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Tips for Fall Planting

tips-for-fall-plantingCan you plant in the fall? The answer is yes! Watch USU Extension gardening expert Jerry Goodspeed share some tips on fall planting on KSL’s Studio 5.


 

Studio 5 Fall Planting copy

Highlights:

  • Planting in the fall allows plants to establish roots and recover before the weather turns hot again in the summer.
  • Fall is a great time to find plants on sale at nurseries.
  • Anything can be planted in the fall. It is an especially good time to plant trees and shrubs. Perennials are also a good choice for fall planting. Look for ornamental grasses or plants currently in bloom at your local nursery. You can enjoy them for a short time now, and again each fall.
  • Try planting pansies and bulbs together.
  • When planting, be sure to mulch around the base of the plant to keep the soil around it warmer for longer. This will help the plant establish roots. Try using bark, peat moss or soil pep.
  • While fall is a good time to fertilize your lawn, don’t fertilize anywhere else in your garden, and don’t do any major pruning. Just enjoy your garden and the work you put into it all year!

Find more October gardening tips in our Gardener’s Almanac.




Fall Bucket List

fall-bucket-list


Cooler temperatures and colorful leaves are on their way. We’re welcoming fall with more than 50 fall things to do around Utah. Pick and choose your favorites to create your own custom fall bucket list. 


The weather is starting to cool off, the leaves are changing and there is so much fun to be had.  Utah is full of great experiences, whether you want to spend time out in the crisp fall air or stay home working on simple projects.  Whatever mood you are, in it is nice to have a list of exciting ideas to choose from, and we have more than 50 suggestions for you to build your own fall bucket list.

Outdoors

  • Drive the Alpine Loop or other local canyons to see the leaves
  • Explore a corn maze
  • Visit the local farmer’s market
  • Go on a hike to see the fall colors
  • Go camping in the colors
  • Go apple, pumpkin, squash, pepper or tomato picking at a local “pick your own” farm
  • Go pick your own pumpkin from a pumpkin patch
  • Practice recreational shooting
  • Go hunting
  • Go Trick-or-Treating
  • Tell scary stories around a campfire
  • Go on a hay ride
  • Join in a family and friend turkey bowl football game

Entertainment

Home

  • Do fall cleaning
  • Decorate the house
  • Host a football watching party
  • Host a Halloween party
  • Gather family for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Rake up and play in the autumn leaves
  • Clean out garden beds to prepare for next year
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Plant a tree — Autumn is a great time to plant a tree, but be sure to water well if it is a dry autumn.

Food

  • Do a chili cook-off
  • Make apple cider
  • Harvest fall produce and preserve it by freezing, drying or canning (jams, jellies, whole fruit, etc.)
  • Throw a homemade doughnut party – invite friends and family over for fun and doughnuts everyone can enjoy. Try them  baked or fried.
  • Make caramel apples
  • Try a new recipe for Thanksgiving (pie, stuffing, etc.)
  • Throw a party where everyone brings a different kind of pie
  • Host a crock pot party
  • Try a new homemade soup, like  Apple & Butternut Squash Soup (page 7) to help keep you warm as the days get colder.

Crafts

  • Pumpkin carving – A tradition that never gets old. Find your favorite printable template or draw freehand to make your pumpkin carving creation.
  • Decorate/paint pumpkins to look like a favorite book character – Painting and decorating pumpkins is just as fun. They also last longer without wilting.
  • Boo” ding dong ditch the neighbors – Leave a bag of goodies on someone’s front porch and run away – once you have been “boo-ed” you hang an image of a ghost near your front door so others know you have been “boo-ed.”
  • Start a fall gratitude journal
  • Create a new autumn decoration
  • Make a new Halloween costume
  • Sew homemade hand warmers

Books 

This is a way to transport yourself and your little ones into another world of fun, adventure and fantasy. Cuddle up with a blanket and enjoy some of these favorites this autumn.

  • Scary chapter books:
    • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
    • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • Halloween picture books:
    • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
    • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
    • Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michal Rex
    • Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson
    • Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
    • In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey
    • Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
    • Frankenstein by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale
    • Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson and Samuel Thaler
    • A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee and Harry Bliss
    • One Witch by Laura Leuck

    • Curious George Goes to a Costume Party by Margaret Rey
    • Where is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz
  • Thanksgiving picture books:
    • ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
    • Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
    • The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
    • A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman and Jeff Shelly

 


This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences 




Ask an Expert // Five Fall Must-Do Yard Tasks

fall-yard-tasks

With autumn here, it’s time to think about getting the yard ready for winter. Consider the following tasks that will help your yard be healthy and happy next spring.


 

  1. Remove leaves by raking, mowing or vacuuming with a leaf blower. Mowing and vacuuming chop up leaves and reduce the bulk so more fits into leaf bags or compost piles. The reduced bulk also makes it easier to mix leaves into the soil. Do not send them to the landfill, as they are valuable for improving the soil and easy to compost. Instead, send them to green waste or check with neighbors who might be able to use them.
  1. Early to mid-fall is a great time to spray lawn weeds such as dandelions and harder-to-kill perennial weeds such as field bindweed (morning glory). There are many products that are registered for spraying on the lawn, but if you need to spray in the garden, avoid contamination by making sure all produce is removed and you are done for the year. As always, read and follow all product labels.
  1. Just after the first hard frost is the best time to cut back annuals and perennials. Foliage will be scorched and yellow or brown. Cut perennials a few inches above the ground and do the same with annuals, or pull them out completely. If the removed foliage is not diseased, compost it or send it to green waste. If it is diseased, throw it away. This is also a good time to apply 1-3 inches of compost to flowerbeds. If there is risk of damage to existing plant roots, the compost does not need to be tilled in.
  1. The final lawn mowing should occur between late October and early November. Lower the mowing height to around 2 inches. This helps slow the spread of winter-active fungal diseases such as snow mold. It is also important to remove all leaf litter from the lawn.
  1. If the lawn had moderate-to-heavy traffic during the summer, fall is a great time to fertilize. The lawn stores nutrients and will break dormancy sooner in the spring. There are many standard and organic fertilizer options available. Follow the instructions on the bag.

 

One thing you should not do in the fall is heavy pruning of woody plants. Pruning delays dormancy and can make these much more susceptible to winter damage. Instead, between mid and late winter is a much better time to prune ornamental trees. Prune most flowering and fruit-bearing trees in late winter or early spring. If shrubs do not flower or they flower in the summer, prune in late winter. Spring flowering shrubs such as snowball bush, bridal wreath, lilac, etc., should be pruned as soon as they are done blooming in the spring.


This article was written by Taun Beddes, Utah State University Extension horticulturist, 801-851-8460, taun.beddes@usu.edu




Carve Your Pumpkin // Keep the Seeds

pumpkin-seeds

This month we’ll be sharing some of our favorite pumpkin recipes. Today we’re talking about pumpkin seeds— how to prepare them and different ways to use them. So as you get ready to carve pumpkins this year, don’t forget to save the seeds!


When you are carving that Halloween Jack-o’-lantern this year, here is one request I have for you, keep your seeds! Did you know that 1 oz of pumpkin seeds has around 5 grams of protein? Pumpkin seeds are an easy, cheap way to add a nutritious boost to your trail mix, baked goods and granola.

First and foremost, remove the pulp and seeds from the inside of your pumpkin. I like to put the seeds and pulp in a bowl of water while carving my pumpkin. This helps to pull away all the strings from the seeds. When you have only seeds left in your bowl, give them a good rinse. Move seeds to a new bowl and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings and oil. Make sure to mix well.  Next you will want to spread them evenly over a large baking tray. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Make sure to check and stir the seeds frequently to avoid burning. Cool pumpkin seeds and then store them in an air-tight container.

When choosing a seasoning for your pumpkin seeds, think about what you plan to do with them. The outer part of the pumpkin seed can be removed (hulled) after they have been roasted. The inner part of the pumpkin seed is a green color and is a great addition to breads and muffins.

Check out these five ways to use pumpkin seeds below:

Traditional Roast

When using this method, try different spices to give your seeds some flair. Here are some combinations:

  • Cinnamon Toast Pumpkin Seeds: 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, 2 Tbsp sugar, 3 Tbsp melted butter or olive oil
  • Chili Pumpkin Seeds: 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp tamari sauce, 2 tsp garlic powder, salt to taste, 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Spicy Pumpkin Seeds: ½ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes, 2 Tbsp melted butter or olive oil
  • Ginger Zest Pumpkin Seeds: 2 Tbsp ground ginger, 2 Tbsp sugar, ½ tsp orange zest, 2 Tbsp melted butter or oil
  • Parmesan Pumpkin Seeds: ¼ c Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 2 Tbsp melted butter or oil.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

This one was new to me, but has quickly turned into a favorite. Making a traditional pesto with pine nuts can be pricy, but not when you are using your pumpkin seeds! For this it is important to have hulled (green) pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients- 2 c. hulled pumpkin seeds, 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ tsp sea salt, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 c. fresh cilantro, and ¼ c. water. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Cover and chill until ready to use.

More Ideas

  • Add them to trail mix or granola. Do your granola or trail mix recipes call for nuts? Reduce the portion of nuts and add pumpkin seeds for the remaining portion.
  • Add them to baked goods or use in brittle. Instead of making a nut brittle this year, sub in hulled pumpkin seeds to make a new fall favorite.
  • Garnish soups, salads and desserts. Add a little extra crunch to any meal by topping your dish off with pumpkin seeds!

This article was written by Jaqueline Neid-Avila, Utah State University Extension nutrition faculty for Davis County. Comments or questions may be sent to jaqueline.neid-avila@usu.edu or call 801-451-3404.




Halloween Activity Roundup

 

halloween-activity-roundupOctober is here, and Halloween is coming. The temperature has dropped a bit, and you may have found your kids spending more time indoors and looking for things to do. We’ve searched for some of the best Halloween-themed activities to do with your kids, whether for everyday entertainment, a classroom party, or a gathering with friends. Check out our Pinterest Board for even more ideas.


  1. Healthy Halloween Snack Ideas from Eat Well Utah

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  1. 31 Days of Halloween STEM Activities from STEAM Powered Family

laboratory

  1. Weaving a Spider Web Alphabet Activity from Mom Inspired Life

weaving-spider-web-alphabet-activity-pin

  1. Create Your Own Monster Cookie Bar from Babble

monster-cookie-bar-624x936

  1. Spider Races from Still Playing School

spider-races

  1. Paper Cone Witch from Krokotak

witch

  1. Super Simple Spider Web Art from Kids Play Box

halloween-art-for-kids1

  1. Self-inflating Halloween Ghost from Mama Smiles

2012_10_18_8782

  1. Origami Bats from A Girl & a Glue Gun

origami-bats-a-girl-and-a-glue-gun-com_-900x600

  1. Halloween Masks to Print and Color from It’s Always Autumn

printable-halloween-mask-kids-easy-cheap-class-party-activity-7


What are some of your favorite Halloween activities? Let us know in the comments!




Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

pumpkin-zucchini-bread


This month we’ll be sharing some of our favorite pumpkin recipes. Today we have pumpkin zucchini bread. This delicious quick bread will fill your home with a wonderful aroma, and is a great way to sneak in a few extra servings of vegetables.


 

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

 

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Add pumpkin, butter, yogurt and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined (batter will be lumpy). Stir in zucchini, nuts and chocolate chips. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until breads test done. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.


Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.




Ask an Expert // Tips for Fall Planting

tips-for-fall-plantingWatch USU Extension gardening expert Jerry Goodspeed share some tips on fall planting on KSL’s Studio 5.


studio-5-fall-planting

Highlights:

  • Planting in the fall allows plants to establish roots and recover before the weather turns hot again in the summer.
  • Fall is a great time to find plants on sale at nurseries.
  • Anything can be planted in the fall. It is an especially good time to plant trees and shrubs. Perennials are also a good choice for fall planting. Look for ornamental grasses or plants currently in bloom at your local nursery. You can enjoy them for a short time now, and again each fall.
  • Try planting pansies and bulbs together.
  • When planting, be sure to mulch around the base of the plant to keep the soil around it warmer for longer. This will help the plant establish roots. Try using bark, peat moss or soil pep.
  • While fall is a good time to fertilize your lawn, don’t fertilize anywhere else in your garden, and don’t do any major pruning. Just enjoy your garden and the work you put into it all year!

Find more October gardening tips in our Gardener’s Almanac.




Fall Bucket List

fall-bucket-list


We’re welcoming October with more than fifty fall things to do around Utah. Pick and choose your favorites to create your own custom fall bucket list. 


The weather is starting to cool off, the leaves are changing and there is so much fun to be had.  Utah is full of great experiences whether you want to spend time out in the crisp fall air or stay home working on simple projects.  Whatever mood you are in it is nice to have a list of exciting ideas to choose from, and we have more than fifty suggestions for you to build your own fall bucket list.

Outdoors

  • Drive the Alpine Loop or other local canyons to see the leaves
  • Explore a corn maze
  • Visit the local farmer’s market
  • Go on a hike to see the fall colors
  • Go camping in the colors
  • Go apple, pumpkin, squash, pepper or tomato picking at a local “pick your own” farm
  • Go pick your own pumpkin from a pumpkin patch
  • Practice recreational shooting
  • Go hunting
  • Go Trick-or-Treating
  • Tell scary stories around a campfire
  • Go on a hay ride
  • Join in a family and friend turkey bowl football game

Entertainment

Home

  • Do fall cleaning
  • Decorate the house
  • Host a football watching party
  • Host a Halloween party
  • Gather family for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Rake up and play in the autumn leaves
  • Clean out garden beds to prepare for next year
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Plant a tree — Autumn is a great time to plant a tree, but be sure to water well if it is a dry autumn.

Food

  • Do a chili cook-off
  • Make apple cider
  • Harvest fall produce and preserve it by freezing drying or canning (jams, jellies, whole fruit, etc.)
  • Throw a homemade doughnut party – invite friends and family over for fun and doughnuts everyone can enjoy. Try them  baked or fried.
  • Make caramel apples
  • Try a new recipe for Thanksgiving (pie, stuffing, etc.)
  • Throw a party where everyone brings a different kind of pie
  • Host a crock pot party
  • Try a new homemade soup, like  Apple & Butternut Squash Soup (page 7) to help keep you warm as the days get colder.

Crafts

  • Pumpkin carving – A tradition that never gets old. Find your favorite printable template or draw freehand to make your pumpkin carving creation.
  • Decorate/paint pumpkins to look like a favorite book character – Painting and decorating pumpkins is just as fun. They also last longer without wilting.
  • Boo” ding dong ditch the neighbors – Leave a bag of goodies on someone’s front porch and run away – once you have been “boo-ed” you hang an image of a ghost near your front door so others know you have been “boo-ed.”
  • Start a fall gratitude journal
  • Create a new autumn decoration
  • Make a new Halloween costume
  • Sew homemade hand warmers

Books 

This is a way to transport yourself and your little ones into another world of fun, adventure and fantasy. Cuddle up with a blanket and enjoy some of these favorites this autumn.

  • Scary chapter books:
    • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
    • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • Halloween picture books:
    • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
    • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
    • Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michal Rex
    • Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson
    • Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
    • In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey
    • Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
    • Frankenstein by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale
    • Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson and Shmuel Thaler
    • A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee and Harry Bliss
  • Thanksgiving picture books:
    • ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
    • Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
    • The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
    • A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman and Jeff Shelly

 


This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences 




Pumpkins // More Than Just Jack-o-lanterns

pumpkins-graphic


It’s pumpkin season! We’ve got all you need to know about preserving your favorite orange squash, from drying to canning. 


Pumpkins are just about everywhere this time of year. As you harvest or purchase pumpkins for carving, be sure to save the seeds for later. Also, if you have an extra pumpkin or have orange squash from your garden, keep in mind that it can be preserved and used in future recipes. Here are some great tips and guidelines from the National Center for Home Food Preservation to make the most of this year’s pumpkin season.

Dried Pumpkin Seeds

Carefully wash pumpkin seeds to remove the clinging fibrous pumpkin tissue. Pumpkin seeds can be dried in the sun, in an electric dehydrator at 115-120 F for 1 to 2 hours or in an oven on a very low, warm temperature only, for 3 to 4 hours. Stir frequently to avoid scorching. Dried seeds should not be stored with any moisture left in them.

Dried Pumpkin and Pumpkin Leather

Wash, peel and remove fibers and seeds from pumpkin (or Hubbard squash) flesh. Cut into small, thin strips no more than 1-inch wide by 1/8-inch thick. Blanch strips over steam for 3 minutes and dip briefly in cold water to stop the blanching action.  There is no need to cool to room temperature prior to drying. Drain excess moisture. Dry the strips in an electric dehydrator until brittle.

Pumpkin also makes excellent dried vegetable leather. Purée cooked pumpkin and strain. Add honey and spices, then dry on a home food dehydrator tray. Read more here.

Freezing Pumpkin

Freezing is the easiest way to preserve pumpkin, and it yields the best quality product. Select full-colored mature pumpkin with fine texture (not stringy or dry). Wash, cut into cooking-size sections and remove seeds. Cook until soft in boiling water, in steam, in a pressure cooker or in an oven. Remove pulp from rind and mash. To cool, place pan containing pumpkin in cold water and stir occasionally. Pack into rigid containers leaving headspace and freeze.

Canning Pumpkin

Only pressure canning methods are recommended for canning cubed pumpkin. We have no properly researched directions to recommend for canning mashed or pureed pumpkin or winter squash, pumpkin butter or any other pumpkin preserves (jams, jellies, etc.). To be safe, all low-acid foods, including pumpkin, must be canned using tested pressure canning processes. Older methods, such as boiling water canning for vegetables, oven canning and open-kettle canning, have been discredited and can be hazardous. Small-size pumpkins (sugar or pie varieties) make better products. Specific instructions for canning may be found here.

The USDA and Cooperative Extension currently do not have any tested recipes to recommend for safely canning pumpkin preserves (jams, jellies, conserves or pumpkin butter) and storing them at room temperature.  These pumpkin products must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and treated the same as fresh pumpkin.         

Think Safety

Think safety when preserving pumpkins. Pumpkin is a low-acid vegetable and requires special attention during preparation and processing. Use careful sanitation when handling fresh or preserved pumpkin. Do not let cut pumpkin sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours during preparation prior to preserving.


This article was written by Kathleen Riggs, Utah State University Extension family and consumer sciences professor for Iron County. Comments or questions may be sent to kathleen.riggs@usu.edu or call 435-586-8132.

Source: http://nchfp.uga.edu/tips/fall/pumpkins.html




Ask an Expert // Fall Planting Brings Winter Color

fall-planting-for-winter-color


Take advantage of fall plant sales and add some winter color to your landscape with these suggested varieties.


Most nurseries and garden centers are holding fall sales to reduce plant inventory. The timing is right, because with cooler temperatures, now is a great time to plant. Many plants are available that will help create winter interest in the yard. Consider these varieties for a splash of color in the upcoming months.

Lavalle hawthorn: This beautiful and durable tree grows well in most populated areas of Utah. It has white spring flowers and dark green summer leaves. The leaves often turn brilliant red in late fall and stay on the tree until December. The fruit is also red and stays on the tree most of the winter, serving as a meal for cedar wax wings and other birds. This tree can have thorns, but they do not generally cause problems.

 Red and yellow twig dogwood: These shrubs thrive in wetter areas of the yard and grow 6 to 12 feet tall and wide. There are many varieties with beautiful coral-red bark, along with a few that are bright yellow. The branches are often used to make wreaths. Heavy spring pruning keeps the size in check and encourages new growth that has the best color.

Holly: Not many holly species perform well in Utah. However, in protected areas, the blue holly series is an exception. These hold their leaves throughout the winter and have the classic holly foliage popular during the Christmas season. These are best grown where they receive afternoon shade. If berries are desired, a male and female cultivar must be grown, such as Blue Prince and Blue Princess. There are many other broadleaf evergreens that can grow in protected areas. They include English laurel, boxwood and Japanese euonymus. They also need afternoon shade and are often browsed by deer.

 Crabapples: There are dozens of crabapple varieties available; all with beautiful spring flowers. Unfortunately, they have received an often undeserved reputation as being overly messy. Many new types have fruit in lovely tones of red and yellow. The fruit stays on the tree (referred to as persistent fruit), unlike older varieties, which creates winter habitat for many kinds of birds. Some varieties to consider include Indian Magic, Prairie Fire, Royal Raindrops, Profusion and Snow Drift.

 Late winter blooming plants: There are actually a few plants that bloom before forsythia, an early bloomer. These include common winter hazel and hellebore. Common winter hazel is rare in Utah, but seems to do well in slightly protected areas. It grows to the same size as a lilac and has delicate, light-yellow flowers. Hellebores are also known as Lenten rose because they start blooming around the same time as the Catholic Lent and continue throughout the spring. They are a perennial and spread a few feet wide per plant.


This article was written by Taun Beddes, Utah State University Extension horticulturist, 801-851-8460, taun.beddes@usu.edu