The Reds Are Coming: Patience In the July Garden

 Chard growing tall

Chard growing tall

Did you know that birthstone for July  is ruby? Ruby is a symbol of contentment, imagination - love. On the last day of July 2013 the reds are coming! Peppers which showed little promise have begun to flower -  I look forward to red pepper soup and roasted red peppers on goat cheese and hard bread.

 Red Peppers - raw or roasted, perfect!

Red Peppers - raw or roasted, perfect!

Although the Roma tomato plant has been prolific only now are the tomatoes starting to turn bright red. I struggled with the Swiss Chard ( show above ) - the seedlings seemed  tell me to go away until recently when strong red veins pushed the plants upward tall and spreading their leaves. The Eggplants are growing large their deep red caps thorny and tough keep the flesh firm and tasty ( I use egg plant in sauces and I grill it  ).  I have been enjoying water melon eater since I can remember - I was so excited at the thought of growing my own water melons - "Sugar Babies". I am not seeing the development of the florets into small  watermelon buds - I can already taste the bright red/pink flesh of that sweet summer treat! My Detroit Red Beets continue to proudly wave their tops and share the barrel they are living in with the aggressive spearmint which pops up despite my plucking. Beet Salad - grilled beats with sage leaves, unsalted peanuts and fennel - yum!

 Sugar Babies spreading and showing off florets

Sugar Babies spreading and showing off florets

Patience, calm, tenacity is what brought me to this day. Time starved and always on a "deadline" some days I wanted to toss in the shovel and hop to the market rather than grow my own. Then I would look around at my tiny space, see the bulbs which returned and brought flowers for me to enjoy, hear the Western Scrubs and the Love Birds playing in the bird bath and see my hard work in the form of vegetables growing large and tasty for me to enjoy at the end of my long work day. When I was novice gardener I wanted it all, I wanted my personal garden to be as large and as grant as  shown in the beautiful image below from North Carolina. - I wanted to plant everything!.

 

 From Awakening Charlotte

From Awakening Charlotte

This year for example I thought I wanted turnips - I got lots of turnips and they were pretty in pink but as it turned out I am not a turnip lover ( my neighbor is though:) I soon learned ( from the garden ) that  it was more important for me to grow what I needed and to be successful than a wishful thinker who did not know what she was doing - I have grown green:)   I  appreciate a large productive garden and  will put every effort into fulfilling my goal of  developing a community space - Little Garden Girls for women and children to see red, find contentment and love their gardens in July!  Be sure to click through the image gallery below the Turbin Flower to see an update on the veggie garden 2013.

LOOK AHEAD WHATS NEXT FOR THE AUGUST 2013 MAGAZINE

Our August Magazine will continue to explore out door spaces  and will journey around the country to look at what is happening across America's Gardens - see you in August:) 

 Turbin Flower - a bulb that surprised me when it popped up next to the Pole Bean Barrel ( the orange on the stamen's can stain so watch out!:)

Turbin Flower - a bulb that surprised me when it popped up next to the Pole Bean Barrel ( the orange on the stamen's can stain so watch out!:)

Hidden Treasure, Right Under Your Feet?

 Bulbs I found in the Urban Veggie Garden summer 2013 

Bulbs I found in the Urban Veggie Garden summer 2013 

The thrill of discovering garden gems which lay hidden below your feet is almost indescribable! I was having one of those days and went out side for some air and thought being in the garden would help to clear my writers block.  

A Pepper plant which looked healthy but was not producing became the focus of my attention as I checked to see if it had ( finally ) flowered . I decided to move the plant from its present location near the Roma Tomato ( which is quite prolific ) to a spot where I can better monitor the Pepper's performance.

 Pepper with tray of bulbs I found

Pepper with tray of bulbs I found

After careful consideration I dug out the dead wood remains of the Geranium which made a wave like sculpture near the Pole Bean barrel and uncovered bulbs - a whole tray of them!  I found some which were large and small some usable and some eaten along with children's toys: the head of a doll, a metal toy soldier, and a three legged "Pokey" ( sans "Gumby":) I placed the toys in a box and put the bulbs ) which I will replant in my next space in paper and confetti and stored away until I am ready to place them in the ground. Who knows what else is buried in this tiny urban garden? I thought as I cleaned up and watered the replanted Pepper on this excavation site. The Pepper has since flowered and I see tiny peppers starting to come - maybe the Pepper was calling to me all along - "Move me away from the Tomato and watch me grow - you won't be sorry:)".

Gardens have histories, do you know yours? I surmised from my find that children, perhaps a boy and a girl played in the garden a long time ago, maybe that explains the mischief that takes place ( sometimes items are moved and later returned: ) Learn about your garden from Public Records about where the garden is located and from long time neighbors who can tell you about the people who owned or worked the land before you decided to put your print on the landscape - you never know what secret or insights you might find:) 

Resources: 

Landscaping Through History  Uncover Your Garden's Past

 

 The bulbs I found will easily populate a new bulb garden TIP: Bulbs multiply and can be divided, you don't have to plant 100 to get o100 instead you will easily have 200+:) Store bulbs in a cool dry place.

The bulbs I found will easily populate a new bulb garden TIP: Bulbs multiply and can be divided, you don't have to plant 100 to get o100 instead you will easily have 200+:) Store bulbs in a cool dry place.

Stop! Are Those Sun Flowers?

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Sunflowers offer outdoor space a majestic grace and beauty which can transform an otherwise non distinct area into place where the eye is drawn and remains long after one has visited with these wondrous plants. These all american superstars offer us  edible  seeds for humans and birds, sunflower oil, feed for cattle and a source of paper! Sunflowers are  actually many "flowers" as their heads consists of a plethora of tiny florets. A Neighbor creatively interplants  up to four varieties of sunflowers with pumpkins! A walk or drive down his tiny, winding residential street is a peek into a land of giants - mammoth heads look up down, some with an easterly gaze heralding the sun waving hello to passersby. What was once a grey patch of cement in front of his home is now "sunflower row" inviting the smiles and curiosity of children and adults beautifying the neighborhood, freshening the air, increasing property values and summoning birds!  

TIP: Sunflower seeds, like most seeds can be harvested and used next year, dry the heads of sunflowers to harvest the seeds, the leaves of the flower head can be used in arts and crafts at playtime. The roots of sunflowers are not deep- use these plants  in flower beds for a spectacular show during summer and fall months! 

Learn More about the wonder of sunflowers here 

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The Power of Planting Trees!

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Do you really know the power of trees? Trees can transform a neighborhood practically overnight. A tree has environmental, political and financial power - a tree can move you ( to buy a house on that street or open a business ). Trees do more than just stand there looking stoic or pretty ( some trees can look pretty gloomy too ). Tree's increase property values, take up water and can even help you live longer because Trees are carbon lovers that is they provide cleaner air for us to breathe. Plant a tree with a child and watch them grow together! The question you should ask yourself is not To Tree or not to Tree but what kind of tree's am I going to plant today -your life could depend on it:)

 Learn more about the effort going on across the Atlantic