Happy Thanksgiving from the Paul Parent Garden Club and Family!

Randy Travis:
Randy Travis: "Amazing Grace" (LIFE Today)

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Table CenterPiece for Thanksgiving!

The flower that is most selected for decorating your Thanksgiving table is the chrysanthemum. This plant is the last flowering plant to bloom in our gardens outdoors, and because Thanksgiving is the last holiday of the fall season, it is most fitting that it be used to celebrate the holiday.

The flower colors are fitting for the season with yellow, gold, rust, orange, red, and many bi-colors. The chrysanthemum has been hybridized to produce new flower shapes like the daisy, spider types, pompom, and the most exciting Football types with flowers 4 to 6 inches in diameter.

The chrysanthemum was once a plant that grew well over two feet tall and just as wide but with modern technology, the size of the plant can now be controlled to fit on your table perfectly. Today's growth regulators can produce a plant for any table in your home. Growth regulators can also increase the size of the flowers on the plant. Thanks to many hours of research on the chrysanthemum, the greenhouse grower can now force the plant to be in perfect condition and the right stage of bloom for your dinner table.

Once the plant grower understood that the length of the day and temperature could determine when the plant would come into bloom, he was able to fool the plant into flowering at any time of the year. Each variety of chrysanthemums will mature at different time--and that is wonderful for the garden, because it gives you early, mid-season, and late flowering types.

Some varieties need 10 weeks to mature but the fancy varieties may take as long as 16 weeks. Knowing this, the greenhouse grower can adjust the length of the day by either turning on lights in the greenhouse at dusk to make the day longer or pull black cloth over the plants to shorten the length of the day. When they combine length of the day and growth regulators, the growers can now grow the perfect plant for your table.

The chrysanthemum is considered a gift-type flowering plant and has a relatively short flowering time in your home, about 2 weeks. This is due to the temperature in your home. The warmer the house is, the shorter will be the time flowers will last on the plant, so keep it cool and away from south facing windows and heat sources.

There is no need to fertilize, because once the flowers fade the plant should be disposed onto your compost pile. It's not worth the effort to make these plant re-bloom. Keep the plants moist and remove them from plastic or tinfoil pot covers, as they tend to block the sunlight and the foliage will turn yellow quickly. Also, these pot covers hold water and this water can rot the roots of the plant in just a couple of days.

The secret is how to select the best potted plant for your money. First, look at the foliage--it should be dark green and free from disease or insect problems. The last thing you want is to bring problems into your home with infected plants. Select the height and width you want for your table, along with the color of the flowers.

Now, I want you to look at the flower itself--this is important because the tighter the flower is in bud (but showing good color), the longer is will last on your table. The center of the flower should have some green in it and some of those flower petals should still be tight. This will tell you that some of the flower petals have not matured yet, helping it to bloom longer. If you're selecting cut chrysanthemums, look for the same things in the flower!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, enjoy your flowers, and turkey--and watch some football. Enjoy!
Nat King Cole The Very Thought of You
Nat King Cole
The Very Thought of You

Cranberries from Beautiful Cape Cod our first american berry

On November 19, 1620, when the Pilgrims landed on Cape Cod, they had all the food they were to need for the next year aboard their ship the Mayflower. In the spring, as the weather improved the Pilgrims were met on the beach by a curious and friendly group of Native American Indians from the Wampanoag tribe, who were also eager to learn about their new neighbors.

The two different groups sat down and began this new adventure by learning about each other's customs, how they could work together to help each other and share their knowledge for a better life together. This was the first and one of the few times two nations sat down and talked for the better of all. The pilgrims brought new farming methods, new food crops, herbs, animals, and medicine to help the sick. The Wampanoag brought skills for fishing, hunting, trapping and their own type of agriculture which dealt with native plants and how to survive the elements during a harsh New England winter.

At that first Thanksgiving dinner the two nations celebrated their first year together, they cooked their native foods to celebrate their mutual friendship and their bond to work together in the future. One of the foods the Wampanoag Indians probably served was the native cranberry, as it was used by them fresh, dried and preserved for winter use. At that time cranberries were only one of three native fruits available to the new settlers. The other two are the Concord grape and the blueberry. Cranberries are an evergreen shrub or trailing vine and a member of the Blueberry family known as Vaccinium. The plant can be found growing in acidic bogs of the northern hemisphere where the climate is cooler, from New Jersey north to most of southern Canada and west to Washington State, but it grows best in the sandy bogs of Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

The plant will grow 3 to 8 inches tall depending on the variety and the many vines the plant produces can run up to 6 feet long. The vines are slender and wiry and covered by small evergreen leaves. The plant is so unique it must have a growing season that extends from April to November. The soil must be made up of just the right combination of acidic peat moss, sand, gravel, and clay to create the bog or wetland environment for them to grow in and thrive.

These special areas were created more than 10,000 years ago by the glaciers; they are like pockets in the earth. The first layer of the pocket is clay to hold all the material in place and prevent leaching into the ground water. Next is gravel and rock from the receding glaciers, then peat moss grew in over the stones, and finally sand blew over the peat with wind and storms to create the perfect growing conditions. Also water plays a major part with the plant's growth and berry formation, as the berry is 95% water. Ponds, small streams, ditches, and natural water sources like springs are needed to provide the habitat for the plant to grow.

Cranberries have beautiful dark pink flowers that are very unusual because of the reflexed flower petals that leave the style and stamens exposed and facing forward for easier pollination by insects. The open flower resembles the head of the wild Crane that lives in the same area and it was often called the crane-berry when the fruit formed on the plant. The berry itself was also called the bear-berry, as wild bears were often seen feeding on them during the fall and winter months. Here are some fun facts about cranberries to discuss around the dinner table on Thanksgiving:
In 1683, cranberry juice was made by the Pilgrims for their active ingredients that seemed to help with health issues present at the time.

Cranberries were first harvested and commercially grown in 1816 in Dennis, Massachusetts by Captain Henry Hall.

In 1838, a 2-inch layer of sand was spread on the cranberry bogs to help stimulate vine growth and berry production with great success, a process that is still used today to keep plants healthy and more productive.

In the 1850's, cranberries were used to prevent scurvy at sea, and the cranberry scoop was invented to harvest berries more efficiently.

In 1854, there were only 197 acres of cranberries grown in North America, Barnstable County, Mass.

In 1860, the state of Maine begins growing cranberries and develops 600 acres of bogs.

In 1888, the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers association was formed in Massachusetts.

In 1930, women were allowed to pick cranberries with scoops.

In 1953, the cranberry crop industry reached one million barrels of cranberries; one barrel of cranberries equaled 100 pounds.

In 1960, the first water harvesting system was developed, as cranberries would float to the surface when the bogs were flooded and easily removed from the vines with paddle board harvesters. This system used less labor and produced higher yields with less damage to the fruit.

1994: cranberries made the official state berry of Massachusetts.

1998: the University of Maine adds a cranberry specialist to the organization to study antioxidants, which cranberries are high in--and they also provide some significant protection against Alzheimer's disease.
Crop in Maine grows to 21,000 barrels 21,000,000 pounds in 2004.

In 1960, Massachusetts led the country with 13,000 acres, followed by Wisconsin with 4,200 acres producing cranberries. As land value rose Massachusetts dropped to 11,200 acres in 1970 and Wisconsin grew to 5,700 acres.

In 1990, Massachusetts grew to 12,400 acres but Wisconsin jumped to 9400 acres.

In the year 2000, Massachusetts grew again to 13,900 acres but Wisconsin increased production because of less expensive land to 15,100 acres and now leads the country with the production of cranberries for the first time.
Just in case you're thinking of turning your wetlands or bogs into cranberries...the average cost to plant and maintain is $28,000.00 per acre. Value of the crop is $41.30 per barrel or 100 pounds for fresh-picked, $16.20 per barrel or 100 pounds for processed berries. 95% of all berries are processed into sauce, juice, dried berries, etc. and only 5% is sold as fresh berries. In the year 2000, total berry production was 6,250,000 barrels--and one barrel equals 100 pounds--that's a lot of berries. By the way, it takes approximately 333 berries to make one pound.

Now...here is the final total of barrels of berries produced by the 5 top producing cranberry states for the year 2000. Wisconsin 4,500,000 barrels, Massachusetts 2,100,000 barrels, New Jersey 542,500 barrels, Oregon 400,000 barrels, and Washington 142,000 barrels. That totals 7,684,500 barrels of berries. Not bad for a wild-growing plant found on Cape Cod when the Pilgrims first arrived. When in Europe if you are offered loganberry as a side to your meal, it is the equivalent to our cranberry but grows much smaller and has a slightly different taste. Finally...cranberry sauce sells 2 to 1 over whole cranberries. Eat Up!! Enjoy!
Hallelujah - Pentatonix
Hallelujah - Pentatonix
Apple Cider, America's first fruit drink

When the weather begins to cool down and the foliage on the trees begin to change color, it is time to make homemade apple cider or purchase it at your local orchard. The term apple cider means "unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage made from fresh ripe apples and nothing added."

The type of apples you use will determine the color and flavor, and produce a tangier/less tangy taste to the cider. The opaque color of the cider will be determined by the particles of apple solid found in suspension after crushing the apples. Filtered apple cider will be less tangy in taste due to less apple pulp in the juice. Untreated apple cider is usually produced locally and available at the orchard only--as it will have a limited shelf life and does not keep well even under refrigeration.

Apple cider has been around for centuries and is still an important industry in agriculture but the methods of production and preservation have changed a great deal over the years. You have everything you need to make apple cider in your kitchen today. A sharp knife to cut up apples in quarters and remove the core to make the process easier--and it produces less waste. Keep the skin on the apple. Use a food processor or blender to crush up the apples, and use some cheesecloth to filter the liquid and the fine pulp into a container to store the cider you have made. The finer you chop the apples, the more juice you will produce. Chill and enjoy.

What apples make the best cider and how do these apples affect the taste of the finished product? 'Red Delicious,' 'Fuji,' 'Golden Delicious,' 'Baldwin,' 'Cortland,' 'Macoun,' and 'Rome' will make a sweet-tasting cider. 'Granny Smith,' 'Macintosh,' 'Jonathan,' 'Gravenstein,' 'Winesap,' 'Imperial,' and 'Rhode Island Greening' will make a cider with a more tart taste. The best tasting cider will be produced if you're able to mix different varieties of apples in the blend. If possible, use red, green, and yellow apples for the best taste. Avoid bruised or damaged apples. You will need about 3 dozen apples to make a gallon of apple cider.

Before you cut apples for crushing, be sure to wash them properly to remove any soil or pesticide residue. If you're using organic apples, be sure to wash well to remove soil that will otherwise end up in the cider after crushing. Spread the cheese cloth in a large container and add pulp. Squeeze as hard as you can to force the juice out of the pulp to make your cider. Fresh squeezed cider will only last 7 days in your refrigerator, as there are no preservatives in it. You can also add different spices to the cider to give it additional flavor. Try lemon peel, clove, nutmeg, and ginger, depending on the taste you desire. It will taste best fresh from the squeezer but if you want to keep it longer you will have to pasteurize it by heating it at 160 degrees, and then it will last for up to three weeks.

If you want to make apple juice you will have to filter more and remove all solids and pasteurize it to keep it fresher longer--up to 3 weeks. Also vacuum sealing of the juice will also keep it fresher longer.

In 2001 new regulations were passed by the FDA requiring that all cider sold directly to the public and produced at farm stands, apple orchards and the like for direct sale can be natural and without preservative but must be treated to the new HACCP principles to reduce possible pathogens. This pasteurization process will result in some change of the sweetness and flavor of the cider. Unpasteurized cider is only sold on-site at the orchard. Because it is not pasteurized, naturally occurring yeast in the cider is not killed and the cider will begin to ferment in just a few days, so it must be consumed in 5 days or less.

 This cider will begin to become carbonated within a week even if refrigerated and become so-called "hard cider" as it ferments. Sparkling cider is cider that carbonation has been added to, from a machine such as a Soda Stream (used to make carbonated water). Mulled cider is heated just below boiling with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg, and clove. Enjoy your favorite type of cider while we still have fresh apples. Enjoy!
"We must find the time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.  Happy Thanksgiving ! "

John F. Kennedy
Leftover Turkey and biscuits 
If you're the person cooking the Turkey this Thanksgiving, then plan on having leftovers. This year you can make Turkey soup with the leftovers, turkey sandwiches or better still try this hearty stew and Biscuit. It's easy to make, and a great way to use up some of the leftover vegetables at the same time.

2 cans,10 ounces of condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
½ cup of a dry white wine
¼ teaspoon of poultry seasoning
3 to 4 cups of chopped up turkey meat
2 packages of 8 ounces' frozen asparagus, thawed
1 cup of peas
1 cup of sliced carrots
1 cup of pearl onions
1 Can refrigerated flaky biscuits

1}Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, Pam.

2} combine the soup, wine, and poultry seasoning in a medium bowl

3} In a second bowl combine the carrots, asparagus, peas, and pearl onions. Empty the vegetables on the bottom of the baking dish, then layer the chopped turkey pieces over the vegetables. Pour and spread the soup mixture over the turkey and sprinkle lightly with Paprika, if desired

4} Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and increase the temperature to 425 degrees. Top the dish with uncooked biscuits and bake uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. 
5} Serve with cranberry sauce and stuffing on the side. 
Serves 6. Enjoy!
Days to look forward

Thursday, November 24 - Thanksgiving Day
Click here on picture and it will take you to our national park's trip!
Sold out taking standby reservations

Keep records will make you a better gardener!!


Garden Journal

        Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.


Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95! 

special!        Supplies are now limited!


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