A Weekend in the Garden

By Roger Erpelding
Contributing Writer

Gardening chores are beginning to slow down, just a little bit. This gave me a chance Friday night to pick spinach. A rather disappointing crop, but tasty nonetheless. The winds and rains have beaten down the leaves, and my germination could have been better. Much of the spinach is bolting, which means it is about done. And again, I am amazed at the amount of weeds I have missed in this area. Or perhaps they just grow that fast. Next weekend I’ll pick lettuce, and I’m sure I’ll weed again as well.

It was time to check on the mailbox bed. The “weeds?” in the northwest corner of this bed are taking over. Beth and I agreed that I will thin them out after the Windsor Heights garden tour on June 29. That means in my area, “thinning” will mean composting. I will pull them all, as there will be enough leftovers in Beth’s portion of the bed to make both of us happy.

Again, while wandering through this bed, I encountered something new. At first I thought it was the Aglaya daisy that I had purchased at Earl May in mid-May. But the leaves were wrong. The petals weren’t double enough as well. But the flower was large, about 4 inches across, and it sure looked like a Shasta daisy. But the leaves looked like a false sunflower, or heliopsis. I had a white tile around the plant to protect it from the rabbits, but its growth was far above the tile—another sign of the false sunflower. Fortunately, Beth found a tag inside the tile, and indeed it is a heliopsis. The leaves said so, but the flower did not. Beth tells me that the flower is golden yellow, and since it is a composite, Beth is impressed as well. My other heliopsis have always had smaller flowers, more in a double form. The flowers almost resemble cone flowers, but their middle is not mounded up like the cone flower is. Again, something new in the garden.

It has been six weeks since the houseplants were fertilized. I used spikes in most of the pots, but a powder in the citrus trees and figs. After placing the powder on the soil, I covered it with some soil from our pile near the patio. They will get one more fertilization in late July or early August.

My leaf mulch project in the garden is almost done. I spread two bags last night between the potatoes and the row of potted peppers. The one bag remaining will go on the north end of the potato rows, around the peppers, and near the tomatoes.

While wandering around this weekend, I noticed the green beans are starting to bloom. If we are fortunate enough to have a good rain in midweek as forecast, they will almost be a “made crop.” The potatoes continue to look good. Usually, it is “healthy vines, healthy potatoes.” Again, an inch of rain midweek would be perfect. Since they are an early cultivar, Norland, they should mature soon, and begin to die in early July.

The garlic is blooming. That is a good sign as well, as it’ll soon begin to die. When it is good and dead, it is digging time for the harvest.

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