Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 24, 2008

Well, I'm not quite sure I'm out of the woods yet, but today was a busy day, so that may have had something to do with it.  Another could be that my youngest is still sick a week later.  Very odd.

It all started with reading a message from a gardening buddy of mine in Poulsbo (DoubleD) from  She informed me that for fall harvesting of peas, I should have had mine planted in early August, not late August.  So I rushed out to plant, only to remember that you pre-soak peas for best germination.  So while they were soaking, I planted more carrots and spinach for the third time.  Given how poorly these seeds are germinating, I spinkled the carrot seeds in the general locations of where the final carrots need to be spaced, and I'll thin significantly as needed if they come up.  Frankly, I think it was a mistake to keep my seeds in the garage.  Though it was cool in the winter, it's quite warm in the summer, which is bad for seeds.  Unfortunately keeping them in the fridge doesn't allow for spontaneous planting if you have to warm them up to room temperature before planting each time.  Ah well, seeds are cheap if you buy from one location and buy all at once since it's the shipping that kills you.

While I was out there I figured maybe the spinach didn't like being in direct sun, so I grabbed a screen from one of my cold frame windows and positioned it to partially block the sun for the longest part of the day.  No clue if it'll work or what, but here's what I mean...

Nothing's planted in the front of that bed except for a few squares of radishes.  As I mentioned before, I don't really have need for all that space.  As for the peas, I want them to catch up to have a fall harvest, but I really don't want them growing up and attaching themselves to the trellis since it's got to be removed to put up my hoop covers.  Kinda a catch 22 really, because my pole beans, tomatoes and cukes are all using that trellis and I don't want to cut it. hehe.

The other thing I wanted to do before I went back to work was to mow the lawn.  The grass hasn't grown an inch in a month, which is really really odd, but the weeds and other grass-like plants in my grass have grown, so I needed to mow the weeds.  Unfortunately the forecast for afternoon showers meant 12:01.  So I spent the better part of two hours dodging drenching showers to get the front lawn mowed.  The back is cleared but I ran out of time before we had to go to a birthday party for my dad, who's 69 today.

I was really excited to go to my folks because we were going to do a pickling party there with my brother.  Our cukes are not getting any fresher in the crisper so this was the last chance before next week to do any pickling. It just takes too long to do in an evening if you're learning.  Anyway, we get there and find out that he's going to do bread and butter pickles, which are a fancy name for sweet pickles. My wife can't stand sweet pickles. In fact the smell of them makes her ill.  Also unfortunately, we found that it takes 2-3 weeks of marinating to make dill pickles, with regular tending to the brine to skim off the scum.  Given her reaction all night to just making the sweet pickles, it looks like I'm going to be skimming scum for pickels I really don't want.  That's love for you. hehe.

Actually, it's not that far off the work going into my sourdough starter.  Which by the way, is looking quite nice. I did the second step today, adding more flower and pineapple juice to the mix.  When I went to stir it later I found what looked like a couple of bubbles.  It's supposed to get frothy at some point over the next two days. I can't wait. That will prove it's working.  So tomorrow I'll be on the lookout for a dill pickle recipie and go buy some dill and onion etc.  Hehe, fun.  At least now I've seen pickles made.  My brother borrowed two cukes from me to make his batch, and ended up with 4 pints of pickles.  Not bad I guess, though a lot of work for a small amount.  /shrug Anyway, I look forward to canning more stuff.  Maybe green beans.  I can't say I like them fresh, maybe canned will be better.  I'll chat with my mom.

While I was making pickles, my brother and I got into several gardening discussions. One I wanted to share, especially for my local readers.  As everyone is aware, we've kinda skipped a month, I say we skipped August because this is NOT August weather by a long shot.  Tie that locally to the fact that we had our latest snow in 100 years this April (remember the late-night hoop cover incident) and you can see a major problem for warm weather crops.  So my brother's theory is that we will have an "Indian Summer" of a 70 degree September and warmish October.  His theory has some facts to back it up.  For instance, plants and animals may know more than us hairless apes.  According to my brother, dogwoods and lilacs should have changed their color and dropped leaves in late August. They're showing no signs of fall despite the cooler, wetter weather.  Further, domesticated animals haven't stopped shedding which they should have done weeks ago in preparation for cold weather, and squirrels haven't started bulking up for winter as they should in August.  He's got several good points there. 

So maybe I'm in for more cukes, beans, and ripe tomatoes, as well as bigger potatoes? and even maybe a cantaloupe or two.  Go figure.

Hope you had a good weekend. Tomorrow I go back to work and try really hard not to work long into the night to catch up, hehe.

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