Last Saturday night’s rain made me completely happy. It was a serious downpour. Sunday morning was refreshing with all the green world at peace once again. No amount of irrigation can equal a nice rain. It’s remarkable how quickly the lawns bounce back. Some were so dry it felt like walking across potato chips.
The field peas planted last Saturday have germinated. I love their multi-uses; edible shoots, weed suppression and nitrogen-fixing green manicure. Hopefully the crows will leave them alone. I tossed some seed tops from my garlic into the bed in hopes of foiling the voles — as if!!
Once more, I take responsibility for typographical errors in my column. Pity my poor editor! I hand-write and not in the altogether readable way. Last week, I meant to say the tops to garlic that had cured but it printed curved. It is actually true. The tops of garlic do curve. They are called scapes and are wonderful sautéed in olive oil.
I am finally harvesting a significant amount of food. The zucchini and yellow summer squashes are producing like you write home about. For once, the squash vine borer has yet to find the plants. Last year they ruined every single vine of hubbard squash and pumpkin. Marie turned into a surgeon. She cut into stems and killed all of the borers she could find, but the plants one-by-one, all died anyway.
I love a cloudy day. All the colors in a garden are particularly vibrant in the gray light. Both the Red Riding Hood and Niki phlox are striking in a mixed border.
Maria and I spent some time this past week weeding out celeriac. We have several beds of the celery root. She had it last until June in the crisper of her refrigerator from last fall’s harvest. I puréed and froze mine for an addition to soups and stews. We added soil around each root and removed some of the outer stalks. Next week we hope to pile some dirt up around the leeks. They will develop a nice blanched root. Leeks are Violet’s favorite vegetable and I like to grow plenty for her.
I have a large hoop house. It is entirely too hot to even enter it this time of year. The astonishing thing is that there are weeds growing up through the weed mat that are easily ten feet tall. They haven’t received as much as a sip of water all summer and it has to be well over 120 degrees in there during the day. Most are lady finger or pig weed. There you have it. Isn’t nature grand?
Don’t be shy about dead-heading. There is still plenty of time to get another nice bloom out of many plants. The Blue Queen salvia can be cut almost to the ground and will come back nicely. I purchased several six-packs of way-too-leggy impatiens at half price and cut them to the quick. Within a week they were putting out new buds.
Some plants will not produce more flowers but still look better cut into new growth than having dead flower stalks. Shasta daisies need to go way down, for example. For heaven’s sake, don’t just pop the dead flower off leaving behind its stem!
Last summer I mentioned our use of kaolin clay. We sprayed it on several plants that were troubled with various pests. It helps to deter the insects as they fail to recognize the plant covered with a white powder. I heard that many farmers in the drought-stricken portions of the corn belt are using it to keep the plants cooler. The white is a reflectant to the unrelenting sun. It is harmless to people and washes off of any produce.
If I was married to Mitt Romney (perish the thought) and had a horse performing in the Olympics, I would be very irritated with him. He told Brian Williams all sorts of things which did not endear him to the British press. The worst of all, in my opinion, was claiming he wasn’t going to watch Ann’s horse perform. He may actually be worse than Sarah Palin in the gaffe department.