Garden mums springing up in new varieties & colors
I am excited to see the varied and beautiful garden mums available now in the garden centers and nurseries. There are some fabulous colors this year that I do not remember seeing before. Originally grown and cultivated in China, garden mums have certainly found a niche in yards and gardens in our area, and it is interesting to see the new cultivars that seem to come out each year.
Garden mums planted now should bloom through November or longer if we do not have a hard frost. When the mums have died back, cut them to ground level, mulch with straw, dried leaves, etc. and they should come back next year. They will grow and produce foliage through the spring and summer and begin to bloom again in August of next year.
Mums like full sun and well-drained soil. If you remove the spent blooms when they are in flower, the plants will keep blooming through the fall season and provide much-needed color as other flowering plants begin to die back.
Autumn’s cool crisp weather, mums, pumpkins, colored leaves and all that goes with the season always remind me of a very well-loved aunt and a special fall dish that she enjoyed preparing at this time of year. She was an avid gardener and used her vegetables regularly in her cooking.
Along with a variety of vegetables, she always grew a healthy crop of sweet onions and they were a main ingredient in this stick-to-your ribs dish. Here’s the recipe:
Scalloped Potato/Sweet Onion Sausage Casserole:
8 medium white potatoes, sliced thin
4 plump, sweet onions, sliced thin
Ground sausage (low fat and flavored to your taste)
Flour, milk, grated Swiss, Parmesan or Cheddar cheese
Salt, pepper, paprika
Use a flat, glass, rectangular baking dish and grease well with butter or margarine. Arrange a layer of thinly sliced potatoes on the bottom, then arrange a layer of thinly sliced onion over the potatoes. Season the layers with salt, pepper and paprika. Sprinkle flour over the layers and top with grated cheese. Add another layer of potatoes over the onions, then another layer of onions and repeat the salt, pepper, paprika, cheese and flour.
Pour warm milk over all to barely cover the top of the layers. Cover the pan tightly and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Shape the sausage into thin patties or squares of individual serving size. After 30 minutes, remove the potato and onion dish from the oven, uncover and let set for about 5 minutes. Arrange the sausage patties on top of the onions and potatoes and return the dish uncovered to the oven.
Bake for another 25 to 30 minutes (until the potatoes are tender).
This dish is great with a green salad or cooked vegetables such as green beans, peas, or asparagus, but any way you serve it, it is definitely delicious and “stick-to-your ribs” wonderful.
Worth a look
The cool, clear weather and bright, sunny skies of October are here and what a grand time for a scenic road trip or a weekend getaway.
Not far from our Northwest Ohio area is a garden display well worth seeing and enjoying. It is the Heritage Trails Quilt Gardens display in Elkhart, Ind.
The display features 19 large quilt design-inspired gardens all laid out along the historic heritage trail, which winds through the scenic Amish country of Elkhart County in northern Indiana. The quilt gardens are a one-of-a-kind display and feature thousands of bright, beautiful flowers arranged in the patterns of hand-sewn, uniquely gorgeous quilts.
The tour officially ended Oct. 1, but the gardens will be on display until freezing weather, and what a fabulous sight they are.
For more information visit www.amishcountry.org/things-to-do/quilt -gardens.
October garden tips: Time to plant spring bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, crocus, allium etc.
Add amendments to your garden soil such as compost, peat moss, manure, etc. Work amendments in lightly now and let the freeze and thaw of winter work them in more deeply for you.
Trees, shrubs, perennials, etc. planted in the fall will need to be watered regularly until the ground freezes.
If you have garden questions or tips for other gardeners, send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org.