watch the weather and cover plants when there's a frost forecast.

For more information, visit Burpee's guide to indoor seed starting