Food Friday: Summer Tomatoes are Upon Us!

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Cake is the perfect food. Really. You can eat cake for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You might get a wee bit roly-poly, but nonetheless, a nice slice of pound cake can be eaten at any time of the day or night. You can toast it for breakfast, eat with your fingers while reading the newspaper at lunch, and serve it with an amusing wine and perhaps a salad for supper. It is the Spackle of the kitchen – it covers up for your shopping and food preparation flaws.

Tomatoes are the perfect fruit. Once again, you can have them for any meal. The British fry up breakfast, long touted as the best thing about British cuisine, always includes eggs, cold toast, fried bread, sausages, bacon, grilled mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. At lunch the tomato is the vital ingredient for BLTs, which as we all know, are the pinnacle of all lunch experiences. And for dinner, the tomato is the most versatile item on your windowsill.

So far, this week for dinner, we have had gem-like tomatoes grilled in a pan with a little oil and garlic, and then tossed them into a mixed green salad, with bacon, some extra basil, homemade croutons and chunks of fresh mozzarella. Tuesday night we boiled up a pot of fresh (though, admittedly, store-bought) pasta and sautéed some tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus tips, garlic and shrimp, and threw everything into a couple of bowls. We also had garlic bread, in case there wasn’t enough garlic in the sauté… We also had some delightfully cheap Chardonnay.

Wednesday night we had big beefsteak tomatoes, sliced with more fresh mozzarella, garnished with lots of basil from the container garden, oil and balsamic vinegar. And more garlic bread. Oh, and some wine.

Thursday night we grilled a couple of small steaks, sliced the heirloom Ugly tomato generously and drizzled them with brown butter, and also had some mixed greens. And wine.

https://food52.com/recipes/18779-brown-butter-tomatoes

Friday night is Pizza Night, and we will be making some Big Love Pizza; cooking small pizzas on the grill, adding handfuls of squeezed and drained Marzano tomatoes, grated mozzarella, sliced of pepperoni and at the very last minute a handful of fresh basil. Dare I add some wine?

Perhaps we are in a tomato/basil/mozzarella rut? What a delirious place to be! Perfect for the summer, when the humidity makes us limp, and the afternoon thunderstorms induce longing for coma-like naps.

Grilled Tomato Salad – for two

12 or so small tomatoes that you picked from the back yard, or bought at the Farmers’ Market
4 slices of bacon
2 slices thick, day old bread, cubed
1 ball of fresh Mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 garlic clove, peeled, please
1 salad bowl filled with mixed salad greens and some basil leaves
snatched from the garden

Fry bacon. Drain on paper towels. Crumble.

Cut the bread into cubes, and fry in the hot bacon fat until golden brown. (Pescatarians – use oil, you poor suffering souls) I sprinkle the croutons with garlic powder, Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and a little dried oregano while draining on paper towels.

Add a little oil to the still hot pan, and carefully deposit the tomatoes and the garlic, roll everything around with a couple of wooden spoons, until the tomatoes start to blacken and blister and the garlic becomes overwhelmingly and seductively fragrant.

Fill your salad plates with the greens, top with tomatoes, mozzarella and crumbled bacon. Bliss!

How about a slice of pound cake for dessert?

Here is a link to my blog and the original recipe for Big Love Pizzas: http://jeandsanders.blogspot.com/2011/06/june-4-2010-its-food-friday-big-love.html

“A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.”
― Rudyard Kipling

“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
― Miles Kington

Morgan Murphy in Easton for “Off the Eaten Path”

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When Morgan Murphy heard about the gazpacho at the Bartlett Pear Inn and the cave-aged cheddar at Chapel’s Country Creamery, he knew he had to visit.

“I am constantly searching the South for the most inventive and creative fare—and hot damn, do the Bartlett Pear Inn and Chapel’s Country Creamery have it,” joked Murphy. The Southern Living food critic and TV personality was in town July 9th and 10th for his series.

Murphy is known for his hilarious stories and the amazing recipes he pries out of mom-and-pop restaurants. His books include the best-selling Off the Eaten Path series—and coming this fall: Bourbon & Bacon.

“When you cook as badly as I do, you’ve got to have a sense of humor,” cracks Murphy, who describes his four Southern food groups as, “bourbon, salt, bacon, and PIE.”

“The Bartlett Pear Inn delivers an haute cuisine experience with a delicious energy. They even make their own ice cream. It must be something in the water because not five miles away at Chapel’s Country Creamery, Holly Foster impresses with an auspicious array of hand-churned cheeses.”

Murphy at the Bartlett Pear

Murphy at the Bartlett Pear

How did he choose Bartlett Pear Inn and Chapel’s Country Creamery? Murphy says he picks all his restaurants based on three criteria: the food, the service, and the ambiance, “But shoot, the ambiance and the service can be broken if the food is good enough,” says Murphy, “Who doesn’t love a great BBQ shack that looks like it might fall in on you?”

The Southern food writer says he gets his restaurant tips mainly through fans to his website, morganmurphy.co or directly on Twitter @_morganmurphy. “I love to get tips from readers. They’re the ones who know the best spots,” says Murphy. And Murphy always follows up in person, often driving his huge 1956 Cadillac, “I research restaurants the old-fashioned way: I go there. Google just can’t take the place of actually being there.”

Murphy’s work has been read by millions, and he has been featured on many popular television programs, including the TODAY Show and Fox & Friends. He’s become a regular on QVC, and this summer, he’s making his Travel Channel debut as a judge on “American Grilled.”

“They’re just lucky I didn’t accidentally burn down the set,” Murphy said with a laugh.

How did the Bama boy and Navy reserve officer become one of the most popular food critics? “I just write about the food people really like to eat. Who cares about whether the coriander was milled by Polynesian virgins during a lunar eclipse? Does that dish taste good?”

You can order signed copies of his book directly from www.morganmurphy.co

For restaurant inquiries contact:

Bartlett Pear Inn
28 S Harrison St
Easton, MD 21601
(410) 770-3300
www.bartlettpearinn.com

Chapel’s Country Creamery
10380 Chapel Rd
Easton, MD 21601
(410) 820-6647
www.chapelscreamery.com

Article Credit: Murphy Media, Inc.

Ask the Plant & Pest Professor: Gummosis, Paper Wasps, & Patience!

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“Ask the Plant and Pest Professor” is compiled from phone and email questions asked the Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC), part of University of Maryland Extension, an educational outreach of the University of Maryland.

Question #1: I have a weeping cherry tree that has some holes in the trunk. Sap is dripping out of them and is even dripping to the ground. So far the tree looks pretty healthy. Could this be some sort of insect infestation and what can I do to help the tree? This tree has been in my front yard since I bought my house many years ago.

Answer#1: The oozing sap is called ‘gummosis’ and generally happens any time an injury occurs to the bark of a tree. Gummosis can be caused by many factors such as insects, mechanical damage, diseases, or weather. Pushing out sap is the trees attempt to protect itself by flushing out pathogens or insects. Ornamental cherries are prone to both borers, which are insects that bore into the tree, and canker diseases. Both of these conditions are serious and unfortunately can’t be cured once they attack the trunk of a tree. However, in many cases the tree continues to do okay and can remain viable for a few years. If the tree has borers or a canker disease it will start losing branches and then will eventually have to be removed. These trees are generally not long-lived and have an average lifespan of about 25 years. For additional information on ornamental fruit trees, go to our website and look for publication HG 93 IPM Series: Ornamental Fruit Trees found under ‘publications’.

Question #2: In the corner of the ceiling on my front porch there is a papery, honeycomb like, circular shaped nest. I see paper wasps flying in and out of it. How concerned should I be about paper wasps and should I do something to get rid of them?

Answer #2: Paper wasps tend to be less aggressive and threatening than yellowjackets. The nests are usually fairly small, only a few inches in diameter, so they do not contain as large a number of wasps as found in yellowjacket nests. But if the nest is in a frequently used area, control is warranted because they will sting if they feel threatened. Active nests can be sprayed with a registered wasp and hornet spray. Look for one that is labeled as non-staining and can be sprayed from a distance. Treat in the evening or early morning. Paper wasp nests located in non-frequented areas should be left alone. The wasps prey on caterpillars and are considered to be beneficial.

Question #3: My husband and I planted 4 beefsteak tomato plants in late April. They are producing tomatoes but none are turning red. Last year at this time we were already eating vine ripened tomatoes. What is going on?

Answer #3: Patience may be the key word this year. Tomatoes and some other warm-season vegetables are behind their normal schedule. In April, soils were not warm enough for tomato plants to grow. Root growth does not occur until soil temperatures reach about 65 degrees F. Do not fret there is still plenty of time for your tomatoes to ripen. Gardeners need to be flexible in their expectations because every year is a different year in the garden.

To ask a home gardening or pest control question or for other help, go to http://extension.umd.edu/hgic Or phone HGIC at 1-800-342-2507, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Miles River Motion Ages Vinegar Aboard Skipjack Rosie Parks

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In cooperation with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Olivins Fine Olive Oils and Vinegars of St. Michaels, MD is producing a new balsamic vinegar with a Chesapeake connection.

On July 10, a small barrel of specially blended balsamic vinegar was placed in the hull of the 1955 skipjack, Rosie Parks, where it will remain for the next five months. During that time, the aging process of the vinegar will be accelerated by the gentle motion of the boat, which generally remains dockside along the Miles River at CBMM.

Olivins Fine Olive Oils and Vinegars of St. Michaels, MD is producing a new balsamic vinegar that is being aged aboard the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s skipjack, Rosie Parks. In early July, the specially blended balsamic vinegar was placed in the hull of the 1955 skipjack, where it will remain for the next five months. During that time, the aging process of the vinegar will be accelerated by the gentle motion of the boat, which generally remains dockside along the Miles River at CBMM. Six-ounce bottles of the Rosie Parks balsamic vinegar will be available for sale by Thanksgiving, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the museum.

Olivins Fine Olive Oils and Vinegars of St. Michaels, MD is producing a new balsamic vinegar that is being aged aboard the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s skipjack, Rosie Parks. In early July, the specially blended balsamic vinegar was placed in the hull of the 1955 skipjack, where it will remain for the next five months. During that time, the aging process of the vinegar will be accelerated by the gentle motion of the boat, which generally remains dockside along the Miles River at CBMM. Six-ounce bottles of the Rosie Parks balsamic vinegar will be available for sale by Thanksgiving, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the museum.

“Aging barrels aboard boats started out in history as a necessity, as most trade occurred over waterways,” explains CBMM’s Chief Curator, Pete Lesher. “A boat’s movement can speed up the process of aging, whether it’s spirits, vinegar, or another liquid. We’re very excited to taste the results of these efforts.”

The wooden barrel is made of toasted oak, which will flavor the vinegar. “Even the temperature changes aboard Rosie Parks will influence the taste of this special blend,” said Olivins Owner/Operator Bill Acosta. “The barrel expands and contracts as the temperatures rise and fall, infusing the vinegar with undertones of toasted oak.”

“The Rosie Parks has such rich history on the Chesapeake,” continued Acosta. “We not only wanted to create a special balsamic vinegar that gives people a real sense of place— with an exceptional taste—but also to support the museum in a meaningful way.”

Once the aging process is complete, Olivins will remove the barrel from aboard the skipjack and package the small batch balsamic vinegar in six-ounce bottles. The limited bottles will be sold as “Rosie Parks Balsamic Vinegar,” with a portion of every sale donated to CBMM.

The Rosie Parks, built in 1955 by legendary boat builder Bronza Parks for his brother, Captain Orville Parks, was named for their mother. CBMM purchased the Rosie Parks in 1975 from Captain Orville. Only 20 years old at the time, Rosie had a reputation as both the best maintained skipjack in the oyster dredging fleet and as a champion sailor at the annual skipjack races at Deal Island and Chesapeake Appreciation Days at Sandy Point. Now fully restored after a three-year overhaul, the Rosie Parks now serves as an ambassador for the museum, and the dwindling skipjack fleet, with the museum planning to race her in the Deal Island and Choptank River skipjack races later this year.

For more information, visit www.cbmm.org or www.olivinsstmichaels.com.

Discover “Cultures of Crabbing” at CBMM July 26

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From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, Cultures of Crabbing brings the Chesapeake’s crabbing traditions and industry to life at the waterfront Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD. During the program, visitors will see crab-picking and harvesting demonstrations, with information shared on crab biology, packing house operations, and the growing Hispanic population’s importance to the local crab industry.

The event is free for CBMM members or with general, two-day museum admission. The program is part of CBMM’s summer-long Chesapeake People program, which gives visitors the experience of meeting local, maritime tradition-bearers and skill demonstrators every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 410-745-2916 or visit www.cbmm.org.

Crab-pickers Mary Helen Holmes (left), Sharon Young (right), and Minerva Nava (standing) demonstrating their techniques for Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum visitors. Cultures of Crabbing comes to CBMM on Saturday, July 26 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with crab-picking and harvesting demonstrations, as well as information shared on crab biology, packing house operations, and the growing Hispanic population’s importance to the local crab industry.

Crab-pickers Mary Helen Holmes (left), Sharon Young (right), and Minerva Nava (standing) demonstrating their techniques for Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum visitors. Cultures of Crabbing comes to CBMM on Saturday, July 26 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with crab-picking and harvesting demonstrations, as well as information shared on crab biology, packing house operations, and the growing Hispanic population’s importance to the local crab industry.

Food Friday: Fresh Picked Daily

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Our Pacific Northwest family vacation broke us out of our hamster wheel routine here at home, and plunged us into all sorts of new experiences, food and eating being tantamount among them. We trolled new grocery stores, strolled farmers’ markets and stalked the miles of corridors and underground passages in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in our quest for the Next Meal.

There was something new to be seen around every corner. Imagine – carrots that come in colors other than orange! We saw artful displays of asparagus that ranged in size from pencil thin to baobab-tree-trunk-thick. Pink radishes gleamed. Red raspberries twinkled. Blueberries were silvered and glistening. One rather imagined romantic interludes, sitting by the water, watching the sunset, tossing back Prosecco and nibbling on the day’s gathered goodies. It was our vacation, after all.

We spent a week on San Juan Island, in a house in Friday Harbor. There were all of the usual family squabbles but there was also lots of easy laughter. We were using a strange kitchen, searching the cabinets for salt and pepper and colanders, while preparing lovely fresh produce and washing buckets o’berries. We had the leisure to pause and carefully compose Instagrams of our meals. We also huddled silently together a couple of times to watch a delicate deer tippy toe her way up the verdant lawn, pausing to nibble along her leisurely way. We are such tourists. Never mind that the owners of the house would probably have been out on the porch raising the dead and pounding on pots with wooden spoons to spook the deer (and undoubtedly, her Lyme disease ticks) off the property. We were content to absorb the quiet and enjoy the novelty of wildlife .

One day we went on a hike that had us circling around through some fields down to the water, through fresh smelling, waving grasses. We kept sniffing an aroma that somehow reminded us of Thanksgiving while we trotted. We puzzled about this as we walked along and tried to identify songbirds, observing crop circles (seemingly) and we photographed a fox, unselfconsciously posing on a little mound. It wasn’t until we attended the San Juan Island Green Market the next day, with all of its thoughtfully labeled goods and wares, that we learned we had been striding through sage, which would explain our Thanksgiving fixation.

One plant booth at the market had clearly tagged plants, which informed this ignorant traveller some of what what we had been viewing: sage, wild ginger, Siberian iris, Alaskan yellow cedar, Asiatic lily and blue fountain iris.

Also carefully labeled, which I didn’t grasp at first, at a bakery booth, was a big fat “GF Brownie”. Luckily, the Pouting Pescatarian rescued me, and steered me to the other end of the baked goods table, and supervised my purchase of a good, old-fashioned, riddled with sugar, eggs, chocolate and gluten: a real, honest-to-goodness brownie. That could have been a good morning walk spoiled! Instead, it was a pleasant, warm and gooey event.

In addition to the brownie, we also bought a fresh, warm baguette from the Café Demeter Bakery, some heirloom tomatoes, fat radishes, plump strawberries, and heads of rich, dark green buttery lettuce, plus a few sausage rolls to keep the Tall One’s calorie count up, at least until lunch. The village was feeding our family, and very nicely, too.

We didn’t have the same sort of shopping experience once we got back to Seattle and its busy market. We were not hunting and gathering for dinner in the big city. We were touring the sights and sounds and smells without needing to do daily food shopping. We snacked quite liberally, though, which could explain why our clothes are a wee bit snug now. We visited museums and galleries and the aquarium, but kept returning to the market in Pike Place, which had the tantalizing allure of foreign movies, with bright colors and exotic people. It was truly an amazing spectacle.

Now we are home, and I say, “Get thee to a farm stand, a U-PICK-IT, the local farmers’ market and take a big bite out of summer!”

You can never go wrong with a nice sun-warm tomato, eaten like Harriet M. Welsch, sliced up into a good juicy sandwich with a little mayonnaise, but here are a few summer tomato recipes from our friends at Food52 and Bon Appétit. You’ll even get ideas for using up that leftover corn!

https://food52.com/blog/7782-9-summer-tomato-recipes

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/grilled-flatiron-steak-with-toasted-spice-vinaigrette

“The next morning Mrs. Welsch asked, ‘Wouldn’t you like to try a ham sandwich, or egg salad, or peanut butter?’ Her mother looked quizzically at Harriet while the cook stood next to the table looking enraged.
‘Tomato,’ said Harriet, not even bothering to look up from the book she was reading.”

~from Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Pecometh’s Sustainable Garden

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For the past two years, something has been growing in the middle of Camp Pecometh, located in Centreville, Maryland: namely, a 1.5 acre sustainable garden. This all came about almost two years ago when new chef Chris Shultz proposed the idea to Pecometh management of starting a sustainable garden. He also suggested that his brother Matt, a horticulturalist who works in tech services for an agronomic products supplier, be allowed to contribute to the project. An agreement was made, and the rest, as they say, is history.

New Pecometh volunteer Michael H. McGrath, AICP, also contributed to the beginnings of the garden. From 1983 to June 2011, McGrath managed the work of the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation and the Planning Section in the Delaware Department of Agriculture, where he led the Department’s efforts in statewide land use planning and agricultural development. He used this knowledge when his daughter Joy approached him about starting a new student garden project at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware. The school has a strong history, going back to the 1930s, of involving students in producing food for the school. In 2003, Mike and his daughter revived the program with a small garden which grew over a two year period into two acres. Since his recent retirement, he has passed on his knowledge to the next generation of students through the Penn Farm project, a collaboration with students from William Penn High School in New Castle, Delaware. Pecometh management knew that they needed Mike’s expertise when starting the sustainable garden, and the results have been well worth it.

Chris’ brother, Matt, was very beneficial to the project in adding insects to increase the ecological diversity of the garden. Three weeks ago, lace wing insects were released for generalist control of soft bodied insects. These insects are nicknamed Aphid Lions because they have two large mandibles (mouthparts) that they grab aphids (small sap-sucking insects) with and take out the inside portion. Also, three different types of parasitic wasps were released into the garden. These wasps attack aphids. Finally, Orius insects, those that feed on other pests like thrips, were introduced into the garden’s habitat. The beneficial insects were produced and donated by Syngenta Bio-Line, an international leader in this cutting-edge approach to eliminating the use of harmful chemicals. Matt also secured significant donations from his own employer, Harrell’s, Inc. Donations have included nutrients, fertilizers, fungicides and insecticides, all of which are certified for use in organic gardening.

The primary use of the garden’s bounty is to supply the dining operation for Pecometh’s Riverview Retreat Center (RRC). This means fresh, local produce for the buffet meals served to adult retreats, meetings and conferences at the RRC. In addition, a large amount of surplus produce has resulted from the hard work that has gone into the garden. Chef Chris has been donating the fruits and vegetables to local shelters and food banks, including an organization that helps down-and-out men in Elkton. Donations have also been made recently to Centreville United Methodist Church in Centreville, Maryland, and other establishments. Chris adds, “We’ve donated 10 cases of lettuce, and there’s 3 pounds to a case.” Chris is also excited about the crop this year, and how it helps others. “We’ve grown tomatoes, cucumbers, beans… this fall, we’ll plant pumpkins. The garden also helps to inspire our campers and guests to start gardens of their own.”

You can be a part of this effort by attending Pecometh’s 2nd annual Farm to Table Dinner where you’ll hear more from Chef Chris himself. The dinner will be held on Sunday July 27 at 4:30pm. Seating is limited so make sure to purchase your tickets early by calling Pecometh Camp and Retreat Ministries at 410-556-6900 or visiting them online at pecometh.org.

Quentin Faulkner Receives Garden Club Scholarship

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gardenQuentin Faulkner, a St. Michaels High School graduate, is the recipient of the 14th Annual Garden Club of the Eastern Shore (GCES) Scholarship. The $3,500.00 merit scholarship was awarded to Faulkner in recognition of his outstanding academic record, strong work ethic, and commitment to environmental science.

“In a field of six very strong candidates, Quentin stood out because of his passion for marine biology and commitment to research,” Dr. Virginia Blatchley, scholarship committee co-chair says. “We believe that his passion and commitment coupled with his demonstrated leadership ability and strong work ethic will take him quite far indeed.”

The GCES offers a scholarship annually to graduating seniors from Talbot County public and independent high schools. Students being home schooled are also eligible. The scholarship is available to students with outstanding academic records, who are also considering careers in botany, horticulture, agriculture, landscape architecture or design, environmental science, or related fields.

The GCES is committed to promoting environmentally sound landscape practices and to providing programs for the community that explore conservation practices and environmental issues. It also maintains several gardens in the community including those at Thompson Park and the Academy Art Museum in Easton and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels.

“We chose Thompson Park in Easton as the setting for the photo commemorating Quentin’s scholarship to highlight the Garden Club of the Eastern Shore’s 50th Anniversary Project—the renovation of Thompson Park, says Sandy Kaufman, who chairs the project.

“Details of the project and information about how the community can support it will be will be unveiled soon,” she added.

For additional information about GCES programs or to make a contribution to the scholarship fund, please call Dorothy Whitcomb at 410-770-9035

 

for pic:

Quentin Faulkner, a St. Michaels High School graduate, (center) is the recipient of the 2014 Garden Club of the Eastern Shore Scholarship.  Faulkner is joined by GCES members (left to right) Sandy Kaufman, Dorothy Whitcomb,  Linn Ong, & Dr. Virginia Blatchley.  The photograph was taken at Thompson Park in Easton, which is being renovated by the GCES in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

 

Pecometh Camp Offers Farm to Table Dinner July 27

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Join Pecometh Camp & Retreat Ministries for their second annual, locally- sourced, five-course Farm to Table Dinner on Sunday, July 27, at 4:30 pm. You’ll hear how Pecometh’s efforts to model sustainable living are bearing fruit and a whole lot more. Last year’s menu included such delights as grilled rockfish and peach cobbler, and this year’s menu promises to be just as superb. Vegetarian options will also be available.

Tickets are fifty dollars each. Proceeds support Pecometh’s Sustainable Garden. Seating is limited, so be sure to purchase your tickets early online at pecometh.org or call Dana Squares at 410-556-6900 extension 105.

Ask the Plant & Pest Professor: Plant Pests & Watering Tips

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“Ask the Plant and Pest Professor” is compiled from phone and email questions asked the Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC), part of University of Maryland Extension, an educational outreach of the University of Maryland.

Question #1: My three year old Concord grape vine has lots of brown spots on the leaves. The fruit is also turning black and wrinkly like a raisin. What should I do? Are there any natural products I can spray them with?

Answer #1: Most likely your grape vine is infected with black rot, a fungal disease. This is a very common disease problem on grapes. Unfortunately it is already too late to treat the disease this season. Right now sanitation is important. All the diseased grapes, including the grapes and leaves that have fallen to the ground should be disposed of. The disease will not kill the vine, but next season you will need to begin a spray program to prevent this from happening again. Prune the vine in the dormant season and spray using a registered fungicide as soon as new growth begins to develop next spring. Sulfur and Bordeaux mixture are the organic options. Spray to protect the foliage before a rain event.

Question #2: What can I use to kill insects in my lawn that is safe to use around pets and children?

Answer #2: Other than grub prevention, which we only recommend in cases where a lawn has a history of grub problems, we do not recommend applying an insecticide to control insects in lawns. Many, if not most, of the insects in your lawn are beneficial and contribute to the overall health of your lawn and the soil beneath it. For example, ants are predators of termites, helping to keep their population down. Tall fescue lawns have few insect problems that cause any significant damage. If you suspect you have an insect problem in your lawn call our gardening hotline or send a question to us through our website.

Question #3: I am a beginner vegetable gardener and have a pretty basic question. What is the best way to water a vegetable garden and how much water should I give my plants?

Answer #3: Vegetables planted in average well-drained soil require about an inch of water per week from rainfall or irrigation (equal to about 62 gallons of water per 100 square). Gardens in sandy soil will require a bit more than that in the height of the growing season. Water is crucial during seed germination, after planting transplants, and during flower and fruit production. Avoid overhead and frequent shallow watering which encourages plant diseases and a shallow root system. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation are the most efficient means of watering. They provide water right to the root system and minimize water usage. When using a hose, use a wand attachment so the water can be directed under the foliage directly to the roots. Water as early in the day as possible to allow the foliage to dry before evening. Add compost or other types of organic matter to increase the water holding capacity of the soil and mulch to conserve soil moisture.

To ask a home gardening or pest control question or for other help, go to http://extension.umd.edu/hgic Or phone HGIC at 1-800-342-2507, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.