The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Still plenty of time for green beans: With the month of July winding down to its last three days and Dog Days coming to an end next week, there is still plenty of time to plant a row or two of green beans for a harvest at the end of September. You can choose from the bush varieties of Top Crop, Strike, Tenderette, Blue Lake Bush and Kentucky Wonder. Cover the seed with a layer of peat moss before covering the furrow with soil. The peat moss will absorb moisture and promote growth during the heat of the month of August.

Making compost in late July: There are plenty of ingredients to make a batch of compost at the end of July. Use all your grass clippings to heat compost and break it down along with your garden residue of spent stalks, vines and residue from peeled and harvested vegetables combined with last days of Dog Days. A batch should quickly heat up and may need a shot of fresh water to cool off the compost ingredients.

Using the magical water wand in the heat of summer: The hot summer sun keeps bearing down on the crops in the summer garden plot. The best way to cool them off and keep them healthy and thriving is to apply water from a water wand set in “shower” mode. A good wand costs around twelve dollars and has about eight settings from shower, to stream, mist, spray and half. All the settings will get any irrigation task done and save water at the same time. The wand puts water only where it is needed. Seed planting is easy with the wand because in the “stream” mode you can apply a layer of water directly on the seed before covering them up.

Making a great bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich: The secret of a great BLT sandwich is not only a hot fresh red tomato from the garden, but bacon that is broiled just right. (Not crunchy, but brown on both sides with all the grease cooked out of it.) The method for cooking bacon for a sandwich is to place the bacon strips on a broiler pan rack sprayed with Pam Cooking spray. Add one pint of water to the broiler pan and broil on low until lightly brown on top side. Turn the bacon over and brown the other side. Remove from the broiler when the bacon gets golden brown but not crunchy – it will be stiff, but not to the fall apart stage. There won’t be much grease on it but drain for a minute on a paper towel before assembling the sandwich. For added taste add Ranch or Thousand Island dressing instead of mayonnaise. A hint: bacon broiled this way makes a good scrambled egg casserole also we use half cup fresh milk to a dozen eggs to moisten the eggs.

Keeping an eye on Japanese beetles: You may still see some Japanese beetles in the final days of July. They seem to love heat. Keep the traps out and baited and empty as often as you need to.

Long live the wonderful hardware: The home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowes’s serve a good purpose as well as garden departments at big box stores but may the hardware we use always remains as American as apple pie and hot dogs. We are fortunate to have several great hardware stores in our area. They not only have seed and fertilizer, flowers, but every product needed for yards, lawns, gardens, tools and equipment. Most have a lot of knowledge they will share with you. Main Street Hardware in Rural Hall has something new in all seasons of the year including produce in summer, holiday goodies at Christmas, peanuts in autumn. Tuttle Hardware in Walnut Cove is a small town hardware store with a big inventory to meet the needs any homeowner or contractor from plumbing to the farm, lawn and garden and everything in between. Webster Brothers in Walkertown has boots, frying pans, knives, and a plant porch as added features. Gentry’s Hardware on Main Street in King is an old fashioned hardware where you can find many items that you can’t find anywhere else. Visit these American icons often and give them your business.

Still time to start tomatoes from seed for autumn harvest before frost: You can start a packet of Rutgers, Homestead or Marglobe seeds this week and have plants ready for the garden in about a month. This should be done soon.

The almanac for July, 2017: The “Full Buck Moon” reached its last quarter on Sunday, July 16, 2017. There will be a new moon on Sunday, July 23, 2017. The moon will reach its first quarter on Sunday, July 30, 2017.

An unforgettable and educational, once-in-a lifetime vacation: Monday, August 21, 2017 can be the beginning of an unforgettable vacation to remember for a lifetime. A total eclipse of the sun which can be seen only partially in Forsyth and Stokes County will be a total eclipse in the areas of Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina because they are in the path of the sun’s totality. The eclipse is midway in the sky and be totally eclipsed for almost two minutes. The eclipse actually begins on the Pacific Coast at 11:40AM and ends at 4:51PM. It will be total at 2:22PM. Here’s hoping for a bright, clear August day!

Ray Baird

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