Author Archives: warrencountyag
Kristin Hildabrand, Warren County Horticulture Agent visits with grower Jean Bowles of Kentucky Cuts to discuss her flower farm.
Jean is a cut flower grower who specializes in growing sunflowers, zinnias, and lisianthus during the summer season. In the Kentucky Farms Kentucky Flavor segment, she explains to Kristin the process she takes in growing cut flowers on the farm from seed to harvest. Jean shared that she got into farming because she enjoyed being outside and first started farming flowers, when her kids were young. She quickly figured out that it was going to take much more time than she could devote, so she left farming flowers for several years. Now that she is retired and her kids are grown, Jean is back to flower farming again! Her goal for the farm is to make it more self-sustaining! In the future, she hopes to try growing different flower varieties that most people don’t grow.
Kristin shows us how to make a fresh flower arrangement using seasonal flowers grown on the farm from Kentucky Cuts.
Before starting the arrangement process, gather a few items from around the house: a sharp pair of scissors, container or vase for the flowers, fresh water, and freshly harvested flowers. To begin making the arrangement, make sure that the container or vase is clean. Next, add fresh room temperature water to the vase. Now, the flower arranging process can begin! Use the thriller, spiller, and filler method, when arranging flowers. The thriller flower provides the height in the arrangement, the spiller plant cascades down and softens the sides, and the filler flower fills in the dead space. Place the thriller plant in the vase first. The thriller flower should only be about 1.5 to 2 times the height of the container. Make stem cuts at a diagonal to allow water to easily transport through the stem. Add the spiller plant next followed by the filler flowers. For more information about flower arranging, please contact the local Extension Office in your area.
Peach season is about over, but you can still get some white peaches and some late varieties at Dunn and Bowen Orchard, our Kentucky Farms, Kentucky Flavor feature farmer for August. Dunn and Bowen Orchard has been providing fresh peaches for over 40 years. With 3,500 trees they offer 14 different varieties of peaches.
Peaches have a fuzzy skin and come in many varieties with yellow or white flesh. There are “freestones” (flesh separates easily from pit) or “clingstones” (flesh clings to the pit). Peaches contain many nutrients but are most important for fiber and vitamins A and C. They are low in calories; one medium sized peach has about 35 calories. When selecting fruit, look for fairly firm to slightly soft fruit with yellow or cream-colored skin. Avoid peaches that are green, shriveled or bruised. Dunn and Bowen Orchard is located at 998 Aubrey Mills Road in Bowling Green, KY. If you have any questions, contact them at (270)597-3501. Check out Joanna’s visit to the Orchard as she talks with Chris Bowen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpCU75l5mPQ
If you need any inspiration for new peach recipes, be sure to contact your local extension office!
Kristin prepares a delicious roasted peach recipe with fresh peaches from Dunn and Bowen Orchard.
It may seem strange to cook fresh peaches when they are at their peak of juicy flavor, but roasting them actually deepens that flavor. Even if you are only planning to have one or two for dessert you can roast them all, but only drizzle honey or maple syrup on the ones you’re planning to eat right away. The rest will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 5 days. Eat them as a snack, or sliced up on yogurt, or even as a garnish for grilled chicken. (If you have a grill, these are also fantastic grilled.)
Roasted Peaches with Honey
Ingredients: 4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted; 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; and 4 teaspoons maple syrup or honey. Instructions: Turn the oven on and set the heat to 425 degrees. Put the peaches, but side down, in an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Put the baking dish in the oven and roast until the peaches are tender and have some brown on the cut sides, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle the peaches with cinnamon, drizzle with honey or maple syrup, and serve right away.
Watch the video tutorial on how to make these roasted peaches https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVrOZHC-W9U.
Groce Greenhouse and Produce is locally owned in Barren County by Bobby and Thelma Groce. Bobby’s daughter Samantha Geralds was highlighted during this season’s KYF2 spot. For July, they have a variety of different melons: watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydew, and specialty melons such as sensations, canary melons, and sprite melons.
Cantaloupe is a great source of vitamins A and C. A half cup serving provides 50 calories, 120 percent of vitamin 1 and 80 percent of vitamin c needed per day. They also contain phytochemicals that foster heart health and good vision, boost the immune system and reduce the risk of some cancers. You will also find many varieties of homegrown tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplants, sweet candy onions, sweet and hot banana peppers, bell peppers and much more. Groce Greenhouse and Produce can be found on Saturday’s from 8:00 Am until 1:00 PM at the SoKY Marketplace in downtown Bowling Green, as well as, on the Glasgow Square for the Bounty of the Barren’s Farmers Market on Saturday’s from 8:00 AM until Noon.
Glazed Cantaloupe Bread Recipe:
When selecting melons, choose melons heavy for their size with no visible bruises or yellow or cream undertone. Ripe melons will yield to slight pressure at the blossom end and have a fruity fragrance. Wash melons in warm water before cutting to rid the rind of any impurities that might be carried from the knife blade to the flesh. Cut the melon in half and scoop out the seeds and strings. Melons can be cut into halves, quarters, wedges, cubes or scooped into balls with a melon baller.
Joanna talks to Nicole and Jordan from Simple Greens to talk about their farming operation.
Nicole and Jordan decided to use their love of gardening to grow food, educate and advocate for a healthier happier community. What started as a healthy hobby of DIY gardening projects using repurposed materials has turned into lifestyle goals to grow healthy food for their selves and for their community. They are essentially a micro-farm. Every year they continue to gather data, learn from their yearly farming experiments and slowly figure out the best crops for the space they have. They live on 2.71 acres where they grow lettuce, greens, herbs and cucumbers hydroponically in several areas on their property including a 2 car garage. They find greens, lettuce and certain herbs grown hydroponically have better yields and are more ergonomically managed. Lettuce is a great beginning gardener plant. Other produce like tomatoes, sugar peas, root vegetables, most herbs, berries, flowers, etc. are grown in soil. They gather leaves in the fall to use as compost and mulch. They are in their 5th growing season. Their largest challenges? The have 4.
l) They have clay soil
2) On the sunniest spots on their shady property
3) It takes time to build the soil and rotate the right crops while building
“said” terrible soil
4) As you will see they are also operating in a small space.
That may be the most unique thing about them–their size. Big or small, each spot and plot in the yard viable for food production adds up and kicks the butts of the two people living there. Their goal is to keep experimenting and learning how to grow more produce varieties. They will expand at home until they can buy land to further their crazy dream. The idea is it will keep them happy and healthy.
Interested in trying a healthy snack? Check out the video for the Kale Mango Smoothie.
With daffodils, dogwoods, and forsythia in bloom, homeowners get the itch to spend some time in their yards. The following are some do’s and don’ts for spring lawn care on cool-season grasses (tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass) in Kentucky.
Do: Get your Mower Ready for the Season!
• Having your mower ready to go before the season starts will save you downtime during the growing season.
• Sharpen blade. Having sharp mower blades are very important to turf aesthetics and
health. To learn how to sharpen your blade, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMy1j9NR89o&list=UUMFY6zEWe6uJEYakzOofhIg
Don’t: Apply Nitrogen.
• The vast majority of nitrogen fertilizer should be applied in the fall. Fall applications
improve the health of the lawn and result in a greener lawn in the winter, less spring
mowing, and less weeds, heat stress, need for water, and disease problems in summer.
• Nitrogen applied in spring and summer promotes growth of warm-season weeds such as crabgrass, goosegrass, and bermudagrass. Further, high amounts of nitrogen in spring
and summer can result in increased damage from white grubs in the soil. Adult beetles
are attracted to the lush lawns and high nitrogen levels restrict turf rooting which
compounds the damage from the white grubs feeding on the turf roots. More
information on fertilizing lawns can be found in this video:
Do: Apply a Pre-emergent Herbicide.
• Annual grassy weeds such as crabgrass and goosegrass begin to germinate in the spring
and depending on the thickness of the lawn, the amount of weed seed in the soil, and
the environmental conditions, untreated populations of these weeds can out-compete
and take over your desired lawn species. By applying a pre-emergent herbicide prior to
weed germination, weed numbers can be drastically reduced and your lawn can have
the chance to flourish without fighting weeds for space, nutrients, light, and water.
• In western Kentucky, a pre-emerge herbicide should be applied prior to around April 7.
In central and eastern Kentucky, the spray before date is usually around April 15.
• A pretty good indicator plant for knowing when to apply a pre-emergent herbicide by is
forsythia. Generally, a pre-emergent application should be applied before forsythia
drops its blooms (Figure 1).
• Do not apply weed and feed products as we don’t want to be applying nitrogen to our
cool-season lawns in the spring.
• If you miss the pre-emerge window, and weeds begin to germinate, your best bet is to
apply a post-emergent application to small seedlings as most pre-emergent products do
not work after germination. For more information on controlling weeds in your lawn,
check out the following publications:
Don’t: Seed in the Spring.
• The best time of year to seed lawns is in the early fall. The concern with planting in the
spring is that there is significant competition between seedlings and grassy weeds (and
weeds almost always outgrow our desired species) and the immature seedlings can
struggle with summer heat and drought more so than a mature lawn.
• If you have to seed in the spring, plant around the time that forsythia is in bloom (Figure 2), as soil temperatures are adequate at this point for germination of tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass.
• For more information on establishing or renovating lawns, see:
Do: Mow at Regular Height.
• Once the grass starts to grow in the spring, it will really start to take off. We see most of
the growth in the spring of the year, it slows down in the summer, and then ramps up
again in autumn (Figure 2).
• Because the grass grows at a high volume in the spring, it’s best to not let the height get
too long before mowing. Ideally, never cut off more than 1/3 of the leaf in one mowing.
For example, if you want to maintain your lawn at 3 inches, mow when the height
reaches about 4.5 inches. Removing more than 1/3 of the leaf blade results in a
reduction in root growth.
• Mowing at taller heights has been shown to reduce crabgrass populations without the
use of herbicides. Recommended heights for lawn grasses in Kentucky are:
o Tall fescue 3 inches or taller
o Kentucky bluegrass 2.5 inches or taller
• For more information on mowing your lawn, see the following publication:
By following these basic do’s and don’ts, you can start your lawn off on the right foot this spring and enjoy it more and work on it less throughout the year.
Source: Dr. Gregg Munshaw, Turfgrass Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky
2018 was Kentucky’s wettest year on record, and the new year seems to be more of the same. This means most livestock producers are dealing with less than ideal conditions, and cattle are showing signs of stress.
“It is important to understand this winter has been relatively easy temperature-wise but difficult for cattle in Kentucky,” said Michelle Arnold, ruminant extension veterinarian for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Cows of all ages are losing weight now at levels typically seen in late winter.”
Prolonged cloudy, wet weather with regular bouts of rain has resulted in muddy conditions that require substantially more energy in feed just to maintain body heat.
“Hay quality is also exceptionally poor this year, as much of it was cut very ripe, rained on while curing and baled with enough moisture to support mold growth,” Arnold said.
Winter feeding programs on many farms aren’t enough to support cattle this year, especially those in late pregnancy or early lactation, or their newborn calves, even though bitter cold hasn’t been a factor to this point.
Arnold explained that cattle have several defenses against cold, the first of which is their hair coat. The coat grows longer in the winter and helps conserve heat and repel cold. If an animal’s coat cover is wet and muddy, its energy requirements can easily double, especially if the animal has no wind protection.
“Energy from intake of hay that is adequate for maintenance in normal years is falling far short of the requirement this year,” she said. “Cold conditions are not too difficult for cattle, but when rain and wind are added, heat loss is multiplied several times by the effects of conduction and evaporation. Under these circumstances, the ‘wind chill factor’ referred to by the meteorologist has real meaning to a cow.”
To combat this, producers need to supplement cattle with adequate energy and protein sources. Hay of unknown nutritional quality often does not provide enough nutrition to meet the animal’s basic requirements. This will result in depletion of body fat stores, followed by breakdown of muscle protein and finally death due to insufficient nutrition.
“Typically, near the end of most winters, both veterinary diagnostic laboratories in Kentucky receive older beef cows for necropsy,” Arnold said. “This winter, malnutrition cases include young cows and pre-weaning/weaning age calves, indicating serious nutritional deficiencies in the feedstuffs, especially the hay produced last summer. The producer may first notice a cow getting weak in the rear end. Later she is found down and is unable to stand. Death follows within a day or two after going down. Multiple animals may die within a short period of time.”
At necropsy, the pathologist may find a thin animal with no body fat stores, but the rumen is full of bulky, dry forage material which is poor quality hay. Even the small seam of fat normally found on the surface of the heart is gone, indicating the last storage area in the body for fat has been used up.
Despite having had access to free choice hay, these cattle died from starvation. Although hay may look and smell good, unless a producer tests the hay for nutritional content, he or she does not know the true feed value of that harvested forage.
“It is often difficult for producers to bring themselves to the realization that cattle can actually starve to death while consuming all of the hay they can eat,” Arnold said.
She also encouraged producers to look at their mineral supplementation, as copper and selenium levels have been far below acceptable levels this year. Deficiencies can lead to multiple problems, and it’s best to address them before they get to that point.
“We want producers to understand how important it is to test their hay. It is simple, inexpensive, and the results are easy to interpret,” Arnold said. “Your local Cooperative Extension Service office can help you. Other than that, review your nutrition program, and if your cows are losing weight, consider supplemental feed to get them through the rest of the winter.”
UK beef specialists Kevin Laurent, Jeff Lehmkuhler and Roy Burris created an online supplemental feeding tool at http://forage-supplement-tool.ca.uky.edu/, where producers may enter hay test values and stage of production to help find appropriate supplements for many operations. Producers should still monitor intake and body condition through the winter and make sure cattle have clean drinking water and access to a complete mineral supplement.
Michelle Arnold, 859-257-8283
It’s officially a New Year! Avid gardeners setting goals this year have the best of intentions, but then life happens and it steers them away from their goals. Make 2019 a more successful gardening season with SMART goals! SMART goals give gardeners more direction, which helps them accomplish their gardening goals during the busy season. Read on to discover more about the basic principles of SMART gardening goals, so you can apply them!
SPECIFIC & START SMALL
Gardening is the number one hobby and activity for most Americans and it has a lot of areas to cover from flower gardening, vegetable gardening, herb gardening, and even edible landscaping. So when setting goals, be more specific rather than general. Instead of making the goal “I want to grow a garden this year”, make statements like “I want to install two, 4’ x 8’ raised bed gardens in the back yard to grow a pizza garden this year.” This garden goal is more specific than the first statement.
The other part of the S is to start small. It seems that gardeners make several resolutions at the beginning of the year and can’t make them all happen at once. It takes time to make a behavior a habit, so focus on one goal at a time. If installing 2 new raised bed gardens this year, wait and add more later in the fall or even next year before installing 10 at one time. Try and not overwhelm yourself.
Secondly, make goals measurable by giving yourself checkpoints like daily, weekly, and monthly to cross. Go a step further and give yourself a mid-year and end of the year step. Feel free to add a few other steps in between if needed. By placing checkpoints along the way, goals are much more “do-able”. Plus, it makes it easier to focus on the checkpoints rather than the big goal.
Evaluate the goals and find out if it is achievable. Ask yourself a few questions: Do you have the ability to complete the goal? Do you have the right skills or tools needed to reach that specific goal? Is the goal realistic for you? If you answered no to those questions, don’t feel bad. Simply adapt and change the goals to make it easier to accomplish. Don’t set yourself up for failure. You are hoping to make improvements in the New Year, not go backwards!
Make sure that the goal is relevant to YOU! What garden goal is the most important to YOU and would bring YOU joy? If the garden goal fits both categories, there is a greater desire to keep after the goal to make improvements for the gardening season. If you have multiple goals, ask yourself the “why” part of the garden goal. For example, the reason that “I want to install one 4’ x 8’ raised bed garden in the back yard to grow a pizza garden this year” is to serve as a form of exercise and reap the benefits of the harvest by using the fresh ingredients to make fresh homemade pizzas at home to feed my family.
Lastly, have a deadline in mind of when you want to cross the finish line for the goal. With gardening, it is best to first organize thoughts, make a plan on paper, and then attack the plan as far as crossing those daily, weekly, and monthly checkpoints.
For the garden goal of “I want to install one 4’ x 8’ raised bed garden in the back yard to grow a pizza garden this year”, plan it out on paper and make a list. It may look something like this:
- First of January- Do research & plan out the 2 raised gardens on grid paper.
- By January 31st– Purchase all seeds for plants and building materials for raised beds.
- By mid- to late-February- Start vegetable seeds under a grow light in the basement.
- March- Build and install my raised bed garden frame. Make sure it is in the right location.
- April- Purchase and fill the raised bed gardens with high quality garden soil.
- May- Plant small vegetable transplants in the ground after the danger of frost has passed.
- May through July- Care for plants daily. Water, fertilize, and check for insects. Remove diseased plants when necessary.
After writing out your garden goals, display them in an area that you frequently visit. Some people may choose to put them on the refrigerator door, in their calendar or planner, or on their personal computer. Pick the best spot for you because this spot will serve as a friendly reminder for those life moments.
Lastly with SMART garden goals, take time to celebrate your successes when completing those goals! Visit an out-of-state arboretum with other gardening friends! Attend a new gardening class. Buy a new plant for the landscape. Whatever it takes to stay motivated, do it!
Kristin G. Hildabrand, Warren County Extension Agent for Horticulture Education
December is the month for decorating your home for the holidays! Have you thought about how you might decorate the front porch area of your home? Well, good news! I have the perfect recipe for creating front porch flair with a festive winter container garden design! It’s simple, easy to create, and requires a few basic items, so let’s get started!
Step 1: First, start the design with the container! Since the container is outdoors, make sure the material of the container will be able to withstand the cold winter weather. Stay away from terra cotta that will crack easily. Hard plastic or concrete containers work great. For this winter container garden, we re-used a plastic container that previously held summer annual flowers. Remove any remaining plant debris from inside the container. Make sure to keep the potting soil mixture to help build the base.
Step 2: Next, gather a few basic supplies from around the home. A sharp pair of scissors, sheets of newspaper, and clear tape will come in handy for the next steps in the project.
Another important item needed is wet floral foam. Purchase wet floral foam from a local craft store or floral shop. Most of the time, the floral foam is located in the floral department of the store. Make sure that the package does say wet floral foam and not artificial.
Step 3: Fill the kitchen sink with cold water. When full, place two blocks of floral foam on top of the water. The water will gradually soak up into the foam like a sponge. Avoid pushing the foam down into the water which causes it to have air bubbles. Allow the floral foam to soak for a few hours.
Step 4: After soaking the floral foam, start assembling the mechanics of the arrangement. Add a few sheets of newspaper to the container. On top of the newspaper, place the two blocks of wet floral foam. Secure it to the container with clear tape.
Step 5: Go and gather fresh greenery from around the garden and landscape. Pine, cedar, boxwood, heavenly bamboo, holly, magnolia, and spruce are great sources of fresh greens to use in the winter container garden.
Using a mixture and variety of different greens makes for a beautiful winter container garden! Ask a neighbor if you can cut greens from their yard to use, if you have a limited supply.
For this particular arrangement, we used southern magnolia, pine, and heavenly bamboo berries.
Steps for Designing the Winter Container Garden
- A winning container garden contains 3 types of plants: thriller, spiller and filler. The thriller plant makes the eye go up and gives height to the arrangement. So for this design, the black lantern serves as the thriller. Position the lantern in the middle of the container and push down into the foam. Inside the lantern, place an LED flameless candle to provide another touch of light to the outside porch.
- To serve as the spiller of the arrangement, place freshly cut pine stems into the floral foam around the bottom of the container. The spiller cascades over the side and softens the edges of the container. Start on the sides first and then go from front to back before filling in between the stems all the way around the bottom. Make sure to cut stems at a diagonal to allow the water to easily transport through the stems.
- For the filler, use magnolia leaves. These leaves are big and shiny and give nice contrast with the velvety brown undersides. Check to see that the floral foam is not showing and is covered with greenery.
- For the finishing touch, add brightly colored heavenly bamboo berries to provide a nice pop of color and help break up the green. Pinecones make a good additive for nature in the winter container! To brighten up the lantern, use a decorative bow to match the theme and color scheme of the arrangement.
- Place the finished winter container outside on the front porch to WOW your guests this holiday season and be proud that you created it yourself!
For questions about creating a winter container garden, please contact Kristin Hildabrand, Warren County Extension Agent for Horticulture, at (270) 842-1681 or Kristin.email@example.com.
Kristin G. Hildabrand
Horticulture Extension Agent
For Warren County
We all love to decorate with pumpkins! So, what happens to all the pumpkins after the Halloween season is over? Before tossing those pumpkins, read over this article to find a few ideas of ways to reuse and re-purpose decorating pumpkins.
- Eat pumpkin! Pumpkin is a nutritious food to consume. They are low in fat and sodium and are an excellent source of vitamin A and fiber. To prepare fresh pumpkin at home, wash the pumpkin and cut lengthwise. Remove the guts of the pumpkin and set aside. Place the pumpkin in a baking dish and bake in the oven on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour or until tender.
Use fresh pumpkin in the Plate it up! Kentucky Proud recipes for the pumpkin apple muffins for breakfast or make fall spiced pumpkin bread to serve as a bread or dessert. Don’t forget that the pumpkin seeds can be eaten too! Take the seeds and roast them in the oven. Add your favorite seasonings and you have a healthy snack or seasonal salad topper.
- Make a pumpkin bird feeder! This is a fun project and activity to do at home. It involves the kids plus it helps to feed the birds at the same time!
To make the pumpkin bird feeder, use a small to medium sized pumpkin and with a sharp knife cut into it and remove all the guts of the pumpkin. To make the hanger for the bird feeder, take heavy-duty string and tie it in a knot on the sides of the pumpkin by drilling a hole. Another option is to place the string around the sides of the pumpkin, in the grooves, and secure it down with clear tape. Tie the string together in a knot if using several pieces of string. Place birdseed in the center of the pumpkin, based on the birds you wish to attract. If you want to provide a place for the birds to perch while feeding, add tree branches or small twigs on the side of the pumpkin. Hang up the finished pumpkin bird feeder in a tree and watch the feathery friends from your favorite window.
- Create a table centerpiece using smaller pumpkins! Grab a white plate, small pumpkins, and collect fall clippings from trees and shrubs from around the landscape to create a simple fall centerpiece for the table. To begin, place one type of tree cutting on the bottom of the white plate to serve as the base. In the picture below, we used a deciduous shrub showing bright red berries. Then, place the small pumpkins on top of the shrub clippings. Make sure to use an odd number of pumpkins like 3’s or 5’s. Next, add another type of colorful fall foliage like the red maple leaves around the pumpkins for a little accent color. It is fine to use artificial leaves, if the real leaves have already gone by for the season. For some embellishment, place small raffia bows around the stems of the pumpkins. Personalize pumpkins with a Thanksgiving greeting or blessing for the table. Have fun and be creative!
- Lastly, recycle the pumpkin to the compost pile! It is always good to return nutrients to the soil by composting it. Cut up the pumpkin(s) into sections or quarters and add it to the compost pile. Add water and turn it often with a garden fork to incorporate with other materials in the pile. In a few short months, the compost pile will reduce in size and the finished compost product will smell earthy, feel crumbly, and appear dark in color.
Kristin G. Hildabrand
Horticulture Extension Agent for Warren County
Kristin visits with Michelle Wheeler of River Bend Family Farm in Scottsville for a session of Kentucky Farms, Kentucky Flavor. In this episode we learn a little more about River Bend Family Farm.
My family has been farming in northern Indiana since they came over from Germany and England in the early years of our nation. I grew up on a grain farm where we grew seed corn, sweet corn, beans, and alfalfa/brome grass hay under center pivots. I am the middle daughter of three girls, and we worked with our parents baling and stacking hay, driving tractors, and doing the daily work of a farm. I was very involved in 4-H and decided to major in Agribusiness Economics at Southern Illinois University. After college I worked in crop protection in the midwest for DowElanco and Zeneca, where I loved being in the field working with my retail and grower customers. Once we had children, our two agricultural career household decided that David would be the primary career and I did contract work in the crop protection business to be able to maintain my skills and contacts, while being able to enjoy staying home with our three children. In 2014, we finally were able to purchase 132 acres of our own, after living in Briarwood Subdivision for 14 years. My love for growing and preserving flowers and vegetables goes back to my Grandmother, so in an effort to try to produce an income stream to offset the debt load we took on, we decided I would try growing vegetables on a small scale to offer to CSA customers. We have added cut flowers and this year our pumpkin patch.
Joanna shows us how to make a delicious Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash Casserole.
Spaghetti squash is low in calories. One cup raw squash contains 42 calories. It contains vitamin C, potassium and calcium. It is naturally free of fat and cholesterol. Choose squash that is a creamy to deep yellow in color. Look for hard skinned, evenly colored squash without blemishes or ridges. Avoid squash that are tinged with green as they are not mature. Spaghetti squash can be stored at room temperature for up to one month. Longer if stored in a cool, dry, dark location. Do not wash before storing. The recipe is as followed:
1 small (about 2 pounds) spaghetti squash, 1 pound lean ground beef, ½ cup chopped onion, ½ cup chopped bell pepper, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons dried cumin, ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, 1 (4 to 5 ounces) can chopped mild green chilies, 1 ½ cups low fat cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the squash by carefully cutting it in half lengthwise with a sharp knife and scooping out the seeds. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cut-side down and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a sharp knife can be easily inserted into the rind. Remove the squash from the oven and cool. Use a fork to scrape out the stringy flesh from the shell and place in a colander. Press out as much liquid as possible. Place squash in a medium bowl and keep warm. In a skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned. Add the onion, red bell pepper and garlic. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Drain well and set aside. In a small bowl combine the chopped tomatoes and green chilies. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with non-stick coating. Layer half of the spaghetti squash in the bottom of the pan. Spread half the meat mixture on top of the squash. Layer half of the tomatoes and chilies on top of the meat and top with half of the cheese. Repeat the layers. Bake at 350 degrees F until the casserole is hot all the way through and the cheese is bubbly, 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.