Sunday, September 30, 2012

Frost is inevitable here in Michigan

As summer fades away and the nights get cooler, frost will soon arrive. The only thing that gardeners can do is prolong the life of plants for awhile.Weather forecasters have not predicted frost for the upcoming week.
Some plants don't mind frost. Brussel sprouts actually need it, in order for the sprouts to sweeten up.

Protecting plants from frost
There are things you can do, to protect plants from frost. Rather than cover with your best blanket, try watering before nightfall (the water vapor will keep the air a little warmer) or water before the sun comes up in the morning. You need to water plants before the sun shines on them. Many plants will die a wilting death if the sun shines on them after a hard frost. I've lost pepper and tomato plants in the past along with the peppers and tomatoes that I had not picked.
I leave peppers and tomatoes on the vine as long as possible, so they stay alive and don't start decomposing in the house. They will continue to ripen until it gets too cold. Most vegetables have actually stopped growing or producing new fruit, by this time of year, except for greens.
Tomato cages covered with newspapers can provide a make-shift shelter. Then remove the papers after the sun comes up.

Favorable conditions for frost
Frost is sure to happen when the conditions are right: when the temperature falls below 32 degrees F., there is no breeze and there are no clouds. Big orchards use giant fans, which circulate air, keeping the frost from setting in.
Container plants are the most vulnerable to frost. If you can't move them to shelter, try to cover them.
Although the best time of year for gardeners is passing by, there are still indoor plants and sprouting on the kitchen counter. Beyond that, in our hopes and dreams, there's planning the perfect garden for next spring.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apple orchards and ciders mills are open

Most apple orchards and cider mills will be open this fall despite the unfavorable weather this year for fruit trees. There are still apples to be found, even if it means orchards have to import apples from the west side of the state. Mueller’s Orchard of Linden  is closed this year because their apple crop was wiped out.

Following is a list of apple orchards and cider mills in the area.
Ashton’s Orchards & Cider Mill, 3925 Seymour Lake Road, Ortonville, 248-627-6671.
Blake’s Big Apple Orchard, 71485 North Ave., Armada, 586-784-9710;
Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill, 17985 Armada Center Road, Armada, 586-784-5343.
Diehl’s Orchard & Cider Mill, 1479 Ranch, Holly Township, 248-634-8981,
Erwin Orchards U-Pick &Cider Mill, 61475 Silver Lake Road, South Lyon, 888-824-3377,
Fogler’s Orchard & Farm Market, 3985 Rochester Road, Rochester Hills, 248-652-3614.
Franklin Cider Mill, 7450 Franklin Road, Bloomfield Hills, 248-626-2968,
Glei’s Inc., 4295 Orion Road, Rochester, call 248-652-8450.
Hy’s Cider Mill, 6350 37 Mile Road, Romeo, 810-798-3611,
Long Family Orchard and Farm, 1540 East Commerce Road, Commerce Township, 248-360-3774,
Middleton Cider Mill, 46462 Dequindre Road, Utica, 586-731-6699.
Miller’s Big Red Apple Orchard, 4900 32-Mile Road, Washington Township, 586-752-7888,
Paint Creek Cider Mill, 4480 Orion Road, Oakland Township, 248-656-3400,
Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill, Inc., 714 Baseline Road, Northville, 248-349-3181
Parshallville Grist Mill, 8507 Parshallville Road, Fenton, 810-629-9079,
Porter’s Orchard Farm Market & Cider Mill, 12060 E. Hegel Road, Goodrich, 810-636-7156,
Rochester Cider Mill, 5125 Rochester Road, Rochester, 248-651-4224,
Spicer’s Orchards, 10411 Clyde Road, Fenton, 810-632-7692, www.spicer
Stony Creek Orchard and Cider Mill, 2961 W. 32 Mile Road, Romeo, 586-752-2453,
Verellen Orchards, 63260 Van Dyke, Romeo, 586-752-2989,
Westview Orchards & Cider Mill, 65075 Van Dyke Road (M-53), at 30 Mile Road, two miles south of Romeo, 586-752-3123,
Yates Cider Mill, 1990 E. Avon Road, Rochester Hills, 248-651-8300,

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Free mulch or wood chips on Saturday

Oakland County Parks and Recreation is offering mulch or landscaping wood chips free of charge from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22 at Orion Oaks County Park in the parking lot on Clarkston Road between Baldwin and Joslyn roads. First-come, first-served. Bring your own shovels, buckets or wheelbarrows and if hauling a trailer, bring a tarp. Not for commercial haulers. For information, visit

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rhubarb's still in season

Here's rhubarb recipes per my Daughter's request. Can you mail some of those rhubarb bars to Mom? He he.
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.
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
1 unbaked pie crust, regular or graham cracker
1 package 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
In a saucepan, combine 1rst 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.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zucchini Bread

½ cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
½ cup applesauce
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts
In a mixer, beat sugar and canola oil, then add the rest of the ingredients. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or pour into muffin tins (makes 24) and bake 20 minutes.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Recipes for fresh produce

Here's some recipes for fresh produce in season now. There's a Recipe page  on the right with more recipes. Bon appetit!

Blake’s Fresh Salsa

Combine the following and chill covered for 1/2 hour.
2-3 cups chopped Roma tomatoes (when canning salsa, its best to blanch and de-skin the tomatoes. This is not necessary for fresh salsa.)
½ cup red onion
½ cup green pepper
1 Jalapeno, 1 green chili and 1 Poblano or whatever you can find, (Use one Jalapeno pepper per two tomatoes, more or less.)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground black pepper
¾ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. white vinegar or lime or lemon juice
2 pinches finely chopped cilantro

Roasted root vegetables

Preheat the oven to 425F°. Peel and cut vegetables into approximately 3/4 inch cubes.
1 pound potato
1 pound rutabaga or parsnips
1 pound sweet potato
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp. dried rosemary or other herb
2 cloves garlic
Use some of the olive oil to oil the pans. Mix the rest with the garlic, finely minced or pressed, and the rosemary. Using your hands, rub oil mixture all over the vegetable pieces. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared pans. Salt lightly and place in preheated oven.
Turn once, after 20 to 25 minutes (pull pan out of oven to do this) and continue roasting until done, a total of about 45 minutes. Vegetables can be roasted at a lower temperature for a longer time, if  necessary to accomodate other food being roasted. 


1/2 c bulgar, cover with boiling water for 30 minutes, then strain very well.
1 1/2 cup of chopped parsley, maybe more
1/2 cup diced green onion
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon fresh mint, optional
Mix ingredients and serve or refrigerate.

Hummus is easy to make and is often served beside tabouleh.

Fried Thai basil eggplant 

1 tablespoon oil
2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
1 big  or 2 small eggplant, cut irregular
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bunch basil, washed and stems removed
2 chile peppers finely chopped or other hot peppers
2 tablespoons soy sauce or fish sauce

Cut eggplant into uniform irregular shapes. Heat oil in pan and cook garlic and peppers until lightly browned. Add eggplant, 1/2 cup water cover and simmer 5 minutes, until eggplant becomes translucent. Add more water as needed. Stir in sugar and fish sauce or soy sauce. Turn off the heat and add the basil, stirring gently. Serve with rice.