If you have any room left in your garden, now is a good time to plant for fall harvest. You can plant peas, spinach, lettuce, parsley, green onions, leeks
and cabbage. Also cilantro, for making salsa in September. The seedlings
will need some extra care; cover with shade cloth or plant them near
taller plants. Be sure to water frequently, especially due to this heat wave and drought that seems to be affecting most of the Midwest.
My beans are finally coming in, thanks to my husband, who really saved the garden this year. With lack of rain and onslaught of insects and woodchucks and rabbits and deer. He kept things watered and uses Captain Jack's spray on the insects and set up some traps for the Japanese beetles in the nearby trees. Eddie the garden troller, took care of the woodchuck along with a mole or two.
This is great weather for tomatoes, sunny and hot just how they like
it. We should get a bumper crop of very red tomatoes, packed with
flavor. But herbs are taking the heat. Watering is very important now.
Picking herbs and greens helps prevent them from forming seeds. The best
way to pick parsley, and many herbs and leafy vegetables, is to snip
the whole leaf and stem from the stock. Sometimes you can twist them
off, when you pick parsley and Swiss chard.
Basil's a little
different. You should cut the stock or branch, just above leaves, well
below the leaves you want to harvest. Picking in late morning is the
best time of day, especially for greens and herbs.
often to prevent the plants from going to seed. Because once they go to
seed, many of the plants lose their herbiness flavor.
For Rosemary and sage, cut 5 inch branches and hang to air dry or chop and freeze in herb ice cubes or clumps in a freezer bag.
Weeding can really do some damage to the back. I overdid my limit on bending over last weekend and had to use ice, then heat and ibuprofen for several days.
My friend Mickey told me her trick to weeding which I had forgotten to use. It's the three poses of weeding, (no kidding).
Bend over and pull. If you do that too many times, you'll feel it for a week. Squat down on your haunches. I can only do this for a few minutes. Kneeling. This works great until you need to move.
You can add various yoga poses, like crossing your legs while stretching over to pull weeds, maybe meditate a bit too while you're down there. You can spread your legs and do a leg stretch in between weed pulling as well. The main thing is to change positions to prevent repetitive motions.
Back exercise. Here's a quick back exercise that is like the reverse of bending over.
Lean back against a flat wall, press the small of the back against it
with feet flat on the ground and hold for a minute or two. Repeat a few
Weeding tips. It's best to weed when the soil is not too dry. You will need to water after weeding. A tool like the hula hoe which looks like a hoop on a stick or the mini rake or a pronged tool can help loosen the soil. You can use a hand trowel to dig up the big weeds.
I picked our
first batch of Swiss chard. It was so tender and
delicious, just heated with a bit of water and salt and pepper. Then, we went on vacation and the deer came and cleaned out our crop. Deer love Swiss chard, just as much as I do.
I need to plant it in the maximum security garden and leave the raised beds for parsley and other herbs. Deer don't like smelly stuff. We need to break out the Irish Spring too, so they can at least stay clean while they eat our garden. I also need to look up a previous post on back treatment, because I am suffering after weeding yesterday.
my favorite Swiss chard recipe.
1/4 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 tsp. dried crushed red pepper, to taste, optional
1 bunch of Swiss chard, washed and chopped
2 Tablespoons water
salt and pepper, to taste
the onion, garlic and red pepper. (You can use a large saucepan or large skillet.) Then add the rest of the ingredients
and heat on medium heat for 10 minutes. As a variation, substitute 1
tablespoon of water for vinegar and add smoked turkey or ham pieces.
This blog offers tips and resources for growing and processing vegetables plus my personal experiences with gardening and preparing fresh produce. I would love to hear about your garden adventures. Bring your questions and I will do my best to find answers.