Oh, those lazy, hazy crazy days of summer. . .
Nixon and Roxy, Chandler AZ
* Perennials: daylily, red bee balm, sweet william, rudbekia,
* Harvest broccoli, Swiss chard, collards, rhubarb
* Bug Watch continues
* Direct seeding lettuce and mizuna in garden
* Seed perennials, fall crops indoors
* Drying herbs
* Monarch butterflies
* Deer browsing in meadow
* Herbal Vinegars
* Farmers Markets open
* PYO strawberries
in bee balm on common milkweed on verbena (click to enlarge)
In the Kitchen
Canning season begins this month with Herbal vinegars.
Drying and freezing herbs
and browsing the recipe file for broccoli and greens. (click to enlarge picture below)
In the Seeding Room
Perennials should be seeded no later than the 10th of this month for transplanting in September. Fall crops should also be seeded for transplanting next month.
In the Garden
Drought and Pest Management
Both are fed by weather and life cycles. Neither can be controlled without controlling the other. As weather conditions become more extreme (code for global warming), staying ahead of the game becomes more critical. (click to enlarge photo)
July is peak heat for Zone 4-5. We continue with June pest management controls.
This weevil-like insect
that was first discovered at the base of our pepper plants in the top 1/2" of soil.
It was identified by a Master Gardener at the NH extension service as an Asian
Image by Mike Dorrington, using Intel PX3 microscope
We opt out of a seeding lettuce indoors and seed directly into the garden in spots that unexpectedly opened up -- always the case when Mother Nature is in control! Lettuce directly seeded in the garden is quicker and easier -- no transplanting those delicate little sets. Daily sprinkling is essential for the first couple weeks, so a vacation is out of the question during that period. Once the seedlings are 3" tall, they can be thinned and covered with a thin layer of fluffy mulch for a 3-day weekend.
This is a moving target and varies from year to year.
In 2004, broccoli, Swiss chard and collards are harvested later in the month. A bumper crop of lettuce is harvested throughout the month.
Herbs: Cut tops of some growth, leaving some flowertops for the bees, to produce a second crop later in the summer. Oregano, thyme, and lemon balm are best preserved by drying. Parsley, cilantro, chives, and tarragon are more flavorful if frozen. Chamomile, lemon balm, and cinnamon basil are the foundation of our herbal tea mix.
Extending the growing season:
* Beets, carrots, turnips, Chard, lettuce, and many of the various oriental greens such as bok choi can be seeded directly into the soil in areas south of Zone 5. The soil should be amended with fresh compost before planting. In areas north of Zone 5, sets seeded last month can be transplanted.
* According to one extension service, an old trick for germinating seeds in mid-summer is to plant the seeds, water them well, and then place a board over the row until the sprouts just reach the soil surface. At that time, remove the board.
* Black-seeded Simpson and green bibb lettuce mature in 6-7 weeks, just in time for tomato harvest!
In the Perennial Beds
Perennials require so little maintenance other than weeding and watering that there is little to do here.
For the first time in growing wooly lambs ears for 20 years, these bee-loving perennials did not bloom in 2003. In 2004, they peak this month, but with so much rain, the bees kept a low profile. Red bee balm peaks later in the month.
In the Meadow
Planter may be located in the Northeast, but the Granite State has its share of desert or beach-like environments. Naturalized gaillardia and rudbekia begin their mid-summer tour de force.
The challenge to any landscaper and gardener in this harsh environment is to plant naturalized varieties, like the gaillardia and rudbekia below, that can survive heavy snowfall in the winter, browsing deer in the spring, and extended droughts in the summer.
Dig a good hole for them, mulch them well, and hand water them the first couple years, and you will be richly rewarded in the years to come. Those that reseed themselves in adjacent weedbeds seem to do even better than those in prepared beds. We're working on a theory that minimum weeding is better for naturalizing.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) are tall, stately biennials that make an attractive landscaping addition to the perennial bed or meadow. If handled carefully, they can be transplanted when they first appear. Its leaves were used to make poultices in the past. Flowers are used in tea as an expectorant. The basal leaves are used for respiratory disorders ,and, at one time were made into herbal "tobacco" and smoked for asthma and tuberculosis.
(click to enlarge)
It is no coincidence that so many recipes contain strawberries and rhubarb. We try to get to our favorite strawberry PYO in Gilford, the Smith Family Farm to make Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam.
Local Farmer's Markets
. . . are the best place to find healthy, fresh food no matter where you live. When we lived in metropolitan Washington DC, the mobs were there when the bell rang at 9:00 am -- even on a Sunday! Here in rural NH, the mobs are reduced to a steady stream of people. But the end results are the same. Farmer's Markets provide customers with fresh produce, much of it organically grown. They help reduce reliance on foreign oil imports by decreasing interstate transportation. And, they are a great place to exchange information and recipes. Gardeners and cooks can commiserate over sluggish tomatoes, or learn new tricks from other kindred spirits.
The Warner Farmer's Market is open every Saturday morning through Fall Foliage Festival.
Kearsarge-Gore Farm Stand
Weather and Pest Log
* July 10th: Adult asparagus beetles disappear and their
larvae are under control by spraying every 10 days with Bt.
* July 12th: No sign of vegetable weevils. Reemay protecting its favorite, tomatillos, is removed.
July 15th: Less mature, hotter pepper plant leaves were chomped on, suffering huge setback during the last week of rains. Squash bug, or similar insect, found on several, even though we don't grow squash. No larvae castings visible, but applied Bt to leaves and soil just in case .
* Overall, very humid.