~ July 14, 2010 ~
So what's with the hurricane-like storms of late? Sheesh... enough already. I think I spent at least an hour on Monday picking
up tree limbs and small sticks. It was a doozy of a storm and once again it wreaked havoc in many places, our basement included. Yep,
more water in the basement. Not as much as the last time but enough to warrant a call to a gutter company and guess what? We're
getting new gutters. If it never rains again this summer you can blame us.
I was in the garden almost all day Monday deadheading and pulling weeds. Jake, our youngest son mowed the lawn (after much prompting)
so I piddled around edging, weeding and kept myself busy with other general clean-up. Tuesday was a different story. It was hot!
The humidity was awful and I was outside by 9 AM. I'm afraid I didn't get much done. The sun felt as if it were scorching my skin
and the mosquitoes were eating me alive. I was not having a good time so I took off my gloves and called it quits. Tried again
later that evening but could not believe how hot it still was. Thank goodness for air conditioning! Today was not any better.
I guess I'll have to wait for a day like we had last week. Mid 80's, low humidity, perfect for working outside! Hopefully I
won't have to wait until September.
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.
"In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way
I have to go to bed by day."
~ Robert Louis Stevenson