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No kink Flexzilla garden hoses are here!

Categories: Tags:
21/07/2016
Flexizilla Garden Hoses

Flexzilla® Garden Hose was engineered with a lightweight Premium Hybrid Polymer to lie flat and eliminate kinking under pressure. It redefines flexibility, making it easy to maneuver around trees, bushes or other obstacles. Zero memory means your sprinkler stays put without twisting. And Flexzilla® Garden Hose doesn’t fight you when you coil it. Plus, with our superior O-ring you get a long-term, leak-free connection at the spigot that outlasts the competition by far. (Limited Lifetime Warranty)

Flexzilla® Garden Hoses Features

  • Less than half the weight of normal water hoses
  • Extreme all weather flexibility (-40° to +140° F)
  • Will not kink under pressure
  • No memory – lays flat
  • Abrasion resistant
  • 150 psi working pressure
  • Custom lengths available

Do You Deadhead?

Categories: Tags:
09/07/2016
Do you deadhead

This might be a personal question but, do you deadhead? I don’t mean ARE you a deadhead.  That is your own business and I do not need to know.

But what I do want to know is, do you take the time to cut the spent (i.e. dead) flowers off your plants?

I have asked a number of people this question and have received all sorts of answers. Most of the time the answer is “no” for a number of different reasons. Almost as often is the confused look followed by, “Do I what?”  Maybe they are concerned I am asking the ARE you a deadhead question.  Many of us are grateful we grew up before the age of smart phones and social media so that our past stays in the past.

Of seasoned gardeners, it seems most deadhead sometimes or selectively depending upon the plant.  But I have met a few dedicated souls who will deadhead anything and everything including their neighbor’s plants if they get the chance.

Why deadhead? Think weed seeds.

Many of your flowering ornamentals (you know, the ones with the with showy flowers) produce flowers for a longer period of time if you remove the spent blooms.  Remember, a plant’s whole purpose to exist, as far as the plant is concerned, is to reproduce.  A properly pollinated flower will produce seed if left alone long enough.  Those seeds will make new plants.  Which is all well and good but if you put the plant in your garden to look at the pretty flowers, then seed production is probably irrelevant to you.  In some cases, seed production is something you want to prevent because each of those seeds has the potential to produce a new plant. Those new plants we often call weeds.

Imagine one dandelion puffball blowing all dandelion those seeds around your yard.  All those seeds from that one dandelion puffball came from only one dandelion flower.  Now think about every flower that grows in your yard. Each of those flowers has the potential of producing seed which could grow into new plants… everywhere.  OK, that sounds a lot more dire than it really is.  But preventing the plant from making seeds by removing the fading flowers from the plant on plants that readily reseed (like petunias, chives, pansies, and many, many more) can save you a lot of work weeding later.

Why deadhead? Think more flowers.

If you remove a dying flower from your plant, that flower cannot produce seed.  But the plant still wants to make seed because that is, for most plants, its one chance to reproduce.  So many plants will grow more flowers to replace the ones you remove that didn’t have the chance to make seeds. The result is more flowers over a longer period of time. And that is a good thing.

How to deadhead.

Each plant has its own unique growing habit and therefore its own way of being deadheaded.  For some plants like petunias, the dead flowers can easily be pinched off with your thumbnail. Dianthus pinches off easily also but it is often easier to dead head by using a small pair of clippers.  Larger plants like Shasta Daisy and Roses should have the flowers removed by carefully clipping the stem just above a leaf node (the part of the stem where the leaves grow).

Come see us at Mingos Nursery & Garden Center and we will help you with all your deadheading questions.

Do you deadhead

Freshly Deadheaded Shasta Daisys

Grilled Cilantro Lime Corn

Categories: Tags:
08/07/2016
Grilled Cilantro Lime Corn

Grilled cilantro lime corn cooked on the grill with some butter and salt. Oh my lawd! Life is good.

Some recipes just sort of happen, like this one. We had corn on the cob languishing in the refrigerator.  Mannie had just started the grill. And I was poking my head in and out of the frig trying to figure out what to cook with the steaks.  If it had been just me, dinner would have been steak and wine. But, since I am trying to set a better eating example than that for my child, and Mannie doesn’t drink wine, I knew I needed at least one vegetable.

I pulled out the package of corn I bought.  Some years we grow corn.  This year we were kinda busy opening Mingos Nursery & Garden Center so a lot of things didn’t get planted.

A brief note about growing corn.

Corn is pretty easy to grow but tends to blow over if not supported.  Farmers and larger scale gardeners take care of the problem of the corn stalks blowing over by planting a LOT of corn in a tight space, often in those tidy rows that make me happy.  I am unable to plant anything in tidy rows, not for lack of trying however.  When planted tightly together, the corn supports itself.  But tightly planted plants of any type can have pest and disease issues that get out of hand before you notice.

When we grow corn we will grow it along a fence where it can be tied back as it gets tall and top heavy or in a spot that is sheltered from the wind.  Corn is also a heavy feeder meaning you want to have a lot of composted organic matter in the soil and even then you may need to feed it regularly with a liquid fertilizer.

But back to the recipe.

So I pulled the corn out of the frig, put it on the counter and sort of stared at it.  Most dinner preparation starts this way for me.  Maybe someday I will learn to plan meals (…doubtful…).  As I was meditating on the corn I noticed the limes on the counter and was inspired.  With cilantro from the garden, some course salt, and a little butter, we have a vegetable dish. Scroll down for the recipe!

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Grilled Cilantro and Lime Corn
Fresh from the garden (or produce department) goodness.
Grilled Cilantro Lime Corn
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Grilled Cilantro Lime Corn
Instructions
  1. Take a piece of aluminum foil and lay it on the counter. It needs to be big enough to wrap up all four ears of corn for cooking on the grill.
  2. Butter each ear of corn then place the buttered ears in the center of the foil. The buttering does not need to be particularly even.
  3. Spread the chopped cilantro over the top of the buttered ears of corn.
  4. Cut the lime in half and squeeze out all the juice over the ears of corn.
  5. Sprinkle with salt.
  6. Wrap the foil around the ears of corn, sealing it up tight to keep in all the liquid. Put on the grill for 10 - 15 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking.
  7. Once it is done cooking, open the foil carefully. That steam in there will burn you. Enjoy!
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Fire Roasted Peppers

Categories: Tags:
02/07/2016
Fire Roasted Peppers

Ready for a different type of cooking project? Then you need to try making fire roasted peppers!

Each year we grow all kinds of different peppers.  We have several types of sweet bell peppers, both hot and sweet banana peppers, along with jalapeno, Serrano, and cayenne.  And of course there are one or two (or maybe more) mystery pepper plants that were brought home from the Mingos Nursery & Garden Center because they were unhappy or tag-less.  Peppers are very easy to grow in the hot summers of Texas because pepper plants love hot soil.  That means we get a lot of peppers each summer. Each summer I stuff them, sautée them, pickle them, hot sauce them, and add them to everything I can think of.

When there are so many peppers sitting on the kitchen island I can’t make dinner (because they won’t fit in the refrigerator for all the cucumbers), I need a good way to use them up before they go bad.  One of my favorite ways to use up a lot of peppers quickly is to make fire roasted peppers. Fire roasting brings out a wonderful flavor in the peppers as well as adding a little smokiness.

Fire Roasted Peppers

Roasting peppers on the stove.

All you need is a flame, some peppers, tongs, and a paper bag.  For these pictures I used the flame on my gas cook top.  A gas grill or even a camp stove would also work… of course do those outside.

To fire roast a pepper, turn on the flame and drop a pepper or two into the fire.  You will probably want to turn your hood fan on high and maybe even open a window; this can get a little smoky.

Your goal is to blister and blacken the peppers’ skin.  You do not need to turn the skin into a dark grey ash as I have seen some people do.  As the peppers blacken you will hear them popping a bit.  Do not panic, the pepper is not going to explode.  That is the sound the seeds make as they cook. It sounds a bit like popcorn popping.

Fire Roasted Peppers

Rubbing the skin off the pepper.

As each side of the pepper blackens, keep turning the peppers to let the flame reach all sides. Word of caution, don’t walk away during this process.  Trust me.

Once a pepper is blackened, drop it into a paper bag and close the bag up.  Keep adding peppers to the bag until they are all fire roasted.  Let the peppers cool in the bag with the top closed.  This allows the peppers to steam and the skin to loosen.

Once cool, you will remove the blackened skin by rubbing the peppers with your fingers or a paper towel. If you roasted hot peppers you may want to wear gloves for this part.  You also may want to keep a bowl of water handy to clean off your fingers.  Try to resist the urge to wash off the peppers because that will wash off a lot of the smoky flavor.

6

Fire roasted peppers.

Once the skin is removed, cut the pepper in half lengthwise and carefully remove the veins and seeds.

Now what?  There are a huge number of things you can do with these fire roasted pepper filets.  Use them in salsa or in bruschetta. Add them to a salad or to top a pizza.  They make a yummy soup too.

A great way to use these roasted peppers is to marinate them. The marinated peppers are so flavorful!  We use them on sandwiches, toss them in salads and pasta, or just eat them as is.  Here is the recipe I use but feel free to try your own.  Below, there is a tool that will let you print out the recipe cleanly.

Marinated Fire Roasted Peppers

Fire roasted peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
pinch of kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed then diced
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (it helps keep the oil and vinegar mixed together longer)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or basil (optional), if you use fresh make it 1 Tbls finely chopped

In a glass jar mix all the ingredients together well.  Close lid and shake until combined.

Store in refrigerator for at least an hour shaking occasionally.  You need to try this!

Print Recipe
Fire Roasted Peppers
Marinated fire roasted peppers are so versatile. They are great eating all on their own but also make a yummy addition to salsa, sandwiches, soups and many more dishes.
Marinated Fire Roasted Peppers
Prep Time 10 minute
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minute
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Ingredients
Marinated Fire Roasted Peppers
Instructions
  1. In a glass jar mix all the ingredients together well. Close lid and shake until combined. Store in refrigerator for at least an hour shaking occasionally. You need to try this!
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Hot Weather Plants

Categories: Tags:
01/07/2016
drought, sun and heat tolerant. Hot weather plants

Are you looking for some ideas on what to plant that will withstand our crazy July heat here in North Texas? Have a full sun spot in need of a hanging basket or window box planter? Mingos Nursery & Garden Center has hot weather plants to meet your needs.

Pictured is an iron window box planter fitted with a coir (coconut husk fiber) liner and zipped tied to a fence.  The planter was filled about three quarters of the way with a quality potting mix.

A short note about potting mixes.  If you have old, used potting mix, the nutritional content of the mix has likely been depleted.  The old, used potting mix may also hold pests and disease depending upon what was previously planted in that mix and how it fared.  If what was previously planted in that mix died unexpectedly or was struggling with bugs, mildew, mold, or other uncertain problems, toss that old mix out.  Let me restate that, throw questionable old, used potting mix away.  Do not risk your plant dollars by getting “frugal” with the potting mix.  Only reuse old potting mix if you are sure it is pest and disease free.  And even then it is best to mix the old mix 50/50 with new clean potting mix.

The pictured window box planter was planted with portulaca (moss rose) and dipladenia (sundevilla/mandevilla).  Both of these plants are drought and heat friendly.  They also have bright colorful flowers.  The dipladenia is a vine which will start growing on the fence as it gets bigger.  There are actually four iron window box planters along that section of fence.  By the end of summer the fence should be covered in vines and beautiful flowers.  Our hummingbirds are loving this.

Mingos Nursery & Garden Center has everything you need for this project. Come in and see us today!

Marinated Cucumber Salad

Categories:
30/06/2016
marinated cucumber salad

This recipe is one of my family’s summer favorites.  No cooking time involved so no heating up the kitchen.  It uses three different vegetables we grow; cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. All three are in abundance at the same time making this very simple to put together and economical too. And did I mention that this super tasty marinated cucumber salad is also super healthy?  Garden grown cucumbersTomatoes from the vegetable gardenRed Onions

We grew all these vegetables in our little backyard garden.  If you haven’t grown onions before, you need to start.  Onions are very simple to grow, have few pest or disease problems, and taste so much better than what you buy in the store.  This year we grew three varieties of onions, all with different flavors.  And yes, different types of onions taste different.  Some are sweet. Some are very hot and spicy.  And many are right in between. Mingos Nursery & Garden Center can help get you started with onions or any other vegetables you would like to try.

By the way, while all of those cucumbers came from my backyard garden, we did not actually plant any cucumbers this year.  There are three different varieties growing out there, all of which volunteered to come up from seed.  We have an heirloom lemon cucumber (it grows little yellow round cucumbers which are pretty sour by cucumber standards), straight 8, and some form of pickling cucumber that I cannot remember specifically from last year.

Don’t tell anyone but apparently I was not diligent enough with cleaning up the fall garden. Some cucumbers had hidden very well under all the vines apparently decayed away last year, planting this year’s cucumber seeds for us.  I do not regret this situation at all. But I cannot in good conscience recommend this practice as poor fall clean up can lead to many unexpected pest and disease problems in the spring.  So do as I say but not as I do.

But back to the recipe.  There is a tool below that will let you print out the recipe in a nice tidy format.

Peal and slice 4-6 cucumbers.  I often cut the cucumbers into fourths lengthwise before cutting into slices.  You will get 3-4 cups of cucumber slices.  This is a great time to use up any “mutant” cucumbers.

marinated cucumber saladNext chop 2-3 medium tomatoes.  I like to cut the tomatoes into thin wedges.

Slice one small to medium red onion into rings about 1/4 inch thick.

Put all the vegetables into a large bowl or crock.  They will marinate in this at least overnight.

Next make the marinade.  I like to use a pint or quart mason jar with a lid but you can just add everything to the vegetables and mix well. For the marinade, mix 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 Tablespoons of sugar.  Put the lid on the jar and shake until mixed.  Poor the marinade over the vegetables and cover with plastic wrap.

Put the vegetables in the refrigerator overnight.  Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Marinated Cucumber Salad
Cool, healthy, and simple. A great summer salad!
marinated cucumber salad
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 no cooking needed
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 no cooking needed
Passive Time 12 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
marinated cucumber salad
Instructions
  1. Peal and slice 4-6 cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers into fourths lengthwise before cutting into slices. You will get 3-4 cups of cucumber slices.
  2. Next cut 2-3 medium tomatoes into thin wedges.
  3. Slice one small to medium red onion into rings about 1/4 inch thick. You can cut the rings in half.
  4. Put all the vegetables into a large bowl or crock. They will marinate in this at least overnight.
  5. To make the marinade, in a pint mason jar with lid mix the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and sugar. Put the lid on the jar and shake until mixed. Poor the marinade over the vegetables and over with plastic wrap.
  6. Let the vegetables marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
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Roasted Tomatoes

Categories:
30/06/2016
Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes are super simple to make and very healthy. What could be better?

This is a great recipe for using up a LOT of extra tomatoes. I change up the flavor of this dish by adding other herbs like thyme or basil. Try tossing in fresh chopped basil leaves instead of the Parmesan cheese. Roasted tomatoes also make a great pasta sauce base. The tomatoes become sweet and lose much of their acidic taste as they caramelize. Even people who generally do not like tomatoes will love these.

The measurements listed below are all approximate. This recipe is extremely forgiving and can be made in larger batches easily.

A recipe card can be printed out below.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2: Slice tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Cherry and grape tomatoes can just be cut in half. Larger tomatoes will need to be cut into several pieces. You are looking for 1 to 2 inch slices no more than half an inch thick.

This next step is optional, but if you are using really juicy slicing tomatoes, this will help the tomatoes roast in the oven rather than steam. Lay your tomato slices out on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let the tomatoes rest this way for 10 minutes or so. This will allow extra water to be absorbed by the paper towels. If you add salt at this step, skip adding the salt in Step 3 below.

Step 3: Put the sliced tomatoes into a mixing bowl. Add olive oil to tomatoes. In a small bowl mix the salt and garlic powder together then add to tomatoes and olive oil. Use a spoon to mix. You want each tomato slice to be coated in oil.

Step 4: Move the tomatoes to a baking dish. If using, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Step 5: Bake for 30 minutes. Thicker slices or juicier tomatoes may require additional time.

We often have these as a side dish. Sometimes I add them to pasta or rice dishes.

Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Roasted Tomatoes
Roasted Tomatoes
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Roasted Tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Step 2: Slice tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Cherry and grape tomatoes can just be cut in half. Larger tomatoes will need to be cut into several pieces. You are looking for 1 to 2 inch slices no more than half an inch thick.
  3. This next step is optional, but if you are using really juicy slicing tomatoes, this will help the tomatoes roast in the oven rather than steam. Lay your tomato slices out on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let the tomatoes rest this way for 10 minutes or so. This will allow extra water to be absorbed by the paper towels. If you add salt at this step, skip adding the salt in Step 3 below.
  4. Step 3: Put the sliced tomatoes into a mixing bowl. Add olive oil to tomatoes. In a small bowl mix the salt and garlic powder together then add to tomatoes and olive oil. Use a spoon to mix. You want each tomato slice to be coated in oil.
  5. Step 4: Move the tomatoes to a baking dish. If using, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Step 5: Bake for 30 minutes. Thicker slices or juicier tomatoes may require additional time.
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Summer Garden Abundance… What to do with all those veggies?!?

Categories: Tags:
29/06/2016
Tomatoes from the vegetable garden

This is the time of year I just love.  Summer garden abundance fills my kitchen with fresh produce every year. Several times a week I visit the vegetable garden to see what is ready to harvest.  Of course there are other times I am in the garden for maintenance purposes only. A well prepared vegetable garden really should not take a huge amount of time to maintain, just a little weeding (sometimes… sometimes not) the right amount of water, and food. Your vegetable plants are using up a huge amount of nutrients to create healthy produce for you.  Give your food plants a boost with some compost or a quality organic plant food, both of which you can pick up at Mingos Nursery & Garden Center.

IMG_2415

 

IMG_7411

Cucumber vines taking over garden fence.

As happens each year, we have reached that part of the growing season when daily visits to the garden are necessary just to stay on top of vegetable collecting. Ever seen a zucchini grow a foot in a day? OK maybe it wasn’t a foot, maybe it was more.

Right now my cucumber vines are turning out more cucumbers than I can count and the tomatoes are not far behind.  The photo below is a cucumber, not a zucchini but it is nearly 10 inches long.  It was hiding in the vines alone with several over ripe orange cucumbers.

IMG_7416

All those yummy cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, and other veggies get shared with neighbors and friends,  However, every year there seems to come a time when people stop answering the door when we knock.  Its like they don’t want to have to say “no” to free, fresh, and homegrown produce so they just don’t answer and hope the wagon moves on by.  And yes, we have often filled our daughter’s little red wagon with produce to share with the neighbors.

So I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes made from our own homegrown vegetables.  Perhaps this will inspire you to start your own garden this fall.  There are a lot of cool weather vegetables that can take you up to the holidays or beyond depending upon your climate.  The time to plan for your fall vegetable garden is now.  If you need help, ideas, or simple encouragement come see us at Mingos Nursery & Garden Center.

In the next day or so I will start posting a few recipes and will add links to them at the bottom of this post.

Roasted Tomatoes is a great recipe for using up extra tomatoes.

Click the picture to go to the recipe.

Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Garlic Tomatoes

Marinated Cucumber Salad is a no cook recipe for cucumbers, tomatoes and onions.

Click the picture to go to the recipe.

marinated cucumber salad

Marinated Cucumber Salad

Fire Roasted Peppers can be added to so many dishes.

Click the picture to go to the recipe.

Fire Roasted Peppers

Fire Roasted Peppers

Grilled Cilantro Lime Corn

Click the picture to go to the recipe.

Grilled Cilantro Lime Corn Recipe

Grilled Cilantro Lime Corn

Herb Gardens – Simple & Rewarding

Categories: Tags:
17/05/2016
Herb garden
Woolly thyme, Carl Forester grass, petunias, and potted peppers make a beautiful vignette

Woolly thyme, Carl Forester grass, petunias, and potted peppers make a beautiful vignette.

Have you ever wanted to step outside of your traditional landscape and try a little garden of your own but didn’t know where to start? Or worse, were afraid of failure? If this is you, a great first garden is an Herb Garden. Herb gardens are easy; and by easy I mean low maintenance and hard to kill.

 

Onion Flower

Onion Flower

Most herbs are heat and drought tolerant with few pest issues.  Just pick a sunny spot with good drainage.

 

Unlike for most gardens, herbs don’t really need a well prepared bed or super nutritious soil (remember, some people grow dandelions as herbs and dandelions can grow anywhere).  In fact, herb plants that are fertilized regularly look lush and beautiful but tend to be lacking in flavor and fragrance.

Sage

Sage

 

Many herbs can grow where other plants just cannot.  In the opening photo woolly thyme is growing between the stone steps softening the look of the front walk.  Herbs can be grown in their own dedicated herb bed, grouped together in pots, or tucked into your landscaping. I love to add herbs to my more traditional landscape, especially that one corner where the sprinkler just doesn’t quite reach.

 

They also make a great addition to a vegetable garden adding both interest, variety, and sometimes pest control.  And did I mention, herbs are beautiful? Herbs are beautiful!  My herb garden is also full of honey bees.

Chives are beautiful, hard to kill, and super yummy!

Chives are beautiful, hard to kill, and super yummy!

 

 

And as a bonus, most herbs are culinary, meaning you can eat them! Try adding some fresh chives to your baked potato, rosemary to your dinner rolls, or sage to your chicken.

Oregano

Oregano

 

Come see us at Mingos Nursey & Garden Center! We have everything you need, including the know-how, to start your own herb garden.

 

Tubtrugs

Categories: Tags:
17/05/2016
tubtrugs gardening Mingos

Tubtrugs perfect for working in the garden and harvesting vegetables. Foodgrade plastic and flexibility makes these and essential for all gardening.

Mingos Nursery & Garden Center

9744 E. Bankhead Hwy.
Aledo, TX 76008
817-441-MINGOS (817-441-6464)
contact@mingos.biz