Ready For Change...
It's hard to believe that it is
July 26th and August is quickly approaching. We are busy
readying the kids for school. Physicals, dental appointments,
haircuts and the purchasing of school supplies. The first day of
school is August 17th which is just a short three weeks away.
Where does time go? The kids seem to have mixed emotions about
whether or not they are ready to return to a daily schedule. I
am certain about one thing - they are
all going to have to adjust to a new sleeping schedule.
There have been several overnighters that have been all-nighters
and even the boys are starting to sleep in later and later every
day. It should be an interesting first few weeks
I will be
glad once the weather starts to cool down. I am anxious to start
rearranging the gardens to my liking. I have several ideas and I
am ready to start implementing some of them.
Several readers have e-mailed
me about the potting shed I am contemplating so I wanted to
website that gave me a few ideas. You can order a
whole shed or just
the plans. They have some beautiful sheds. My
sister-in-law ordered one and the craftsmanship is amazing. A
good place for ideas as well.
hoping that we will see some rain soon. I think we got a couple
of drops this morning. Not enough to get the driveway wet. Stay
cool and keep everything watered. I know it is hard this time of
year. It is hard to think of anything but cooler temperatures.
A bitter taste in cucumbers is the result of stress that can
be caused by a number of factors, including heredity, moisture,
temperature, soil characteristics and disease. Most often this
occurs during the hot part of the summer or later in the growing
compounds, cucurbitacins B and C, give rise to the bitter taste.
Though often only the stem end is affected, at times the entire
fruit is bitter. Also, most of the bitter taste is found in and
just under the skin. Bitter fruit is not the result of cucumbers
cross-pollinating with squash or melons. These plants cannot
cross-pollinate with one another.
varieties are less likely to become bitter than older ones.
Proper cultural care is also often helpful. Make sure your plants
have the following:
- Well-drained soil
with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.
- Plenty of organic
matter also helps.
- Mulch helps
conserve moisture and keep roots cool during hot, dry weather.
- Adequate water
especially during the fruiting season.
- Disease and
If your basil and thyme look like they
need an extreme makeover you can revitalize them by cutting them
back severely. This will stimulate a clean new flush of growth,
free of any insect and disease damage incurred since spring.
Goes The Melon...
Watermelon growers probably have some pretty big fruit by
now. You don't want to harvest your melons too early! Just
check for these tell-tale indicators of ripeness:
- The underside
ground spot turns from whitish to creamy yellow.
- The tendril
closest to the melon turns brown and shrivels.
- The rind loses
its gloss and appears dull.
- The melon
produces a dull thud rather than a ringing sound when thumped.
The Cutting Gardener...
When gardens are blooming the way they
have been lately it's a shame not to spread the beauty around.
How? By bringing some of it inside! Before you
try it yourself there are some procedures to
follow if you really want to do it right:
- Start when flower
stems are full of water - either early morning (6 to 8 AM) or
late evening (7 to 9 PM).
- Carry a clean
bucket filled with very warm (100 to 120º F) water.
- Always use sharp,
very clean scissors or pruners when cutting.
- Immediately place
any cut flowers in the bucket of warm water.
- When you bring
the flowers in, re-cut each flower under water. This pulls
water into the stems more quickly. Flowers that are not re-cut
immediately after picking can lose up to 60% of their
- Place the bucket
of re-cut flowers in a cool area, such as the basement and
allow them to hydrate or harden for at least one hour (although
overnight is best).
- Arrange, display,
You Say Cicada, I Say...
If you're brave enough to venture out in the evening heat
these days your ears will no doubt be overwhelmed by the din of
cicadas. Cicadas leave lots of people puzzled so we dug up some
dirt on these noisy critters:
dog-day cicada is what we hear this year and virtually
- It is
related to the 17-year cicada (last seen in K.C. in 1998) and
is usually found on oaks, maples, and other mature,
Dog-day cicadas appear during the long, summer days of July
and August hence their nick-name.
have two to five-year life cycles but their broods overlap and
therefore seemingly appear every summer.
Dog-day cicadas are larger than 17-year cicadas and have
brown-black bodies with whitish highlights and green wing
Dog-day cicadas do not ordinarily cause much damage though
they (and the
shells they leave behind) are a bit
17-year cicada will not be back in our area until 2015 but
dog-day cicadas are likely every summer.
Bulbs That Bloom In Autumn...
The savviest of Savvygardeners know that there are a number
of autumn-blooming bulbs that really perk up the fall garden and
landscape. Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) also known as
meadow saffron, mysteria, or naked boys produces pink to lavender
crocus-like flowers in the fall and there is no foliage present
when the plants are in bloom. Dark green leaves will emerge in
the spring, remain until summer, then turn yellow and die to the
ground. After which, the flowers magically appear in the fall
should be planted immediately after purchase or delivery in
August or September or they will start to bloom in their
packaging. Plant the corms in clumps, 2-3 inches deep in
well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Pretty!
Too Tall Turf?
If you've been away on vacation and your
lawn is extra tall be careful about cutting too much at once. As
a rule you should cut no more than one-third of the grass height
at a time. If necessary, try setting your mower height to the
highest setting for a first cutting. Then wait two-three days
and cut again at a reduced height.
"Along the river's
The withered tufts of asters nod;
And trembles on its arid stalk
The hoar plume of the golden-rod."
John Greeenleaf Whittier