by Cathy Bylinowski, Horticulture Instructor, University of Missouri Extension- Jackson County
Maintaining a yard and garden can take a lot of time, energy, and money. There are many rewards for all that effort; one is the wonderful fragrance of Common Lilacs. If you have been thinking of getting a lilac for your yard, May is a good time to plant one.
There are many species and hybrids of lilacs. They all need:
Old Fashioned or Common Lilacs- Syringa vulgaris
Common Lilacs bloom from mid to late April through mid- May. They grow to 15 feet tall. The fragrance is special- a mixture of sweetness and intense perfume. In my mind there is no other flower fragrance else like it. Smelling a cluster of lilac flowers is a yearly, spring treat!
Pruning a portion of the old wood on Common Lilacs helps prevent borers, powdery mildew, and increases longevity.
French hybrids Lilacs- These are dense, upright-growing shrubs. The flower color of these lilacs ranges from white to pink to lavender to blue and purple. Both single and double flowered forms are available. The flowers of most varieties are very fragrant. They grow up to 15 feet tall and 3-4 ft. wide
Korean Lilac- Syringa pubescens subsp. patula, also known as Korean Lilac “Miss Kim”. They grow 4ft to 9ft. tall and 5 to 7ft. wide.
Dwarf Korean Lilac- Syringa meyeri, grow up to 5-8ft tall, 5-7 ft wide. Both of Korean lilacs have a sweet scent. They will bloom 1-2 years after planting.
Japanese Tree Lilac, Syringa reticulata, is a medium to small tree. They grow up to 25 feet tall. Japanese Tree Lilacs have a rounded form and spreading growth. Large clusters of fragrant white flowers appear about mid-June, or about 4 to 6 weeks later than Common Lilac.
The odor is different than Common Lilac. It is sweet, similar to privet flowers. The bark is reddish brown and attractive in winter. It is considered one of the hardiest lilacs.
Planting- Plant lilacs no deeper than they were planted in the pot you bought it in. Lilacs benefit from light mulching, especially as they are getting established. Remember no mulch volcanoes! Keep mulch off the trunk of the plant.
Pruning- Proper pruning is necessary to keep the plants attractive and to promote heavy flower production. After the plant becomes established, about one-third of the old stems should be removed each year. Older lilac stems may be attacked by borers. Proper pruning helps to minimize this problem.
Some Lilac Diseases and Pests
Powdery mildew looks like whitish powder on the leaf. It is caused by a fungal infection. It is can be a problem on some lilacs. Be sure to prune lilacs to increase air circulation. While powdery mildew can be unsightly, it will rarely kill the plant. Fungicides can be used to prevent powdery mildew. Be sure to read the label before use.
Lilac borers can be a problem. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the recommended strategy for controlling this and other pests. IPM starts with simple pest control methods before using any chemical insecticides. For more information, review this link to the Missouri Botanical Garden- https://bit.ly/3vVFZzO
Need more information on lilacs or other ornamental plants? Feel free to contact me or the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Hotline- 816-833-TREE (8733) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lilac flower close-up. Used with permission of Pixabay. Photo by Adina Voicu.
Spring is here and it’s time to dust off the gray and grime of winter. Westlake Ace Hardware offers these top five tips to help get a lawn, garden, and patio in top shape for the warmer months ahead.
Mow Early, Mow Right: A common mistake many homeowners make is not mowing their lawns early enough in the spring. A good mowing right now, with the collection bag attached, will help remove old debris and give the lawn a neat appearance. Also, since most grasses should maintain a three-inch height for optimal health, a spring mowing will trim off excess early growth and get the grass ready for the season. Make sure your mower engine is tuned up, has fresh oil, a clean air filter, and a sharp blade. If your gasoline-powered mower has seen better days, now might be a good time to up your game and make the switch to an environmentally friendly EGO battery-powered model.
Make Your Beds: Clean out your garden and landscaped beds, removing dried leaves, branches, and dead plants from last summer. Some weeds may already be growing, so either dig them up or apply a weed control product. Once the beds are cleaned out, add up to three inches of mulch – especially around the bases of trees, shrubs, and perennial plants. Not only will it give the beds a tidy look, but it will also help prevent weeds and diseases throughout the summer.
Clean and Revitalize: Winter leaves behind a lot of dirt, grime, and dust on patios and decks. Break out the leaf blower, power washer, and hose and give your patio or deck a cleaning. While you’re at it, scrub and clean your outdoor furniture and patio umbrellas with a mild soap and water solution. This is a great time to think about how you use the space, and make plans to rearrange, replace, or repair furniture.
Make It Glow: Decorating an outdoor space with lights takes the backyard oasis ambiance to another level. String globe lights between poles, through pergolas, attach them around the edges of the patio roof, or line a fence. The lights give any space a warm and festive glow for the coming summer evenings. A fire pit can create an inviting centerpiece and provides cozy warmth on cooler evenings.
Ready the grill. Get your grill cleaned and ready for delicious summertime cookouts. Remove the grates and let them soak in warm soapy water before scrubbing with a brush. Scrape any charred drippings from the grate and burners and vacuum the inside of the grill with a shop vac. Clean the grill’s exterior with a mixture of dish soap and warm water and use a stainless-steel cleaner to bring back the shine. Spring’s also a good time to clean out the grease trap and replace the propane canister.
by Todd Lorenz, MU Extension Field Specialist in Agronomy
Review these top ten reasons to get a soil test in your garden:
• Maximize the productivity of your garden. Soil tests identify yield-robbing deficiencies and provide recommendations for fertilizer and amendments.
• Reward your hard work with hard science. Fertilizer recommendations that are provided with soil test reports are based on sound research, which maximizes results from fertilizer use.
• Learn a little — or maybe a lot. Soil test recommendations come with information that will teach and inform about best management practices for your yard and garden.
• Save by applying only the amount of fertilizer that is needed. A soil test will determine the amount of nutrients that your soil will supply, so unnecessary fertilizer applications can be avoided.
• Be healthy. Well fertilized fruits and vegetables result in more nutritious food. Nutrient deficient soil yields produce that is lower in nutrients and protein.
• Protect the environment. Applying fertilizer according to soil test recommendations prevents excessive fertilizer applications. Fertilizer applied in excess of plant need increases the likelihood that it will run off into lakes, ponds, streams and rivers.
• Conserve. Don’t apply fertilizer when it isn’t needed. Fertilizers are made from our natural resources (natural gas and nutrient-bearing rocks). Unnecessary applications of fertilizer needlessly use those resources.
• Inventory your soil resource. Knowing the nutrient levels in your soil can help you plan future garden or yard management and needs.
• Color your lawn/flower bed/shrubs. A properly fertilized soil will result in a deep green color in your lawn. Properly fertilized flowers and shrubs will maintain a healthy appearance. Some shrubs will flower only if the soil is maintained with appropriate fertility.
• Detect what is wrong with your plants. A soil test can help solve the riddle of what could be ailing your plant(s) or lawn.
When is the best time for a soil test?
Soil samples can be taken in the spring or fall for established sites. For new sites, soil samples can be taken any time when the soil is workable. Most people conduct their soil tests in the spring. Fall is a preferred time to take soil tests if one suspects a soil pH problem and wants to avoid the spring rush. Fall soil testing will allow you ample time to apply lime to raise the soil pH. Sulfur should be applied in the spring if the soil pH needs to be lowered.
Want to learn more about testing your garden soil? Go to MU Extension’s Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory website to learn more:
by Cathy Bylinowski, Horticulture Instructor, University of Missouri Extension
based on MU Publication Attracting Hummingbirds to your Property by Sarah Denkler, Horticulture Specialist and Robert A. Pierce II, MDC, and Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Tiny ruby-throated hummingbirds dazzle us with their iridescent feathers and incredible speed in flight. Their presence adds excitement and interest to our gardens. They are surging north now and will arrive in Missouri by mid to late April. Planting appropriate plants can encourage these beautiful birds to visit our yards, gardens, and larger properties.
Planting for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
Red, pink, and orange tubular flowers are favorites of hummingbirds. They will drink nectar from a range of flower colors, including white and yellow.
Consider, too, that hummingbirds need insects as a source of protein, especially when they are nest building and feeding their young. Plants with flowers with a wide, landing pad shaped inflorescence attract small insects which also supply a food source for hummingbirds.
The ruby-throated hummingbird’s long, needle-like beak and long tongue allows them to drink flower nectar. Scientific studies indicate that trumpet vines Campsis radicans co-evolved with ruby-throated hummingbirds. The flowers supply the birds with nectar and pollen as the bird supplies pollination for the flower.
While many gardeners find trumpet vines very aggressive, they can be controlled with heavy pruning when the plant is still dormant in late winter, frequent mowing near the base of the vine, removal of sprouts and sprouting underground stems, and removal of old blooms and immature seed pods.
Other native plants that attract ruby-throated hummingbirds include:
This publication includes important information on ruby-throated hummingbirds’ life cycle and habitat and feeding needs.
Non-native plants that supply nectar for hummingbirds include:
Supplemental feeding with nectar made with 1-part white granulated sugar to 4-parts of water in an easy to clean feeder helps hummingbirds survive, too. Clean feeders often to avoid bacteria growth (cloudy nectar) which can make them sick.
Use a feeder that has red parts to attract hummingbirds. Using nectar with red dye or adding it to your nectar is not recommended. It may harm the tiny birds.
Never use honey, artificial sugar, or brown sugar to make nectar. These ingredients can make hummingbirds sick.
Here are links with helpful information on helping ruby throated hummingbirds thrive in your yard and garden:
Have more garden questions? Feel free to contact Cathy Bylinowski, MU Extension Horticulture Instructor, email@example.com, for information.
Top, Female ruby-throated hummingbird. Photo credit: University of Missouri Extension.
by Cathy Bylinowski, Horticulture Instructor, MU Extension- Urban West Region
Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program
If you are interested in a more in-depth horticulture and gardening education experience and want to volunteer, consider the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program. This year, participants in Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Training in Clay, Jackson, and Platte Counties, will receive 14 weeks of live, online horticulture training, along with in-person field trips and hands on demonstrations. After graduation, participants volunteer at a wide range of opportunities. For more information about the 2022 Extension Master Gardener Training in the Kansas City region, please contact Cathy Bylinowski, MU Extension (MUE) Horticulture Instructor, firstname.lastname@example.org or MUE Field Specialist in Horticulture, Dr. Tamra Reall, email@example.com.
Horticulture Faculty on the MU campus in Columbia, MO also offer Online Extension Master Gardener Training twice a year. Keep your eye on this webpage for upcoming training classes- https://extension.missouri.edu/programs/master-gardener
The next campus-facilitated online Master Gardener training will be offered Fall 2022. Graduates of this online training join their local chapter to meet other Extension Master Gardeners, learn about local gardening projects and activities, and to fulfill the volunteer service requirements.
MU Extension Gardening and Horticulture Publications
Another way to gain gardening knowledge is to take advantage of the dozens of gardening and horticulture publications available on the MU Extension (MUE) website for free download. Go to this website and in the search bar, type in your topic- https://extension.missouri.edu/
For example, if you type in “Vegetable Gardening” in the search bar, one of the results you will receive is this publication, the vegetable gardening chapter from the Master Gardener Core Manual-
More chapters from the Master Gardener Core Manual are available for free download on the MUE website.
Lastly, if you have a gardening question that needs to be answered quickly, try contacting the Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City’s Hotline. Call or email your home gardening questions to:
816-833-TREE (8733) – 24-hour voicemail
Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City (MGGKC) volunteers staff the Hotline and provide free, unbiased, research-based answers to your home yard, garden and plant questions.
Volunteers answer questions weekdays (9:00 AM thru 12:00 PM) during the growing season, March 1st to October 31st. Our goal is to respond within 2 business days.
During the winter season, November 1st to February 28th, volunteers respond weekly, on Mondays.
Be sure to provide your address (street, city, state, zip code) and daytime phone number so we can get in touch with you if we need additional information and to mail you a written response to your questions. Also, if you leave a voice mail on the Hotline, include your email address, it will allow us to provide you with a timely response while saving paper/postage. We never share your personal information with anyone.
I hope you are looking forward to gardening and getting outside in 2022. Yes, the weather can be challenging, but gardening days are coming soon.
If you need more gardening and horticulture information, please feel free to contact me, Cathy Bylinowski, MU Extension Horticulture Instructor, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have gardening questions? MU Extension has devised a way for you to ask questions of highly knowledgeable MU Extension Horticulture Faculty free of charge.
"The Garden Hour with MU Extension" happens From October – March. These online events are on the third Wednesdays. Upcoming Garden Hour with MU Extension sessions are on February 16 and March 16, 12-1pm.
Submit questions and register for these free events at https://ipm.missouri.edu/townHalls/.
(Weekly town halls will resume starting April 6th, 2022. Register at the same link above to get seasonal gardening tips from the MU Extension experts.)
Extension Garden Steward Program is a new offering from the Urban West Region Field Specialist in Horticulture, Dr. Tamra Reall, for those who want to learn more about the basics of gardening. The five sessions are offered online.
Care for feathered friends during the coldest time of year with these easy-to-do projects.
by Westlake Ace Hardware
We all love the sights and sounds of birds in our gardens and around our homes, but the winter months can be tough on our feathered friends. Because the short days, frigid nights, lack of food, and frozen water can make life very hard on wild birds, there are several ways homeowners can help ensure local bird populations thrive during the coldest time of year. To make the coming weeks and months as comfortable as possible for birds, Westlake Ace Hardware suggests these easy-to-do projects to supplement their diets and provide safe shelter and hydration.
The Never-Freeze Hydration Station
During winter, dehydration is often a bigger threat to birds than starvation. Because most natural water sources are often frozen solid this time of year, think about creating a Hydration Station near your bird feeders this winter. The water source will help them stay hydrated and properly preened. Preening helps keep feathers aligned, which is essential for birds to sufficiently insulate themselves from the cold.
The easiest and least expensive way to provide access to unfrozen water is to install a heating element to an existing all-weather birdbath. The heating element will keep the water above freezing, even during the coldest months. Installation is easy and can be accomplished by running a weatherproof extension cord to the birdbath and securing it around the base with zip ties – which will help prevent it from becoming unplugged.
A Wintertime “Bird Buffet”
Wild birds survive the winter at a higher rate if they have access to feeders. Therefore, providing reliable sources of high-calorie, high-energy, and high-fat foods is essential. To accomplish this, set up several separate feeding stations: one or two for seed and another for suet. This will ensure you accommodate the widest array of bird species possible. Place the feeders in an area of your yard protected from high winds and replenish the feed often. Because birds need to keep their weight up to keep warm in the winter, they eat more than you think.
The sunflower, safflower, peanuts, raisins, dehydrated cherries, rendered beef suet pieces, and other ingredients in seed blends such as Audubon Park provide much-needed boosts of energy. Also, to help birds preserve energy in the winter, consider switching to blends that contain “hulled” seed varieties, making it easier for them to access much-needed nutrition. Suet is made from a combination of nutrient-dense animal fats and seeds, helps replace scarce live insects, and provides a high-calorie treat.
Not all bird species eat at feeders. For ground-feeding birds such as doves, juncos, thrashers, and cardinals, scatter seed under bushes, decks, and other areas where they are more protected from predators and icy winds. A discarded Christmas tree – placed on its side near a feeding area – provides excellent protection from the elements and it will help keep food accessible if there is a snowfall.
A Roof for Roosting
Birds have many natural defenses to help guard against the cold, mainly the ability to fluff up their feathers. However, on frigid nights and during storms, most birds look for a warm and protected place to hunker down and roost. If you have birdhouses in your garden, leave them up during the winter. Many bird species will use the birdhouses for roosting on freezing nights. Easy to install, mount the houses at least five feet off the ground on tree trunks or wooden fence posts. Take care to locate them away from prevailing winds and feeding areas (as it will keep the birds safe from predators). Add some grass clippings, straw, or wood shavings to the bottom of the houses to help the birds stay warm.
Photo credit: Westlake Ace Hardware
by Cathy Bylinowski, email@example.com, MU Extension Horticulture Instructor.
Adapted from an article by Dr. David Trinklein, MU Horticulture
Did you receive or purchase a holiday cactus as a gift during the holiday season? Holiday cacti, beautiful alternatives to poinsettia, are either Christmas or Thanksgiving cacti. The two are closely related and both are tropical cacti native to south-eastern Brazil.
Thanksgiving cacti normally begin flowering in mid to late November and continue into December.
Christmas cacti normally begin to flower in mid to late December and continue flowering into January. The stem segments of Christmas cactus are more rounded and do not have forward-pointing teeth.
As either plant matures, their branches tend to arch downward resulting in a graceful appearance. The base of older plants becomes thick and woody, supporting the weight of the younger stems and flowers.
The flowers of both cacti are similar. Each flower has 20-30 tepals. Tepal is the term used when flower parts cannot easily be classified as either sepals or petals. The outer tepals are short, unconnected and spread out or curve backwards. The inner ones, towards the tip of the flower, are longer and become more fused at the base to form a floral tube. The term "flower within a flower" has been used to describe their appearance.
Colors range from deep pink to red and cultivars come in bicolored pink, purple, or red and white. Flowers of the Thanksgiving cactus have yellow anthers (male flower parts that bears pollen), while Christmas cactus flowers bear pink to purplish-brown anthers.
Whatever the true identity of your holiday cactus, all require similar growing conditions and cultural needs to thrive and flower next year. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus are tropical, epiphytic (organisms growing at the surface of other plants, soil, or growing medium) cacti and not the "desert types." Therefore, their needs are somewhat different from other cacti.
In nature these epiphytic cacti grow in well-drained tree crevices, where decayed bark and leaves accumulate. Epiphytic cacti need growing media high in organic matter with good drainage.
Their native habitat is somewhat shady and humid. Although they cannot endure frost, the plants are native to higher altitudes and prefer cool temperatures, especially to develop flower buds. Flower buds will not develop when night temperatures are 70 degrees F or higher for extended periods of time. If possible, locate plants in a cool room or close to a cool window. Never place them near hot air ducts or appliances that produce heat.
Flower bud initiation in these cacti is also influenced by the length of day. In nature, they are short-day plants which means they set buds in response to a period of darkness (12 hours or more) each day. In essence, short-day species really are "long-night" plants. At cool night temperatures (50 to 60 degrees F) some flower buds will form even if the plants are not exposed to long nights. For optimum flower bud formation, cool temperatures and natural day lengths (short days) are best, beginning about mid-September. If exposure to these conditions is delayed, flowering also will be delayed.
Some reduction in watering at the beginning of bud formation is helpful to promote flower buds. However, plants should never be allowed to wilt.
If plants become wilted even though adequate water has been provided, root rot is the likely cause, which results from overwatering. Fortunately, stem segments of epiphytic cacti root easily. Even when a plant's roots have died, these stem segments can be used to start new plants.
During summer, holiday cacti can be placed outside in a protected, partly shaded northern or eastern exposure. Properly cared for, holiday cacti live for a long time, producing more flowers each year. They often become heirloom plants that are passed down from one generation to the next. Now is a perfect time to start this tradition in your family.
Christmas cactus flowers. Photo credit: University of Missouri Extension
Adapted from Missouri Environment and Gardening article by Dr. David Trinklein, University of Missouri
Still have leaves to rake up? The vivid colors of autumn leaves were an attractive sight. However, once they fall and accumulate in the yard, leaves can become a problem. Dealing with autumn leaves can be labor-intensive and, at times, a frustrating task. Especially when leaves keep blowing into one's yard from neighboring homes, making the process seem never ending!
Proper use of fall leaves can maintain a healthy, attractive landscape.
When allowed to accumulate over turfgrass and low ornamental plants, leaves can pack down and form a tight mat, particularly during the course of a wet winter. A thick layer of leaves can block sunlight from reaching turfgrass, thus reducing the ability of plants to manufacture food in the fall. Cool season turfgrass species such as Kentucky bluegrass or fescue need fall sunlight.
On the other hand, fallen leaves represent a valuable resource that too many gardeners overlook. In addition to containing modest amounts of certain essential mineral elements (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), they are a rich source of organic matter.
Organic matter helps build good soil structure. Bagging, burning, or discarding autumn leaves is not a sound decision from an ecological or economic point of view.
One way to recycle autumn leaves is to mulch them into the lawn. When leaves are still damp, adjust your lawn mower to its highest setting and start mowing. By using a crisscross pattern and double-mowing, leaves often can be reduced to the size of confetti.
So-called "mulching mowers" are especially proficient at shredding fallen leaves. The tiny pieces of leaves will gradually filter into the lawn and begin to decompose. The end result will be the release of nutrients for use by the turfgrass. Research has demonstrated that a layer of leaves up to six inches thick can be mulched into the lawn with no ill effects.
Leaves can be incorporated into the lawn with a mulching mower.
Composting is another way to turn leaves into a useful soil amendment. Compost is partially decomposed organic matter created by soil organisms that break down plant matter. Compost is beneficial for improving soil because it binds small soil particles together making them larger. This "aggregation" of soil particles helps improve aeration, root penetration and water movement.
Compost bins can be made from salvaged materials such as shipping pallets.
A backyard compost pile can be almost any size that is convenient for the space available. However, for best results, it should be no less than about 25 square feet in area at its base and three feet in height. As a rule, larger compost piles are better than smaller ones. Whatever the size, always locate a compost pile in an area that is well-drained.
Find more information on composting in this MU Publication “Making and Using Compost”- https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g6956
MU Extension is offering a free online compost webinar on December 16, 6-8pm. Register by calling 573-581-3231 or at this link
Autumn leaves can also be made into leaf mold. This is an organic material consisting of partially decomposed leaves. Unlike traditional compost that undergoes a heat-generating, bacterially-driven process, leaf mold is produced through a cooler and much slower fungal-driven process.
Leaf mold is made much the same way as compost, only no additional nitrogen is added. The resulting partially decomposed material is an excellent additive to soil. It can be mixed in during tillage, or used as a surface mulch for weed control.
In addition to mulching leaves into the lawn or turning them into compost or leaf mold, they can be used as a mulch to protect tender plants (e.g., azaleas and rhododendrons) in the landscape.
The best leaves for this use are those are very stiff and do not collapse (form a dense mat) during wet weather. Oak leaves are excellent for use as winter mulch. When used as mulch, leaves should be enclosed in a wire cylinder placed around the plant to keep them in place.
Have more gardening questions? Contact Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Hotline 816-833-TREE(8733) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Presented by Cathy Bylinowski, Horticulture Instructor, email@example.com
by Cathy Bylinowski, Horticulture Instructor, MU Extension- Jackson County, MO
Pies! What a great way to enjoy the harvest from your own garden or to use these readily available fall vegetables from your local farmers markets and grocery stores.
Pie pumpkin - Cucurbita pepo
Pie pumpkins are cultivated varieties of pumpkins that have been selected for human consumption. Pumpkin and squash have been part of humans’ diets for thousands of years. Native Americans grew, preserved, and ate a variety of pumpkins and squashes, for thousands of years before the arrival of European colonists.
Early colonists adopted the use of pumpkins and squashes for a wide range of dishes including the pie and for soups, casseroles, breads, muffins, and more.
The orange color of pumpkin tells us that it is full of an important antioxidant called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body.
Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease.
One cup of cooked pumpkin also contains fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C and E.
Butternut Winter Squash Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut' –
Yes, butternut squash can be used to make pie! Perhaps you already prepare and serve it in soup or casserole recipes. Try using it to make pie. Its flavor will be subtly different than pumpkin or sweet potato pie. The texture and color will be slightly different, too. Like pumpkin, butternut squash is very nutritious.
A one-cup of cooked butternut squash provides more than 450% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for vitamin A and over 50% of the RDI for vitamin C.
Sweet potatoes Ipomoea batatas-
If you haven’t harvested your sweet potatoes yet, dig them up before a freeze. Store the tubers in a warm, humid place for four to six days to increase sugar content. Sweet potatoes can be used right from the garden, but they might not taste as sweet as those you purchase from grocery stores or farmers markets.
Here’s a link to a MU Extension horticulture publication on growing sweet potatoes. It is geared to small and commercial producers, but it still has a great deal of helpful information-
Enjoy pumpkin pie this November or try substituting cooked sweet potatoes or cooked butternut squash in this basic pumpkin pie recipe for a different yet equally tasty pie experience:
Light Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Rinse pie pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash, whichever you decide to use, under running water. Scrub with a vegetable brush or a clean sponge to make sure soil and other contaminants are cleaned off the skin. Peel and cook at least enough for the recipe below.
(Canned pumpkin and sweet potatoes can be used, too. Make sure that you use unsweetened canned pumpkin or sweet potatoes since the recipe below includes sugar. Occasionally canned or frozen butternut squash can be found in the grocery store, too.)
One pie crust, uncooked
1/8 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups of cooked and mashed pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash
½ teaspoon cinnamon
13 oz. can evaporated skim milk
½ teaspoon ginger
3 egg whites
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1. Wash hands and clean working surfaces.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Place pie crust dough in pie pan and crimp edges.
4. Mix all remaining ingredients in large mixing bowl. Pour into pie crust.
5. Bake 55 to 60 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool before serving and refrigerate any leftovers.
Here’s the link to the webpage for the original recipe and to more great recipes- https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/nc146
Interested in growing butternut squash, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes next year? Consult the Vegetable Planting Calendar (https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g6201) and Master Gardener Core Manual Chapter 5( https://extension.missouri.edu/mg5) for more information. Fall and winter is a great time to start planning your 2022 garden!
by Cathy Bylinowski, MU Extension Jackson County Horticulture Instructor
Spring bulbs add a splash of color to our spring gardens and to the beginning of the new gardening season. They can be planted among groundcovers and perennials. As these plants grow in the spring, they will hide the fading bulb foliage.
Spring flowering bulbs need to be planted in the fall, in well-drained soil in areas that receive part shade to full sun. Planting the bulbs about 2-3 times the height of the bulb is a general rule for planting depth. The bulbs need exposure to cold winter temperatures in order to bloom next spring. You should have plenty of time to purchase and plant spring bulbs this month.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite bulbs and tips for success:
Daffodils Narcissus spp.- Ranging from yellow, to white, to orange, daffodils’ unusual and variable flower shape and wonderful scent made them a good addition to our gardens. Daffodils last a long time and can be used to naturalize in flower beds and lawns. They need full sun and well-drained soil. A fertilizer high in phosphorus such as bone meal, helps the bulb develop a healthy root system. Plant bulbs 6-8 inches deep. Trim the old flower stems off. Daffodil foliage needs to photosynthesis to store food for next year’s growth. Do not cut off or bundle up the foliage.
Tulips Tulipa spp- Some tulips bloom well for one year and gradually lose vigor in subsequent years. Sometimes landscape managers use them like an annual. If you want beautiful perennial tulips, select a variety such as Darwin hybrids or a species tulip; they live and bloom for many years.
Crocus Crocus vernus- Crocus are diminutive and brightly colored flowers that surprise us with their blooms as early as February and March. Full sun and well-drained soil are essential for good performance.
Wild hyacinth- Camassia scilloides- Looking for a Missouri native flowering bulb? Wild hyacinth is a good choice. The pale blue spike of flowers blooms in April and May in glades, prairies, and savannas in many parts of Missouri. They need part sun to full sun to thrive. Many nurseries that supply native plants grow and sell this species.
Did you enjoy summer flowering bulbs and ornamentals this year? Cannas and caladiums were especially attractive this year. If you want to save money, try digging up cannas, caladiums, calla lilies, elephant ear caladiums, gladiolus, and dahlias after a light frost for next year. Let the roots or bulbs dry and then overwinter them in a cool, dark place, with good air circulation. A basement or room that does not get below freezing is a good place to store them. Trim off the foliage. Replant in late April or early May after the danger of frosts and freezes has passed. Plant in well-drained soil.
Cannas- Cannas are tall and vigorous, with attractive foliage and vivid flowers all summer long. There are tall varieties that work well in the background and shorter varieties that can be planted towards the front of a bed. Cannas flower colors range from deep red to pink, to yellow. In zones 7-10, cannas are left outside all year, but in the Kansas City region, it is safer to lift them up for overwintering in a dry medium such as vermiculite or peat.
Caladiums- Grown for their beautiful foliage, caladiums thrive in shade and part shade. They like moist, well-drained soil. They can be grown in containers or in flower beds.
For more information on a wide range of herbaceous ornamental plants, check out this publication from the Master Gardener Core Manual- https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/mg9
If you need more gardening information, contact Extension Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Hotline, 816-833-TREE (8733) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.