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Behind the Barn with Farmer John

Published: July 4, 2010 12:01 AM

From a Reader in Fostoria ... how to use garlic tops?

Dear Reader, young tops from garlic plants can be used the same way one does chives or green onion tops, like diced up in vegetable soup, stir fry veggies, over salads, soups, etc.

The reason it is not done more is the same reason Bermuda or your large onion tops are not used near as often as green onion tops from early spring sets.

The garlic and Bermuda onion, etc. tops start deteriorating weeks before the onion or garlic is ready, lose flavor, get tough, dried out, yellow and beaten up.

But if one takes a select few green tops when they are young, lovely and growing as we do green onion set tops, they can be used though be careful on the amount till you see how strong they are for your taste buds. I love to eat garlic as an onion.

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The green set onion tops, I eat with hamburgs and sandwiches after the onion bottom. I am an herb nut and use hot pepper, Italian herbs, onions, garlic, parsley, celery, and more herbs in my veggie soups, chili, spaghetti sauce, in soups, even in my meatloaf.

The other day, I was making meatloaf and didn't have any oats, so go with crackers, out too. OK. bread crumbs ... but not enough to suit me. I did have two partial boxes of Cherrios cereal, frosted and regular. I mashed them up and added to the meat mixture. I was surprised, it was really good. In fact to be honest, there is none left. I feel guilty, but I only make it ever few months but it was good.


Sharing tips on getting through cancer -- from D of Florida -- I had lymphoma twice and this is what helped me ... music, songs like "He Lives," "In the Garden," "One Day at a Time," "Because He Lives," etc. I have "One Day at a Time" on my bedroom wall, it helps to have Gods word where you can see them all the time.

I hope what helped me, helps anyone with cancer or some other illness where you are not able to keep active. Keep up the good work.

We appreciate you! (Dear Friend, we appreciate you too for sharing! Faith is mentioned in many books as giving people a hand up in illness. FJ)


To help A of Fredericksburg ... when and how to get cuttings from azalea, clematis, rhododendron and other shrubs? For azalea, take cuttings from the short shoots that come out after blooming, root in sand and peat in a box covered with glass; clematis are more difficult, same medium, take 6-inch cuts from the ends of the clematis, seeds are easier; lilacs often have shoots come up from roots and will start new plants, but they can be started with some difficulty with either cuttings, or scraping one side of a branch, wrapping rooting medium around scrape and wrap all with plastic ... watch for roots, and when visible, cut below the roots and plant; rhododendrons can be done the same as azalea or as I mentioned with lilacs.

Also, most of these can be root divided but there is a high loss ratio of one or both because of care that must be used keeping roots damp and soil covered.

The quicker rooted, the fewer the losses and of course must have moisture for rooting.


Dear Farmer John, We have had a lot of trouble with the corn borer in our sweet corn. Is there some way to avoid this problem this year?

All our corn is planted. Thank you. GB, Cambridge

Dear GB, Usually if planted the second week of May and/or the first week of June one can avoid the borer.

There are dusts you can get at local garden center to put on silk of corn after formed, but I would try to avoid doing that or as a last resort.


From Mrs. Y of Millersburg --

Dear Farmer John, Here is my favorite Angel Food Cake recipe and frosting ... 1 cup cake flour, 1-1/2 cups sifted confectionery sugar, 1-1/2 cups egg whites (from about 12 eggs), 1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring, if wanted, we don't use it. Place flour and confectionery sugar in sifter.

Measure egg whites, salt and flavoring into large mixing bowl. Beat till foamy.

During beating, add cream of tartar, gradually add granulated sugar.

Continue beating until meringue holds stiff peaks, sprinkle flour and confectionery sugar mixture over meringue.

Fold in gently just till flour mixture disappears. Push batter into pan, gently cut through batter with a knife. Bake 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees. Invert on funnel when you take it out and let set till cool. For chocolate cake substitute, add 1/4 cup cocoa for 1/4 cup of flour. Silk frosting -- 1/3 cup melted butter or oleo, 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 ounce melted unsweetened chocolate. Cool and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon milk.

AT of Fostoria asks -- does any reader have a good recipe for the dip to dip squash in and fry? Also, is it good for onion rings? I have a tip to share in exchange. If you want something better than catsup to dip French fries in, try regular or Lite Ranch Dressing.

(Thank you AT and Mrs. Y for writing and sharing. We appreciate your thoughtfulness!)


From FY of Sugarcreek -- I read an article that canola oil is made from a poisonous plant from Canada. I always thought canola oil was healthier than veggie oil? Thank you

Dear FY, There are a lot of things said about canola oil, one is that it was originally made as a lubricant.

I will be honest I have no proof, but I will say that sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil is preferred over both, and if choosing between veggie oil and canola ... at the present time, I would take veggie oil. I will do more investigating and let all of you readers know the safest to the worst as soon as I can. FJ


Dear Farmer John, I enjoy your column. I have a question for you. I have a new strawberry patch this year.

The first pickings were nice, especially the Honeyeo.

Then the tips were green, hard and seedy. Do you think it is the soil or what? Wondering in Ohio A.L., Thanks.

Dear A.L., Since the first crop did well, I would imagine weather. There are pests and diseases that can mutate berries, but your problem I think is weather.


Dear Farmer John, I have a small peony plant that has been taken over by poison ivy. I catch poison ivy very badly but cut off the vines where I can. What can I do to get rid of it without killing the peony? Thanks CS, Old Washington

Dear CS, All the normal things that would kill poison ivy would likely kill or harm your peony.

I would get a friend who has not the problem with the ivy to wear throw away gloves and pull all roots and vines out.

Normally, then you would cover area around peony with black plastic, but that may even cause disease to peony. It comes down to having a friend pull all they can find once a month or moving it.

to share, helpful advice or a hint write me at: Farmer John, P.O. Box 234, Groveport, OH 43125 ... till next week keep cancer, ill readers and friends in your prayers ... enjoy the day!

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