7-17-09 Get Your Summer On
In This Issue:
- July in the Garden
- Dog Days of Summer
- Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Harvesting Watermelon
- Product of the Month: Edible Los Angeles Magazine
1. July in the Garden
Summer is in full swing. I see gardens flourishing all over town, and eager gardeners tending their crops with hopeful anticipation of harvests to come. The warmer weather is officially here, and that means ripe tomatoes! We’ve been harvesting Yellow Perfection, Yellow Pear, Tigerella, Great White, and Jaune Flamme tomatoes on a daily basis. Strawberries and zucchini are in abundance this time of year (see the blog for some great recipes), and our potatoes came out really well this year. Some are still in the ground for safe keeping until we need them – as long as we don’t water, they do just fine.
Amid the harvested successes are a few failures, but overall the prospect of growing one’s own food still remains one of the most satisfying past-times for me each season. The Dog Days of summer (find out what that means below) offer a chance to sit back and enjoy, literally, the fruits of our labor. May this summer be a rewarding and grounding experience for you and yours.
2. Dog Days
The Dog Days of Summer, in my mind, have always represented those late summer days in August and September that are hotter than Hades when everything in the garden shrivels up and dies no matter how much you water. As it turns out, the Dog Days of Summer officially started on July 3rd, according to the Farmer’s Almanac calendar hanging on the wall. While it’s true that Dog Days actually vary from region to region, to satisfy a little curiosity about how this time of year got its name, Wikipedia came to the rescue:
“The term “Dog Days” was used by the Greeks… as well as the ancient Romans… The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius, the Dog Star, rose just before or at the same time as sunrise …The ancients sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.
In Ancient Rome, the Dog Days extended from July 24 through August 24 (or, alternatively July 23-August 23). In many European cultures (German, French, Italian) this is still the period to be the time of the Dog Days.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11…These are the days of the year when rainfall is at its lowest levels.”
So enjoy your Dog Days this year – preferably with a glass of lemonade under a shady tree.
3. Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Harvesting Watermelon
One of the great joys of summer comes with eating watermelon. Whether you like eating it neatly cut into cubes with a toothpick, or with reckless abandon – face first into a succulent wedge hanging over the sink – watermelon is the quintessential summer snack. But just how do you know when to harvest watermelon if you are growing it yourself? Is it by thumping on the rind? Does it fall off the vine when it’s ready? Here’s the trick to knowing when to pick:
The little green tendrils on the vine on either side of the watermelon in question will curl up and turn brown when the watermelon is ready to harvest. If they’re still green, it’s not ready. Also, the color on the underside of the watermelon will change from white to creamy yellow when it’s ready.
4. Product of the Month: Edible Los Angeles Magazine
Edible Los Angeles Magazine is the Slow Food answer to LA’s fast-paced eating habits. Each major city has its own Edible magazine and this one focuses in on local eating opportunities, farmer’s markets, and artisanal growers of all kinds. It’s a beautiful magazine with plenty of information for the home grower (and eater). Save time – order your copy from the Gardenerd.com Store.
Stay tuned for more gardening tips and tidbits from Gardenerd.com. Happy Summer Gardening!