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Acer's Florist & Garden Center
Edition 16.41 Acer's Florist & Garden Center October 13, 2016

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Fall Festival - October 29th

buy 2 garden stakes and get the 3rd free

Fall plants and decor have arrived

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Great Selection Of
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Keep the evening chill at bay while your family and friends are over to play!
 
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computerized landscape design?
Call (631) 343-7123 or send pics to Jim@acersgardencenter.com.


Landscape
 
 
The History of the Pumpkin

Pumpkins are thought to have originated in the ancient Americas, although the pumpkins of that time would probably not be recognizable as such today. Related to squash, gourds and melons, the early pumpkin had a crooked neck and was particularly valued because it stored well. Archeological digs have shown that pumpkins were cultivated by Native Americans along river and creek banks along with sunflowers and beans.

Pumpkins helped sustain Native Americans through many a long, cold winter. They prepared the sweet flesh in a variety of ways including roasting, baking, parching, boiling and drying. But the flesh was not the only part of the fruit that was used; the blossoms were added to stews and pumpkin seeds were consumed and also used for medicinal purposes. In addition, dried pumpkin was often ground into flour.

The pumpkin was used for non-food purposes as well. The shells were dried and used as bowls and containers in which to store grain, beans and seeds. Dried pumpkin flesh was also pounded thin and cut into strips, which were then woven into mats that were later used for trading.

Christopher Columbus encountered the pumpkin when he visited America. He transported some seeds back to Europe with him. The seeds were used to feed pigs, but not as a human food source at that time.

Most of us are aware of the story of how the Native Americans introduced the Pilgrims to many local foods which helped sustain them through the subsequent--sometimes brutal--winters. Pumpkins were one of these foods; they proved a valuable resource because of their ability to be stored for long periods of time without spoiling.

Pumpkins were served at the second Thanksgiving celebration, but not in the pie form so popular today. The Pilgrims cut off the top of the pumpkin, scooped the seeds out and filled the cavity with cream, honey, eggs and spices. The top was then replaced and the pumpkin was buried in the ashes of a cooking fire. The custard-like contents were then eaten along with the cooked flesh.

Another popular Pilgrim recipe was pumpkin beer, which was a fermented concoction of persimmons, hops, maple sugar and pumpkin.

The hollowed out shell of the pumpkin was used as a template for Pilgrim haircuts. As a result of this practice, New Englanders were sometimes called "pumpkinheads."

Today, one of the primary uses for pumpkins is as carved jack-o'-lanterns during Halloween. It was not always so. The earliest jack-o'-lanterns were carved from turnips and potatoes (by the Irish and Scottish) and beets (by the English). Lumps of coal were lit on fire and placed inside the hollowed-out vegetables. When European settlers came to America, they found a new favorite for this practice--the pumpkin. Pumpkins proved far superior to their earlier counterparts by virtue of their strong walls and large hollow cavity.

Today, pumpkins are available in all colors and sizes, further expanding their uses as a decorative element as well as a food source. From miniatures to huge specimens, there is a pumpkin to fit every need.

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Garden Primer

Is it bad to have mushrooms growing in my lawn?

Answer:
Not really, but elves sure like them! Mushrooms are the spore-producing structures of certain kinds of fungi. Most of these fungi are beneficial because they break down organic matter and release nutrients that are necessary for plant growth. In fall, as the weather begins to cool, mushrooms often pop up in lawns, causing people to wonder where they're coming from and how to control them.

Mushrooms produce tiny spores that are easily blown about in the wind. When these spores reach a favorable place, they germinate and grow. They are very common in areas with decomposing roots or underground stumps from cut down trees, fallen leaves or lawn thatch and other organic matter.

Most people want to control lawn mushrooms. Sorry to say, we have yet to find any chemicals that are effective in controlling them. Most mushrooms are harmless to your lawn, even though you might not like the way they look. The best you can do is to remove them with a rake and de-thatch your lawn in the fall. De-thatching removes the fungi's food source. Simply removing the mushrooms may make your lawn look better, but it will not kill the mycellium from which the mushrooms grow.

You should be extremely cautious about eating wild mushrooms, because many cause illness and some are deadly. Never eat a mushroom unless you are absolutely sure it is safe. A reference book is not enough--there are poisonous mushrooms that look very similar to non-poisonous ones. If you wish to pick wild mushrooms, please get training first!

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