How many ways can a person prepare and enjoy summer squash and zucchini? I don’t know the answer but am seriously working on it. Last night I sautéed some squash and onions and served it over red quinoa with Bragg’s liquid amines. I felt as if I’d been transported back to the sixties. There were years of brown rice and vegetables. Sometime in the eighties I stopped eating rice so much. Because of gardening and growing my own food, rice no longer appealed to me.
Quinoa is a delicious grain. The National Academy of Sciences calls it one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom. Alone it is a complete protein grain. It was important to the Inca culture. They called it “mother” grain. The Aztecs brought us amaranth, another favorite in our family. Violet loves it for breakfast, cooked like oatmeal with maple syrup and milk.
There are some show-stopping hibiscuses in bloom right now. Honestly, some of the flowers are as big as my head. There is a nice strand of them on the edge of Whiting’s Pond along with some red lobelia. Speaking of lobelia, a big thanks to Abigail Higgins. Last year she gave me seeds for a beautiful blue one. It bloomed this year and is quite lovely. This is not the fragile lobelia used widely in window boxes but, rather, a sturdy plant easily two feet tall. There aren’t too many true blue summer bloomers. Besides Abigail’s lobelia, I have agapanthus, plumbago and platycodan.
The Blue Fortune agastache is really purple. It is amazing in its acidity to attract bees and butterflies. I saw a stand of them covered in Painted Lady butterflies recently.
My broom corn and sorghum are blooming. The broom corn is easily ten feet tall. It is the plant from which our ancestors made brooms. I grow it for its stature. Sorghum has an interesting ornamental seed head. The syrup is made from pressing the stalks. An old friend of mine ran the sorghum mill on the farm in Tennessee. Perhaps you recall the huge commune started by Stephan and Ina May Gaskin? The mill was powered by mules.
I know it’s early but I’ve been removing heads from the hydrangeas, especially the annabelles. They are browning and flopping all over the lawns. Be sure to go down to a bud as new leaves will emerge and cover your cut. Hiding your cuts is a must. Maintenance gardening is all about making it look better without leaving a trace.
I went down Barnes Road recently and noticed the fence made of skis at the causeway. People are so creative. It looks great. Further along at the intersection I have to comment, once again, on the grounds of the Oak Bluffs fire department. Good job! Roses look great!
The low humidity this past weekend kept me in my vegetable garden for quite some time. I planted fall crops — beets, carrots, spinach, lettuce and radishes. I love a fall garden. The summer one seems to get away from me. Between the bugs and weeds it can be discouraging, especially in the high heat and humidity.
I did the major harvest of my Roma tomatoes. They are a determinate tomato, meaning the number of fruits produced has been determined genetically. They ripen pretty much at the same time, allowing for some serious sauce-making.
The indeterminates would go on producing forever if it didn’t freeze or the horn worms could be controlled. These are your heirlooms and favorite sandwich varieties, as well as the cherry types. I must have picked over 100 sungolds from one plant yesterday. It’s sprawled on the ground in a six-foot circle. That’s right. Why would I bother staking it?
Oddly, the rhododendron has been blooming for a month. Laurel Clements rang to report one blooming in the Vineyard Haven cemetery. Beats me! Nothing seems normal anymore, especially in the natural world!
A word of caution! The hornets are especially active. The other day I was working my way into a shrub border and put my hand directly into the opening to a hornet’s nest. I didn’t know I could move so quickly. Remarkably I was only stung once.
I am ill-equipped to comment on the past few weeks. The Todd Akin (R. Missouri) remarks about rape and pregnancy prevention have put me in a place of fear. The biological ignorance doesn’t shock me. It is the fact that it wasn’t a gaffe but his true feelings. He and Paul Ryan share those beliefs. They co-sponsored a bill with the words “forcible rape!”
On a lighter note, the other day Violet asked, “Mame, has a girl ever been president?” I replied “no,” and she said, “that’s not fair!”