Saturday, May 30, 2015

Picking herbs and greens

Trimming herbs and greens is helpful to the plants and encourages renewed growth. For spinach, just pinch leaves at the base of the leaf. Leaves should be at least four inches long. Like spinach, the best way to pick parsley, and many herbs and leafy vegetables, is to snip the whole leaf and stem at the stock. For Swiss chard, you can twist the leaf's stem and pinch off near the ground.
Basil's a little different. You should cut the stock or branch, just above leaves, yet below the leaves you want to harvest. Picking in the morning is the best time of day, especially for greens and herbs.
Pick leaves often to prevent the plants from bolting, or going to seed. Because once they go to seed, many of the plants lose their flavor or stop producing leaves.
For Rosemary and sage, cut five inch branches and hang to air dry or chop and freeze herbs in ice cube trays or clumps in a freezer bag.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rhubarb recipes

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.

Rhubarb cheesecake
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 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.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Asparagus recipes

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.

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.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Is it safe to plant?

It's always a gamble with when to plant fair weather transplants. The weather was warm early this year, then it cooled down again with frost advisories every other night.
I always wait until Memorial Weekend to plant tomatoes and peppers because they grow slower when it gets too cold at night. Besides I'm lazy about covering them at night. Normally I plant beans and squash seeds around May 15, but I was out of town and it's just as well, since they wouldn't have made much progress with these cooler temperatures.
All is not lost if it does frost. If you have plants or flowering trees that are frost sensitive and you didn't get them covered before a frost, go outside before the sun shines on the plants and spray water on them, rinsing off the frost. This works for a light frost, but not for a hard frost or freeze.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Annuals and more offered at Oakland Technical Center campuses

• Spring Plant Sale is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. May 13 at Oakland Technical Center-NW Campus, 8211 Big Lake Road, Clarkston. Annual and Perennials, vegetables and unusual plants. Greenhouses are open 8-10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, May 14-29.

• 43rd annual Garden Center Sale is 8-9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, through June 10 at Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest, 1000 Beck Road, Wixom, 248-668-5634. Also open Mother’s Day weekend, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. May 9-10.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Farmers markets are opening with plants and more

• Birmingham Farmers Market opens May 3 at Birmingham’s Public Parking Lot 6 on the east side of North Old Woodward, Birmingham. Fresh produce, baked goods and flowers, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundays,, 248-530-1200.

• Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township. is open 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays May to December, 248-858-5495,

• The City of Walled Lake’s Park & Recreation Commission Farmers Market begins May 6 and runs Wednesdays, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. through the end of October at the Walled Lake City Event Field, 1499 E. West Maple Road Walled Lake, 248-624-4847,

• Milford Farmers Market to kick off season of fresh produce, live music, family actiivities, May 7 on East Liberty Street in downtown Milford. The market will meet 3-8 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 15. Decorate your own cupcake free at Milford Baking Company’s cupcake station, May 7,