~ July 15, 2009 ~
Up On The Roof...
After writing about rooftop gardens last week, one of our sponsors, Kevin Anderson, owner of Missouri Organic
wrote to me explaining their involvement in commercial rooftop gardening. I was thrilled with the information
he gave me and know that in the future this will become a more standard method of landscaping. What a great way
to help the environment and cut back on the costs of cooling an enormous office building! I love the fact that
"becoming green" is stressed not only in residential building but commercial as well. Working together and integrating
gardening into all projects sounds like a very efficient way to operate.
What a wacky week of weather! Rain when you least expect it, cloudy, sunny, hot and humid. You name it, we have seen it.
I was under the impression that we were headed for a few days of lower humidity. I was at a tennis tournament today watching
our youngest son play and it went from rainy, to cool ( I actually had a jacket on and was underneath a blanket for a while)
to warm, sunny and I can't believe how hot it is. The humidity still seems pretty high so we may be plagued with it
for a few more days. The humidity sure does play havoc with being outside. Who wants to be out when the humidity is at 95%?
Sunscreen For Veggies?
Hard working gardeners aren't the only ones subject to sunburn.
Exposure to the sun will turn your potato tubers and carrot
shoulders green giving them an unpleasant taste. This will occur
when they are not planted deeply enough or have not been
sufficiently mulched. The green portions of the potato actually
contain a bitter alkaloid that is moderately poisonous. Simply
cover the exposed tubers and/or shoulders with soil or mulch and
they should retain their intended taste and goodness.
Drinks For The Droopy...
It's not uncommon to venture out to the garden at the end of
a hot day to find some pretty droopy plants. Don't immediately
assume that they need to be watered. It may be that there is
adequate moisture in the soil but your plant's roots just can't
keep up with the needs of the leaves. If the soil is already
moist you are better off letting the plants catch up on their own
overnight. If they're still droopy in the morning give them a
Houseplants, Douse Plants...
This is a great time of year to take your houseplants outside for
a bath. Insect and mite populations can sometimes creep up on you
this time of year, but not to worry. Take houseplants outside and
gently hose them off. This will not only wash away harmful pests,
but will remove dust from the leaf surfaces and leave plant pores
cleaner and able to breathe easier.
Get More Blooms...
Deadheading roses and annuals such as petunias, marigolds, and zinnias will
promote reblooming throughout the season. You can fool biannuals, like hollyhocks
and foxglove, into thinking they are perennials by cutting off the old blossoms
before seed pods form.
To deadhead a rose, cut the flower stem back to an outward facing bud just above
a 5-leaflet or 7-leaflet leaf. For most other flowers simply cut the stem just
below the spent bloom.
Sweet & Corny...
Corn lovers know that standard sweet corn is at its peak for
only a day or so (supersweet corn maintains its peak
quality for a little longer). Timing is everything. For the
sweetest corn harvest when silks begin to dry, and kernels exude
a milky (rather than watery or doughy) juice when punctured.
Orange Means Hot...
High summer heat can affect tomato harvests. Tomatoes ripen
best when temperatures stay below eighty-five degrees. When the
temperatures hover in the mid-nineties (or higher) several problems can
occur. The ripening process slows down and color compounds do
not form properly. Instead of a bright red tomato you may wind
up with an orange-red one. The solution? Try picking the tomatoes at the first
flush of color and ripening them indoors.
On The Cutting Edge...
If you've noticed a brown or grayish cast over your lawn it is likely due to
your mower blade. Mower blades that shred grass rather than cutting it can cause
this unattractive problem. Usually the blade just needs sharpening. Also make
sure that the blade is installed properly. An unbalanced blade or one installed
upside down isn't doing you any favors either.
"Should a garden look as if the gardener worked on his
knees? I ask you? "
~ Lincoln Steffens