July 3, 2014

If your area is currently experiencing drought, as much of the US is, native wildflowers can be a great pick for your garden. They generally take less water than the usual flowering plants. They put on a show much longer than the others. Likewise, if your climate is rainy, or you have boggy soils, native plants will tolerate those conditions better than the rest.

The thing about them, though, is that they are native. In some cases, they may thrive a little too well. One of my chores this spring was to clear away dozens of baby Blue Flax plants that appeared in one bed. I was advised by a Master Gardener that I had better cut the seed heads off my Blue Fescue grass, or it would do the same. Not only that, but I have Common Yarrow spreading from the roots and crowding the row I had them in.

Being the thrifty sort, I usually try to capture at least a few of the seedlings and move them into new corners of my yard. I’ve also mulled potting a few to donate to yard sales and such. If that isn’t in your plan, just be ready to dead-head vigilantly when those seed pods start to develop.

PS — Don’t forget to enjoy the show, first!

I hope you’ll have a wonderful Independence Day with your family close at hand. Don’t forget to share some of your delicious home-grown produce.

Our weather is turning, from spring rains to summer’s relentless sun. There’s a reason why Eastern Washington is called the “dry side” of the state. My cabbages look fairly wilty every day, but I do my best to keep them watered and happy.

Cue mournful music. I’ve lost a crop. Maggots got to all my onions this year. They’re right next to my beets, and that’s making me fear for my future pickled beets. Now I’m trying to think what I can put into that bed that won’t fall prey to the same naughty bugs. Perhaps a late lettuce crop, once we’ve moved a bit farther from midsummer.

On the other hand, my first sunflowers have opened. Those are sure to cheer me up.

I’ve had a bountiful harvest of lettuce. The Parris Island romaine, Salad Bowl and Red Sails loose leaf, and the Garnet Oakleaf are all giving beautiful heads. In addition, my Sugar Snap peas are just starting to come.

The last of my Stella cherries are in. We had a rain storm that caused some of them to split. Others had bird damage. I salvaged the flawed cherries and started a bottle of cherry extract. There was still a quart of cherries left over. I made cherry cobbler — yum!

To save the flavor of spring mint, I’ve also started a bottle of mint extract.

Indoor Forest
One new friend I’ve invited in from outside is an Oregano seedling. Talk about plants that drop seed and take over your yard! I took out my huge Oregano bush several years ago, but even now I still finding seedlings in my lawn. I’ll keep this one in a pot to see if I can get the tasty leaves without it spreading so much.

Insect visitors to my yard this week include rusty-patch bumblebees, honey bees, and the larger bumblebees which may be Yellow or Nevada Bemblebees. And some itty-bitty grasshoppers, as well.

Until next week, keep beating those weeds!


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