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Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad with Pumpkin Seeds
    
1 ½ lbs carrots, peeled, whole
1 lemon, seeded, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
1 avocado,
cut into wedges
4 cups micro greens
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup spiced pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
 
To make the carrots. Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, toss the carrots with the lemon, oil, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and parsley. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 25 minutes.

Arrange warm carrots on a serving platter. Put avocado and sprouts on top. Dollop sour cream then sprinkle with the seeds. Serve immediately.



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Gifts for the Gardener  

1. Soil Scoop ($19.95)
www.burpee.com

This large leaf-shaped scoop has serrated edges and a pointed tip for excavating dense, root-filled soil. Great for more precise cultivation like creating seed furrows.


2. Over the Shoulder Harvesting Bucket ($34.99)
www.hosstools.com

You can use both hands to harvest and gather your fruits and vegetables in half the time!

3. Crosby Garden Tote ($90.00) www.frostriver.com

Make trips to and from the garden a breeze. Main compartment is spacious to haul vegetables and fruits. The outside pockets provide a spot for tools and equipment to keep them from bruising your bounty. Web handles help to haul, waxed canvas will last for years.

4. American Horticulture Society, Membership
 ($50.00+)  www.ahs.org 
 
AHS members receive, among other things, free admission and discounts at 300 public gardens throughout North America, including our own Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

5. Atlas Nitrile 3701 Gardening Gloves
($7.63) www.amazon.com

I happened upon these garden gloves two years ago and they are easily the best I've ever owned. As you can see, I've beaten these up something good and yet they hold up like a champ. Not one tear to date and my precious little hands have been preserved as a result. And while they're tough as nails, they are thin enough to allow me to pick even the smallest of weeds with my fingertips.  


6. Radius Garden 203 Pro Digging Fork ($46.00) www.sears.com

The PRO Digging Fork has replaced the shovel in my garden. This multipurpose tool gently lifts roots for transplanting and is perfect for digging holes and easy weeding.

7. Felco 2 Classic Bypass Pruners ($45.00) www.felcopruner.net

Lightweight and sturdy, made of forged aluminum, the handles are also coated with red rubber grips to ensure maximum grip. The excellence Swiss design of the steel center bolt and nut with locking-segment assures precise adjustment of cutting and anvil blades.

8. Silky Saw ZUBAT 270mm ($46.00) www.silkysaws.com

Silky handsaws come in several shapes and sizes to fit the needs of professional arborists, landscapers and gardeners as well as outdoor enthusiasts, campers and hunters. Choose from aggressively cutting curved blades or the more precise-cutting straight blade saws. All Silky non-folding (and several folding) saws come with their own specially designed blade covering scabbard/holster for protection of blade and user.


9. Wood Handle Action Hoe ($21.99) www.ames.com

Weed the garden while standing up. This tool can save your back. It works by using a back and forth push-pull motion to cut weed roots deep under the surface.

10. The Well-Tended Perennial Garden
by Tracy DiSabato-Aust ($26.00) www.amazon.com

This was one of the first gardening books I bought and has been worth every penny. Understandable to the novice, yet informative to the more experienced gardener. Her discussion of seasonal pruning has been a treasure--when to cut some things to the ground, when to cut/prune after blooming and what plants will greatly suffer from that type of pruning. Wonderful color pictures help you visualize how to organize perennials in the finished design.

Vexing Voles
In the fall and winter while you are snug and cozy in your home, little creatures who live in the forest are hungry and trees are their grocery store.

One particular rascal is the vole. A vole is a small rodent; a relative of the mouse, with a stouter body, a shorter, hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, smaller ears and eyes. He's so ugly he's cute. The bounty voles steal is mostly sugar and nutrients from the phloem layer, which lies directly below the bark. They shop for delicate little trees with thin bark. The most coveted of all are fruit trees.

Voles will strip the bark, destroying the cambium layer (the life-giving layer under the bark). And because they are little fellers, they can only reach so high, so they eat all they can while circling the trunk. It doesn't get any worse for a tree.

Once the voles have chewed more than 2/3 of the bark off around the trunk, it's game over. The little tree's bark is in such a bad state after this performance that the tree usually dies. If 1/3 to 2/3 of the bark is removed around the trunk, sometimes the tree survives and sometimes it doesn't. The extent of damage going around the trunk is more important than the vertical length, as the loss of the bark completely around the trunk at any one point will girdle the tree. When the main trunk of a tree is girdled, the entire tree will die.
The xylem or inner wood is usually left untouched and the little tree can still move water. But sugar manufactured by the leaves that spring and summer will not be able to move down through the phloem layer to the roots and the starved tree will die.

Sometimes fruit trees will sprout shoots from below the wound, but these are usually from the rootstock and not the trunk, so they will not have the same fruiting characteristics. It is better just to remove the tree and start over. If the damage is less than 1/3 the way around the trunk, just clean away any torn bark and let the tree close the wound. Do not paint the cut as this will not result in healing or reduce wounding.

To prevent voles from damaging your trees, position hardware cloth around the trunk. See picture below.


Because bark damage by voles is under the snow, it is often not noticed until the snow melts in the spring. You can see gnaw marks on the wood of the tree, which sometimes stretches all the way around the trunk.


I have found hardware cloth positioned around the trunk and fastened with plastic ties to be effective deterrents to vole damage. This works better than plastic tubes or paper wraps and can be kept on the tree year round.

For more information on voles in gardens and  landscapes


Season's Greetings.

Thanks for reading.  
Happy Planting
and Happiest of Holidays!    

Faith

Faith Appelquist

President & Founder

 

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