âAll good things are wild and free.â Henry David Thoreau
Summer is here in its full glory with the 4thÂ of July promise of parades, pancake breakfasts, barbecues, fireworks, and family fun. Our dry hills glisten golden while water conservation is the talk of the town.Â The warm winter allowed fruit trees to burst into bloom only to have the blossoms knocked to the ground by a late rain.Â Ripening fruit is sparse, if nonexistent, except for certain varieties. My experiment of early vegetable planting in April resulted in plants that didnât survive the acute climate changes. Despite this dismal failure, Iâm glad I attempted the unexpected. Next spring Iâll wait until the optimum moment to transplant seedlings. On the positive side, plants that froze have recovered and are thriving. Other than straightforward yard maintenance, July is relatively labor-free since weâve already done all the really hard work in preparation for the season. Sit on the patio, pour yourself a cold one, and enjoy living in the land of the free.
- â« RETHINKÂ summer beverages by making your own flavored waters with fruits and herbs from your garden. Add mint, cucumbers, tangerines, basil, and berries to your favorite cocktail for a splash of sunshine.Â
- â« REMOVEÂ your lawn and replace it with an EBMUD sustainable landscape option and youâll qualify for a rebate of $.50 per square foot of grass removed. CallÂ 866-403-2683Â to schedule an appointment.
- â« CONSERVEÂ moisture by adding 2-3 inches of mulch to your landscape if you havenât already. VisitÂ www.EBMUD.comÂ for discount coupons on purchasing mulch.
- â« WATERÂ early in the morning or evening to eliminate evaporation and water deeply yet infrequently. Itâs hot and deep watering encourages a deeper root system.
- â« SOAKÂ tree roots with a deep soaker. While lawns will come back if they are not watered, your trees will die without H20. Buy a deep soaker rod and use it.
- â« LINGERÂ on a bench at the beach, in your garden, or at the park to enjoy the scenery.
- â« GROWÂ your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs and be water-wise. Home gardeners use Â¼ to 1/8 less water than commercial growers for the same produce.
- â« ADDÂ straw to beds as an excellent covering that provides a habitat for beneficial microbes while keeping the soil moist
- â« THINÂ apricots, peaches, pears, apples, and lemons on your trees to allow for a tastier, larger fruit harvest when ripe.
- â« PROPAGATEÂ herbs such as lovage and lemon grass and edible flowers like nasturtiums and calendula for a perennial party of exotic flavors.
- â« INCREASEÂ the amount of sunscreen you use while in the garden. Make sure to re-apply often, wear a hat, and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- â« EATÂ fresh organic eggs asÂ eggs currently sold in supermarkets are nutritionally inferior to eggs produced by hens raised on pasture.Â Testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture contain
1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin, 7 times more beta carotene.
- â« CLEARÂ debris, leaves, limbs, dead grass, wood, reeds, and all flammable materials from around the perimeter of your home. Fire danger is high all summer.
- â« PREPAREÂ to pay more for fresh produce at your local grocer and farmerâs market if you havenât grown your own.
- â« SPRINKLEÂ Growstoneâs Gnat NixÂ®, a non-toxic, chemical-free fungus gnat control top dressing made from recycled landfill glass on the surface of your containers and beds to reduce gnats on plants, indoors and out.Â www.growstone.com.
- â« VOLUNTEERÂ in a city or community garden even if you are not a gardener. Research indicates that even a little digging in the dirt boosts serotonin levels and decreases depression.
- â« LEARNÂ from your mistakes. Donât get frazzled when something you planted doesnât grow in a particular spot. Plants wither and die. Plant something else.
- â« CUTÂ back alliums after they are dry to encourage new growth and naturalization.
- â« CHECKÂ yourself for ticks every time you come in from the outdoors. Ticks will jump on your body during hiking, gardening, or just strolling. (Iâve had four hitchhike so far this season!)
- â« WALKÂ around your garden daily to observe what is new, what needs attention, and to admire your artistry.
- â« DECORATEÂ for Independence Day by filling containers with the colors of our flag. Red and white cyclamen, blue lobelia, white perennial alyssum paired with variegated society garlic makes a festive moveable display.
- â« NAPÂ in the shade. You deserve a break today.
Happy gardening and happy growing!