The Garden Plot: The annual pollen ‘crop’ is in full swing

The dusty yellow pollen of one tree variety after another fills the eyes and nostrils with the dusty substance. The pollen is so fine it that reaches the inside of vehicle doors and under the hoods of cars and coats windshields.

Keep the hose and leaf blower handy. Rinse the car each day and blow the pollen from porches and carports to keep from tracking dusty pollen into the house. Wipe pollen from inside the vehicles door panels off the engine of the vehicle. Use glass cleaner to keep windshields front and back cleared of pollen.

The almanac

Today is Cinco De Mayo. The moon reaches its first quarter on Sunday, and Mother’s Day is celebrated Sunday. A total eclipse of the moon will occur on the night of May 15, and will be viable in much of the United States including North Carolina. The beginning is around 9:30 p.m. and will last until 2:52 a.m. The moon will be full on May 16, the “Full Flower Moon.” Armed Forces Day will be May 21, and the moon reaches its last quarter on May 22. Memorial Day will be May 30.

The amazing moon flower

The pure white blooms of the moon flower open and bloom at night. An amazing thing about the moon flower is that the flower will open while you are watching it at twilight time each evening and bloom for only one night. Every night new blooms will take their place. Many pollinators and insects visit the flowers at night.

Packets of moon flowers cost around $2. Plant the moon flower seed in a very large container of fine potting medium near a porch post or pillar so the flowers vine can climb up the post or pillar. They resemble a huge morning glory and emit an unusual aroma. Plant about four or five seed per container and thin to three when they sprout. Feed monthly with Flower-Tone organic flower food.

Early green beans

Its not too early to plant a row or bed of green beans to see if you can enjoy an early harvest. Top Crop or Strike are good early varities. Plant seed in a furrow about three to four inches deep and apply a layer of peat moss, then sow the seed and top with another layer of peat moss. Apply an application of Plant-Tone organic vegetable food and hill up soil on both sides of the row and then tamp down. In the soil of early May green beans may take longer to sprout, but be patient,. They will be worth waiting for!

Ethanol-free for two-cycle engines

Leaf blowers, weed trimmers and weed eaters need ethanol-free fuel or ethanol-free oil treatment. Ethanol can be a hazard to two-cycle engines. Most hardwares sell ethanol-free fuel in one gallon containers that is ready to use.

Moving ferns for spring and summer

The ferns have spent all fall and winter in the sunny living room and this week is the time to move them to a semi-sunny location on the deck. They will need a few handfuls of potting medium and a trim to get them on their way to a successful spring and summer. You can now purchase panda and asparagus ferns in small containers as well Boston ferns and transfer them to larger containers after you bring them home.

Strawberry-Banana Salad

2 3 oz. boxes of strawberry Jello

1 cup boiling water

1½ qts. fresh strawberries, cut into halves

4 bananas, diced with a few drops of lemon drops added

½ cup pecans, chopped

1 carton of sour cream

1 cup sugar

Dissolve Jello in the boiling water and add the fresh strawberries, bananas, sugar and pecans. Pour half the mixture into a tube pan and chill in refrigerator until firm. Spread the sour cream on top then cover with the remaining Jello mixture and chill again in the refrigerator until firm. Makes six to eight servings. Keep refrigerated.

Do strawberries have caps or hulls?

The answer to this question is very simple: strawberries have caps. You do not hull strawberries, but you remove the little green caps from them. This is properly done with a strawberry capper, which can often be purchased where you buy your strawberries. Kitchen departments also feature cappers. They make capping berries much easier than using a knife and certainly not as messy. Every strawberry lover should have a couple of them in the drawer.

Where the blackberries bloom

The blackberries are now in full bloom along roadsides, fields and meadows as they cover Stokes County with their snow white blooms. Mark and take note of the areas where they are abundant. During the next two months, they will develop green berries, then red, and around the last of June or the first of July, the berries will be black and ready to harvet. Just watch out for the briars; remember the other name for a wild blackberry is “briarberry.”

Skunks are waking up

What’s that smell? Its the skunk coming out of hibernation and wondering around. No animal has such a long range scent as a skunk. When a motorist hits one on the highway, the scent can be smelled for half a mile.

We have an unusual recipe if by any remote chance your dog or cat or (heaven forbid), a family member gets sprayed by a skunk. Grandma’s solution was tomato juice, which is not very effective. She used it on her hounds on rare occasions. But this sure-fire skunk deodorizer is a good remedy: Mix ¼ cup baking soda, a tablespoon dish detergent and one quart of hydrogen peroxide in a two-liter bottle and shake gently. Apply to the affected areas, avoiding the eyes. Mix only what you think you need and discard the rest. Use it like you would soap: lather up affected area, wait five minutes wipe and dry. A special note: Avoid direct sunlight when applying as the peroxide will bleach the hair of dogs, cats, and yes, people!

Hoe-hoe-hoedown

Methodist: “We call our pastor Reverend. What do you call yours?” Baptist: “Neverend!”

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