Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Corn, zucchini, aphids

Win some, lose some. It appears I won't have any corn this year. The one ear that rises confidently above my bush beans doesn't have enough grains on it to qualify. I didn't fertilize it when it needed it, but why it is alone is beyond me. Most years I have at least a half a dozen ears for three delicious July meals.

Gordon Keil, however, has corn to admire in Montclair. I noticed it from the street next to the first building next to Bloomfield Avenue on the east side of South Willow Street. (My husband's favorite repair shop, Mac's Automotive, is in that building, so I'm there occasionally.) He has a truly amazing set of corn stalks rising up on the south side of the building. He tells me that a closer look reveals Sunflowers, tomatoes and miniature pumpkins there too, but I didn't get that close. You can see a lot from the sidewalk any time you like. Perhaps nobody would object if you slipped into Mac's parking lot on the south side of Gordon's garden.

Back in my own garden, I'm enjoying plentiful zucchini at last. Yum! I forget how much I enjoy fresh zucchini, having decided that frozen isn't worth the effort. Better than that, several seeds sprouted in the garden for a fall crop (after the current one succumbs to the bugs in August). The surprise is that NONE from the same package sprouted in the greenhouse window. Why would they prefer the garden to the window, which is warm and always moist?

I have at least one extra zucchini seedling nicely potted for the first person who tells me when they want it. Less desirable are some VERY little eggplant, pepper, and supersteak tomatoes that I've been speaking to nicely in the greenhouse window. I guess there is something there that isn't properly nourishing. Anyway, if anyone wants one or more of these for potential harvest LATE in the season, let me know. They all expect lots of sunlight and reasonably good soil.

In the front yard someone pointed out that some of my milkweed plants have a yellow covering. "Aphids!" was the response at the Cornucopia meeting when I told about this. Trina says she cuts off such stems and drowns the aphids in water. "They grow back," she observed. I have begun doing that. Another gardening project! Removing weeds around the yard seems to be a bigger project this year than most. Lots of growth!

In the garden I have several peppers that are almost achieving a diameter of one inch. One of the eggplant plants that I bought at the spring Master Gardeners' sale now has SIX little eggplants on it (!), one of which is two inches long. (Thank you, MGs!) I'm harvesting cucumbers and lettuce in abundance now. The supersteak tomato plants have tomatoes of respectable size, but they need to become oversized before they get red. Meanwhile, we're enjoying plenty of the little tomatoes.

It always makes me sad to take out the sugar snap peas in mid-July. I have plenty of other fresh things to eat, so I know I shouldn't be sad. Perhaps my conscience is pricking because I didn't sow them early enough. But the snow was there! And I had to prune the fruit trees in March instead of February because there was too much snow in February. Anyway, I think I've learned that sugar snap peas much be sowed in early March to get a good crop before the plants turn brown. I did freeze some this year and ate plenty.

A garden is surely a source of pleasure.


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