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Week of November 7, 2016 By Ron Kujawski

“We’d still be in Paradise if Eve tempted Adam with a Brussels sprout.”  That was the line on the tag attached to the tea bag which I was intently trying to drown in a cup of hot water.

Frankly, I am not so sure that tag line is true.  Granted, if Eve tried to tempt Adam with store-bought Brussels sprouts he surely would have rejected the offer.  Most, if not all, Brussels sprouts sold in super markets are grown in the central coast areas of California where frost is a rare occurrence.

However, had Eve offered Brussels sprouts taken from plants grown in a New England garden, Adam would most likely have given in to temptation.  As any gardener in these parts could tell Adam, exposure to light frost dramatically sweetens the flavor of the normally bitter tasting sprouts.  He could also tell Adam that Brussels sprouts have higher protein content than most green vegetables and are high in cancer inhibiting compounds. There’s no way Adam could have turned down that offer.

Don’t turn down these suggestions:

  • Take a stroll through fields and forest to collect stuff for holiday decorations.  Pine cones, milkweed pods, acorns, grape vines, and the spiny fruit from sweet gum trees are just a few examples of “stuff” that clever people (that leaves me out) use in their holiday decorations.
  • Cut back the stems of chrysanthemums to a few inches above ground after they have completed their flowering.  When the ground begins to freeze, place some pine boughs or other coarse mulch over the plants.
  • Put on some rap music and then wrap trunks of newly planted shade and fruit trees to prevent sunscald and rodent injury.  Make a note on your 2017 calendar to remove wraps in early April.
  • Allow the soil of potted geraniums to become dry before watering.  Geraniums do not like constantly wet soils, especially indoors during the winter months.  Also, avoid excessive applications but do give the plants the maximum amount of sunlight as possible if they are to continue blooming.
  • Isolate immediately any house plants found to be infested with insect pests or mites since these critters quickly spread to other plants.  I’ve just isolated a potted oregano and thyme, both of which are playing host to spider mites.  Spider mites are among the most common critters to infest indoor plants since they thrive in the dry air of heated homes.  Application of insecticidal soap, repeated at 10 day intervals should rid the plants of the mites.  When applying insecticidal soap, be sure the plants are not in direct sunlight; otherwise the soap can injure or kill the plants. In all cases, read and follow the product label directions.

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