September 8, 2010

 It is now much easier here with air conditioning – and we have started opening the windows – with good screens tightly installed – when the outside temp is below 68, and turning off the AC.  If it gets hotter as I think probable, we may install a fan in a window upstairs to blow the hot air out, sucking more cool air in downstairs!

We have had what I call a poor gardening year, but hope you had a good one.  Weeds seemed to thrive too well, during the rainy (or Indiana Monsoon) period, we mowed our six acre homestead almost daily, and the darned weeds just loved the summer.  I don’t mind weeds, and even unwanted trees, starting to grow in our lawns, because we mow them off whenever we mow, and eventually their roots give up and kick their buckets.

We have enjoyed produce from our garden, but we didn’t make freezer slaw, cabbage didn’t do well, but we can buy grocery cabbage and make it if we run out of what is left in our freezer.  We haven’t canned the first canner of tomatoes – but we have eaten the usual number of tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches, and loved it.  Judy harvests and prepares her many varieties of basil, I stay busy in the air conditioned kitchen preparing pesto to freeze. My daughter and her husband, who grew up in Michigan, now live in Denver. 

They used to come to Michigan for his annual school reunion, rent a lake home, and we would give them leftover frozen pesto, and it survived the flight home.  Last year, they didn’t come east (they are aging, too!), I airmailed the leftover pesto, delivered to them before it melted, for $64.  This year we plan a trip to Denver to deliver our-left-over-from-last-year pesto.  We may stay overnight – or longer!

Weeds come in many forms, and like other vegetables and plants, some are annuals, some perennial.  All annual plants live one year, produce many seeds, and die.  Biannuals live for two years, produce seeds, and die.  Perennial plants may live forever, I think, and we have a few perennial weeds in our lawns, and they are pretty hard to eliminate, because the very birds we feed purchased seeds to, may deliver, unknowingly, perennial weed seeds when they stop to enjoy our green grass lawns, show us their colors, and try to spread natural fertilizer as they walk around.

We grow asparagus.  Normally in the fall, after the tall asparagus plants turn brown, after they have stored in the underground crown of their plant, all the nutrients necessary to produce more asparagus than we can eat next year, we chop off the dead tops, cover the asparagus bed with Tom Cormany’s seed wheat straw, which contains NO  WEED SEEDS!  The biggest problem in growing asparagus is that annual weeds may provide competition.

Some people have put salt on their asparagus beds to kill the weeds.  Guess what? That can kill the asparagus too, and does.  It takes about five years to establish an asparagus bed, but many asparagus beds, treated properly, live nearly forever – or longer than I have.  The worst enemy asparagus has is grass – and of course, if you didn’t know, asparagus is a grass!  I prefer to not use any chemical that kills just the weeds in your lawn, I prefer Tom’s weed free straw, and I try to pay him more than he asks for each 40 pound bale.  (I can’t handle the 450 pound bales he now uses, also.)

Well, I am old, and last year, I forgot to take Tom’s weed free wheat straw out of my barn and spread it on the asparagus bed, and this year we had a really good weed crop there.  Many were as tall as the tallest asparagus, and I can, and have cut off all their seeds, so they won’t germinate next year.  Judy is able to get down on her knees faster than I, and back to her feet without crawling to the nearest tree or tractor as I do to re- arise, and she wonderfully helped pull the weeds around the asparagus.  Soon I will mow the brown asparagus tops, and seriously apply Tom’s weed free straw to our asparagus.  .  .  .  good gardening

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