The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

The last hurrah of summer’s Dog Days: There is still more than a week of Dog Days left as we move on into the month of August. The heat bears down on the garden plot and that causes tomatoes to ripen quickly. Keep the water wand handy and give thirsty, dry, vegetables crops a fresh shot of water at the end of summer days. If temperatures get too hot for chores in the garden and yard, set the alarm for five in the morning before the sun rises too high. Do your chores in the early morning hours and then take an afternoon nap to catch up on lost sleep.

A cool thought for a hot August day! During this first week of the month of August, we will celebrate Saint Lammas’ Day. The legend of Lammas says that if his whole week is hot and steamy, we can expect winter to be white and icy. What a thought for a hot summer afternoon! We don’t put much stock in the weather prediction of Saint Lammas, but it is a cool thought for the heat stroke weather on a summery August.

Do August fogs have anything to do with our number of snows? Here we are already into the third day of August and summer is quickly moving along. With August comes the advent of morning fogs that some say herald a prediction of what the distant season of winter may have in store for us. My grandma who lived in the northeastern NC county of Northampton was a firm believer that the fogs of August were predictors of snow in winter. A thick fog meant a heavy snow and a light fog would send the message for a light snow. She would record each fog during the month. Believe it or not, some of her August fog records were as accurate as the weather forecast during her day.

Is it time to go out and buy a new snow shovel? With the dire predictions of winter snowfalls in the last two clips, we wonder if we need to purchase a new snow shovel At least they will not spoil or melt and if you need one, surely there are plenty in hardware’s and some people may think you are crazy if you buy one during the heat of August, but remember: if you are a snow lover, think snow for a cool thought in early August!

Watching out for the August tomato harvest: Tomatoes ripen quickly during the hot August afternoons. The soil may be dry from the sun’s rays and lack of a thunderstorm and this sometimes will cause birds to peck holes in tomatoes to obtain moisture. Harvesting tomatoes just before they ripen and placing them on the deck, patio, or carport will prevent them from being pecked by birds.

Making a tomato bread pudding: The tomatoes are the rubies of summer’s garden and a tomato pudding is a great way to use fresh tomatoes for a dinner delight. Use eight or nine medium tomatoes. Wash tomatoes and place in boiling water for a minute, remove and place tomatoes in bowl of cold water for a minute. Slide peelings from tomatoes and remove the cores. Cut in chunks and stew for five minutes. Add one stick light margarine, one cup sugar, half tablespoon salt, two eggs, three hot dog rolls placed in blender and grated in “grate” mode, one teaspoon of vanilla, half cup catsup, one teaspoon of Texas Pete hot sauce of Buffalo wing sauce. Mix all with stewed tomatoes. Place in a glass baking dish sprayed with PAM or Baker’s Joy. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes

Starting broccoli and cabbage plants from seed: Even though the heat of the month of August is here, it’s time to start some cabbage and broccoli seed so they will be ready to transplant to the garden in mid-September. You can purchase seed packets at the seed shop or hardware as well as a bag of seed-starting medium. Use flower pots or containers to plant the seed in. Cabbage and broccoli seed look just a like so be sure to label the pots. Fill the pots with medium and add a handful to allow for covering the

seed. Mix enough water with the medium, a little at a time until the soil reaches moist consistency. Fill pots to within half inch of top. Sprinkle in seeds, cover with a layer of the medium and pat down with your fingers. Use a spray bottle of water to wet the medium. Spray each day. On very hot days, remove pots to where there is less sun. In seven to ten days, they will develop two leaves and be ready to transplant to individual pots filled with seed starting medium. The transplants will be ready for the garden in three weeks from transplanting in individual pots. You can also start collards in the same way.

Getting rid of pesky morning glories: The worst weed pest in any garden is the morning glory fine with its drill bit roots and loaded seed pods. One pod will contain hundreds of seeds produced by just one flower. It is important to pull them up by the roots and not let them flower.

The Garden Almanac for August 2017:

There will be a “Full Sturgeon Moon” on the night of Monday, August 7, 2017. Dog Days will end on August 11, 2017. The moon reaches its last quarter on Monday, August 14, 2017. There will be a new moon on the evening of August 21, 2017. The moon will reach its first quarter on Tuesday, August 29, 2017.

A total eclipse of the sun will be visible in a wide sweep of the western and southeastern United States on Monday, August 21, 2017. It will be “total” in the areas of Charleston and Columbia, S.C. in our area of the country, which makes this a rare event. In our neck of the woods, it will only be a partial eclipse but even that will be well worth watching.

Observing the Full Sturgeon Moon: The Full Sturgeon Moon will rise in the eastern sky on the hot evenings of Monday, August 7, 2017. It will not be the brightest moon of the year but still a beautiful sight and very well worth observing while sitting on the porch watching fireflies or out on a country road for a combination of seeing the August full moon and an abundance of fireflies in their entire splendor.

Ray Baird