Writing here from a very dry and sandboxy summer…much like a Virginia summer but odd in this neck of the woods. Everyone’s grass is brown. I understand that in Virginia, and in California, but not here in the Finger Lakes. Our creek is dry except for a few algae-thickened puddles. But alas. I’m still not watering! I know it’s a little crazy, but I haven’t had anything die on me yet, and I’m not spending hours with the watering can. I guess I’d sacrifice a new seedling or two for a couple hours of time each night to do other things. Thank God we’ve got rain barrels….each time it does rain (about once every two weeks), the two 50-gallon barrels fill up, allowing us to at least water in our transplants and keep our chickens and cats hydrated. Crazy world right now.
But I do have some lovely flowers! I’d say my spring veggies have petered out. I’m still planting lettuce every couple weeks, but I’ve lost quite a bit to the clever and persistent groundhog(s?). We still have kale, but this heat is weakening it enough to make the cabbage loopers a problem. But the annual flowers are just coming on. The basil is taking off too. And a great shallot harvest.
Some sad news: garlic is not invincible. Last week I found out that we had mega-amounts of the Garlic Bloat Nematode…something so serious-sounding I imagined only some huge industrial garlic operation could actually act as host to such a beast. Not so. A home gardener can definitely propagate this nematode, and it’s just as devastating (maybe not economically devastating, but the crop is gone). I sent rotten bulbs to the Geneva station for testing…and confirmation. I offer a warning: if you have ANY rotten bulbs and are planning to save seed, get them tested for garlic bloat nematode before you plant in the fall! It will save you the heartache of a rotten garlic harvest the following summer and the sobering reality of a contaminated field! After some research, I have deduced that last year I had some seed shipped to me that must have been infested. I chucked the handful of rotten bulbs last summer, but planted the rest as seed. This summer ALL the garlic rotted in the field. Lessons.
I do have some happy stories though. I had a hollyhock reseed and flower after a few unsuccessful years of rust. It’s beautiful.
And the bouquets I’ve been bringing inside have kept me alert and creative. The flowers are all rather old-school; I feel kind of like my grandma, if she grew flowers.
This one is a Green Envy zinnia, a white double Shirley poppy, blue nigella, a calendula officinalis and some perennial coreopsis. I mean, just look at this thing!
Super nuts flowers. Below might be my favorite not-from-seed purchase ever, a white echinacea. I thought I wouldn’t like any of the random colorful cultivars, but this one makes my day every day.
Another flower that’s newly successful for me this year is the sweet pea. It also makes me feel like my grandma!
This one is called America, and I love it. The whole grandma-thing might just be because of the dwarf stock I have planted all over the place…of course I don’t have a picture of it, but just imagine something from the 1930′s.
Alright, til next time! Let’s all do a big raindance!