GARDEN FRESH SALSA

2-3 cups fresh fleshy tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion (use a few green onion tops if desired)
1/2 cup sweet bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup hot peppers (habanero or jalapeno) seeded and fnely chopped
2 tsp lime juice
salt and/or pepper to taste

Cut small tomatoes in half and gently squeeze to remove seeds and excess juice until you have 2 to 3 cups of fresh tomato flesh (between a dozen and twenty tomatoes). Place in processor and pulse six times, or coarsely chop by hand . Add onion, peppers, cilantro, and lime and pulse six more times (or coarsely chop by hand and combine in a large bowl). Add salt and pepper to taste. Eat fresh and store leftovers for 3-4 days. Adjust amounts of each ingredient to suit your taste and availability of vegetables. Best
used fresh.

Submitted by Corinna Sinclair

Here’s the Dirt!

 

Have you tried to grow a hanging basket filled with petunias in hopes it will be a big ball of flowers like the nurseries grow but with little to no success? If so, I have a real easy method to share with you. You will need a 14” across hanging planter/basket with good drainage filled with potting soil, slow release fertilizer and five 4 1/2” “Supertunias”. Why supertunias? They are self-cleaning and they can grow 3 ½ feet in one season. When buying your plants make sure that each one has a bloom so that you are not surprised if you are going for a “one color basket”. Pick plants that are a nice healthy green color. My personal favorite source for finding 4 ½” supertunias is any ACE hardware. They have a local supplier who grows them and offers a variety of colors. Once you have your plants, add your fertilizer and plant one plant in the center of the basket and the other four around the edges. Water in the plants and hang. After a few days pinch back any blooms on the plants. This will force the plant to set strong roots and fill in quickly. Pinch back blooms a few more times depending on how big your plants are or how fast they are growing. The three most important things to growing this type of basket are sun, fertilizer and water. During really hot days you may have to water your baskets twice a day as water is essential to the health of your basket. Later in the season you may have to trim your basket if it gets a little leggy. You can trim the bottom flowers to meet the bottom of the planter. Even though supertunias are self-cleaning, I do clean mine up and may trim a little along the way. If you have no place for a hanging basket, you can use the same process for a small planter that sits on the deck. Happy Planting!

 

Submitted by Donna Canino

 

Photo credit Mississippi State University Extension Service

GRAPES IN MONTANA ?

When I think of grapes and vineyards, I think of California, France or the Mediterranean. I don’t really imagine grapes growing in our climate. Yet over 30 years ago we planted two grape vines near the entrance to my garden and they are still going strong all these years later!

Every year the stick-like canes sprout beautiful green grape leaves, then little grape buds, and in early to mid-August beautiful dark blue-black grapes. I know the grapes are ready to harvest when the wasps and robins begin hanging around the ripening grapes. I do little to tend the vines except trim them back some after the leaves have fallen in the fall and give them some of my home-made fertilizer in the spring.

The variety we planted is called “Valiant.” It is a cross between native and concord grapes. It was originally bred in South Dakota but the same wild grapes in this cross also grow here in Montana. This variety may still be available from a landscape contractor. I’m not sure you would be able to find it in a retail store. I suspect having the wild genes in these plants helps them survive our harsh conditions, resist diseases, and produce fruit in our short growing season. Perhaps there are other such crosses out there now if you cannot find “Valiant.”Grapes 2017

My grapes are not eating grapes. They are not sweet enough. I make grape juice from them every year. I think they would make a fine wine but I have not tried that. When they are ready, I harvest enough to make a few quarts of juice, then leave plenty of fruit for the birds and wasps (though for a few days I have to use the back entrance to my garden to avoid the wasps!).

I hope others will try grape vines in their gardens and will get the same pleasure and good juice from them that I have enjoyed all these many years!

 

Submitted by Ann Guthals

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

1 Head Cauliflower
4 Tablespoons Olive/Canola Oil
1 Lemon, Zested and Juiced
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a small baking sheet or cast iron skillet. Remove any green leaves from the cauliflower and trim off the hard part of the core. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil with lemon zest and juice, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, salt and pepper.(You can add or change seasonings to your taste.) Use a brush or your hand to spread the marinade evenly over the head of cauliflower. (Any leftover marinade can be stored in the fridge for up to three days and used with meat, fish or other veggies.) Place the cauliflower in the prepared pan and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30-40
minutes. Let cool a bit before slicing into wedges, serve warm with Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Submitted By: Sheri Kisch

What do plants have to do with a root canal?

Gutta-percha refers to the rubbery sap of the Palaquiiun gutta, a tropical ever-green tree found in Malaysia and Indonesia. Gutta-percha has been used to insulate underwater telegraph wires, to make ornate jewelry and pistol grips, and as the core material in golf balls.

However, what I find to be most fascinating about gutta percha is how it is used in dentistry to fill the empty spaces inside the root of the tooth after it has undergone endodontic therapy. Dentists use gutta percha points that look like small toothpicks to fill the prepared space. The physical and chemical properties (inertness, biocompatibility, ductility, thermo plasticity, malleability and melting point) make gutta percha ideal for this use. Gutta-percha points become flexible when heated and can be compressed into and against the walls of the root canal, then when cooled it becomes hard, durable, non-brittle, non-elastic latex that retains the form of the root canal to seal it.

Just another way plants make our lives better.

Submitted by: Elaine Allard