With the beautiful fall weather we’re enjoying this week, it’s hard to remember snow is right around the corner.
Hitchin’ a ride
If you like to cook with fresh herbs from your garden and you have a sunny window for them, you can pot them up and enjoy them all winter. Rosemary and marjoram won’t survive our northern winters, but does well indoors in a cool room with a sunny window. Last year when I brought my rosemary inside, it thanked me by blooming. If you want to prune your herb plants when you pot them, you can dry the trimmings easily in the microwave. Place your clean herbs between two sheets of paper towels and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. Let the leaves cool and check for dryness. If they’re not dry, put them back in for another 30 seconds. Don’t overcook or they will lose their flavor. Store your herbs on the stem, whole in a zip lock baggy. Leaves can be removed from stems and crushed when adding to recipes to release their flavor.
Colors of fall
Every year at this time we get calls about pine tree needles turning yellow. Don’t worry. Just as deciduous trees lose their leaves in fall, pines shed their older needles. If you check your trees you will see that the needles at the ends of the branches are healthy and green.
This year the fall colors are going to be spectacular. Be sure to grab your family, best friend and the dog and head for the woods. The color should peak around Oct. 10. I have three special places to go to view the fall display. If I can’t get to my favorite place, Tahquamenon Falls in the U.P., I head over to Landslide, off U.S. 131 in East Jordan. The view of the Jordan Valley from the Landslide overlook, never fails to inspire me. Or, right where I live in Boyne City, Avalanche, a former ski slope, provides a great cardio workout and a beautiful fall view of Lake Charlevoix.
Earlier this year, I wrote that I was going to try planting potatoes in large black landscape pots. I had read about this idea in one of my magazines. I’m happy to report it worked great. I got a nice crop of small red potatoes, perfect for roasting with other veggies or potato salad. There was no digging. I simply dumped the pot when the plants died back.
If you used potato vine in your flower containers or boxes, look for little potatoes when you pull out these annuals at year’s end. You can store these potatoes in a cool, dry place and plant them in small pots in the spring. When the plants start getting leaves you can transplant them back into your flower containers.
Cydney Steeb, Advanced Master Gardener, can be contacted at Emmet Conservation District, 3434 M-119, Harbor Springs (231) 439-8977 or email@example.com. Her Gardening Wit and Wisdom column runs every Wednesday.