Monday, July 28, 2014

Growing Summer Savory By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo Joyce D'Agostino
If you enjoy growing culinary herbs, you might want to consider adding Summer Savory (Satureia hortensis)  to your herb garden. 
I have heard of this herb for a number of years and wanted to finally give it a try. This spring I started the seedlings inside and simply transferred the tiny plants to a pot outside once the plants developed their second leaves. I moved it to the full sun next to my other herbs and it quickly began to grow in height.
This herb is a native of Southern Europe and some reports say that next to salt and pepper, this herb is the most frequently used in the kitchen and on the table. Those who love to make dishes such as beans or stuffed cabbage report that this herb adds a subtle aromatic flavor to these dishes. Since Savory has a mild peppery flavor, it can also be added to salad dressing and to marinades for meats as a substitute for black pepper.
The plants are considered annuals and can grow from 12 -18” tall so make a nice border plant. I found their leaves very attractive and it has been easy to grown and maintain. It has light purple flowers later in the season and then the leaves can turn a nice reddish bronze color after frost. Once they have flowered, pull up the entire plant and hang them to dry and use the crumbled dried leaves in dishes for fall and winter cooking.

Friday, July 25, 2014

It’s July! Why Is My Tree Dropping Its Leaves? by Patti O’Neal

Photo Patti O'Neal
Trees on the Front Range are under a lot of stress these days.  Right now we are seeing two things:  leaves turning yellow and dropping or leaves just dropping.  This is a common reaction of trees at this time of year, especially given the spring weather we had. 
This spring, we had cool, damp weather which encouraged trees to put on a great deal of leafage.  They have been green and full and lovely until now.  Now the hot, dry, low moisture conditions have persisted for several weeks, accompanied by hot, dry winds.  The trees cannot sustain the abundant growth they put on earlier in the year and are basically cutting their losses and letting go of growth they are now unable to sustain.   This is a natural response of trees to low moisture situations.  This response is often preceded by the yellowing of the leaves, another response to the lack of moisture or just the inability to take up enough water from the root system to match the transpiration of moisture from the top of the tree from the hot, dry conditions.   This can also be caused by rapid temperature fluctuations which we have experienced lately as well.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Farmers' Market Recipes By Chef Elizabeth Buckingham

Peach and Prosciutto Salad photo
The heat of summer is here and with it comes an incredible array of fresh fruits and vegetables. Cooking fresh, light and healthy dishes is super-easy in the summer – the amazing produce doesn’t need much to shine! Keep things simple and throw your fruits and vegetables on the grill for extra flavor and sweetness, or leave everything raw for crunch. Truly, it’s summertime and the cooking is easy!

This fresh, light salad combination showcases the best of Colorado’s amazing summer peaches. You can replace the prosciutto with crumbled bacon, or keep it vegetarian and omit the meat altogether. A sharp artisan cheese really brings out the peaches’ sweetness.

Peach & Prosciutto Salad with Balsamic Syrup (serves 4)

2 ripe peaches
4 oz. prosciutto
1 oz. balsamic syrup
6 oz. mixed salad greens
Artisan goat cheese, blue cheese or feta crumbles, if desired
Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper

Slice peaches into thin wedges, removing pit. Slice prosciutto into one-inch-wide strips and wrap each peach slice with one slice of prosciutto. Arrange salad greens on chilled salad plates and top each plate with a few wrapped peach slices. When ready to serve, drizzle lightly with balsamic syrup and sprinkle with salt and fresh pepper. Sharp cheese crumbles may be added for additional flavor contrast, if desired.

Monday, July 14, 2014

White Butterflies Visiting Your Garden By Joyce D’Agostino

Cabbage Moth
This year I noticed a large amount of  small, white delicate butterflies in my garden and yard areas. These little visitors are actually an Imported Cabbage Worm Butterfly (Pieris rapae (Linnaeus) and while they are attractive they can bring some damage to your garden brassicas. 
Plants in the brassica family  include cabbage, broccoli, kale, collards and turnips. Many people enjoy growing and eating these healthy vegetables so if you notice these insects, what do you do to avoid crop loss and protect your plants?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Leafcurl Ash Aphid by Patti O'Neal

As if ash trees have not been terrified enough this year with the threat of emerald ash borer on them, worried homeowners are seeing yet another injury to their ash trees.  Luckily this one is not as potentially threatening as EAB – although it is much uglier!

Leafcurl ash aphid has struck trees in the Denver Metro Area.  Symptoms are twisted, thick, gnarled leaves at the ends of branches.  These clumps are often covered with the sugary exudate, honeydew, that is excreted by the insects which in turn collect pollen and other debris passing by in the air and can cause the clumps to appear webby and really messy – a scary thing to behold.  The kind that sends one to the closet for, what else? something to spray on it!

But resist.  First of all, it won’t help, and second, the colonies will begin to decline as new growth ceases being produced on your trees, which is about now.  And third, by now the natural enemies have amassed to curtail the outbreaks.