Waking up with the summer sun

The katydids sing autumn songs

Though the dog days are still with us, as the month of July draws to a close, the katydids in the tops of mighty oaks sing songs of the approaching fall. These unusual insects make music by rubbing their legs against their sides. They resemble large green grasshoppers. Their song is the same every night and they remind us how slowly and subtly one season passes into the next. Soon the dew will get wetter and stickier and the August fog will be another sign that the fall season is creeping up on us. The crickets will sing along with the katydids about the coming change of seasons.

This is the season to start the compost pile

As the crops of some vegetable crops mature, it’s time to start a compost bin or heap. The heat will cause a pile of compost to heat up quickly. The residue from spent vegetable crops and stems or vines are great compost ingredients. Run the mower over it to break down the yard debris and speed up the composting process. Add grass clippings to warm it up. Add some Plant-Tone Organic Vegetable Food or Black Kow Composted Cow Manure to build up heat in the heap. Add peels, husks and yard waste to the compost and add some water once a week. Stir the stack or bake twice a week as you add the ingredients.

The sights and sounds of midsummer

The hummingbirds whiz around competing for nectar at the feeders. Summer’s birds are active at the feeders and bees visit the annuals and perennials on the porch and deck. Butterflies and finches visit the zinnia bed. Thunder sounds in the distance as a storm approaches. After the storm has run its course, the garden plot will be filled with the glow of fireflies. Humid days, upcoming thunderstorms and firefly nights seem to be the calling cards of summer.

Checking the rose of midsummer

The roses have bloomed all spring and early summer. With a little extra care, they bloom until frost. To keep them in bloom, kill all spent flowers, spray foliage for mites, insects and Japanese beetles. Feed once a month with Rose-Tone organic rose food. Water once a week if no rain is forecast. Keep long sticks trimmed back.

A bit of Saint Lammas handed down again

Tomorrow is Saint Lammas Day. It is said that on this day the grain begins to ripen and the dew begins to become heavy. A little lore on Saint Lammas Day says that if his day is hot and steamy, winter must be white and creamy. We can certainly look forward to St. Lammas Day getting hot and steamy, as we still have several Dog Days to go after all. Don’t count on winter being too white and creamy. Winter is still more than five months away and a lot of hot, humid weather is just around the corner before we can even think about the white stuff. One thing we know for sure about St. Lammas Day is that it is mid-summer.

Connecting August fog with winter snow

Tomorrow brings the arrival of the first day of August. The month also brings the arrival of misty mornings. Are the August fogs a harbinger of the coming winter snow? My grandmother in Northampton County always thought so, and so did my mother. They kept accurate records of each fog in August and whether they were light, medium, or heavy. They got up early every morning so they were in a good position to observe and record the results of the fog. A heavy fog represents a heavy snowfall, a moderate fog represents a moderate snowfall and a light fog would mean a trail of snow or a layer of snow or just a layer of snow. Some of their observations were about as accurate as some of today’s predictions.

Weather knowledge when August starts

The last full month of summer kicks off Monday with almost two weeks of dog days to go. The last day of the Dog Days of 2022 is Thursday 11 August. A little winter weather knowledge to start the month of August says that if the first week of August is warm, the winter will be white and long. With Dog Days still going on, we could very well see some more warm weather. August has a lot to do with the weather, as you’ll see in today’s Garden Plot. Although winter is still a long way off, this bit of winter knowledge can certainly be taken with a grain of salt.

A bowl of colorful dressed green beans

For this summer recipe you will need a quart of fresh or canned green beans, a large diced white onion, a teaspoon of sugar, half a teaspoon of pepper, a two-ounce jar of diced allspice, a can of mushrooms, a can of giant green peas, stick light margarine and half cup of ketchup. Mix all ingredients except green beans and simmer for 15 minutes. Add drained green beans and half stick margarine and simmer for twenty minutes.

Tomatoes ripen quickly in the late summer heat

In the heat of the midsummer sun, tomatoes will ripen quickly. On days when the sun is setting and no rain is forecast, use the water jet in shower mode and water the base of the tomato vines and not the foliage to avoid blossom end rot. During dry spells, birds peck holes in tomatoes to obtain moisture. To avoid this, harvest tomatoes before they are fully ripe and place them on the porch or patio to finish ripening. Apply powdered lime tomato plants and pack the soil on either side of the plants or mix lime and water in a sprinkling can and pour around the base of tomato plants.

Monarch butterfly needs help

The monarch butterfly with orange wings trimmed and fringed in black and white has declined in numbers from 25% to 50% percent over the past decade. Much of their population decline has been caused by the milkweed deficiency where the egg-laying monarch butterflies reside. Milkweed is scarcer due to habitat destruction from development expansion, commercial ventures, urban sprawl and careless land management. Most of the land where milkweed thrived has been swallowed up.

We’re not all for the propagation of weeds, but in the interest of the Monarch’s survival and the milkweed’s hidden benefits, we’re going to plant more flowers, find some milkweed and transplant it to the garden or try to locate some milkweed. Milkweed is a perennial and has beautiful purple and lavender flowers. We think this is a worthwhile project and we hope we can find some milkweed or milkweed. Here are a few factors about milkweed: 1) Milkweed is a perennial. Monarchs and their larvae and caterpillars love milkweed. 2) Milkweed can be propagated from cuttings, the milkweed also develops seed pods and can also be rooted. (3) If you can find seed, milkweed can be planted. 4) Monarchs are also known as milkweed butterflies. 5) Monarchs migrate 1,600 miles to the mountains of western Mexico each year.

Freeze harvested peppers

Sweet peppers should be ready to harvest soon when the midsummer sun shines on them. Sweet bells are easy to handle and freeze. All you need to do is cut off the tops, split them and remove the seeds and cut into half inch cubes and place in quart and pint plastic freezer containers. If you need peppers for recipes all year round, grab a container and pour out what you need and place the container back in the freezer.

Starting a late row of strike beans

Strike is the best green beans for late summer harvests and abundant production. A row planted this week will yield a crop before mid-September and through the end of the month. Plant the strikers in a trench about three or four inches deep and apply a layer of peat moss over the seed and also a layer of Black Kow composted manure and then an application of Plant-Tone organic plant food. Pack the soil on both sides of the furrow and tamp the soil over the seeds in a row with the hoe blade for good contact with the soil. Once the beans develop two leaves, they dress with Plant-Tone organic vegetable food every 15 days. Apply water every week with a bong in ‘Shower’ mode if no rain is forecast.

The rainbow of colors in the zinnia bed

Showing off a rainbow of colors, the mid-summer zinnias attract an abundance of attention from yellow and black tiger swallowtails, bees, hummingbirds, sparrows, bullfinches, as well as the majestic monarch butterflies. These flowery masterpieces are displayed along with the tapestry of a series of butterflies, all of which put on a spectacular show of movement and beauty.

how hoe hoedown

“Female football fan.” A man took his beloved to a football game. After the game, he asked her what she thought of the game. She replied, “I like it, but I didn’t understand why the players are fussing about twenty-five measly cents.” Her friend said, “What are you talking about?” His sweetheart said, “Well, they all said get the penny back!”

“watered down.” A motorist who got stuck on a muddy road paid this farmer $50 to pull his car out of the mud. The motorist told the farmer: “For these prices you would have to pull people out of the mud day and night.” The farmer replied, “I can’t do that, because every night I have to fill the hole with water!”

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