Dear Sun Spots: How can I kill the grass in my flower garden where I want to put white rocks or mulch? We appreciate your help. – No Name, Sabattus.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, you might consider contacting your local gardening center to see if they might have some tips they’d be willing to share with you. In the meantime, Sun Spots consulted with Sun Journal gardening columnist Jody Goodwin, who, with all her years of gardening, always has a local angle for those here in the area. Goodwin says if they are flowerbeds for annuals that get pulled this time of year, you simply need to put black plastic on the ground first thing in the spring, weight it with rocks and leave it for at least two months. It basically cooks the seeds and kills them. Then you can add the rocks or mulch.

If this is a perennial garden, Goodwin notes it gets a bit more complicated. In order to not risk your plants, she would advise a very thorough weeding in the spring and then the placement of weed-blocking material around the plants, if possible. Then the rocks can be added.

Goodwin also notes that there are some mild, spot herbicide remedies on the market. However, if you have to find each weed to spray it, you might as well be on the safe side and pull it instead.

Dear Sun Spots: This is for the recipe inquiry from No Name, Dixfield, seeking a recipe for ragu:

I grew up on the same or similar “ragu,” and I still make it for my family. Like a lot of recipes in our youth, it was a recipe that stretched out a piece of meat to make two really good meals. (Nothing was ever thrown away.) I also make it with leftover chicken.

My mother would take leftover pork roast, bones and all, add two medium onions roughly chopped, and simmer to make a really good broth, about an hour.

In a heavy frying pan heat 4 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium heat and 4 tablespoons of flour. Don’t leave the room! Stir constantly until the flour turns a caramel color.Whisk in about two cups the warm strained broth from the pork roast. It will steam up and may look lumpy, just keep whisking. If the gravy seems too thick, add more liquid. Stir in about 2 to 3 cups of the pork chopped, and serve over boiled or mashed potatoes.

Hope this recipe is what you were asking for. – No Name, Wales.

Dear Sun Spots: With so many new restaurants in the area, how come nobody has opened an American buffet instead of so many Chinese buffets? I wish someone would open an American buffet around here such as where Jim’s Jungle on outer Main Street used to be. Their food was great and worth going to their buffet. – No Name, No Town.

Sun Spots corresponded with Jerry Plunkett, at Franchise Administration at Western Sizzlin Corp., who sets up franchises of these restaurants. Most appear to be in the Southern states. However, Plunkett was thrilled to know that they had made such a positive impression on one of their customers as they were traveling that they were compelled to ask about having one of their restaurants in the area. They are expanding through franchising, using a different name for franchise purposes, and you can visit them online at Plunkett would be happy to chat to you or anyone else interested in starting up a franchise in the area. You may reach him at Franchise Administration, Western Sizzlin Corp. P.O. Box 12167, Roanoke, VA 24023-2167, phone at 800-247-8325, ext. 412. You can also reach him through the Web site.

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